Caracas has a lively restaurant scene. The local upper and middle classes support a host of fine restaurants and trendy joints. World and fusion cuisines are the rage, along with sushi bars and upscale steakhouses. New places open and close with the frequency and fanfare worthy of New York City. If you're serious about delving into the local restaurant scene, pick up a copy of the latest edition of Miro Popic's Guía Gastronómica de Caracas (www.miropopic.com), a comprehensive, accurate, and bilingual guide to metropolitan restaurants, cafes, and nightspots.
In addition to the places listed in this guide, Chez Wong, Plaza La Castellana (tel. 0212/266-5015; no Metro), is widely considered the best Chinese restaurant in town, while Da Guido, Avenida Francisco Solano, Sabana Grande (tel. 0212/763-0937; Metro: Sabana Grande), and Vizio, Avenida Luis Rocha, bottom floor of the Casa Rómulo Gallegos, Altamira (tel. 0212/285-5675; Metro: Altamira), are recommended for Italian cuisine.
On a more popular level, simple arreperías and informal fuentes de soda, the local equivalent of diners, are ubiquitous. Be sure to stop in to one or two of them for a light meal and a bit of local color. Given the prevalence and popularity of huge modern malls, you can usually count on finding a wide selection of restaurants, as well as an assortment of U.S.-based and -styled fast-food chains, in most of them.
Note: Though I've included Metro stops for the restaurants in this section, at the time of this writing Las Mercedes station was still under construction, tentatively scheduled to open sometime in 2010. Your best bet is, when possible, to take a taxi to and from restaurants.
Expensive -- Check out the local branch of famed Peruvian restaurant Astrid y Gastón, Calle Londres, Las Mercedes (tel. 0212/993-1119; Metro: Las Mercedes).
Snacks & Cafes
In addition to the News Café , another nearby coffeehouse worth checking is the Café Arábica, Avenida Andres Bello between 1st Transversal and Avenida Francisco Miranda (tel. 0212/286-3636; Metro: Los Palos Grandes), a trendy joint on the ground floor of the Multicentro Los Palos Grandes mall that roasts its own beans bought from local producers.
If you're hungry for a quick bite and there's a fuente de soda handy -- the local equivalent of a diner or deli -- you should definitely try an arepa, the traditional cornmeal patty that usually comes stuffed with meat, cheese, or chicken.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.