One word comes to mind when I say Hola Arepa – “Haddippa” as they say in Punjabi songs. Joking people! Hola Arepa has nothing to do with South Asia but a lot to do with South America. It is a Latin fusion restaurant that to me almost has this beachfront restaurant vibe. It is probably because of the way the bar is set up and the inevitable ocean blue-green color painted all over the restaurant. It is definitely a refreshing break from the regular Minneapolis restaurant scene.
While I was waiting for the rest of my party to arrive, I ordered Hola Fashioned…with a side of cactus. (Joking!) Hola Fashioned is basically their take on Old Fashioned cocktail.
I decided to order few random things from their Happy Hour menu and Fried Arepita Balls was one of them. I am guessing they serve them as soon as they are out of the heat because they almost burnt my lips. These are small balls made out of goat cheese and jalapeños, served with sweet quince sauce. Anyone who loves goat cheese will love this too. We ordered many rounds of these. They kept disappearing 🙂
One thing about the Chile Lime Peruvian Nuts, I didn’t taste any lime. I did taste black pepper though. This was a good pairing for my drink.
Slow roasted pork arepa was a really good. It was very soft and juicy and just the right amount of spice. Cotija cheese made it even better.
Chimichurri chicken arepa was more like a burger. I think I preferred the slow roasted pork arepa better. It was not bad but between the two, I think pork version was way better.
Shiitake Cachapa was the most interesting dish for me. It almost felt like a breakfast item because it was mainly composed of pancake and poached egg. It also had Shiitake mushrooms, goat cheese and Huitacoche. Now Huitacoche is actually a fungal disease that infects plants but is consumed as a delicacy in Mexico. When you think about it, it almost sounds weird and something you are not supposed to eat but it tastes just fine. If I can remember properly, it tasted pretty sweet.
Black Bean and Queso Fresco Arepa was probably my least favorite out of all. Again, it wasn’t bad but compared to all that I tried that night, this didn’t make me go WOW. That’s it. I thoroughly enjoyed the Hola sauce though.
Then comes the Plantains Tostadas. Everyone knows plantains but fried crunchy plantains topped with beef and pickled red radish and onion with tamarind sauce is different story. That was an interesting combination. I would have never thought of putting them together and probably would have never guessed it would taste so good either!
The story of Hola Arepa reminds me of a particular movie, Chef. I am probably not the first one to think that way. Hola Arepa started with a food truck and now they have a restaurant. They even used to have a sign outside their restaurant that read “Started from a food truck now we here” referring to a Drake song. Smart! They still have their food truck and are normally on the streets of downtown Minneapolis from April till October on weekdays. I know I will be visiting their food truck for sure this summer.
If you are ever in town and need a fun place to eat, do check out Hola Arepa. I really liked this place especially their HH menu. I would definitely visit again. One warning though, this place tends to get busy as the night progresses, so plan ahead and enjoy!
Have you been to Hola Arepa? What was your favorite item from the menu?