Like the Old Wake Forest Road area I wrote about in my review of Mami Nora’s, the area surrounding Rex Hospital is not one of Raleigh’s culinary hot spots. Chubby’s Tacos is good, as is Sushi Thai, in the Lake Boone shopping center. Or, if you plan ahead and get reservations (which you will need, even for lunch), Bella Monica is a good choice. But the area historically has not been host to many lunch options.
A new group of shops are now open on the Lake Boone Trail side of Rex, including Bistro 618, which I reviewed favorably a while back, Buffalo Brothers and Which Wich. And there is now a relative new-comer: Guasaca.
With this background, I was especially pleased to hear about Guasaca, which added not just another dining option, but a rather unique one for Raleigh. Guasaca appears to be the only restaurant in Raleigh that serves arepas, a Venezuelan flat bread made out of corn that is baked and then grilled.
Guasaca offers arepas filled with chicken, pork, avocado chicken, shredded beef, steak, tilapia, and vegetables. Guasaca has a simple ordering set up a lot like Chipotle. One can choose an arepa, a bowl or a salad, and then chose a filling and a number of sides.
I tried the avocado chicken, which proved to be a good filling. Guasaca prides itself on making its food “in-house”, avoiding processed ingredients and pre-made products. I could taste the freshness of the ingredients. The chicken was well-seasoned, but it was not overly spicy. Nor was it hidden under a heavy sauce. My arepa had flavorful chicken breast and avocado with just a little bit of heat. The filling was light, even though there was too much of it for the arepa to contain.
One big difference between arepas and the soft tacos that I am more accustomed to is that arepas are filling – or heavy, depending on your point of view. For the un-initiated, arepas are not low calorie wraps. From a value perspective, though, arepas are great. I was satisfied with one for lunch. My lunch companion tried the salad, and was pleased with her choice, as well.
For a relatively inexpensive, quick, flavorful, and filling lunch, Guasaca is a solid choice.
4025 Lake Boone Trail #107 • Raleigh, NC 27607
Hours of Operations
Daily 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.