Maracaibo Restaurants and Dining

(Maracaibo, Zulia, Venezuela)

Maracaibo has a decent number of restaurants and eateries, although is not overwhelmed with places to eat. There are local eateries that have the best bang for the buck taste of Venezuela, as well as American fast-food chains and swanky Spanish and Italian restaurants.

Most places to eat are just north of the downtown area, especially along Calle 77, while shopping malls also come with food courts. There are many places in Maracaibo if you want to go native and try local dining, where you can have tasty 'cachapas' (cheese-topped corn dough pancakes), 'cevapi' (grilled minced meat) or a traditional Venezuelan lunch, 'pabellón criollo' (rice, black beans and shredded beef).

What to Eat, and Where

The safest eating in Maracaibo is at the star-rated hotel restaurants and in the shopping malls (safe referring to the quality of the food). While street food is the cheapest and can offer some of the best eating, you need to have your wits about you to avoid upsetting your stomach. Don't be afraid to ask for your meat to be cooked better and only eat at those places that have lots of locals dining there.

Pabellón is the traditional Venezuelan lunch and is great for tiding busy tourists over to dinner. Although generally consisting of uneventful rice and black beans with meat and greenery, it is proper Creole / Caribbean food and is really very wholesome. For afters, puddings on the chocolate theme are a must, since Venezuela chocolate is excellent and cheap.

Most Maracaibo restaurants lie just north of Calle 77, which is a fair way north of the centre where all the landmarks are based. You can also find touristy (expensive) cafés to dine at, too, particularly at the Bolivar Square (Plaza Bolivar) and in the main parks.

One popular dining option suiting tourists is the Centro Sambil Maracaibo complex, an entertainment venue with its own food court and fast-food restaurants, including familiar American brands such as both McDonald's and KFC.