Guayoyo is a Venezuelan restaurant on 1st Avenue that serves arepas, competing on that front with nearby Caracas. But they've also got a long menu of tapas, which is what brought us by last week.
I suppose you could go to Guayoyo and have a light meal with a few salads, maybe some sauteed shrimp and the like. We ended up going another way, starting with an order of Pork Belly ($8), thick slices of fatty, melt in your mouth meat in a sweet gravy—we wished there were bread to sop it up with. An order of Yucca Fries ($4.50) came with a garlicky mojo sauce.
The Pulpo a la Gallega ($10) consisted of sliced octopus drizzled with olive oil and a healthy dusting of spanish paprika. Served cold, it was reminiscent of a less acidic ceviche, and it was by far the lightest dish we had at Guayoyo. Case in point: next up was Tostones Rellenos ($7), crispy tostones formed into little cups, into which were placed tender beef meatballs. Not light, but incredibly tasty, and one of the best values of the night.
Another indulgent dish was the Tequenos ($7), which had a soft white cheese wrapped in dough and fried, creating something resembling a Venezuelan mozzarella stick. These, too, were delicious and a bit heavy. Just for good measure we finished things off with an order of Chorizo ($8), a big ol' plate of the sliced sausage. (Then we paid the bill and had to roll ourselves back out onto 1st Avenue.)
Guayoyo is a great place to gather with friends, have a drink (during happy hour, drinks come with a snack of plantain chips and spicy black bean dip; try the spicy michelada) and share some food. Between the three of us, we spent $44.50 on food before tax and tip, almost hitting our target price of $15/person right on the head. The menu of small plates includes not just tapas but also salads and arepas—the variety gives it a big leg up over Caracas up the street. It's reasonably priced to boot, and while restaurants don't get much more casual, the service is both friendly and professional.
67 First Avenue, New York NY 10003
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