Savoring Venezuela: The Reinvention of Encuentro in Old Town

San Diego’s Old Town is renowned for its rich history and cultural heritage, and nestled within this historic district, a hidden gem has recently undergone a transformation. Formerly known as The Congress Cafe, this charming restaurant has been reborn as “Encuentro,” celebrating the vibrant flavors and traditions of Venezuela. Owned by Venezuelan-Americans, Encuentro not only brings authentic Venezuelan cuisine to Old Town but also aims to create a cultural hub where both Venezuelans and visitors can come together to experience the heart and soul of this South American country.

A Taste of Venezuela:

The transformation of The Congress Cafe into Encuentro has brought about a culinary revival, offering an expanded menu that showcases the diverse and delectable flavors of Venezuela. At the heart of their offerings are arepas and cachapas, two beloved staples of Venezuelan cuisine. Arepas, made from cornmeal and filled with an array of ingredients like cheese, shredded meats, or vegetables, are both delicious and versatile. Cachapas, on the other hand, are sweet corn pancakes that can be enjoyed with savory or sweet toppings, making them a versatile and satisfying option for any meal.

Encuentro takes great pride in offering an array of signature dishes that capture the essence of Venezuelan cuisine. Among these culinary delights, “El Criollo” stands out as a beloved favorite. This exquisite dish is a testament to the rich flavors and hearty traditions of Venezuela. It features shredded seasoned beef, perfectly complemented by seasoned black beans, scrambled eggs with grilled tomatoes and onions, creamy avocado, and a generous dollop of Latin cream, all served alongside a delectable arepa. “El Criollo” is a true celebration of Venezuelan breakfast, combining savory and comforting elements that make it an unforgettable morning feast.

Award-Winning Coffee:

Encuentro is renowned for its coffee, and they proudly serve award-winning Italian roast coffee that captures the essence of the country’s coffee culture. Whether you prefer a classic espresso or a creamy café con leche, Encuentro has your coffee cravings covered. Be sure to try their Mexican Spiced Mocha, a special combination of chocolate Abuelita, Mexican vanilla and cinnamon.

A Cultural Gathering Place:

Encuentro isn’t just a restaurant; it’s a place where people can come together to celebrate the rich tapestry of Venezuelan culture. The owners, who are natives of Venezuela, have poured their passion into creating an inviting and authentic atmosphere. The restaurant is adorned with vibrant colors, traditional artwork, and music that evoke the spirit of Venezuela. It’s not just about the food; it’s about the experience.

A New Venture: The Venezuelan Market:

The owners of Encuentro are not stopping at just offering a remarkable dining experience; they are also about to unveil a brand new Venezuelan market. This market will be a one-stop destination for those seeking authentic Venezuelan ingredients, food, and drinks. From imported spices and cooking essentials to traditional snacks and beverages, this market will allow patrons to recreate the flavors of Venezuela in their own homes.

Encuentro, the revamped and rebranded restaurant in Old Town San Diego, offers a genuine taste of Venezuela. With its dedication to showcasing the country’s diverse culinary heritage and providing a space for cultural exchange, Encuentro is a must-visit destination for both locals and tourists. Whether you’re savoring arepas, indulging in Venezuelan coffee, or exploring the upcoming Venezuelan market, Encuentro invites everyone to discover the vibrant and flavorful world of Venezuela in the heart of Old Town San Diego.


  • Mon-Fri: 8am-2pm
  • ​​Sat-Sun: 8am-3pm

Phone – (619) 260-8060

Address – 3941 Mason St, San Diego, CA 92110