Cheap Eats 2016: La Caraqueña

Diputado sandwich at La Caraqueña. Photograph by Matthew Worden.

About La Caraqueña

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It’s been around long enough, and on this list long enough, that the fact that it fronts a seedy-looking motor lodge should no longer be pertinent. We linger on this not because we’re preoccupied with appearances; it just makes it that much more incongruous and exciting for the first-timer to discover what’s inside: a colorful, cozy bistro with warm, attentive service, good rum-laced cocktails, and some of the area’s best South American cooking. The ideal strategy is to load up on soups (peanut or black bean, both richly creamy and superb) and maybe a salad, such as a lively one of corn, avocado, and greens. Then spring for multiple orders of excellent arepas—griddled, not fried, and stuffed with a variety of fillings, including the zesty (shredded beef, tomatoes, onions, and garlic) and the simple (a warm scrambled egg).

Also good: Pabellon criollo—pulled beef with rice, black beans, and plantains—with avocado; quatros leches cake.

See what other restaurants made our 2016 Cheap Eats list. This article appears in our May 2016 issue of Washingtonian.

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.