La Taguara Worth A Return Trip

DSC00919We made our first visit to La Taguara just before the holidays. It’s a relatively new Madison restaurant located on East Washington that specializes in Venezuelan and Latin American cuisine. The atmosphere is colorful and welcoming, and devoted to celebrating the culture of Venezuela. Maps, clothing, and handmade art adorn the walls. Order-at-the counter service, a couple TVs and a self-serve Pepsi fountain machine provide a casual, laid-back experience. The menu is extensive, and thankfully, the woman at the counter quickly offered a few suggestions:

Entrees: Pabellon ($12.99), Bandejita Paisa ($12.99), and Cachapa con Queso y Cochino Frito ($11.99)
Sandwiches: Arepas ($4.99), Empnadas ($3.75), Pepito de Carne o Pollo ($9.99)
Appetizers: Tostones ($6.99), Yuca Frita ($6.99)
Beverages: Papelon con Limon ($2.49), Jugo de Parchita ($2.49), and Jugo de Tamarindo ($2.49)DSC00920

It was still hard to narrow it down, so we picked a few dishes to share. We chose the Cachapa con Queso y Cochino Frito (sweet corn pancakes filled with artisan handcrafted Venezuelan cheese, crispy pork accompanied with nata and guasacaca), the Arepas (hot bun made with ground white corn with a crispy shell and soft doughy inside with one filling of your choice), and because Larry was craving a hotdog, the Perritos (hot dog topped with diced cabbage lettuce, diced onions, potato strings, mayo, ketchup, mustard and guasacaca served with a side of french fries). And when we couldn’t decide on beverages, the woman at the counter generously offered samples of all three. We then chose the Papelon con Limon and the Jugo de Parchita.DSC00922

It was too much much food for just the two of us, but we did a nice job. I loved the Cachapa con Queso y Cochino Frito. Both juices were also excellent. The Arepas was tasty (and a great value at $4.99). The Perritos was my least favorite dish—but then again I’m not a huge fan of hotdogs. It didn’t seem all that interesting, especially given the other menu options, plus the bun was stale. I still have regrets that we didn’t try the Pabellon (Venezuela national dish with black beans, shredded beef, rice and deep fried ripe plantain topped with cheese and an arepa). Next time for sure.

Although the food was excellent, the most memorable part of dinner was when we were greeted on our way out  by Jeykell, La Taguara’s energetic and personable owner. He asked if we enjoyed our meal, which led to a longer conversation about opening the restaurant and his love of Venezuela, his home country. He told us that he hadn’t had a day off since the restaurant opened in August. It was great to meet Jeykell—he’s friendly and genuine, and his passion and drive were evident in our whole experience. I’m looking forward to getting back to La Taguara to try the Pabellon. And maybe dessert, too.

Category: Restaurant Reviews 2 comments »

2 Responses to “La Taguara Worth A Return Trip”

  1. May

    Glad to see you posting again. I moved away from Madison two years ago and really enjoy reminiscing via your excellent posts–though it seems like the restaurant scene has already changed quite a bit!

  2. Kate Konkle

    Love this place. The Paballon is amazing! and a ton of food on its own! Highly recommend. There is an amazing Venezuelan place in Harrisburg that I have missed greatly – finally I can get my fix here! And so much is corn based so gluten free friendly!!

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