Dining Out: Maracuyá Restaurant

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The Arepa- that densely delicious patty made of soaked, ground kernels of maize; then stuffed with gooey cheese, eggs, or meat and finally grilled, steamed, or fried until a crispy golden brown. There are certainly many arepas to wrap your fingers around in Miami, but one worth a visit (and many subsequent revisits) is Maracuyá in North Beach.

Two families from Venezuela have come together to create a welcoming environment that satisfies both Hispanic and American guests through their Latin, Venezuelan and European infused dishes. This is the type of restaurant that earns credibility with insiders while simultaneously introducing it’s unique flavors to those less familiar with Venezuelan cuisine. A casual atmosphere, reasonable prices, and an extensive menu aim to please.

Many blocks away from the hustle and bustle of Miami Beach’s most popular hotels, in this more residential North Beach neighborhood, Maracuyá sits under the radar, overshadowed perhaps by the widely popular restaurants at the corner of the block – Sazon and Manolo.

Yet, inside Maracuyá, you’ll typically find a broad range of hungry customers – from local families to brand new Miami transplants to the passing tourists staying down the street at the Days Inn. A friendly waitress seamlessly moves between tables- exchanging jokes in Spanish with a group of regulars to politely explaining to a newbie the difference between an arepa and chachapas, which is a sweeter corn dough bread filled with Queso de Mano, a soft mozzarella-like cheese (and yes, it’s as good as it sounds!).

At $2.99 for 12 ounces, we recommend washing your meal down with one of their “natural juices” which comes in over a dozen diverse flavors including Watermelon, Cantaloupe, Guanabana, Fresa, and Papaya.

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In addition to arepas and chachapas, their large selection of yoyos, patacones, empanadas, a large selection of fish & meat entrees, and even pasta will keep you coming back to try more. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that the bill is almost as easy to swallow as that delicious arepa.

Maracuyá is located at 7315 Collins Avenue in Miami Beach.

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