NEW YORK CITY | Caracas Arepa Bar (Manhattan) is a hole in the wall eatery in the East Village that opened in 2003 specialising in Arepas. Arepas are Venezuelan corn pockets, crisp on the outside and soft in the middle, stuffed with a variety of fillings. It’s the brainchild of owners Maribel Araujo and Aristides Barrios, who came up with the idea of selling arepas in New York while eating at arepas joint in Caracas.
The key to the arepa is getting the pockets of dough cooked just right on the griddle. They’re lean and crumbly, but shouldn’t be dry. There are 12 fillings to choose from with our favourites being De Pabellón – pulled braised beef with soft black beans, sweet plantains, and crumbly-salty white cheese, not unlike feta, and the vegetarian Leek Jardinera – guayanés cheese topped with leeks, sun-dried tomatoes, and caramelized onions. They’re served in plastic baskets with nata (sour cream) and fried plantain and are delicious.
There are a few sides on the menu too. We recommend the Guasacaca & Chips – taro chips with a Venezualan guacamole called guasacaca, and Tostones Mochimeros – fried green plantains topped with a chili green herb sauce and grated salty cheese.
There’s also a Caracas Arepa Bar in Williamsburg, and a summer stall Rockaway Beach.
Caracas Arepa Bar (Manhattan)
91 E 7th Street
New York 10009
Telephone: 212 228 5062
Sun – Sat: 12:00pm to 11:00pm