East Village, New York, Venezuelan, Arepas, Bar, South American, Sandwiches, Where to eat in New York, NYC, New York City, Recommendations, Chef’s Recs, Where The Chef’s Eat, Local’s Recommendations


On a hot steamy evening in August, we walked over to East 7th Street to check out Caracas Arepa Bar. Joel Zighelboim, the owner of Pasita, recommended both Caracas and El Cocotero on West 18th Street, so we wanted to see how they compared.  By the time we arrived at around 7pm on a Monday evening, the tables were already filled, a good sign in my book.  The place is small and slightly cramped, with only 30 seats. Not really the kind of place you would have a slow relaxing meal.  This is a good thing really, because by the time we left there were three or four groups waiting outside on the street for tables, including chef Anita Lo.

For our appetizer, we started with the special of the night, El Ceviche with tilapia, citrus, cucumber, mango, cilantro served with fried plantains.  It was fresh, citrusy, vibrant. Exactly how you want your ceviche and just how I wanted to start my meal on a hot summer evening.  We subsequently shared three arepas: a house special with shredded chicken, avocado, and cream sauce; La Playera with shredded white fish garnished with onions, peppers & herbs; La de Pernil, roasted pork shoulder with tomato slices and a spicy mango sauce.  Initially, I thought it was a mistake when I unravelled my place setting to reveal two paper napkins, but after a few bites of the arepas, I realized why: the arepas are hot, fresh, and nap-spilling juicy.  The crispy, yet spongy corn flour rounds that house the fillings are made fresh daily and the fillings are jumping with flavor.  Our favorite on this night was the La De Pernil pork-filled arepa.  It was rich, zesty, and spicy.

They offer beer, wine, and fresh juices, that change frequently.  The small wine list is South American focused, but I was in the mood for a beer and tried the Tona from Nicaragua.  A light, refreshing lager which made for an excellent pairing with the spicy hot arepas.

Which was better: El Cocotero or Caracas?  It’s hard to say.  The vibe at Caracas is a little more vibrant, but El Cocotero might have an edge on the food.  I think a couple more visits are in order to truly settle the question.


East Village - New York, NY | Williamsburg - Brooklyn, NY

Photographs courtesy of Find. Eat. Drink. | Caracas Areap Bar

Multiple Locations

Venezuelan / Arepas

East Village

93 1/2 East 7th Street

New York, NY 10009

T: 212.529.2314

Brooklyn / Williamsburg

291 Grand Street

Brooklyn, NY 11211

T: 718.218.6050



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Recommended By

- Chef Anita Lo of annisa restaurant in New York, NY