Viva Las Arepas in, You Guessed it, Las Vegas

Viva Las Arepas owner Felix Arellano delivers arepas to my table

Viva Las Arepas owner Felix Arellano delivers arepas to my table

About a five-minute drive from the glitzy Las Vegas strip is *Viva Las Arepas (love that name), a bright corner joint in a decidedly more downbeat part of the city. Perfect. It’s a chance to delve into some fine Venezuelan food at bargain prices. Owner Felix Arellano is leaning over the mesquite-fired grill, cooking chicken and beef, much of it destined for the popular $5 arepas, a South American staple. But I go for a cachapa, filled with only melted mozza so I can focus on the excellent texture of this corn bread.

At this point, Felix sees me taking notes, comes over and says my cachapa isn’t the same as a cornmeal arepa. “Here, I’ll make you one, half stuffed with beef and half with shredded chicken, so you can see what a real arepa tastes like.” Both halves are delicious, especially splashed with some house-made hot sauce. Indeed, everything here is made from scratch. It’s a lot of work, but that’s what makes hands-on restaurants like these standouts.

Half-beef, half-chicken arepas. Outstanding!

Half-beef, half-chicken arepas. Outstanding!

Next time, I’ll get more adventurous and order the fried pork rinds and yucca root. Don’t think you’ll find that in any casino eatery.

Note: Felix is a partner in an excellent new gelato shop next door (Art of Flavors Gelato) and has a hot dog/taco shop truck down the street. It could be the start of a new Las Vegas strip.

Viva Las Arepas
1616 South Las Vegas Blvd Ste 120
Daily 10 am-10 pm, except midnight Friday and Saturday
Viva Las Arepas on Urbanspoon

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