Tasca Wine Bar is a true Mediterranean gem. The quaint restaurant boasts a simple charm resembling eateries often found on a hidden street in the West Village of Manhattan.

Lucky for us Angelenos, this great tapas and wine bar is located right in the heart of downtown L.A. This month, the small venue celebrates its one-year anniversary, and judging by the tasty delights churned out by the kitchen, led by Argentinean head chef Nano Crespo, Tasca will be around for a while.

Small tables line the outside walls of the restaurant. When you walk inside, mirrors and simple photos line the aesthetically cool toned walls, giving the restaurant a charismatic feel.

A dark wooden bar sits on the right hand side of the room. The staff greets you warmly, at once giving you the impression they want to give you the best dining experience possible.

The atmospheric vibe is perfectly romantic; it's dimly lit overhead and also by candlelight. The warm setting makes you feel like you're miles away from the busy street just outside.

The wine list is extensive, and you can order a taste, glass or bottle of your choice. The tasting option is nice for those adventurous enough to try out a few different selections.

Tasca features sparkling, white and red wines from Austria, Argentina, Italy, France and Spain. The wait staff is extremely knowledgeable about the choices, so it's wise to let them suggest a few recommendations when picking out your drink.

The menu is divided into small and large plates for tapas and also offers salads, soups and sides. All of the small plates are reasonably priced from $6 to $16 per plate. The large plates, which constitute a fuller meal, are priced from $15 to $23.

For our main course, we ordered three small plates and a salad to share, which was plenty of food for two people.

The first dish we tried was the Tuna Tartare, which came with black truffle and taro root chips. It was presented beautifully, and we loved it.

Next up on our list was the Baby Artichoke Hearts salad. Topped with a meyer-lemon vinaigrette and fresh Parmesan cheese, it served as a great choice to clean our palate before the two heavier selections reached our table.

The next plate served was the Braised Short Rib. This was our favorite! The meat was so tender it fell apart in our mouths.

The accompanying sauce was excellent, and it was paired perfectly with a butternut squash agnolotti. We wanted to order another Braised Short Rib because we enjoyed it so much, but we knew we had one more plate coming – the Boudin Noir.

The Boudin Noir consisted of black sausage, served with sautéed apple and onion, with a rich side of mashed potatoes. It was also fantastic!

Although we couldn't try everything on the menu, there were other options that stood out. We only wish we could've tasted the Truffled Potato Chips, the Pâté de Campagne, the New Zealand Lamb, the Roasted Fennel and Potato Soup and the Roasted Duck Confit. All of these choices looked so good, but we didn't want to stuff ourselves too much.

Of course, we had to save room for dessert! We opted for the Sweet Empanadas. Though they came out of the kitchen too hot, once they cooled off, these goat cheese-filled delicacies were great dipped in a rich chocolate sauce.

At Tasca Wine Bar, you'll get a premium meal for a reasonable price. I would highly recommend Tasca to anyone that loves tapas or wine. With Argentinean, Spanish and French influences, the restaurant offers customers options that aren't available anywhere else in Los Angeles.

Trying to impress your date? I suggest taking them here.

In my opinion, Tasca is one of the best date spots around with its cozy atmosphere and friendly staff. Be sure to make reservations though. It's a small place and you don't want to get stuck without a table.

Outdoor seating is also available on warmer evenings, but I recommend eating inside to soak in the full experience and ambiance.

For reservations and more information, call (323) 951-9890 or visit www.tascawinebar.com.