My taste buds are so happy to have been recently introduced to Arepa Olé, a Venezuelan fast food chain that serves vegetarian options in Madrid. If you like South American flavors, comfort food, and affordable prices, then this is the place for you! Being half Colombian, I often crave the simple yet flavorful goodies from my grandmother’s kitchen: black beans, fried plantains, arepas, tostones, corn, and avocados. Salivating as I write! Luckily all these flavors can be found in Venezuelan food too and on Arepa Olé’s menu. My recommendation is to order as a take-away treat, sit on your couch, watch some Netflix and have a gluttonous old time! Reminder this is not healthy food but it is vegetarian Venezuelan fast food at its finest!
The Story Behind Arepa Olé
I honestly cannot believe I lived in Madrid for two years before having heard of Arepa Olé?! Arepa Olé opened back in 2012 by a Venezuelan-Spanish, Edgar and Sonsoles. They knew from the start that they wanted to start a franchise and introduce arepas into the Spanish diet. With 5 locations in Madrid, and now having expanded to Sevilla and Granada, they proudly call themselves the first and only “arepera” franchise in Spain. They offer is delicious Caribbean food at affordable price, that can be enjoyed onsite, to-go or for delivery. Don’t expect a sit-down restaurant, this is a fast-food type of place. In addition to their brick and mortar locations, they also have a food truck that can be booked for private events.
The Vegetarian Options
To be clear, this is not a vegetarian restaurant, like many of my other international food reviews (Persian, Ethiopian, Japanese/French, etc.) they serve meat too. However, they have a ton of options for vegetarians, and some things for vegans as well. This makes it a great choice for a group of veg and non-veg eaters to enjoy together. Check out their menu here. I’ve listed below the main items that you should try:
Tequenos – Such a cute little word. Tequeños are like a Venezuelan cheese stick or fried breadstick filled with white cheese. A great starter and snack.
Cachapas – This is my favorite item on the menu! Think of a cachapa as a sweet corn pancake filled with Venezuelan cheese and bit of sour cream on the side. Its a tantalizing fusion of sweet and salty and so filling. Delicious, I bet you won’t be able to stop eating it!
Arepas – Popular in both Venezuela and Colombia. Arepas are corn cakes stuffed with cheese and variety of other items. At Arepa Olé the Domino is my favorite! It’s an arepa stuffed with black beans, cheese, and topped with a fried plantain. Also try the Guayanesa, stuffed with avocado, plantain, and cheese. The Cabrita is fried and stuffed with goats cheese, honey mustard, and fried onions. There are a handful of other vegetarian arepas to choose from. They even have arepas for vegans, just ask.
Some other snacks to try: Tostones, Palitos de Yuca, and Platano Maduro.
Where: There are 4 locations in Madrid. Chueca, Plaza Mayor, Bravo Murillo, Las Tablas, and 1 in Leganés.
Price: 3,00€ – 6,00€
Hours: Open all day. Hours vary by location.
What else: All of their arepas are made with corn flour and are 100% gluten-free. For vegans, they have many options that include beans, plantains, avocado, and tomato.
What’s your favorite vegetarian dish on the menu?