NYC Venezuelan Arepas: If You Haven’t Been to Caracas Arepas Bar, You’re Missing Out

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What tortillas are to Mexican food, arepas are to Venezuelan. Arepas are fried, but not greasy, corn pancakes. They’re crisp on the outside, airy on the inside and when sliced open, they can be stuffed with meats, cheeses and vegetables. Caracas Arepas Bar, on 7th St. near 1st Avenue, offers 14 varieties of arepa in addition to appetizers, empanadas, soup, salad, dessert, fruit juices, and other Venezuelan specialties. Since the Arepas Bar opens at 5:30PM on weekdays, Caracas To Go, a 15-seat take out spot next door, will satisfy your arepa fix with lunchtime specials served Monday to Friday until 4:30PM.

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Los Muchacos Grilled Chorizo, Fried White Cheese w/ jalapenos ($6.75)

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De Pabellon Shredded Beef, Black Beans, White Salty Cheese & Sweet Plantains ($7.00)

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Cocada Coconut Milkshake w/ Shredded Coconut & A Touch of Cinnamon on Top ($4.75)

Fried Cheese? Chorizo? Jalapeno? How can you go wrong?

The Los Muchachos arepa ($6.75) was the better of the two. Sauteed peppers are standard but I asked for none. The result was a spicy but balanced flavor trip. The salty and perfectly fried cheese was the perfect middleman for the smokey chorizo and fiery jalapenos hidden beneath. The subtle sweetness of the crisp and chewy arepa brough all the spice to a manageable level. I would definitely get this arepa again.

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Read The Rest Of The Arepa Menu Here

Who Knew Plantains Could Be a Dominant Flavor?

The De Pabellon arepa ($7.00), features savory, sweet and tender shredded beef, perfectly cooked black beans, crumbled salty white cheese and mushy sweet plantains, the last of which became the dominant flavor. As a result, there was no real differentiation between the ingredients, resulting in a pocket of plantain flavored mush. Not that this is a bad thing, per se. If you like sweet plantains, you’ll enjoy this arepa.

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Spicy & Sweet House Sauce

If a bottle of House Sauce (below) is not on your table, look around and grab one because it’s delicious. A sweet and almost fruity initial flavor disappears surprisingly fast, revealing a fleetingly spicy pepper undertone. The ironic thing is that when Caracas first tried to create their house sauce, they came to the present one by accident and it stuck. Amen for that.

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Coconut Lovers, Welcome to Heaven

While waiting for my arepas I noticed the helpful counter man Emmanuel pouring what looked like a vanilla milkshake. In actuality, it was a Cocada ($4.75), shredded coconut and milk blended with ice and topped with a touch of cinnamon. This is one of the best drinks I’ve ever had. It tastes like coconut ice cream mixed with chopped ice and shredded coconut. The cinnamon adds a nice touch.

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For those of you who don’t like coconut, and there’s really no inbetween, you can also order one of their ever-changing natural juices ($3.75), a Papelon Con Limon ($3.50) made of water, raw sugar cane pulp and lime, a Chicha ($4.75) made of rice, milk, sugar, ice, and cinnamon, a Camburada ($4.75), a banana milk shake with a touch of cinnamon, or lastly a Toddy ($4.75 cold, $3.50 hot), a Venezuelan chocolate milk shake.

1caracasCaracas Arepa Bar

93 1/2 East 7th Street near 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10009
(212) 529-2314
Hours: Mon. – Fri. 5:30PM – 10:30PM, Sat. – Sun. 12PM to 10:30PM
Photo courtesy: Shanna Ravindra, NYMag.com

Caracas To Go

91 East 7th Street near 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10009
(212) 228-5062
Hours: Sun. – Sat. 12PM – 10:30PM
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25 Responses to “NYC Venezuelan Arepas: If You Haven’t Been to Caracas Arepas Bar, You’re Missing Out”

  1. Before Sunrise Says:

    My mouth is watering! Those arepas and the milk shake… That cocount milkshake is to die for.

