December 6, 2012

Eat and Run: Luis's Arepera & Grill, Saco

Once bitten ... twice try – taste the food and you'll want to go back.

From staff reports

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Luis Sanchez composes a plate of chicken arepa and fried yucca.

Photos by Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

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The avocado, cilantro, tomato, scallions and seasonings for the arepas are mixed fresh every hour or so.


WHERE: 213 North St., Saco; 286-8646

HOURS: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday to Friday (closed Saturdays)

CHEAPEST GRUB: Yuca Frita, $3.99

WAIT: 10 minutes

PARKING: On street


RATING: ★★★★

Based on a five-star scale

It was a recent random weekday when a friend and I were running an errand in Biddeford. En route, a business called Luis's Arepera & Grill in Saco caught our eye, so post-errand, we pulled up to it to investigate. I mean after all, what the heck is an arepera?

Wow, what a good decision it was to make this stop.

And talk about sales tactics. Moments after sidling up to the counter, we were presented with samples of Yuca Frita (fried cassava). Halfway through the first delicious bite, there was no possible way I was leaving without an order of them in all their crispy, flavorful glory.

So an "arepera" is a shop that sells arepas. But what are arepas? And more importantly, where have they been all my life?

An arepa is a patty made from ground corn dough. It's round, about 1/4-inch thick and when stuffed with your filling of choice, is a completely hunger-eclipsing experience. Options include ground beef, turkey, tuna and scrambled eggs, among several others.

I opted for the shredded chicken, and my dining companion went with the pabellon criolli (beef, plantain and beans). All arepas cost $4.99. These things are hearty, delicious and spiced just enough to have some zip without being overpowering. Said another way, I could live on them for quite some time.

On the appetizer front, Luis's offers the aforementioned yuca frita as well as fried plantains, hand-cut fries, rice and beans, and yuca with mozzarella and avocado ($3.99 to $4.99).

Other shining stars on the menu are the Venezuelan beef and chicken soup ($6.99), Venezuelan tostadas ($7.99) and the Pabellon Traditional Venezuelan Plate (rice, black beans, beef or chicken and fried plantains for $8.99).

For those of us with a sweet tooth, dessert offerings include coconut rice ($2.99), fried sweet plantains with cheese ($3.99), churros ($2.99) and quisillo (flan, $2).

Errands or no errands, I'll be back to Luis's Arepera & Grill every chance I get. Arepas were love at first bite, and this affair will last forever.

The staff of GO anonymously samples meals for about $10.


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