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Arepas in Tampa?

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Anybody know of a Venezuelan or other restaurant that has good arepas? Personally I have never had them, but I am excited to give them a shot.

I live in eastern Hillsborough County so I would prefer to keep the suggestions on this side of the bay.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. Go to Armenia Ave in Tampa. Just south of Waters Ave, there are several Central American resturants that serve Arepas. They dot Armenia Ave for about 3 miles south. Plenty to choose from. One place I found on the Tampa Underbwelly Tour was called Hondurian Cafe, they were awesome.

    http://www.culinarysherpas.com/

    8 Replies
    1. re: The Urban Eater

      Frank,

      I am glad you bring this up. I had a great arepa this week at bus on Armenia. The bus used to be on a parking lot near Waters but it is now closer to Hillsborough. It appears that they have a permanent piece of land that they are using. It is in roughly the 5600 block of Armenia just north of La Lechonera on the opposite side of the street. The arepa con todos was incredible. The sauces were tasty and it had nice grilled beef and hot dogs among other things. My wife had the hamburguesa on the recommendation of the owner/chef. It was a huge burger with the same delicious sauces and potato chip strings on top. I thought that was very good as well. The first item on the menu is a tripe sandwich which they were out of. They also serve salchipapas which are french fries with cut up hot dogs. It's a good place. Report back if you check it out. The pupuseria on MLK and Armenia is also very good.

      1. re: CFishman

        Thanks for the replies. I assumed Armenia would be the area to find them, I just wasn't sure which place was the best.

        I appreciate the recommendations and I will get on it starting with lunch on Monday.

        YESSSSSSSSSSSSS!

        1. re: FrankC

          FrankC:

          I will make a concerted effort in the days to come as well. I have been meaning to find the best Colombian food and arepas in that stretch of town, but so far the places I have tried left me with little desire to try more. I think I will focus strictly on arepas from now on and report back, too.

          Noice

        2. re: CFishman

          How have I driven past that corner 10 times a week and not seen that? I am so there. Thanks for the tip!

          1. re: rebecca.kukla

            rebecca.kukla:

            I think the bus is only there late-night (that's the info I got from a friend recently) and perhaps only on weekends. I had been looking for it during the day, too.

            On a related note, I went to La Cabana Antioquena last weekend and had an amazing meal. Although I am of Colombian origin, I had all but given up hope of finding tasty Colombian fare in Tampa. But this place has had me jonesing for Colombian food ever since last week. We had the bandeja paisa (possibly the biggest bandeja paisa I've seen [enough for two, easily]) and even the arepa on it was a bit better than the usual cardboard served with a bandeja. Everything was well-made and expertly seasoned.

            I forgot to look to see if they served other types/styles of arepas, but I will look next time and sample some if they do.

            Noice

            1. re: Noice

              According to their card, the bus is open from 6:30 pm to 3 am Tue-Thur.; 6:30 pm to 6 am on Fri. and Sat.; and 4pm to 1 am on Sunday. Closed on Mondays. The name of the the bus is Asados El Paisa. The phone number is 813-770-2647.

              1. re: CFishman

                Well that certainly explains why I had never managed to find the truck. And I agree - La Cabana Antioquena is yummy.

                1. re: rebecca.kukla

                  Yeah, truck not bus. There is now a second truck on Armenia, a bit further north. Rebecca, the truck is just north of La Lechonera. Sometimes it is open and sometimes not, but it is alwyas there. If any of you make it down to Miami, I had a dish at El Gran Inka this weekend (a Peruvian restaurant) that was quite similar to bandeja paisa. The dish was called el gran Inka and consisted of a nicely seasoned steak with an egg on top, fried yuca, plantains and a delicious rice and bean mash. Anyone know what is up with La Casona Caribena? The last couple of times I tried to go they were closed.

      2. If you are just looking for quick take out, try Don Pan. You can get any sandwich on arepas or cachapas (which are made with yellow corn).

        1. My Colombian husband personally does not like Don Pan at all. He MUCH prefers Antojitos for Colombian food. They have the side dish sort of arepas there (the type common in Antioquia). I don't think they serve the sort of main dish Venezuelan arepas that FrankC is probably looking for--but in terms of Colombian goodies such as pan de yuca, pan de bono, sancocho, etc., it's the place to go.

          Realize that there is a variety of types of arepas, just as there are many types of tamales. The ones you find at outdoor events in the area are "arepas de choclo", which are on the sweet side (made with sweet corn and yellow corn meal) and filled with white cheese. It's a style that's popular in Bogota. The Venezuelan style arepa is usually made with white corn meal, is not sweet, and is sliced open and filled with cheese or meat. The Antioquia-style arepa is small, made of white corn meal, and is served as a side dish, like a roll. I personally don't care that much for this style, as they don't have much flavor as far as I'm concerned. Of course, the BEST arepas are the ones my husband makes from scratch, but that kitchen is closed to the public. :)

          2 Replies
          1. re: laurie

            Thanks Laurie,

            I have had the Antioquia style arepas at Columbian restaurants and I agree with your assessment. I am looking for the Venezuelan style arepas that are served more like a sandwich filled with meat and other goodies.

            thanks

            1. re: laurie

              My favorite has always been Antojitos as well, probably because it was my first exposure to Colombian food. It can be difficult just to get past the appetizers (arepas, fruit shakes, stuffed yucca/potato, sausages, empanadas). If I do, I go for the pork chop or fried fish. The steak is good, but not great. Seems like many of the other Colombian places are obsessed with grilled chicken, which I rarely get excited about, as I've eaten so much at home.