By Khiang S. at 2016-10-21
Stop in for lunch since I was nearby and walked out stomach happy. My best empanadas so far. Ordered from the lunch menu, 1 beef and 1 chicken. I love the pastry on the empanadas- slightly crispy on the outside, once you bite through, you get the ingredients (shredded chicken or ground beef) without tasting the dough. Very nicely done. The soup of the day I had was noodles and tomatoes. Very clean taste and not salty. I liked it.
Another observation was the clientele. There were people of all ethnicities; a true American joint serving Venezuela food!
Overall, I recommend this place.
By Konrad H. at 2016-10-21
The best! Very tasty Latin American mostly Venezuelan. Hidden gem in Madison, WI.
Small place great service. The people here are proud of their heritage and express it through sharing their food in a superb way.
Everything here is great and tastes like homemade.
By Stacey L. at 2016-10-11
I haven't been to their brick and mortar, but I did get to try a very tasty beef arepa at their pop-up stand at Central Park Sessions. When I placed my order for one arepa the cashier asked "just the arepa?" and I briefly doubted my choice would be substantial enough, but I decided I could just come back through the line if I was still hungry. As it turns out, there is not a chance I could eat another bite after that hefty sandwich. It felt like a brick in my hand, but gratefully did not feel like a brick in my stomach.
The arepa itself was somehow substantial but light and it was stuffed with delicious shredded beef. It came with a cilantro sauce (I assume it's their take on guasacaca) that the cashier assured me unprompted "wasn't spicy" - apparently one too many spice-averse people had gone through the line before me. The sandwich had enough flavor that it didn't need a spicy sauce, but I wouldn't have objected to a little kick.
They recently opened up a location closer to downtown and I'm excited to make my way in to sample some more Venezuelan dishes.
By Erin B. at 2016-09-27
Oh yes please! I met some friends for lunch here today, and I'm already thinking about when I can make it back! I had the empanada lunch with plantain soup and it was delicious. The empanadas (I especially liked the beef one) came with a yummy guasacaca sauce. Some of my friends got the salad instead of the soup and it also looked really good. Very fast service too! I meant to take a picture but all of a sudden my food was gone. I'll try to get one next time. I can't wait to try the pabellon. And wait, they deliver?!?! Hmm, I will be at work tomorrow...
Update...definitely try the pabellón! It is a lot of food, even without the egg on top. But, you know what? Every last bite of it was delicious!
By Jae M. at 2016-10-04
After watching the movie Chef, I was on a mission to find a Cubano sandwich in Madison. Granted I'd never really had one before, so I can't speak for authenticity or compare to other Cubanos.
BUT! This place has our souls. My husband and I tried their sandwich and immediately fell in love. Note: I'm salivating while writing this review. The guasacaca is a great condiment, but not necessary for this juicy sandwich. The pork roast was plentiful, flavorful, and tender.
The plantain chips can certainly put me in a food coma.
And I would welcome it.
By Kelsey G. at 2016-10-02
I've been wanting to come here for a while now since seeing all the amazing yelp reviews so I was very excited when we finally came here for a late lunch on a Saturday.
The lady at the counter was extremely nice and when she noticed that we had been staring at the menu for 5+ minutes obviously having a hard time trying to decide what to order, she told us about their three most popular dishes (1. Pabelon 2. Cachapa con Queso y Cochino Frito 3. Bandejita Paisa)
I got the Pabelon (it's the Venezuelan national dish, their most popular dish, and it comes with sweet plantains so I had to try it) and the person I was with got the Bandejita Paisa because of the sheer variety of food it comes with.
Our food came out pretty quickly, the waiter originally brought out three arepa sandwiches to our table thinking they were for us, unfortunately they were not, but they smelled amazing and made us even hungrier for our food.
We both really enjoyed our food, the meat in the Pabelon was very tender and I don't normally like beans, but the combination of the meat with the beans and rice was great and I enjoyed using the arepa to make a mini sandwich out of my entree. I would definitely recommend getting a side of the green cilantro sauce because it is delicious and goes with everything. My friend really enjoyed the Bandejita Paisa, the steak was delicious and there was a ton of food. The weakest link on the plate was the chorizo but there were so many other delicious things that it didn't subtract from the experience at all.
