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Dozens of inexpensive Venezuelan restaurants are around town -- and almost as many pizza places. Most are pretty good. Walk around and choose one whose menu and ambience strike your fancy. If there's trout on the menu, it's likely to be fresh and local.

Vegetarians should head to La Fonda El Tinajero, Calle 29, between avenidas 3 and 4 (tel. 0274/252-2465). For something a bit different, try La Mama & Sushi (tel. 0274/252-4851) on Calle 29, between avenidas 4 and 5, which is a combo sushi bar, Italian restaurant, and pizza joint. Another good spot for pizza is L'Astilla (tel. 0274/251-0832), which fronts the pretty Plaza Milla. For a light bite, I like the open-air dining at T'Cafe (tel. 0414/741-5288) on the corner of Avenida 3 and Calle 29, located conveniently across from Heladería Coromoto, if you're looking to cap things off with some dessert. Finally, there are a couple of excellent options a bit farther afield. Both Cabañas Xinia & Peter (tel. 0274/283-0214) and Casa Solar (tel. 0416/674-5653) serve up excellent international fare in elegant and intimate settings outside of town.

An interesting culinary note: In Mérida, and throughout much of the Andes region, arepas are made with wheat flour instead of the traditional cornmeal.

Heladería Coromoto

The Heladería Coromoto (tel. 0274/252-3525), Avenida 3 and Calle 29, in front of the Plaza El Llano, holds the Guinness world record for the most ice-cream flavors. Adventurous souls can sample smoked trout, garlic, beer, avocado, or squid. The eclectic and long list takes up two walls in the joint. The count currently exceeds 900 flavors, with roughly 100 choices available on any given day. It's open Tuesday through Sunday from 2 to 10pm.

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.