by Jose Kevo
April 23, 2004
Pizzería la Barra del Jacal is famous for brick oven pies, but they've a full menu of local specialties. Located outdoors in a 3-level courtyard that looks like someone's patio, the parilla/grill is just off the side loaded with churrascos, which are the continent's famed broiled meats. The carbon smell commands you to order a plate; the half order of steak cuts, lightly fried yucca, and a pile of coleslaw hard to finish for only Bs8000 - about US$4.
We also devoured creole stewed goat and sauteed sea bass in black bean and cheese sauce which were just as appetizing and filling in the same price range. The Latin music and atmosphere invited us to stay - bottles of Polar beer Bs1000 and snifters of Aniversarío rum Bs3000. Who knew that this would be considered a splurge for the trip?
The restaurant is located just off Avenida Manaure on Calle 29; there's an unsuspecting sign to watch for cause this was a place you don't want to miss.
Cento Social Italo Venezolano is likewise just off Manaure on the opposite side where Calle 31 Urdaneta hooks into 30. Also in an outdoor courtyard, this place has more of the common Latin feel to it thanks to plastic tables/chairs, music and middle class families keeping cultural traditions of frequently dining out.
While they've too a full menu, pizza is the specialty here; plan an additional wait as oven space is limited. A small pizza with pepperoni heavy on the cheese was Bs8000 for 8 healthy slices. I went with Lomito de Escalopina (Veal Parmesan) served with soggy tostones and salad for Bs4000; beers were Bs500.
The food was ok but portions seemed small - at least compared from the night before. This place is more recommended to come after Jacal for enjoying beers in the authentic, laid-back environment.
Panadería Costa Nova is nearby on Manaure just across from Hotel Intercaribe. This place is a combination deli, bakery, ice cream/coffee bar, and take-out diner that will set your senses to dancing right along with the music. Between smells and visuals, where did one start? What proved more confusing was policy of telling the clerk and paying for what you want upon entry, and then taking receipts to the appropriate counters. Trouble was, I didn't know what half this stuff was!
The first time was a patience and point encounter; a trio of various regional pastries and two large coffees (barely equaling a regular cup) was Bs3000. The second time I was with two others from the posada and staff waited on us before paying. This place easily worked for breakfast or lunch. There's a small seating area inside the brightly lit interior with the beveled, galvanized walls resembling an old diner, and also outdoor tables.
From journal Caresses from Coro's Touch of Class