It is extremely reasonable for the quantity of food that you get (easily two meals worth) and now that I know they have another location on E Johnson I will definitely be back very soon for an arepa sandwich.
By Vicki T. at 2016-05-18
This was my first Venezuela meal. I noticed on Yelp and was eager to try because of all the positive reviews.
The staff was very nice and friendly to walk you through their food menu. Everything looked so delicious and I had a hard time on choosing one. I went for the popular item, Bandejita paisa. It was a HUGE portion. First of all, it had rice and beans at the bottom of the whole plate. Then steak, pork belly, an egg and avocado on top. It's basically like a sampler of everything, and everything tasted great!
Should have tried the appetizers as well. I saw a few items ordered by the table next to me and they all looked yummy~
By Akshay S. at 2016-12-19
2 star for Food. But 1 Extra Star for Great Customer Service.
This was our first time here. The place is a cute little joint with a open kitchen order concept ala food trucks. The guy at the front was very polite and explained everything really well. We ordered Bandejita Paisa and Cubano Sandwich entrees and Papelon con Limon as a side drink.
The Bandejita Paisa was OK for its Beans and Rice flavor profiles ang the runny egg!. The Steak was Over Cooked till death, to the point of being uneatable. The sausage was dry with a strangely hard to cut outer casing. The Crispy Pork Belly was average since a lot of Ends were rather chewy.
The Cubano Sandwich was a better bet. Still, on its own, not really worth the money. The meat portion was impressive but lacked flavor and dry and stringy.
Looking at all the glowing reviews, I'd imagine we just came in on a bad day. Still for nearly $35 for two people, this ain't worth another trip. All in all, If you were to give this place a try, stay away from the Steak for sure!!
By Sarah A. at 2016-09-17
Heaven in a fried corn dough bun. The only problem with this restaurant is deciding what to order because everything on the menu looks so freaking good.
My bf wanted to call in for takeout, and I was nervous that the delicious food wouldn't survive the 20-min ride home, but it DID and everything was still hot, crispy, and amazing.
We got the papi venezolano, beef arepas and chicken arepas, and the parrilla callejera. Everything was perfect. The nata, guasacaca and tartara verde sauces are ridiculously good and excellently complement each of the appetizers.
I'mjust sad that we didn't eat in the restaurant and try some of the Venezuelan drinks and desserts, which also all look crazy good. La Taguara is one of my new favorites for sure.
By Gerard T. at 2016-05-08
I came here based off of Yelp reviews. I was in town for the weekend and decided to try at least one delicious restaurant while I was here. Let me say they did not disappoint!!! I came here around 5pm on a Sunday. They close at 6pm on Sunday's. I ordered the
Pabellon (Venezuelan National Dish with black beans, white cheese, shredded beef, rice, and deep fried sweet plantains, arepa, and topped with a sunny side up egg ). Fulfilling and scrumptious
For my appetizer I ordered the Alitas de Pollo (crispy chicken wings tossed in our home made passion fruit spicy sauce served with a side of nata). Sweet and spicy wings . For dessert Tequenos de Guayaba y Queso (Venezuelan version of cheese sticks filled with white cheese and guava).
Let me say that the portions were of a good size and you will be fulfilled with any entree that you purchase. The Pabellon was flavorful, not spicy, and seasoned to perfection. The shredded beef literally melted in your mouth, the plantains very sweet and crisp, and the rice and beans were not heavy but seasoned with love! The Alitas de Pollo were sweet and spicy and crisp and deep fried. You get about 10 wings per order or 1lb.
The dessert was tasty as well. Im glad I stopped in this place and decided to have dinner. Next time I'm in Madison I will definitely be back. Oooh before I forget. This is the only place that I've been that sells Guarana Brazil soda. I studied abroad in Brazil in college and literally drank this sofa every other day . This place deserves 5.5 star to be honest
By Drew G. at 2016-09-02
The translation from Venezuela of La Taguara is 'the cheap restaurant'. So true: think inexpensive traditional ethnic comfort food, in the best of ways. Most of the items range between $4 and $9 dollars, with many authentic Venezuelan dishes. If you don't like rice, beans or other sides, you can choose a la carte.
