If you don't know what an Arepa is, step your game up, because these pockets of meaty, cheesy deliciousness will become your obsession once you get your hands on one.
Hailing from Latin America, particularly Venezuela and Colombia, an Arepa is made of ground maize (corn), which is cooked into a flat dough that can be eaten alone, or be split to form a sandwich (cue the mouth-watering fillings). Arepas can be filled with pretty much anything, but you'll often find pork, beans, cheese, avocado and chicken as popular choices.
Aside from being gluten free, Arepas are incredibly delicious, tend to be pretty cheap, and they're absolutely perfect for a quick lunch, or a hearty dinner next to some fried plantains.
So, get both hands ready - you'll need them - and dig into some of the Arepas at these eateries throughout the city.
If you need a crash course in Arepas and/or Latin American cuisine in general, please start with Bocadillo. It’s a pretty cheap option, with an Arepa served with fries or salad ranging from $12-15.
The place itself has a casual, relaxed vibe, and the Arepas are authentic and to die for - passion fruit pulled pork!? Yes, please, right now. Luckily, there are two locations to satisfy the high demand for their incredible eats. Thank me later.
2. Arepera du Plateau
I had lunch here this past weekend, and guys, believe me when I say you will sit staring at the menu for way too long trying desperately to decide what delectable Arepa you want to try. If you happen to go here in the next few weeks, come say hi, because I will likely be there, attempting to try every single one, until my waistline cries in protest.
This place is a tad bit cheaper than Bocadillo, so even the most broke among us (read: me) can definitely afford a super-filling lunch here. Pro tip: if you’re willing to shell out just a few more dollars, order the fried plantains and guava juice. Are those tears of joy I hear?
This much-beloved Latin American restaurant serves an incredible brunch, which most people seem to miss since it’s surrounded by other popular breakfast spots. But wander into Julieta, and you won’t be disappointed - especially with their take on Arepas, which mix traditional and modern Latin American cooking styles and ingredients. Head here not just for the authentic Arepas but for the inventive menu and cozy atmosphere.
4. Marche Sabor Latino
With two locations in the city, Marche Sabor Latino is actually a Latin American grocery store, with a quaint little cafeteria inside where you can get some amazing, fresh, and cheap eats. What more could anyone ask for? This place is teeming with locals, and Montrealers with Latin American heritage rave about it - you’ll definitely know you’re in the right place when you sit down to try their Arepas and other delicious fare.
5. Cacique Grill
A great place to stop off for a bite in the Plateau, Cacique Grill is popular for a reason - the Arepas are good, the rest of the food is even more delicious and you’ll be in and out in no time for a quick lunch. Though Cacique has less atmosphere than others on this list, it’s no-frills ambiance fits well with the casual, get-your-hands dirty kind of amazing food they serve.
6. Los Planes
Ok, so I cheated slightly, this Mexican-Salvadoran restaurant doesn’t (yet) serve Arepas exactly, but they serve Papusas, which are kind of like an Arepa’s insanely tasty cousin. A pupusa is a handmade corn tortilla, stuffed with anything from cheese, to pork, to beans, or all three at once - flavour-gasm, am I right? Los Planes is a great place to get started with your pupusa addiction - sorry in advance to your diet.
This traditionally Argentinian restaurant in NDG is a little more upscale, but certainly worth a visit for its high quality dishes - which includes an Arepa that is surely to die for (they have pupusas as well - bonus!). If you’re looking for Latin/South American cuisine that is super faithful to the original recipes, look no further - Lavanderia has you covered.