Hello! Ever since meeting my Venezuelan dream boy, I’ve been obsessed with Venezuelan food. We make it at home, we go to restaurants, I do WHATEVER I can to eat Venezuelan food, PERIOD. Because we have so many fantastic Venezuelan restaurants here in Buenos Aires, I thought I’d share some of my favorites. This is only Part 1! You can expect a Part 2 in a few months time 🙂
Urban Jazz Pizza – Armenia 1986
So, Urban Jazz isn’t your typical comida venezolana because it’s pizza, right? But Urban Jazz is owned by Venezuelans and they make pizza the Venezuelan way, which is much more similar to the U.S. than say, Argentina (where, to be quite frank, the pizza is like this: cardboard foot-thick crust, rubbery cheese, NON-PITTED OLIVES, and enough oil to fry some chicken). The pizza is delicious and they also have cachitos (which I don’t have a picture of because I guess I eat them too fast). Basically, they are very large, bready crescent rolls stuffed with ham and cheese (or “pizza” but I’ve never had the pizza one). Those are also DELISH. Anyways, Urban Jazz is like a block and half from our house so we go way too much and here’s a perfect example of why that’s true: they know our names.
La Carbonera Empanadas – El Salvador 4401
Many Latin American countries claim the empanada as a staple of not only their diet, but their culture. In Venezuela, the empanada is not an exception. While in Argentina, you will almost definitely try Argentine empanadas. But you should not skip out on Venezuelan empanadas. The best place to try them? La Carbonera. They have tons of different kinds! Carne (beef), pollo (chicken), queso (cheese), and even cazón (shark meat!). But the best one I can suggest, I haven’t even listed: pabellón. Pabellón criollo is a traditional Venezuelan dish of shredded beef, black beans, peppers, rice and plantains. It’s delicious AF. So put that greatness in a heavenly fried corn flour empanada? Now we’re in business. I’ve only ever gotten the pabellón empanada at La Carbonera because…why mess with a good thing? Also a word of warning: if you’re used to eating 3 or more Argentine empanadas in one sitting, I don’t advise it here. 1 or 1.5 will most certainly do it for you. 1 especially if you order a side of tequeños.
What are tequeños you ask? Only the best food that has ever existed. They’re fried cheese wrapped in bread dough. They’re NOT mozzarella sticks. They are much better. And they are my kryptonite.
So here’s what you order:
Tequeños (an order comes with six so bring friends), an empanada de pabellón, and papelón con limón. Papelón con limón is a beverage that consists of straight up sugar cane, water, and lime juice. That’s it. It’s like…Southern Sweet Tea but Venezuelan, right?
And you should be eating EVERYTHING with the two sauces on the table: guasacaca (avocado and herbs) and salsa de ajo (garlic sauce). Both are delicious. Pour that ish on every bite you take, ladies. Oh and by the way, prepare to use every napkin at your disposal. Picture below for proof.
Avila Food – Jerónimo Salguero 1584
So if La Carbonera is the King of Venezuelan Empanadas in Buenos Aires, Avila is the Queen of Everything Else. Because La Carbonera is pretty limited in what Venezuelan cuisine you can try, you can make up for it at Avila. Here they have, well, todo. Amazing tequeños, empanadas, arepas, cachapas, patacones, panchos, asado, and street-style burgers that Guy Fieri would gasp at. So what is all this good stuff? Let’s break it down.
So we’ve covered tequeños and empanadas but the next, possibly the most important and certainly the most Venezuelan is the arepa. It is a godly food if there ever was one. An arepa uses the same corn flour as the empanadas but it can be fried, or fritas, (like the empanadas) or asadas (I don’t have a translation because they’re not “baked” per se but just know they are not fried). Arepas are disks that you cut almost in half but not all the way. You make it into a little pocket to stuff goodness inside. Carne, pollo, queso blanco, pabellón criollo, ham and cheese, sausage, tuna, mussels, cazón…the list goes on and on. They are versatile as hell. But the best stuff of all is reina pepiada. Y’all know me, I am an avocado stan so when you give me a dish that is creamy avocado, chicken, onion, garlic, and mayonnaise? Daddy’s home:
You can also stuff reina pepiada (well, at least that’s what I suggest you do) in a cachapa. For my Southern friends, the thing you will probably think when you try your first cachapa is: super buttery cornbread tortilla? Yes, basically. Using corn, flour, and the usual ingredients, they make a round and delicious dish that is stuffed with, usually queso de mano, and then folded up, ready to enjoy with a pat of butter. Of course, besides cheese, there are other ways to enjoy cachapas. Like in the photo below: the cachapa con cochino frito, which also happens to be an incredibly catchy song. Besides the song, it’s just pork.
Avila also have some delicious patacones. Patacones venezolanos, surprisingly, do not involve any type of corn flour. Wow, I know. Instead, they are fried plantain topped with guasacaca and ketchup and all the fixings, such as meat, lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, etc. They are super yummy! Plus, with all the veg, I feel a little less guilty eating it than literally every single other Venezuelan food that exists.
As for the giant “danger” burgers and hot dogs, I guess they are called that because they are huge. Seriously huge. Oh and they have desserts, like chocolate cake and tres leches! We got the tres leches to go a few weeks ago. Andrés says he has had better, but I was a fan.
Panachef – Sánchez de Bustamante 1470
Panachef was the first Venezuelan restaurant Andrés took me to and ironically is my least favorite on this list. Compared to your other options, Panchef is just not as good (in my opinion). They have arepas, empanadas, cachapas, patacones and burgers. But that’s all stuff you can get else where!
Burgertify – Costa Rica 5827 or Honduras 5265
Similar to Urban Jazz, Burgertify is not overwhelming, out-right Venezuelan. It’s a burger place that is video game themed that also has my favorite, tequeños. It’s a really cool location and there’s a lot to do with friends (Playstation and arcade games)! The burgers are GIANT, however, and Andrés and I have actually started just sharing a plate instead of getting separate meals. They even have a donut burger that I haven’t been brave enough to try. They also have incredible selfie lighting, as seen below.
Chacaito Caribbean Food Station – Charcas 4402
I was super excited to try Chacaito for the first time. It’s a relatively new Venezuelan restaurant in our neighborhood. I even took my friend Emma to try it out for the first time! We ordered appetizers so Emma could get a wide range of Venezuelan food and then between the three of us we tried the cachapa con queso de mano, the arepa chacaito (beef and things), and an arepa reina pepiada. The appetizers were delicious but the rest of the food just wasn’t as good as a place like, Avila for example. But they did have free refrigerator magnets so it wasn’t a total bust (even though we did end up waiting twenty minutes for a table).
And with that, you’ve reached the end of The Best Venezuelan Restaurants in Buenos Aires (Part 1!). Have you tried Venezuelan food? What was your reaction? Te gusta? Let me know in the comments what you’ve tried or would like to try the most. I encourage each and every one of you to try out Venezuelan food the first chance you get. Trust me, your life will never be the same.
P.S. Blog title art by fabulous sister! Check out more of her art on Instagram.