    Looking at the menu, which one would you go for next time, Food Guy? I think I’d go with the De Pollo – grilled chicken breast with caramelized onions and cheddar cheese.

  2. Phil Says:

    I’ve actually been to this place before. FANTASTIC. They also give you some pretty sweet chips while you wait for your food.

    That drinks looks amazing, will return to try!

  3. Jack Says:

    Glad you made it there, i mentioned i stumbled upon this place about a month ago and was great, the order at the counter side is the way to go.

  4. Before Sunrise Says:

    Some (unrelated) trivia… In Brazil we have a chocolate powder drink mix called “Toddy”, I wonder if there is any relation to that and the Toddy drink here…

  5. dinosaurcookies Says:

    The cold chocolate Toddy is well worth the $4.75 but I don’t recommend getting the arepas to go. The packaging isn’t great and everything gets pretty oily/soggy if you go for more than a few blocks. The service has also gone down a bit in the past year so it’s definitely best to go during offpeak hours.

  6. Before Sunrise Says:

    Phil and Jack – what did you have when you went there? Which arepa do you recommend?

  7. Phil Says:

    Before Sunrise – I went about a year ago, and I had the La de Victor… it was VERY good. I think I had 2 of them. I ate at the counter.

  8. Jack Says:

    I did the A-8 De Pabellón 6.75: shredded beef, black beans, sweet plantains and aged cheese
    Was tasty but I now wish i did the Muchachos one NYCFG has, that looks .great

  9. jerry M Says:

    hey foodguy,, what do you know about food at the espnzone? my girlfriend is coming to town and she loves sports, so i want to take her to a cool sports-related bar/restaurant with big televisions and great food…and, of course, something that’s not going to leave a massive dent in my wallet! any recommendations would be great. keep up the good work here!

    -jerry

  10. jennifer houston Says:

    ..yeah, I keep trying to eat here but it’s always too crowded! I will try to get some more patience. Sounds even better when you talk about it then the smell that wafts out the front door!

    Jen

  11. Before Sunrise Says:

    What’s in La de Victor, Phil? They don’t seem to make that any more…

    Definitely try out the Los Muchachos, Jack, it is great!!! Just enough bite from the jalapenos… well, I don’t need to describe it, Food Guy already has 🙂

  12. Sweet Freak Says:

    La Playera, La Guayanesa & La Jardinera… very, very (very) delicious.

    Love how much they stuff these suckers and that they’re such a good deal.

  13. Phil Says:

    Has anyone here ever had ethiopian food? I hear it’s to fantastic.

    Also, does anyone know of any places I could go for a thanksgiving dinner? Most restaurants seem to be full already, and being that I’m from out-of-town, will just be hanging out with friends. Cheers 😀

  14. Before Sunrise Says:

    Phil, I tried to post something about ethiopian food but it’s not going through. Maybe Food Guy blocked my IP? 😛

    Anyway, let’s see if this goes through now – I have had it once, it’s fun food because you don’t use forks and knives to eat, you use your hands. Not my favourite food though, but worth trying once to see if you like it.

    This is where I went: http://events.nytimes.com/2006/11/01/dining/reviews/01unde.html

    If you try it out, let me know.

  15. Phil Says:

    Jerry M – I’ve been to ESPN Zone once and it was absolutely PACKED. I think it was during a playoff game 2 or 3 years ago. From what I recall, food was pretty bland and mediocre at best. I strongly urge you to check out Bounce Deuce on 2nd Ave around 8th street. Food is great and they have these HUGE taps of beer they put right on your table which are pretty cheap. They almost always have the sound on for games too, which is a must in my book.

  16. The NYC Food Guy Says:

    Before Sunrise,
    The De Pollo – grilled chicken breast with caramelized onions and cheddar cheese – sounds like a great choice for next time.

    Phil,
    I didn’t get any sweet chips but I’ll keep an eye out next time. The shake, on the other hand, needs to be had immediately.

