I first had arepas a few years ago at a friend’s house. I was immediately hooked on their delicious masa goodness. They are crispy and soft at the same time. On our recent trip to Mexico we had them again. I lamented that we didn’t have a restaurant serving them in Minneapolis. Laura said we did: Hola Arepa.
Hola Arepa is both a food truck and a restaurant. It can be found conveniently on the corner of Nicollet and E 35th St in south Minneapolis.
They have their own parking lot and street parking is free. In the warmer months, they have a nice looking patio to enjoy. All the food is made fresh from scratch. It is also 100% gluten free. They have several veg* options available.
When we entered, we were seated promptly. Our waiter arrived immediately and brought water. He suggested the chips, salsa, and guac. Note, this combination is $8.50. Chips + three salsas = $5 and guac is an extra $3.50. The red salsa on top is the hot, the middle green is slightly sweet, and the bottom is a medium salsa verde. The guac was good, but I feel a bit pricey at $3.50 for such a small bowl. I really enjoyed having all four available for use with our entrees.
We ordered two entrees, both of which came out very fast. The first was the black bean & sweet potato arepa ($11.50). It comes with tomato, citrus onions, green onion aioli and their queso fresco. Skipping the queso fresco makes it vegan. Our server was very happy to help us with vegan options. When the arepa came, the server mentioned a vegan arepa, but I noticed a white sauce on the bottom. We inquired and they said it was the queso, the kitchen made a mistake. They quickly took it away and remade it. A small mistake, that didn’t ruin our dining experience.
We ordered the yuca fries which are amazing. They were quite hot, so Laura suggested breaking them in half to let them cool off. Good idea! The fries were a great compliment with the onion aioli and all the extra salsas we had from the chips.
Our second entrée was the plantain tostadas ($9). The based of the tostadas was made from mashed fried green plantains. They normally serve it with beef and crema which they recommend subbing for guac and beans respectively. It is topped with a tamarind sauce, watermelon radish, and pickled onions. The crunch of the tostadas provided just the right amount of texture with the softer ingredients on top. The presentation was also pure food porn.
I liked both dishes, but I think the tostada just edges out the arepa slightly in flavor and texture. The arepa comes with yuca fries, so it is a hard choice for sure. I plan on going back to have them again. If you are craving some Venezuelan or Latin food, be sure to check them out!
3501 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55408