Back for seconds as Time Out Market vendors, business partners/restaurateurs Chef Cesar Zapata and Aniece Meinhold of Pho Mo and Biscayne Boulevard’s beloved Phuc Yea have officially opened their homegrown arepera concept just in time for what’s shaping up to be a hot and spicy summer. Nestled inside the buzzy, Miami Beach food hall, Arepitas Bar is a harmonious ode to Zapata’s Colombian heritage inspired by the women who sparked his passion for cooking.
The arepa is a typical Colombian dish that originally hails from Zapata’s home state. Across both Colombia and Venezuela, these versatile grilled corn cakes are served for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and make up an essential part of the daily diet. Arepitas Bar is serving up this quintessential Colombian staple dish in a variety of incarnations both savory and sweet. The arepas themselves are scratch-made from a family recipe passed down from the chef’s grandmother. Back home in Medellin and to this day, Zapata says arepas are considered a comfort food to be enjoyed at any time of the day; one can stuff an arepa with virtually anything the heart desires, and the undoubtedly crisp, griddled corn cake would be nothing short of stellar.
The opening act is the “Para Picar” section, a host of snacks meant to kickstart the palette. Offerings include Patacon ($8) crispy smashed plantain, fresh avocado, tomato, cilantro onion “hogao” and lime; Colombian Empanadas ($7) Colombian-style beef hand pies stuffed with potatoes, tomato, onion and “ají”; Salchi Papas ($8) crispy pork chicharrón, Colombian chorizo, tater tots, salsa rosada; Pan de Bono ($7) baked cheese bread with creamy Mascarpone and Deditos de Queso ($8), dough wrapped cheese sticks served with cilantro cremita and guava sauce for dipping.
Of course, imaginative and delicious are the main draw with plenty, not-to-be-missed selections. Future bestsellers include Buffalo ($12) – buttermilk marinated fried chicken, sweet ‘n tangy slaw, buffalo sauce, dill pickles, blue cheese crumbles; Brooklyn ($12) – smoked salmon, scallion cream cheese, pickled red onions, capers, everything bagel spice and Fancy ($12) arepa de choclo, queso del campo, truffle honey. For a more traditional taste, there’s La Carnuda ($14) – grilled steak, refried Colombian cargamanto beans, tomato- onion salad. A fried egg can be added to any arepa along with extra chicharron or chorizo ($3); extra avocado ($4) and truffle honey ($5).
Arepitas Bar is located at Time Out Market on Miami Beach at 1601 Drexel Avenue. https://www.timeout.com/miami/