It's always comforting to see a place packed when you first enter, and even more so when the majority of people are from the same nationality as the restaurant. The place was full of Hispanic people, and the plates varied and all looked great. My food was wonderful.
There are some problems: My dish came with pork instead of chicken, and I noticed only after I took a bite. The hostess noticed, came over and offered to bring me a new correct item, and I declined...because the pork and cheddar was delicious. The soda fountain was broken, and a little off carbonation. It took 7 minutes in line to order, because they are busy.
Despite these kinks, great experience.
By Kate K. at 2016-03-02
Great casual spot for lunch or dinner. Dine in or take out, I've had great experience both ways. The restaurant is bright and clean and offers counter service. The staff are top-notch. Always friendly and exceedingly helpful; they take pride in their food and it shows.
Food is delicious. Great flavors, well prepared, and generous servings. Lunch specials are definitely a good deal! The arepas are delightful and overflowing. Love them with eggplant, white cheese, and picadillo salad. Both the cheese and chicken empanadas are hits, and the guasacaca sauce is AMAZING (I make trips here just because I'm craving this sauce). The bandejita paisa is both delicious and large - I took enough home for lunch the next day.
All around great place.
By Keri F. at 2016-02-23
Empanadas: a Brief history. Everyone has a version of a savory filling wrapped in dough. Madison has pasties (or pasty). Italy has calzones. China has baos. They vary based on stuffing, flour, and cooking method. I'm from Oklahoma and knew the "empanada" way before the others. SO I'll stick with empanadas come from "South of the Border." Even at that Venezuela is different from Argentina, from Bolivia, from Colombia. Anyway, I'm not an official empanada connoisseur, but throughout my life, I've discovered I LOVE corn flour AND deep fried (vs baked). So La Taguara arrived in my life, and I knew I had to try the Empanadas (and Arepas).
Chicken Empanada - Fabulous. Basic shredded chicken, stewed in seasonings (garlic, green pepper, onion, paprika, seasoning salt), not spicy, still juicy. Nothing else in it. Fried. The breading has a slight brown crunch on the outside and soft white chew on the inside. This rivals Miami, but it's in Madison! 5 stars
Arepas - a finely ground corn flour (much more than corn tortilla type flour), is like a chewy, puffy thick round tortilla (think 5 layers together), but is known as "bread," and cut in half to fill it with a protein. I've had a Costa Rican version, Pupusa made of Masa flour (smaller and more dense). There is a difference. Venezuelan arepas are lighter and more airy, but they don't handle the cut as well.
Reina (arepa) - arepa filled with chicken salad, potatoes, mayo and avocado. This is a Venezuelan specialty. It's good, but every place I've ever ordered it, they use dark chicken and it just overpowers the delicate avocado and mayo. Thankfully, La Taguara has this AMAZING sauce, guasacaca = garlic + avocado + vinegar. 3/5
Pabellon (arepa) - traditional is filled with shredded beef, plantain, black beans, and cheese. I asked for chicken without cheese. Unfortunately, I was GIVEN beef. I was excited to try salty and sweet, but I had to toss the beef. It was bland without the salty protein. 2/5
Pepito de Pollo - Chicken Sandwich is how it's framed. What a surprise! It reminds me of a mustard-style chicken chili (tangy, tart; not tomato based) on a soft french roll. They pile on onions, green peppers, bacon, lettuce, tomato, 5 sauces! and onion strings! (I held the cheese.) This is a Venezuelan chili. Southerners pour gravy over everything, Texans pour red chili over everything, and Wisco pours cheese over everything. So of course this made sense to me! It was so good. Comes with fries and "pink sauce" (ketchup + mayo), which is Central/South America's version of ketchup. 5 stars
Space - small-medium. Fits about 5 tables of 4, and 3 tables of 2. The TVs flash pics of Venezuela, not sure if they can show games.
