Table Talk: El Cocotero

El Cocotero
228 West 18th St.

El Cocotero is a restaurant where true Venezuelan charm meets downtown New York City. My first expectations when I walked into the restaurant were for rancho decor, maybe some leather and lots of meat. Instead, El Cocotero had a subtle feel that was quaint and warm and a staff that was super-friendly. I started off with a yummy cold drink. I chose something called Guarapita, a mixture of passion fruit, mango, and dark rum. They may not have the fanciest of cocktail menus, but the Guarapita is definitely my new fave!

Next, I tried 2 out of the 23 variations of Arepas appetizers ($5.50-$11)—the Miss Venezuela (avocado, tomatoes, and cheese) and the Pabellon, (sweet plantain, white cheese, black beans, shredded flank steak) which were both pretty delicious. For my entrée I tried the camarones cocotero, sautéed shrimp in a cilantro mojo, with tostones and green salad on the side($18.95) and I will surely be back for more in the future.

Even if I hadn't loved the food, I would have been happy just to have met the charming and gracious owner Luis Quintero and our amazing waiter Marcelo! All in all, the experience was wonderful—perfect for those who want to hang with friends and enjoy great Venezuelan food in an inviting atmosphere.

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About this author

Verky Arcos, Fashion Director

A  writer and editor with expertise in fashion and lifestyle coverage, Verky Baldonado is currently Latina magazine's Fashion Director. Baldonado has written Latin-inspired travel and food related content and has contributed to celebrity Q&As, red carpet video interviews, and the annual “Reasons to Love Being Latina” feature. Verky is U.S.-born and of Ecuadorean and Puerto Rican descent who speaks and writes fluent Spanish. Prior to Latina, Verky worked as a photo shoot coordinator at Universal/Island Def Jam Music Group. Verky holds a B.A. in Communications Arts from Montclair State University and currently resides in Manhattan with her husband and daughter.

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