Meet El Lugar the Best Restaurant in Pereira. Here we are, our final stop on the Pereira Food Tour. Of course, we saved the best for last!
And, if you are wondering who “They” are…we will tell you. “They” are all the outsiders, visitors, the next wave of expats and your next door neighbor! So, experience it now – while it is a little-known secret, rather than later when it becomes a commonly known fact.
Featuring Scandinavian inspired fusion cuisine, El Lugar takes the taste of Denmark and greater Scandinavia, then fuses it with the tropical flavors of Colombia.
And, that’s not all, they also offer a limited number of rooms for VIP Bed & Breakfast Guests. The rising star of restaurants in Pereira, El Lugar Restaurant and Boutique Hotel is currently in the top 5 on Trip Advisor. Come along with us as we reveal a few of their secrets to you!
El Lugar Restaurant and Boutique Hotel
Meet Jorn and Nohra, the passionate duo behind El Lugar, the Best Restaurant in Pereira.
Jorn has over 30+ years in the restaurant business in Denmark. “I just like to cook. Good food.” – says Jorn, and we tend to agree.
One of their signature features, is a style of personalization that goes beyond a paper menu and the average expectation. Guests can request fresh salmon, lobster and premium cuts of quality beef, chicken or pork. Experience the unique taste that combines Danish favorites with local flavors like coffee, cilantro or passion fruit.
Average cost per plate – Lunch: 25-35,000 pesos/per plate. For Dinner: between 35-45,000/per plate. They also offer special exotics like lobster, but its based on daily market value.
Now they offer a different kind of hotel, and a different kind of restaurant and cafe…
The Best Restaurant in Pereira
Located just outside the city of Pereira in the Coffee Region of Colombia, El Lugar Restaurant and Boutique Hotel has become an “it” place for private lunches, intimate dinners, afternoon paseos, (or outings/small trips). They even offer special event hosting for weddings and anniversaries.
FACT: Food at el Lugar has a special taste, due to premium, all-natural and even organic ingredients and a professional European chef. From locally grown and house-roasted premium coffee to organic jungle-grown cacao, guests and visitors will receive nothing but the best. Both the coffee and chocolate are available for purchase. They make great souvenirs and gifts.
We caught up with Jorn Ludvigsen, the Executive Chef at El Lugar, and asked him a few questions about the food porn he creates for the brave and bold, visitors and locals, who pop in to experience something new.
Erin @ Pereira City Guide: What is Scandinavian Food?
Jorn: In Scandinavia, its an equal distribution of protein and fibers and sauce. Here we combine the Scandinavian meals with sauces made with things found here. So, we try to create a fusion between the fresh mature, high quality, locally grown tropical fruits and vegetables which are available here in Pereira. We work to combine that with traditional Scandinavian dishes. We then work to optimize the flavors and the experience of eating.
Erin: What is your cooking philosophy?
Jorn: Personalization. We have a very high observation of service. For instance on a day to day basis, there’s always a chef, to explain the menu and prepare the dishes. And then we do everything De Autor. So if they want to have salmon, we say ok, salmon. And do you want it with pasta, salad, or sautéed vegetables. We do our own spices and our own herb mixes, with pepper and salt. We do everything from the bottom up. We don’t use anything from bottles or cans or bags. We use fresh products for everything.
FACT: One of their signature features, is a style of personalization that goes beyond a paper menu and the average expectation. Guests can request fresh salmon, lobster and premium cuts of quality beef, chick or pork. And, as an added bonus they will experience the unique taste that combines Danish favorites with local flavors like coffee, cilantro or passion fruit.
Erin: How does it work when someone wants to order in the restaurant?
Jorn: I enter a dialogue with the customer and tell them what I offer (that day). They tell me their intolerances, some people have things they don’t like. So we avoid putting that on the plate. Vegetarian, gluten-free, no fat, low fat. Once again, I enter a dialogue with the customer and say “this is what I can offer.” And then we do that.
Erin: How does it work for special events?
Jorn: Typically we enter into a dialogue with the customer based around the menu. We offer different roasted meat like tenderloin, pork tenderloin, roasted whole in the oven. We do salmon, seafood, flambé, we try to combine different vegetables, good vegetables. And, we even offer weekly varieties of desserts, breads and pastries, also made fresh in our kitchen.
FACT: Their regular operating hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 12 pm – 10 pm. Breakfast is only available to overnight guests. Try their daily lunch offerings, or join in on their exclusive events which are announced to followers via Facebook. Be sure to “Like” their page (Facebook.com/ellugarhotel) so you too can be a part of the next big thing in Pereira Fine Dining!
A Different Kind of Hotel
Nohra is the Hotel Manager, and she is one of many strong women in Pereira today who are running their own businesses. She spent her early training and career in the hotel business in Bogota. Colombian by birth, for many years she lived abroad in the US and Denmark, then Mexico and Brazil, continuing her work in the hotel business. It was in a visit to Sweden and Denmark, that she met Jorn Ludvigsen, a chef whose passion is food that evokes all the senses.
FACT: El Lugar only has 3 exclusive guest rooms, for now. Each comes with large comfy European-made beds, large customized bathrooms and personalized room service options. Whether you desire a nice warm cup of your favorite tea, or a hot water bottle at bed-time, they will take care of your every need.
In 2015, they decided it was time to pursue their life’s dream. Together, Nohra and Jorn, came to Pereira and opened a small hotel that would fill a very exclusive niche market for people who love high quality food and ultra-personalized service.
El Lugar is a Boutique Hotel by all definitions of that standard, in the international travel market. Guests will always receive 24 hour service and attention. Here is our chat with Nohra about the quality and service they offer.
Erin: What in Inspired you to come here and open a hotel?
Nohra: This is our life project, and what inspired us, is the region. Pereira is a prosperous region that is quickly developing in many directions. You have tourism, business and real estate growing at a rapid pace. Flights from the US and Panama are increasing. We are also receiving some from Europe and especially Germany now.
Erin: What is your part in the adventure of owning and running a business?
Nohra: The hotel side, the business side, the management. We have a very different product, but with a very different concept of customer service. And its very difficult for a person who hasn’t lived that experience, to sell that. Many people fall short in transmitting that product and feeling to clients. We are approaching the situation from our background and life experience, and it’s something that sets us apart.
Erin: What are your future plans for the hotel?
Nohra: We are going to consolidate the operation and are considering a Pub/Bar. We are exploring the options. We are also going to expand with additional rooms added on. We also intend to have a “wet” area like a spa or pool. But, I really can’t say much because our plans are very special.
FACT: Room rates vary based on time of year. But, they are extremely competitive for the region.
Regular Tourist Season: 235,000 pesos/night for Single | 302,000 pesos/night Double
Low Season/Discount Rates: 175,000 pesos/night Single | 225,000 pesos/night Double
Be sure to consider El Lugar for your next lunch, dinner or even a romantic couples night. We have discovered consistently over time that their quality never changes. Their service is always consistent. There is a touch of something special that sets this place apart and has made it our 2017 Nominee for the Best Restaurant in Pereira! Check it out before “they” discover this hidden gem in the coffee region of Colombia!
Did you know that El Lugar is a featured participant in Pereira City Guide the eBook? Now, when you buy a copy of Pereira City Guide via Amazon.com you will have all their contact information, for the Best Restaurant in Pereira, at your fingertips via your smartphone or tablet. Buy your copy now by clicking on the image below!