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Nov 21, 2010 10:13 AM

Chicas latin heritage foods - south granville

If you're out at south granville, around 70th, it's worth a trip to Chicas latin heritage foods for yet another place in town that serves tacos, but also for a few unique dishes that reflect their emphasis on Nicaraguan/Venuzuelan/Columbian food rather than straight up Mexican. The usual suspects are on the menu - tacos, burritos, rice and beans, but they also have Arepas, pepusa-like stuffed, flat cornbread, made with bright yellow corn meal. And there are some interesting empanadas with chicken, potatoes and feta. Prices are reasonable and tuesday taco special is $2. The interior is pretty bare bones, but it's casual, friendly and worth a look if you're in the neighbourhood.

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  1. Thanks for the info I've wondered about this place......

    1 Reply
    1. re: Sam Salmon

      Yeah, ta, tangent -- I went in its previous incarnation, not salutary. Will have to make the trek, though usually if I'm that close to the bridge I end up on Three Road :-). Particularly interested in trying the arepas which I haven't had outside of South America.

    2. Ugh, horrible experience. Worst restaurant experience in all Vancouver actually. Went during the summer (not sure if it was Chica's yet, or the previous) but ordered two tacos hoping for some authentic Mexican flavours. Went for braised chicken and grilled steak. Steak was GREY and mushy...disgusting. Chicken looked similar, didn't even try it. And all this was topped with orange cheese and soggy lettuce...returned it, didn't even bother asking for a refund, and told them they should be ashamed to serve this kind of food. They just stood there with this sad look on their face knowing I was right.

      I hope it was only an off-day...but I wounldn't risk it.

      1. how were the arepas?
        i've been in their previous incarnation but dont remember arepas on the menu, perhaps there has been a change in the kitchen. as mentioned, it was dreadful before. the parking is difficult to find iirc.
        think this is the first i've seen locally of the columbian/venezuealan 'national' dish.

        5 Replies
        1. re: betterthanbourdain

          Arepas are on the menu of Baru Latino on Alma. Haven't tried them yet. They are $13.00.

          1. re: repartee

            You're right, repartee, and I noticed we ordered them when we were last at Baru. The fact that I didn't mention them in the writeup and can't remember them does not bode well :-).

            I don't recall ever having had yellow arepas in Colombia either -- probably a different kind of corn?

            OT but we had some gorgeous rice flour pupusas in SF recently. If anyone sees those around these parts I'd sure love to know about it.

          2. re: betterthanbourdain

            I don't really have a benchmark for decent arepas since they're difficult to find, but, that said, the ones at Chicas are listed on the menu as "Venezuela style". They're very yellow and probably made with corn meal. They're mini-burger sized with various fillings - very much like eating a little, round polenta sandwich (check out pic in my original post). I had no issues with grey, mushy food as noted by kroekerj but let's be fair here - indications are they've either reopened with a new menu and probably a new cook, or they've been taken over by someone who cares. So let's not judge them by past crimes that took place at the same location. I wouldn't say it's worth a special trip but a decent curiosity if you're in the neighborhood.

            1. re: tangentdesign

              My experience with Arepas is decidedly mixed-this is in Colombia.

              They are somewhat reminiscent of a Mexican Gordita but not quite as finely made-not my favourite maize product but when cooked with craft and care they're tasty enough.

              I may just TOFTT Wednesday afternoon-all in the interest of consummate research of course.

              1. re: Sam Salmon

                Well lunch to today was quite tasty and I loved the Venezuelan Arepas w/bean/ & cheese-Mexican soft tacos too were tasty.

                It's obvious the place is being run on a shoestring-there were some service issues with another table but I had no complaints.