Overall, I LOVE this place. Good South/Central American style food (think everyone below Mexico). This is NOT Mexican food. Nothing spicy, nothing too fancy, just flavorful. La Taguara is a warm southern breeze in a cold beer state.
By Ami R. at 2016-02-25
Returned for a repeat meal. Surprises... Place was packed, still spotless, very helpful staff, food was exactly as we had remembered it. It is rare that food quality remains the same over time. I was thrilled to see such a diverse group of diners.
Treat yourself to a little something different.
By Barry L. at 2016-02-27
Areas which is a hot bummed if ground white corn with a crispy shell. You choose the filling. We had pulled pork and a shredded beef both with cheese. The offer other fillings but we had this previously and it was great. A favorite already. We also had the Pabellon the Venezuelan national dish is black beans, white cheese, shredded beef, rice deep fried plantain (which was great) and arepita. We LOVE it! Beer and wine alcohol only.
++++service. Counter service but the deliver. Cook to order. The owner is gracious, super friendly and helpful in guiding you. fast service too.
++++ quality. Food is outstanding and for the price. do I need to say more?
+++ ambiance smaller dinning room but clean with proper level of background music.
- small parking lot but there is street parking. (But with food like this I'll walk a bit if I have to)
A must especially if you haven't had Venezuelan food. Oh and their soups look great.
By Justin K. at 2016-06-30
Don't miss out on this place! This place may not be down town, but it's worth the trip.
La Taguara features a wide selection of Venezuelan (NOT MEXICAN!!!) comfort food. I'm a fan of their appetizers, especially the refreshing and light ceviche.
For entrees, I like to get the cachapa y cochino frito. The cachapa is like a sweet corn cake made into a quesadilla, and the cochino frito is chunks of juicy fried pork. It's a delicious and seriously filling meal.
Despite those great menu items, my absolute favorite are their arepas. For $4.99, you can get a thick, crispy corn cake stuffed with 2 different fillings with additional fillings for 49 cents. This is hot, juicy sandwich from Venezuela is an absolute bargain, and it's incredibly delicious! There are great arepas options for vegetarians and carnivores alike. My two favorite combos are the pernil (slow roasted pork) with white cheese and the chicken with black beans. The pernil is shredded roast pork soaked in what seems like tomato-based stew with some green olives, and its flavor goes well with the melty white cheese. The chicken tastes like its in a Japnese curry mix or something, and the black beans help mellow it out while adding savory flavor and a thick texture.
Bottom line: try an Arepa today! One is a good meal, two is a good feast.
By Phred W. at 2016-10-28
We love to grab mid-five meal here on our way to Chicago. Really a cute, friendly place with Venezuelan did you cannot find anywhere else.
By Krystin F. at 2016-06-13
This place really is as good as it gets. Fast and friendly staff that are more than willing to explain the menu and even give a couple of delicious and fun tips to make sure the dining experience is nothing less than exceptional.
The food here is incredible - everything is delicious. It is so hard to explore the menu because your last meal is always calling you back. There are no complaints here whatsoever. Prices are more than reasonable (lunch specials are great) and portions are awesome.
They do offer a punch card for frequent lunchers - if it's your first stop I'd recommend getting one - you will be here again. So tasty.
By Tara D. at 2016-12-03
Wow! This was the best place I ate at during my week long stay in Madison. The young lady at the counter gave us some awesome recommendations. The food was so phenomenal. I didn't want to stop eating. I can't wait to visit again and fill my belly! Thank you!
By Jacob M. at 2016-10-09
My wife introduced me to their Cubano sandwich a few weeks ago and we've been there about three 3 times since to take the food home. The bread is toasted just right. The pork is tender and has a lot of flavor. The simple mustard and pickle topping goes a long way and complements the meats well. The guasacaca sauce is delicious and I have no problem dipping into my wife's in between bites. The plantain chips are not bad. They're not greasy and very crispy. We're planning to try other stuff on their menu but we might get derailed and continue ordering the Cubano for a while.