A few days ago, I had a strong craving for some empanadas. But I didn’t want just any empanadas…they had to be authentic. I remembered that many people I know have been raving about Valencia Luncheria in Norwalk, a Venezuelan beach cafe – so I decided to give it a try.
First thing that I noticed was a stamp on the entrance wall that said “Guy Ate Here”, and I mentally commended myself for making this excellent choice. Hey! If it’s good enough for Guy Fieri then it’s good enough for Fairfield County Foodie, right?
A tiny place buzzing with activity, they have a mind-boggling selection of delicious empanadas. They even have dessert empanadas with fillings like nutella and cream cheese. I was instantly in love!
The ambiance and the vibe immediately transported me to a different world. The folks here are so friendly. Specially, Tamar – a bubbly personality who is so eager to make sure that you fall in love with this place and its food every time you visit.
I ordered four empanadas to go, two savory and two sweet, and ate them all before my family got back home that evening! And then I could not stop talking about this place for days to come. So a few days later I went back with my family to dinner at Valencia Luncheria.
Now, most people you talk to, will ask, “Have you tried their Arepas?” Like the empanadas they have over 20 different types of Arepas. Some authentic Venezuelan combos and some out-of-the box combos thought up by the very creative and talented chef Michael Young. But what some folks may not realize is that their dinner menu is mind-blowing as well. Every dish is clearly a labor of love. Rich textures and flavors with great depth added from their special seasonings and homemade sauces. A very comforting experience indeed.
We tried the Ancho Chili Braised Short Ribs. OMG! Words can’t describe how good this is. We also had The Hanger Steak with Chimi Churri. Perfectly cooked and topped with an excellent Chimi Churri Sauce. Ceviche was really fresh and bit on the sweet side. I prefer mine tangier. We accidentally got a dish that we had not ordered… Chocolate Baby Back Ribs. With my love of the combination of chili and chocolate, this was a very happy mistake indeed!
Valencia Luncheria is moving this month to a much larger space just a couple of doors down. It will have more seating as well as a nice big bar area. BTW: they also have an excellent breakfast menu. Gotta check it out!
Click on the images above to visit their website for more information and to view the Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives episode.