Cheap Eats 2015: La Caraqueña

Where you can find our favorite arepas.
Cheap Eats 2015: La Caraqueña
Diputado sandwich at La Caraqueña. Photograph by Matthew Worden.

If you didn’t know La Caraqueña was here, you would never stop by. The motel it belongs to is on the, shall we say, seedy side, and the exterior is dulled from age. Inside, though, the setting conjures a cafe in Miami’s South Beach with its coral-colored walls, polished hardwood floors, and pulsing soundtrack. Raul Claros’s Venezuelan cooking is equally eye-opening, evincing the precision and finesse of finer dining. Privilege the entrées and you miss what’s most exciting—the soups, including a subtle and soothing sopa de mani (peanut soup), and the arepas, warm, griddled cakes of corn (opt for grilled, not fried) with any number of fillings, among them an unlikely and wonderful combo of chicken salad and avocado.

Cuisine: Venezuelan

Where you can get it: 300 W. Broad St., Falls Church; 703-533-0076

Also good: Shredded-beef and black-bean-and-cheese arepas; black-bean soup; pabellon—a dish of pulled beef with rice, black beans, and plantains—with avocado.

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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.

Anna Spiegel
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.