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Aug 3, 2008 07:06 PM


Were can we go to get the best arepas?

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  1. If you're ever in Santa Monica and have the urge:

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    1. I have only noticed them on a menu once. It was at a South American fusion restaurant, the Beat, a hole-in-the-wall on Ventura Blvd. and near Kester. I didn't have one so I can't comment further. I went in to get a copy of the menu as I was on my way to meet someone for dinner.

      1. Coupa Cafe in Beverly Hills serves a somewhat refined arepa. And the coffee's nuclear.

        3 Replies
        1. re: toothsome

          "the coffee's nuclear"

          Like a Venezuelan "negrito" ?
          Cost one mediecito ( 0.25 Bolivar ) ?

          1. re: toothsome

            i'm not sure what arepas should taste like -- but i didn't care for coupa cafe's version. quite dull. and maybe they are dull. i'm just not sure.

            1. re: toothsome

              Don't bother w/ Coupa's version if you're looking for something you've had in Vzla. I like the place (clueless service non-withstanding, at least the BH location) but that's no arepa! Little, dry and tasteless. They're subtle things, like tortillas. I don't even think the coffee there is so great. The last bag I got was pretty stale and sort of overcooked. They also suffer from massive-menu syndrome.

            2. There are two types of arepas -- the stuffed Venezuelan version or the more plain Colombian version. Pupusas are also a type of arepa, but a distant cousin. I'll talk about the Colombian version because that's what I know best. You can get them at any Colombian restaurant. I think the best version is at La Fonda Antioquena in Hollywood. Keep in mind that arepas usually accompany a meal, so they taste plain, but they're best when eaten alongside beans, chicharron, etc.

              8 Replies
              1. re: glutton

                i am looking for classic venezuelan arepas. and arepas have beans and chicharron etc stuffed in them. Arepas are a side dish like tortas would be a side dish. Maybe they are not the same in colombia. Also arepas dont taste plain. It all depends whats in them....

                1. re: cincyn

                  If you're looking for something similar to an arepera, the ones you find everywhere in Venezuela ( i.e. ubiquitous food shops, equivalent to taquerías in Mexico or falafel shops in Tel Aviv or frankfurter carts in NYC or ... ) the short answer is: forget it, there's none. And that means, nothing Venezuelan at all: no arepas, no hallacas ( neither plain nor navideñas ), no cachitos, no pan de jamón, no cachapas, no jalea de mango verde, no Ron Cacique.

                  1. re: RicRios

                    I would agree with this -- venezuelan arepas just don't seem to exist in LA.

                    For the record, the Colombian arepas are different than the Venezuelan. The Colombians don't stuff their arepas -- they eat them alongside a meal or with some queso fresco or butter. Venezuelans go crazy by stuffing them with all sorts of great things. However, the only version of Venezuelan arepas I've found good in the US were in NYC, though, to be fair, I have never been to Miami.

                    1. re: glutton

                      You and Ric both need to revisit my post above. Cafe Bolivar on Ocean Park Blvd. at 18th Street in Santa Monica DOES Venezuelan style arepas.

                      So they do exist after all.

                      1. re: Servorg

                        I drove tons of times by Ocean Ave & 17th St, looked hard trying to find out this place, never saw it. I guess must be something secret, no signs kind of place? Oh well, I'll need to make a note of the street address and walk. (Wait, did I say walk?) Do they have carne mechada? Reina Pepiada?

                        1. re: RicRios

                          It's actually on the corner of 18th, north side of the street. it use to just be a little coffee shop & has tables outside. Haven't eaten there but have friends who love it.

                          1. re: dotrat

                            This is a great little neighborhood place with good food and really nice owners. The sort of place that chowhounds seek out and, hopefully, support. Stop by sometime and see what you think. Also, I want to find out the story behind their beautiful "flukes" up on the wall behind the counter someday.

                        2. re: Servorg

                          I've been there since I live nearby and I wasn't impressed, which is why I did not mention it. The food was not horrible, but I did not find it particularly noteworthy either. the fact that I drive by it all the time and don't have any hankering to go there is telling.

                2. Thanks everyone, it seems the is at least 1 place for great Venezuelan arepas. I know it's a tough one. i only have had two in NYC.