NSU is a unique and lively campus, but that doesn’t mean that Sharks can’t band together and take an afternoon to explore the South Florida area — even if that just means finding a quaint place to study.
Located in the Tower Shops on University Drive, Amaize is barely a hop, skip and a jump away from NSU. With a variety of fresh, delicious choices that could please even the pickiest of eaters, this local restaurant should be a go-to for your next quick bite.
Amaize specializes in arepas — a dish popular in Colombia and Venezuela, which can be found in varying forms in other Latin American countries. Arepas are prepared from a dough made using grounded maize, and are usually grilled, fried or baked. The result is a light corn meal round that can be cut to form a sort of pocket, resembling two slices of bread for a sandwich, which is then usually stuffed.
At Amaize, tip-top arepas are just the beginning of a great meal. They’ve concocted several different arepas that can be ordered straight off the menu. You can go traditional — like the “Mechado Mix,” which is a combination of black beans, plantains, shredded beef and queso fresco — or a bit more avant garde, like the “Beauty Queen,” filled with chicken and avocado, or a “Caprese Latina” with guasaca, spinach, guayanés cheese and tomato.
If none of those sound pleasing, you can also “CYO” — or Create Your Own. Stuff your personal arepa with different meats, tofu, beans and vegetables like avocado, portobello mushrooms or tomato for a more unique experience. All arepas are 100 percent gluten free, and there are plenty of stuffing options for vegans and vegetarians. If arepas still don’t seem like your thing, they also have black beans, cachapas, salads and mechados; Amaize truly does have something for everybody.
Amaize also boasts a tempting dessert menu. On top of quesillo, tres leches and chocolate marquesa, they also offer a customizable cachapa delight — loaded with chocolate, nutella or dulce de leche, bananas or strawberries, and cream; perfect when washed down with one of their refreshing iced teas.
If you’re in the neighborhood early in the morning, stop in for a unique breakfast. Pick up an arepa or cachapa topped with your choice of eggs, cheeses like queso blanco or gouda, protein and vegetables such as onion or sweet pepper. You can also order a stuffed arepa with eggs, veggies and a spread of nata, which is a type of cheese.
On your way out, be sure to browse through the mercadito along the wall of the restaurant for some “amaizeeeng” things. From aprons and hats to mugs, there’s plenty of ways to show everyone your love for arepas. Or, if you’re looking to master the art of the arepa for yourself, they have special toasters, cornmeal and recipe books so that you, too, can be a great chef — you can even pick up pre-made fillings and cheese to make things a bit easier.
Visit Amaize at one of their two locations in SoFlo:
Amaize Davie, Fla.
2258 S. University Drive.
Davie, FL 33328
Amaize Doral, Fla.
3887 NW 107th Ave Unit 101
Doral, FL 33178
Price range: $11-30