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Jan 6, 2013 08:03 PM

Magda's - A Venezuelan diner

This spot looks like a diner. The menu is half Venezuelan and half traditional diner food like burgers, omelets, and all-day breakfast egg plates.

Ordered the Venezuelan staple of pabellón con barandas. They did a very nice job on this. The beef was well seasoned without being salty, full of slow cooked flavours, and extremely tender. The beans were nicely seasoned and had some queso fresco to round out the flavours. The plantains were sweet, cooked to a perfect slight crisp on the outside and still creamy on the inside. The arepa was nicely formed on the outside, got some grill marks on it, and was glutinous on the inside.

Everything was enhanced by the three housemade sauces provided - their version of guasacaca (which was must looser than I have had before, yet still with a pleasant taste), a garlic sauce, and a housemade hotsauce. The hotsauce had some serious kick, and really enhanced everything.

In a city with limited Latin flavours, Magda's fills the void nicely. I've been back twice so far, and will continue to return - although likely will stick to the Venezuelan parts of the menu!

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  1. Magda's reminds me of every restaurant in every Latin American country I've ever been in (except the ones with dirt floors of course)-I love the place the food and the people.

    And the numbers on the tables!

    3 Replies
    1. re: Sam Salmon

      I felt weirdly affronted with myself reading this excellent post, as in "Why didn't I already know about this place?" :-).

      Delighted to be informed and planning to check it out soon. Wish I hadn't missed the Christmas dishes...

      1. re: grayelf

        I could have sworn there was an earlier post about Magda's here.

        Edit: Found it. el_lobo_solo posted about it on WM's forums in October.

        1. re: fmed

          Musta missed it. And can't look it up as the site is down for maintenance til Jan 21. Could you (or els) post it here?

    2. I agree with YVR and Sam on the arepas and super friendly service. The only thing I tried was an arepa-type sandwich. The arepas were huge compared to the ones I've had before but was told these were the authentic size. My filling was roasted pork (pernil) with avocado and queso fresco, and I had to douse the meat with the sauces mentioned above to give it some flavour. My sweet-tooth was happy with an horchata-type drink loaded with condensed milk--I forget the name of this though.

      7 Replies
      1. re: el_lobo_solo

        I hate to say it but I was not a fan of the arepas we had in Venezuela lo these many years ago. Totally ready to try them here though, and don't mind sauce-dousing if said sauce is tasty. Thanks.

        1. re: grayelf

          To be brutally honest Arepas are not going to set the world on fire any time soon-but they are a novel occasionally tasty way to ingest Maize based cuisine.

          In particular the fact that Arepas are made from plain (non-niximalized) Maize flour sometime puts off people accustomed to Mexican products like Gorditas.

          1. re: Sam Salmon

            I have been making my own arepa using arepa flour for a while. The kids love them. I think of them as fried polenta patties.

            1. re: fmed

              6345 Fraser Street
              Vancouver, BC V5W 3A3
              Neighbourhood: Sunset

              (604) 322-1001

              1. re: grayelf

                Oh, so it's where Alk-O-Bar used to be. And before them was that quirky T-Hut chiuchow cuisine place .........

                1. re: LotusRapper

                  This is indeed where T-Hut was. It is much improved decorwise since then though still pretty minimalist. We hit them up for a family dinner a week ago Saturday.

                  We got rock-star parking out front as we were there on the early side but they do indeed have free municipal lots behind them.

                  Our DCs beat us there and had their eye on the pabellon criollo ($12) at a recco from another table, so we got that. We also tried the arepitas, the chicha ($4.95) drink that els liked so much, the special parilla ($16.50), and the bandera montanera ($13.75), and the arepa reina pepiada, a sandwich ($10.25).

                  The pabellon was a bit hit with the table, though I was not enamoured of the red peppers in it, or the slight sweetness. What knocked my socks off was the rice, which was lovely and buttery, cooked to a perfect al dente. The arepitas were stuffed with a sour cream and cheese mix that reminded me of soft goat cheese. Nice way to ingest arepas :-). The chicha is like a dish all to itself, very rice and sweet -- loved it but glad we all shared it as to drink one alone would fill me up too much. The special parilla comes with chicken, beef and chorizo tossed in the same green sauce that comes to the table. The meat is perched on top of a pile of chopped head lettuce with sad winter tomato slices and four or five slabs of fried cassava. I was surprised how much I enjoyed this dish but again glad we were sharing it. The bandera montanera had lovely steak prepared in just the way I remember from our many trips to Latin America long ago -- a bit of chew but still tender, and lots of flavour. The beans were excellent too. The sandwich was as described above, not bad but a bit bland.

                  Very nice service from what appears mostly to be family members. Prices perhaps a tad high for what you get (the sandwich in particular didn't seem like good value) but the portions are pretty generous and the ingredients of solid quality. I would come back and eat family style for sure. Total bill all in for four and a half people: $80.

                  1. re: grayelf

                    Magda's continues to Please-nay-Excel-a delight for the senses (with the Best Music in Vancouver).

      2. Anyone tried their empanadas or pupusas? Are they available during dinner? I've never had deep fried empanadas before...I've only had the baked (Chilean?) ones at Panaderia Latin Bakery on Joyce.