La Caraqueña

300 W. Broad St.
Falls Church, VA


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.

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

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.

Special Features: Wheelchair Accessible, Kid Friendly

Cheap Eats 2009: La Caraquena

Great food, low prices, lots of fun.

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