Next Stop – Venezuela Via Avila Arepa

If you have ever wanted to try Venezuelan food, without the hefty price associated with a plane ticket to Venezuela, look no further as Avila Arepa has you covered. Nestled in the heart of Edmonton’s Old Strathcona community on one of Edmonton’s busiest streets, Whyte Avenue,  this place will have you leaving with your stomach happily full and that warm fuzzy feeling you get, after you catch up with an old friend.

Rolando Sandrea and Samantha Gonzales

The team from Bridal Fantasy went and checked out this must see restaurant, and I can tell you that we were not disappointed. From the savoury food, to the quality hospitality given from the owners Rolando Sandrea and his wife Samantha Gonzales, we were surprised we had never stopped in for a visit sooner. The couple are clearly passionate about all aspects of their business, from the food authenticity, to how they treat each and every one of their guests like family. No matter how busy they are, they are never without a smile on their faces and always happy to help answer any questions you have from the food to their journey and how Avila Arepa came to be.

We were served multiple popular appetizers among Venezuelans that are typical for big parties and celebrations. Staple foods in the Venezuelan diet were present in a few of the appetizers consisting of rice, corn, beans, plantains, yams and several different types of meats. The first appetizer we tried was the Traditional Pabellon which is rice, black-beans and juicy shredded beef topped with fried plantain. Although it sounds seemingly simple it was packed with tons of flavour and we can see why this appetizer is arguably known as the Venezuelans national dish.

The empanadas were crispy, perfectly snack sized and also Gluten Free which owner Rolando says is a big selling point. Our favourite appetizer was definitely the five time award winning Tequenos. Think of them as super flavourful cheese sticks filled with homemade cheese packing with a side of guasacaca dip. Guasacaca dip is a savoury avocado dipping sauce that is blended together in a food processor which makes it far more flavourful than regular guacamole. You will never eat regular guacamole or Mozza sticks the same again.

If you have a sweet tooth and always have room for dessert, the Tres Leches is to die for. It is a sponge cake covered with a sweet sauce consisting of 3 different types of milk: Sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and heavy cream. I found the mix of the different milk created a well balanced sweet flavour.

Something that really stands out about Avila Arepa’s menu, is that they have tons of vegan and vegetarian options. There is nothing worse than going to try food at a new place with dietary restrictions and the menu being extremely limited offering little to no options for people who can not eat certain foods. That makes sure there is something for everyone. 

Want to try Avila Arepa at an event? Lucky for you, they have a sister brand named ‘Mr. Capy’ which is essentially latino inspired street food on wheels. This food truck is perfect for special events or occasions, ranging from weddings to birthday parties, to even catering for your office lunch! They  have been spotted at a tailgate game for the FIFA World Cup, and more recently at the All Is Bright Festival on 124 street, in Edmonton!

Mr. Capy Food Truck

All in all, we highly recommend visiting this cozy little spot, or ordering catering for your next event.  It’ll certainly become one of your favourite places to visit and the food to eat especially now that the weather is getting colder. This makes it even a more perfect time to get some deliciously cooked, feel good food inside you and try something new!

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