Move over tacos, arepas have arrived. Arepas are a type of Colombian and Venezuelan street snack made from corn dough and stuffed with fillings. They share some characteristics with the Salvadoran pupusa and Mexican gordita, but aren’t easily confused with either.
Considered traditional to both Colombian and Venezuelan cuisines, Arepas are mini sandwiches of sorts, about the size and shape of English muffins, but thinner. Colombians generally like to fry arepas, while Venezuelans prefer to pan-grill theirs. There are regional varieties when it comes to arepa sizes, textures, and preparation within each country as well.
Regardless of the style, it’s hard to argue that arepas are anything but delicious. Until recently, there were very few places you could get them besides Heritage Days or making them yourself (which, for the record, is not as easy as you may think). But, thanks to the marvel of immigration, Edmonton now has Ávila Arepa to help us satisfy our cravings, and I intend to become a regular.
Here are the five things you need to know about Ávila Arepa:
- It is located at 10742 Whyte Avenue. There is no private parking, so look for street parking.
- The inside is not to be judged by the outside – long and spacious, with an exposed brick wall and modern décor. The family run restaurant is fast and casual; orders are made at the counter and then table service takes over.
- On the drinks side, they offer both alcoholic and non-alcoholic options, including beer, wine and some signature cocktails. I opted for the Papelón – a Venezuelan beverage with sugar cane and lemon. If you do not like sweet drinks, this one is not for you.
- The menu is divided into classic and signature arepas, sidekicks, and sweets. There is an impressive variety of fillings to choose from, such as pulled beef, oven-roasted pork, black beans, plantains and queso de mano (a cheese they make in-house), to name a few. There have several vegetarian and vegan choices, and the arepas are gluten-free. The arepas themselves are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, without being mushy. Each arepa is generously filled and served with a small cup of coleslaw. The meal packs some heft by itself, but if you are looking for more, there is the “sidekicks” menu. Of the items we tried, my favorites were the Avila arepa (oven-roasted pork, cheddar, tomato and arugula) and the yucca fries. The slow-roasted pork is a stand-out, with delicious house-made sauces.
- The service was welcoming and efficient, given the diversity of the menu and prices are very reasonable. They are open from 11- 9 Tuesday to Saturday, 11-3 on Sunday, and closed on Monday. They are also available on Skip the Dishes.
For more information, click here to check out their website.