VeneBites is a new little gem, easy to miss on Third Avenue in Midtown, but it brings Tallahassee a menu of authentic arepas and other Venezuelan fare.
I’m very grateful to Keith Baxter, chef/owner of Kool Beanz, for posting an item on his Facebook page after he and his crew discovered the counter-serve restaurant.
“Would be surprised to know you have had better arepas outside of Venezuela,” Baxter wrote. “The KBC kitchen crew tried a selection with unanimous, enthusiastic thumbs up.”
I’d have to agree. I stopped by VeneBites this week and was thrilled to find these housemade arepas. Since this article was published, Adolfo Morales and his wife Lisseth Gonzalez, are no longer associated with the restaurant, but their partners, Lida Yajure and Wagner Yajure, are still at the helm of Venebites.
Arepas are eaten for breakfast, lunch and even dinner in Venezuela.
Venezuelan-style arepas are made from corn flour and they’re gluten-free. They’re cooked on a griddle and have a wonderful, slightly crisp shell and are soft inside.
Arepas are filled with a variety of ingredients including shredded beef, pork chicken (with or without crumbled cheese) or get one with shredded beef, black beans and plantains. All the arepas are $5.49 to $5.99.
They’re delicious, tasting fresh, with lots of meat and cheese stuffed inside, served with a housemade garlic sauce as well as the Sexy Girl Sauce. I brought some home and my husband and I happily devoured them.
Another treat: the tequeños, cigar-shaped goodies made with a light crust wrapped around salty white cheese and fried. In essence, it’s a breaded cheese stick, but so much better. The cost: five for $5 and 10 for $9. Lissbeth said these tequenos, which are truly addictive, are a staple at special occasions in Venezuela, like birthdays, parties and weddings.
Other items include desserts of tres leche, a cake made with three milks, and pineapple cake. Try beverages like mango or panela, made with sugar cane juice, or chicha, a refreshing and sweet juice made from rice and milk, or a cup of cafe con leche.
You order at the counter and can eat in or take out.
Affordable, friendly and delicious, VeneBites is excelente.
If you go …
Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday (closed Tuesday)
Where: 217 E. Third Ave.