Looking for something different but still within the $10 range for lunch? I recommend Caracas Arepa Bar. This east village hot spot is offers New Yorkers a real taste of a Venezuelan specialty, called an arepa. Now, when I was first introduced to this phenomenon, I didn’t know what an arepa was. I was told it is like a Mexican taco, but Venezuelan style and that I needed to try it to really understand the concept.
So, I decided to try it out for lunch. They have a full menu of arepas, empanadas, combination plates, appetizers, and deserts. Check out the and see what catches your eye, but I will tell you what caught mine. I ordered the arepa “De Pabellón” which has shredded beef, black beans, white salty cheese and sweet plantains. All of these goodies come stuffed inside a “dense yet spongy corn-flour rounds, pitalike pockets, corn muffins, cake-swaddled mélange, white corn cakes, Latin sloppy Joe, sandwiches of a flat cornmeal patty, soft and smooth within, golden crispiness, tasty treats, burrito-killer, panini-killer, wheat-free, gluten-free crisp on the outside, steamy-soft in the middle…” And let me tell you! It was delicious!
The one thing I will caution you with is that this is a hands-on food. It is not something you eat with a fork and a knife. It is messy and the juices will drip from the arepa into the basket below, so always be prepared with a sufficient amount of napkins. The other thing to note is that you need to make sure to carve out enough time to try an arepa as there is usually a wait to sit and eat. But, if you don’t have time to sit and eat, you can always go next door to the “To-Go” side.
Even the FoodNetwork showers praise for this little Venezuelan hot spot by featuring it on its hit show Throw Down with Bobby Flay. Bobby Flay challenged the owners of Caracas Arepa Bar to an arepa challenge. He didn’t win, but watching him try to recreate this classic was entertaining. Check out what Bobby’s arepa recipe from this episode of Throw Down. Also if you want to see the actual episode you can see it below:
So, if you are looking for a sweet and savory treat off the beaten path for lunch for $10, I recommend that you try Caracas Arepa Bar in the East Village. Before you even get the check you will already be planning your next visit to this Venezuelan gem.