Cheap Eats 2009: La Caraquena
Great food, low prices, lots of fun.
Reviewed By Todd Kliman, Cynthia Hacinli, Ann Limpert, Kate Nerenberg, Rina Rapuano
Comments () | Published June 23, 2009
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La Caraqueña
Address: 300 W. Broad St., Falls Church, VA
Phone: 703-533-0076
Neighborhood: Falls Church
Cuisines: South American
Opening Hours: Open Monday and Wednesday through Friday noon to 10, Saturday 11 to 10, Sunday 11 to 9.
Nearby Metro Stops: East Falls Church
Price Range: Inexpensive
Dress: Informal
Noise Level: Intimate
Reservations: Not Needed
Best Dishes Fried arepas with egg, carne mechada, or served plain; salteñas; corn salad; black-bean soup; sopa de mani (peanut soup); black beans and rice; diputado, (steak sandwich); cuatro leches cake.
Price Details: Starters $2.49 to $8.99, entrées $10.99 to $16.99.

Why go: Seeing owner and chef Raul Claros in his white chef’s jacket bearing plates to tables with a flourish, you’d think you were in a hip new bistro, not a nine-table restaurant attached to a motel. The detail-conscious cooking, featuring dishes of Venezuela, Bolivia, and Chile, is just as impressive.

What to get: Sopa de mani, a rich and complex peanut soup; black-bean soup; arepas, fried corn cakes stuffed with ground beef, scrambled egg, and cheese or with beans; the area’s best salteñas; corn-and-avocado salad; diputado, a sandwich of thin-sliced steak topped with a fried egg, tomatoes, and sautéed onions.

Best for: An interesting changeup from tacos, quesadillas, and burritos—the holy trinity of the area’s many Latin American restaurants.

Insider tip: Starters are better than main courses; you can construct a good meal around orders of salteñas and arepas as well as the marvelous soups.

Open Wednesday through Monday for lunch and dinner.

>> See all 2009 Cheap Eats restaurants here

 

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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 06/23/2009 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews