Merida Restaurants and Dining
(Merida, The Andes, Venezuela)
A great choice of dining is available both in and around Merida's historic Old City, with eateries serving the unique local cuisine as well as international menus. Restaurants in the upscale hotels are generally reliable and an interesting variation is La Nota, a popular Venezuelan fast-food chain which serves huge hamburgers filled with ham, eggs and other local delights. McDonald's and Wendy's are to be found in Merida as well, but why bother when there are so many other delicious dining choices!
Along the Avenida 2 and around the city squares, such as the Plaza de Milla, are a selection of restaurants serving freshly prepared local dishes, as well as several steakhouses. Around the university are various interesting cheap eateries and bars popular with the younger crowd in Merida, while the city's main market features both food stalls and local restaurants in its surrounding area.
What to Eat, and Where
Merida's cuisine is unique and notably different from the rest of the country's restaurants. The Andean region is the only area in Venezuela
where wheat is traditionally harvested and wheat flour is used in a number of preparations.
Mountain potatoes and other tubers are staple ingredients, and trout, the only fresh local fish available, is used in many traditional dishes. Generally, the dining here is a blend of European and native Andean influences going back hundreds of years.
One 'don't miss' culinary experience in Merida is the Heladeria Coromoto ice-cream parlour, which holds the Guinness Book of Record's prize for the most flavours, with over 200 on offer, including spaghetti and cheese, and salmon! Italian cuisine is popular here, with restaurants such as the Trattoria da Lino serving authentic recipes.
For equally authentic Andean dining, the El Molinero Restaurant, slightly outside of central Merida, serves traditional fried cheese, fresh orange juice and the delicious and filling starch-based soups of the mountain region. For true gourmet cuisine in a stunning rustic setting, the Beverly, run by a local couple who once owned a chic eatery in Beverly Hills, LA, is an out-of-this-world culinary experience.