Venezuelan Classics in Modern Space at Paramo Cafe on Lockwood Ridge

Todays News

The 'arepa la llanera' comes piled high with braised beef, pico and queso blanco. Photo taken by Andrew Fabian.

Like the taco, the Venezuelan arepa is a signature item of a cuisine that allows for said cuisine to explore the full scope of its favorite ingredients. Where a taco is the vessel by which one can explore Mexico’s salsas, meats, vegetable combinations and regional flair, so too can the Venezuelan arepa morph itself into any configuration of fillings. Paramo Café & Restaurant at 3700 Lockwood Ridge offers just about every meaningful combination on its menu.

 The new Venezuelan eatery opened 6 months ago into a thoughtfully renovated space that feels decidedly modern. The addition of patio seating beneath a custom pergola gives the restaurant a bit of nightlife appeal to go along with its delicious assortment of dishes, desserts and drink options. Of the aforementioned arepas, the arepa la llanera boasts some of the richest flavors of the Andean grasslands the restaurant’s name refers to. A “llanero” is livestock herder, and the arepa comes with braised chunks of angus steak seasoned with cilantro and other spices. Tender and savory, the steak bits sit atop a queso blanco patty and comes topped with a tomato and onion pico that adds coolness and pep. All of it comes piled between an arepa cake (think of a cornmeal pancake) with friend plantains on the side. 

 Well worth the wait—the restaurant has struggled with supply and staffing like every other eatery—the arepa is a great introduction into Venezuelan cuisine along with the restaurant’s arepa pabellón criollo.

Paramo Cafe and Restaurant, 3700 N. Lockwood Ridge Rd, Sarasota, FL 34234, 941-538-6930. 

The 'arepa la llanera' comes piled high with braised beef, pico and queso blanco. Photo taken by Andrew Fabian.

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