New Restaurant Review: Arepa Bar

At Midtown Global Market, a new booth for substantial arepas and more Venezuelan offerings
Selections from Arepa Bar
Selections from Arepa Bar, including a couple arepas up in front


Big things can come in small packages—evidenced both by 5-foot-tall chef/owner Soleil Ramirez and her counter inside Midtown Global Market. The menu is all things Venezuelan, from fried yuca to fried cheese tequeños.

Bold flavors reign here: The bright chimichurri plays well as a side to the terrific empanadas—look at that huge deep-fried white corn empanada for just $4. Wow. Meanwhile, main courses display some of the skills Ramirez formerly showed as head chef at the Lexington in St. Paul.

In the Asado Negro beef dish, the depths of dark chocolate and red wine combine for a sauce like I’ve never experienced. Pair it with two sides; the sweet plantains are particularly authentic and delightful.

But it’s no accident the place is named for the arepa bar. Pick your protein, like pulled chicken or shredded beef, and then top it with your choice of whatever’s on the bar, like black beans, plantains, or rice. The corn masa arepa itself is flavorful and substantial enough to support this massive stuffed sandwich.

Heart of Palms salad at Arepa Bar
Heart of Palms salad at Arepa Bar



And I’m still craving the Heart of Palms salad. Those hearts are a crunchier, firmer flavor cousin to the artichoke. Spicy arugula, creamy guacamole, and that punchy chimichurri sauce combine to form a meal in and of itself. Big things, indeed, are in store for this small but mighty counter inside Midtown Global Market.

Arepa Bar

Midtown Global Market, 920 E. Lake St., Minneapolis