One of my favorite things about Arepa Mia, a Venezuelan restaurant with locations in the Sweet Auburn Curb Market as well as in Decatur, is the emphasis on love, happiness, family and friendship that permeates through the homelike space. Since the employees are always so eager to make my experience as enjoyable as it can possibly be, I thought I would send some love back to them and share the top 10 reasons why Arepa Mia has become one of my favorite spots to eat since coming to Emory!

1. It's the real deal

tea, coffee, pizza, beer
Cayla Bamberger

The owner of Arepa Mia grew up in South America, watching her mother methodically prepare the maize patties from a cart on the streets of Venezuela to sell to pedestrians. She brought her mother's recipe and technique here to decatur where she serves up authentic Venezuelan fare seven days a week!

2. Everything on the menu is gluten-free

bacon, fried egg, egg
Julie Goldberg

Arepas are made from ground maize dough, so they are a naturally gluten-free food.  They offers a great alternative to a traditional sandwich. Other menu items include chachapas (pancakes made from maize dough), plantains, organic black beans, and yucca chips, all of which are conveniently gluten-free as well as vegetarian! 

3. It's located in downtown decatur, right next to Piece of Cake

coffee, wine, water, beer
Cayla Bamberger

Pop next door for a slice of cake, or walk down the road for a scoop of ice cream at Jeni's or butter & cream! 

4. It's great for college students on a budget!

beer, coffee, tea
Julie Goldberg

All of their hearty arepas and chachapas are under $9.50, offering a great bang for your buck considering the large portion size and quality ingredients. 

5. Their fried plantains will blow your mind

bacon, chicken
Julie Goldberg

These plantains are both sweet and tender yet perfectly crisp and caramelized on the outside. Dip them in the housemate nata (a sweet, creamy sauce) and you're in tajada heaven.

6. They serve brunch (complete with mimosas!)

bacon, fried egg, avocado, egg
Cayla Bamberger

While we all love a good bagel n lox from the General Muir or a stack of Nutella pancakes from Rise n Dine, try something a little different this weekend with Arepa Mia's venezuelan take on a BEC: an arepa filled with bacon, greens, fried plantains, a fried egg and topped with cilantro sauce. 

7. They offer plenty of vegetarian (and vegan!) options

Cayla Bamberger

From the domino arepa (black beans, fried plantains, caramelized onions, roasted peppers and queso de año) to the empanadas de queso to the chachapas vegetariana, Arepa Mia offers a variety of vegetarian and vegan options that are just as delicious and filling as any of the meat-based menu items. 

8. Their meat is sourced from local farms

beer, tea, coffee
Julie Goldberg

For those who do eat meat, it's important to know where your beef and poultry comes from and how it was raised.  Arepa Mia proudly serves meat from local farms that you can trust, as opposed to industrialized factory farms. 

9. They sell bottles of their delicious sauces!

alcohol, wine, beer
Julie Goldberg

Their (rather spicy) sauces 

10. The super fun atmosphere

Cayla Bamberger

The walls of Arepa Mia are covered in unique memorabilia and chachkies associated with the Venezuelan culture and hispanic america as a whole. With bright red walls, yellow chairs, and pink tables, it's clear that the owners of Arepa Mia aim to creative a vibrant and fun atmosphere for their customers.

As you can see, there's really nothing not to love about Arepa Mia. Whatever dietary restrictions you may have, they are sure to have an option available for you! And, most importantly, all of it is absolutely delicious. Grab a few friends to try this place out with next weekend and I guarantee you won't be disappointed.