    Jack,
    What did you get when you went?

    dinosaurcookies,
    That’s some good information, I was actually debating that. Glad to hear your assessment because it definitely changes future plans. Which arepa did you get when you went? Have you tried the banana shake?

    jerry M,
    First off, thanks for the kind words. 2nd, if you want to stay in the Time Square area, your best bet for food and games without a wait is probably Dave N Busters. There’s a place called Blue Room on the Lower East Side which has all flat screen TVs and supposedly some good food. What kind of sports are you going to be watching? Depending on the event, I can recommend some specific places. Back Page on the UES is good too, great wings.

    jennifer houston,
    Ha thanks, like dinosaur said earlier, you need to try during non peak hours, maybe after a cookie delivery. Regardless, give a shout when you get over there and maybe we can meet up.

    Sweet Freak,
    Thanks for the reccs. They now move to the top of the list, it was that final “very” that pushed it all over the edge.

    Phil,

    Here’s a link from NYMag.com with a list of Thanksgiving ideas. I’ve never had Ethiopian food but I’m definitely intrigued. You will be the first to know if I do. Email me with your email and I’ll give you some reccs from an Ethiopian friend.

  17. BWC Says:

    Hey – I think this place was on the Food Network, if I am not mistaken. Do two chicks run this place? If so, they were battling Bobby Flay on an episode on the Food Network. Sometimes I make arepas at home – you can top them with anything and they are great.

  18. The NYC Food Guy Says:

    BWC,
    I’m fairly sure this isn’t the place that was on Food Network. How do you make arepas? Care to share a recipe? What do you fill them with?

  19. Bill Says:

    NYCFG,

    Actually, Caracas is the place that battled BF on Throwdown. I’ve been hitting Caracas for a few years now and I love the De Pabellon arepa. It really reminded me of the BBQ beef sandwiches I’d have at my grandma’s picnics.

  20. The NYC Food Guy Says:

    BWC & Bill,

    My mistake. I don’t really watch the show, I hear about it all the time though and mistakenly confused the arepas with the pupusas from Soler dominican.

  21. BWC Says:

    FG; I actually learned how to make them from my boss – he is a Venezeulan and arepas are typical there. To make the arepa is simple; just get a mixture called P.A.N (you can get this in the Mexican aisle in any supermarket) and mix water and a little salt with it. I like my patties a little thinner and a little more crispy than those in the picture. I just fry the patties in olive oil. I serve this up with some tilapia or some chili (actual shredded beef chili that takes 6 hours to make; not hamburger meat with taco seasoning), or simply some black beans and ham. The arepa itself is kind of bland so I do add some jalapenos or maybe a little jack cheese into the arepa before I fry it. Not really traditional but then again with all the fusion cuisine going on (what’s next? Ethiopian/Mexican fusion), what really is traditional?

  22. The NYC Food Guy Says:

    BWC,
    That sounds like a great recipe, especially with the cheese and jalapenos added. Do you mix the cheese and jalapeno into the batter or just drop it on top, let it set and flip? How do you get them thick enough to cut into so you can make them into pockets?

  23. Camuri Says:

    Just to clarify, Food Guy,

    The arepas shown in your pics are not fried. We (Venezuelans) also have fried arepas, but the ones offered at Caracas Arepa Bar are grilled.
    Another important thing to note is that the Toddy is indeed the same Brazilian Toddy (a cocoa powder you mix with milk for a delicious chocolate milkshake).
    As for the making of the arepas you can use PAN Flour as noted by BWC but that’s just one of many brands such as MASAREPA or the Goya Corn Flour.
    When going to Caracas Arepa Bar, try also the Tostones mochimeros…it’s one of my favorites over there…and one of my favorite arepas which is called LA PELUA..although the REINA PEPEADA is a Venezuelan National classic.

  24. Before Sunrise Says:

    Thanks for clarifying about the Toddy, Camuri. I think I’m going to stick with their coconut shake because it’s really good!

  25. Yguylatino Says:

    Just to Clarify, all friends!!!! I try the one on queens Astoria and this was even a great deal with a better sabor and cheeper!!! Toody is the same just that the Brasilian a bit more swite…

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