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A tasty tour of Venezuelan eats at Viva Las Arepas

The Details

VIVA LAS AREPAS
1616 Las Vegas Blvd S., 366-9696.
Sunday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m.-midnight.

Viva Las Arepas owner and head chef Felix Arellano used to serve his arepas muy deliciosas from a stand in the Dino’s parking lot. Now that he’s moved up to air-conditioned luxury (and converted the old digs into a taco/hot dog joint), he’s also expanded his selection of Venezuelan specialties. Here’s our advice on what not to miss.

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      Garlic shrimp arepa

      You can’t visit Viva Las Arepas and not get the namesake dish. The Venezuelan take on a taco swaddles fillings in a cornmeal bun. The robust garlic shrimp version is a standout. $6.

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      Wood-fired chicken

      The highlight of Arellano’s expanded menu might be his wood-fired meats. His chicken is luscious, with crisp, smoky skin enveloping supple, moist meat that puts its rotisserie brethren to shame. $11.

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      Chicharrones y yucca frita

      Pig-skin nuggets and fried yucca— the Venezuelan version of steak frites. Need I say more? $6.

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      Reina pepiada arepa

      Another food-stand holdover, Arellano’s take on chicken salad is so much better than your mom’s or my mom’s (don’t tell her). $5.

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      Cheese sticks at Viva Las Arepas

      Tequeños

      Venezuelan cheese sticks? Yes, please. It’s easy to overlook this little house-made gem nestled at the bottom of the menu. Don’t. $2.

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      Jim Begley

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