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“Avoid La Caraquena for your own health” 1 of 5 stars
Review of La Caraquena

La Caraquena
300 W Broad St, Falls Church, VA 22046-3319
+1 703-533-0076
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Ranked #37 of 309 restaurants in Falls Church
Price range: $20 - $30
Cuisines: Latin, South American, Venezuelan
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Outdoor seating
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: Little Falls Street
Description: At La Caraquena, the taste of Latin America is alive in every dish. Chef and owner, Raul Claros, shares his heritage by combining over 20 years of family recipes with the authencity that comes from his travels through Latin America. This is comfort food served in a relaxed atmosphere where our guests can experience the best in Latin American cuisine and culture.
Annandale, Virginia
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
18 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
“Avoid La Caraquena for your own health”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2013

Wish I could give this place NO stars. Really over-priced dishes with small portions. But that's only the tip of this bad iceberg. Absolutely dreadful, rude service (who knows where the wait staff disappears to) and the place is filthy. How did they pass their inspections with dirty silverware, litter and spilled food never cleaned from under the table, lipstick still on the glasses, and I'm not going to tell you what I found next to me on the booth cushion.

  • Visited March 2013
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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71 reviews from our community

78% Recommend
    23
    33
    7
    3
    5
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Falls Church, Virginia
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
37 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“Reallly can't rate food as they would not serve me”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2013

I arrived at the restaurant 7 minutes prior to their opening time of noon on Saturday. A couple on the patio were being served water and were seated and talking to a server. So, I headed for the door - which did still say closed - and another server was there and when I asked if they were open or closed he gestured me into the restaurant. I went to the cashier who smiled and said a greeting (but not sure exactly what - he has a heavy accent but it seemed friendly). I asked for a menu and asked if they do carry-out and in a flash the smile was gone, he gave me a hard look and said sternly 'we're closed.' So, I replied, 'if you are really closed why are people seated and receiving service on the patio and why would the server gesture me inside?' He just replied 'we're closed' again! Now, by this time, it is like three minutes to their opening time.... so, I have to wonder if this is a bias/prejudice (gender? weight? - I am not small - race? the couple outside, I notice, are Latino!)....well, my husband and I, had we had a chance to try the food and had we liked it, would have given them a good business, over time - especially since he passes them every day coming home for work and I am in that area every weekend at least....sad. Guess they feel they can turn away business....how difficult would it have been to say, 'have a seat and we will get you a menu and by the time you know what you wish to order, we will be officially open'????

  • Visited August 2013
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Long Island, NY
Top Contributor
81 reviews 81 reviews
47 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 54 cities Reviews in 54 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
“Small Place Big on Flavor”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2013

Let me start by stating that I do not eat spicy, however, my husband absolutely loves it so I agreed to go, hoping I would find something "American". Theeee best Mojtos ever were a great way to start out meal out right. I was lucky enough to find a Ham and Cheese sandwich, but it wasn't a plain Ham and Cheese sandwich. How they packed it with so much flavor, I'll never know, but it was perfectly done. Not too dry, not to juicy, plenty of flavor! The tiny little restaurant only had about 7 or 8 tables, but it was clean and decorated nicely as well. My husband loved his meal, the Pupito. I have to admit, it looked so delectable, I did contemplate trying it as well. We loved everything so much, we decided to try the Sweet Potato Donuts, which were unique but still enjoyable. Excellent choice of multiple mojitos served with a sugar cane, friendly efficient staff. Definitely turned me around to try something different. Will be back.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Caracas, Venezuela
Senior Contributor
43 reviews 43 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
“Great food but poor customer service”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 13, 2013

It pains me to write this review, because I have eaten at La Caraquena several times and loved the food, but I feel I have to write this review in order to warn other diners of the terrible customer service of the owners of this restaurant.

The last time I ate at La Caraquena was in March or April, 2013. A group of us that were either coming from or going to Caracas wanted to get together to talk about Venezuela and enjoy the food. A friend of mine organized the event and contacted the restaurant in advance to make a reservation. As we were going to be a party of more than 8 people, we certainly felt that we needed to have a reservation as the restaurant does not seat very many people and the restaurant gets crowded quickly.

My friend read the "reservation policy" on the restaurant's website: "All parties of 8 to 14 guests are required to spend a minimum of $35.00 in Food and Beverage for the guaranteed number of guests." Of course, this sentence is poorly worded, so my friend asked the person who answered the phone at La Caraquena about it when he was making the reservation and confirmed that the policy required a check total of at least $35 for our party.

When we were finished with our meal, the server came to us and said that he had to add additional charges to our bill because EACH PERSON did not eat $35 worth of food. We were upset with this, as even though each one of us had an entree and at least a drink or two (and we shared a bunch of appetizers for the table), not one of us came close to incurring $35 worth of charges.

We talked to the server about this and told him that the policy was unreasonable based upon the menu prices, and he responded that we should all order another entree in order to meet the minimum. This was pretty absurd that we should be expected to order two entrees a piece as a minimum and we told the server this.

After a long debate with the server, the owner was called and our party leader discussed the matter with him on the phone. Still no resolution. In the meantime, we had sat at this table for more time trying to figure out the bill than we had ordering and eating, so the owner's purpose of establishing the minimum (holding up tables) was defeated. Finally, not wishing to hold things up further, we vacated our table and our group leader continued to talk to management.

The owner of the restaurant was quite rude to my friend and ended up calling the police on him! In addition, the owner charged my friend's credit card for over $100 extra (representing the difference between what we actually ate and the "minimum" for each of us) and refused to see that his reservation policy was 1) confusingly written on the website, 2) ridiculously out of proportion for the menu prices, and 3) self -defeating if the patrons and servers need to take a significantly large amount of time to sort things through at checkout.

I would suggest that if the owner does not want large groups clogging up his restaurant that he merely refuses to take reservations for parties larger than 6 people. This would give him the ability to turn the tables quickly and would set a clear policy for diners to abide by. If this more reasonable rule had been put in place, we would have divided ourselves up into smaller groups and would not have faced either the minimum charge or the extra time involved to settle our bill.

Needless to say, I will never eat at La Caraquena again. The owner's conduct was unprofessional, rude and unreasonable. He does not deserve my money. Perhaps he does not deserve yours either if he continues to disrespect his clientele.

  • Visited March 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Never tried Venezuelan? you should!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2013

On a business trip to the area I again trusted DDD to recommend a restaurant and boy did i get lucky! I had never tried Venezuelan and i was in for a treat. I had the Pabellón Criollo and it was so flavorful I think my mouth is still watering. Spicey but just enough and very rich. They also make a fine margarita

  • Visited May 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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