There is more to New Orleans food then Cajun and Creole cuisines. If you want to clean your palette with a Latin flare, Maïs Arepas is the restaurant. This New Orleans restaurant specializes in fresh, authentic Colombian cuisines. The Chef uses local ingredients to prepare the food for its customers. Many of the cuisines are made from his personal home recipes.
Menu: The menu is gluten-free besides a few desserts. The menu provides made-to-order appetizers, Arepas, soup/salads, desserts, and side options. Some of the appetizers are maiz de la rueda (grilled on the cob), brochetas (grilled skirt steak & chicken skewers), and yuca frita (fried yucca & grilled choriz). Arepas choices are from chicken to vegetarian options. All arepas entrees come with homemade plantain chips and a choice of one house-made sauce. The restaurant has a full-bar and offers specialty drinks like mojitos and sangrias.
Price Range: Appetizers starts at $7, Arepas starts at $10, Soups/Salads at $8, Desserts starts at $6, and A La Cart starts at $.50.
Reviews: is off the main street of Saint Charles Avenue. It is street parking only. Come prepared to look for parking during rush times or can walk from public transportation. The décor is simple but trendy to match the up-and-coming Central City neighborhood. The small restaurant focal point is the full bar. Large groups call ahead to be seated properly. Overall, Maïs Arepas has great atmosphere and customer service from the Servers.
The full bar offers a large selection of liquors but small variety of beers. I have tried the pineapple and original mojitos. It was fresh ingredients used and not the pre-fixed mixes. They were refreshing drinks that compliment the atmosphere and a good pairing to the food.
The food is flavorful and fresh. The menu gives customer an option of small plates to entrees. The dining can be described as Columbian-Creole cuisines. The food presentation was a definite plus. All foods are artistically arranged to lure the senses as well as a perfect picture for social media. The three most popular appetizers were:
- Maiz de la rueda (grilled corn on the cob) can be eaten as a meal as well. The two pieces of corn are moist and not dried out from the grilling. It is topped with their specialty spicy butter, salsa rosado, and cotija cheese. I recommend scooping some of the extra salsa and cheese with the fried plantains.
- Ceviche de camaron (shrimp ceviche) was very refreshing. It is made with Jumbo Louisiana shrimp marinated in citrus, red onions, tomatoes, jalapeños & cilantro. As if its not flavored enough, the appetizer is served over avocado. Nothing else was needed but one’s fork.
- Trio of mini arepas is a sampler of three different mini arepas. The choices are shredded beef, pulled pork & shredded chicken with avocado and green peppers. The Servers were willing to assist if you need a vegetarian option. The meat was tender and moist that you could cut with a fork. The arepas buns were a fluffy, doughy delight. There was nothing dry about the arepas. In fact, mines were gone before I picked up my glass to drink.
From food beginners to Colombians, the Servers and customers agree that the rich-flavored arepas is a must. The crispy exterior and doughy interior of the buns is prefect for the juicy meats or meat alternatives. The highly recommended were the mechada (slowed cooked skirt steak, sofrito, maduros, & melted mozzarella), pollo grilliao (grilled chicken breast, caramelized onions, aji, & melted mozzarella), and carnicera (grilled skirt steak, maduros, avocado & cranberry beans cooked with pork belly). The entrees sweetness of the fried plantains and house-made sauce balances the meal. The house-made sauce had a kick but yet flavorful. My advice is to tell the waiter your food allergies before you indulge in their house-made sauce. It is a secret recipe but its better to be safe than sorry.
Contact: 1200 Carondelet Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70130. It is located in the Central City neighborhood of New Orleans. The hours are 11:30am- 2:15pm for lunch. The hours are 6:00pm- 9:45pm for dinner.