Bogota, the second highest world capital after La Paz -Bolivia- has become a must-see when travelling across South America. Guarded by the Monserrate mountain, Bogota harbours the legacy of great artists and authors such as Botero and Gabriel García Márquez, and it gives tourists the opportunity to explore the whole country without leaving the city, simply by tasting its cuisine.
Two of the city’s unmissable spots are La Puerta Falsa, in La Candelaria district, which is an ideal place for a taste of authentic traditional Colombian food, and Andrés Carne de Res, one of the coolest dinning destinations known for its great atmosphere.
As the day turns to night in a city nicknamed the Athens of South America, here are some of the best places to discover Colombia’s flavours, colours and gastronomic culture.
A good Bogotanian breakfast is all about quantity. The tamales santafereños with hot chocolate are the signature serve at La Puerta Falsa on 11 Street, a restaurant with over two centuries of history in the city. It’s traditional atmosphere, truly charming staff and amazing value are enough to make you fall in love with the city after the first bite.
A few blocks away, there’s Misia, a popular working class eatery with a modern twist. Their broth with potatoes and their freshly made papaya and lulo juices are an excellent way to get the day started.
Food trucks have taken over Bogota and one of the best ones to eat mid-morning is Pignik Food Truck Style (Food Park Usaquen), their pork rib and smoked chicken sándwiches are a local favourite for a reason. David Aguelo is the chef behind this offer and the mastermind behind the house’s signature fresh tomato sauce.
If Bogota’s chilly weather makes you crave a bit or Caribbean warmth, Chambakú Caribe is the place to go. This authentic Colombian restaurant is famous for its posta cartagenera (a beef dish, cooked in a dark gravy with a touch os sweetness) with coconut rice and salad, as well as its fresh fish, juices made with exotic fruits such as corozo, and cheese mote, a type of soup made with yam and local cheese. From the music to the poetry written in the restroom’s walls, a visit will make you feel just like in the coastal región of Cordoba.
Another interesting restaurant is Mini–mal, with an avant-garde approach to Colombian ingredients, this place aims to “make the least possible amount of harm.” Its unique interior design activates the senses since you go through its doors and its certainly the ideal stage to prepare you for dishes such as Selva Adentro (Inside the Jungle), in which a traditional beef cut called morrillo is roasted and served with cassava sauce.
After a good lunch, you must get a cup of great coffee. There are countless cafés across Bogota where you can taste the unmatched quality of Colombian coffee. Café Cultor is one of them, and it stands out thanks to its eco-friendly ethos. The café was built inside of an up-cycled container and besides a great cup, they work to spread coffee culture by organising talks and acknowledging the hard work of Colombian coffee farmers.
DINNER & DRINKS
The night is full of life in Bogota, specially when you stroll through áreas such as Usaquen, a district which gathers some of the city’s coolest restaurants and nightclubs. In this área, you’ll find a small venue, Cafe Usaquen El Vino y Yo, where an eclectic array of Colombian and South American dishes are on the menú. Try their Argentinian choripanes (grilled chorizo rolls), the Venezuelan arepas (stuffed corn bread) or their vegetarian burguers, and check out their carefully curated wine list, in which sommelier Adriana Cano has combined wines from small and independent producers both in South America and the Old World. This place hosts frenquent coffee and wine tastings.
For a taste of autor cuisine, Villanos en Bermudas on 56 St. offers chefs Nicolás López and Sergio Mendoza’s take on fresh ingredients brought in every day by local farmers. The bar, in which they serve in-house infused spirits is also an extraordinary experience.
And a good night out can’t end in a plae other than Andres Carne de Res. An atypical place that after 34 years in business continues to be an icon for dining and partying in Bogota. Its atmosphere encourage you to join the vibrant and distinctly Colombian cheerfulness. It’s menú is over 50 pages long and features a taste of every región in the country. When it comes to drinks, Andres Tropical is a must-try made with Bacardi Carta Blanca, Ron Viejo de Caldas, coconut cream, pinneaple and passionfruit.
Photography by Orlando Gómez
Venezuelan Journalist with studies in audiovisual arts and a masters in sports writing.
Her work experience has taken her through corporate communication and mass media (print, radio and television).
Krisaura defines herself as a citizen of the world and in the past few years she has lived in Barcelona, Dublin and more recently, Bogota, Colombia’s capital city.