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caracas arepas bar - recent reviews/recs?

a
adam Mar 20, 2007 02:11 PM

Anyone have any thoughts on recommendations or recent visits to Caracas Arepas Bar?

  1. d
    Desidero Mar 20, 2007 02:35 PM

    Whatever you do, get the cocada. It's a coconut milkshake and it's great.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Desidero
      g
      gaijingirl Mar 20, 2007 07:18 PM

      Actually, just visited it for the first time this weekend (resulting in two separate trips.) Honestly, I wasn't impressed. The arepas are small, sloppy and somewhat expensive. The rum cake was tasty...and the sugarloaf drink ok. But overall, a somewhat underwhelming experience. That's a shame, because Venezualan food was starting to look really interesting...!

      1. re: gaijingirl
        m
        Mazzer Mar 21, 2007 07:40 AM

        I still enjoy it. Prices did go up a smidge when they opened the new space, but at least you can get a table now. Los muchachos, the guasacaca, that sauce on the table! Once someone we were with tried to squeeze some sauce on his arepa and the lid came off and about half the bottle rushed on. He just brushed off the excess and went ahead.

    2. izzizzi Mar 20, 2007 07:21 PM

      I went about two years ago and it was very good. That's too bad to hear it's not like it used to be. I think the space is very nice (or was when I went). The prices weren't bad either.

      1. wleatherette Mar 21, 2007 09:42 AM

        i've been once within the past six months. i liked it and would probably order from there often if i still lived in the delivery area, but i wasn't wild about the dine-in experience. too cramped and chaotic, and the service wasn't very good. my recommendation would be to avoid the arepas that have more than two fillings or those filled with beans - they become soggy immediately and fall apart. also, i thought the highly praised venezuelan guacamole was pretty pedestrian. not bad, mind you, but nothing out of the ordinary. that said, i still enjoyed the food and found it reasonably priced.

        4 Replies
        1. re: wleatherette
          Bugsey34 Mar 21, 2007 10:23 AM

          I'm surprised to hear that people have had bad experiences at this place, I have been going for a couple years and it's one of my favorites. I always get a Reina Pepiada (avodado chicken salad) and a De Pabellon (with ropa vieja-like beef, cheese and beans). The cocada is delicious. I agree that the guacamole is not that exciting. It's always been consistent for me.

          1. re: Bugsey34
            wleatherette Mar 21, 2007 11:38 AM

            the pepiada was definitely my favorite filling.

            1. re: wleatherette
              bread for breakfast Mar 21, 2007 01:47 PM

              I've never had a bad experience at Caracas, and I eat there all of the time. I agree that the space is small -- This is definitely not a restaurant for parties over two. But I'll take cramped quarters and slow servers in exchange for a delicious and inexpensive meal any day.

              Try the tortilla soup. It's amazing!

              1. re: bread for breakfast
                b
                briochebun Mar 21, 2007 06:49 PM

                The appetizer of fried, caramelized plantains with crumbles of aged cheese is also fantastic. And I don't even like plantains.

        2. n
          nas9211 Mar 21, 2007 07:10 PM

          although the guasacaca isnt radically different from the usual guacamole, it seems to have something extra that i think makes it worthwhile (although the portion is far too small). either way its a good standby. my favorite arepa is the la del gato...in general most of the plaintain dishes are quite good.

          2 Replies
          1. re: nas9211
            a
            abr269 Mar 21, 2007 09:41 PM

            i love it. i highly recommend the pork shoulder and the chicken/ guacamole arepas. two are enough to fill me up !

            1. re: abr269
              chompchomp Sep 8, 2007 07:02 AM

              we really like those two arepas as well. yes, the space is small and cramped (yet for some reason, I automatically think "cozy!" I've been brainwashed, apparently) but I love those filled arepas and think they are a pretty great deal.

          2. Nick F. Sep 8, 2007 07:47 AM

            I really have to enthusiastically recommend this place as well. The three arepas I usually get are the reina (chicken/avocado salad) the lo del gato (cheese, plantains and avacado) and the pollo (REAL grilled chicken, yellow cheese and caramelized onions), all of which are FANTASTIC though especially the last one. I would recommend eating there rather than taking out as there may be a sogginess factor. Food wasn't too expensive when I was there (under 20 bucks for 2 and a good deal of food). The Venezuelan guac is pretty badass too if you want to check that out. Also, a great place for a date.

            1. j
              jdream Sep 10, 2007 10:17 AM

              I frequently recommend this place and have had a number of good experiences there. Recently I had heard that it had gone downhill put didn't believe-- I should have. The service is always spotty, so that's to be expected. BUT I was there Sunday and my first arepa (Muchachos-- chorizo, cheese, jalapenos, peppers) was undercooked and overly doughy. The second arepa (la playera-- fish) was just not so good. Also undercooked, doughy and REALLY greasy (the fish). When we paid they messed up our change and clearly just hadn't really been paying attention when we asked them to split it. I really liked this place the first few times but I will be hesitant to go again-- pretty unfortunate... it's hard to come by such an inexpensive and interesting restaurant.

              1 Reply
              1. re: jdream
                n
                NancyC Nov 8, 2007 08:15 AM

                I was nervous about going yesterday after seeing this post, because I hadn't been in 2 years (and didn't even realize they'd opened a bigger space). But if undercooked/doughy was one of the main issues for downhill alerts, it didn't come up last night. I had the pernil, which was really delicious--tender, juicy, and the arepa was definitely firm & crispy.

                I had the guacamole for the first time, and agree it's not special. However, what I LOVED were the plantain (and apparently, other root vegetable) chips that came with! When we ran out of guacamole I started squirted that creamy red sauce on the table right onto the chips.

                Also had cachapas, which has never been bad for me.

                Was admittedly disappointed about the price hike, but without drinks it's still economical. But if you want to get tipsy as we did...$45 each. Sigh. Still, I like the new space, and will have to go again to confirm my "not downhill" assessment. :)

              2. steeltowngrl Sep 10, 2007 10:22 AM

                I've been there several times, most recently about a month ago. Usually experience a wait on the weekend, especially if your party includes more than two. I always get the beef arepas on the specials menu - it has always appeared on the specials list every visit. I've tasted many and this one always comes out on top. I also really like the la ensalada acida, a cold corn and bean salad. I wish I had the recipe.

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