I first visited Arepa café on a Spanish class field trip. The idea was for the students to practice ordering and then carry on a more informal conversation in Spanish. The ordering went all right but once the food arrived, all language was forsaken in favour of unintelligible murmurs of delight and appreciation between bites of the fantastic Venezuelan dishes.
The café’s namesake arepas are round, grilled cornmeal bread sandwiches stuffed to overflowing with various combinations of meat, beans, veggies, cheese and seafood. I highly recommend any that come with avocado, as their guacamole-like preparation of it is just too good to miss. The reina pepiada (curvy queen) in particular is scrumptious (and incredibly filling)!
I like to dress my arepa up with their garlic mayo and delicious, but very spicy house-made hot sauce. Be warned, there is an angry face on the bottle for a reason. By all means try it, but try it sparingly or it will overwhelm the rest of your meal.
Arepa’s casual atmosphere, bright and cheerful décor and friendly staff also make it a great place to sit and recharge with a snack in between visiting the shops and galleries along Queen West. Their cheese tequenos (pastries) and rum lemonade or café con leche are just the thing to put a smile on your face and perk you up mid-afternoon.