Following the other “Top 5” Restaurant posts earlier this week, I am going for something a little more narrow. Cartagena, Colombia is a vibrant city, and one of the highlights of a visit there are the amazing restaurants. Here are my favorites from a trip there in April of this year, in no particular order:
Quebracho: Located in the heart of Cartagena’s historic center, Quebracho offers upgrilled Argentine-style steaks in an atmosphere reminiscent of long-ago colonial days. One of the best steaks I’ve ever had is Quebracho’s sirloin: it was tender, juicy, and cooked to perfection.
La Vitrola: Also located in the historic old city, La Vitrola is influenced by the glory days of old Havana. This is easily one of the most difficult restaurants in town to get a table at,so be sure to call ahead or have your hotel make reservations for you. The bar was lively and the entire restaurant was filled with the rhythm of the Cuban band. La Vitrola executes the classic Cuban dish, ropa vieja, with perfection. The seafood is also excellent: grouper was in season on my trip, and was incredible here.
Crepes & Waffles: There is nothing Colombian about this place that serves French-style crepes in an American-style fast casual restaurant. Look into the restaurant’s windows, however, and you will see that this place is one of the busiest restaurants in town, almost exclusively patronized by locals. The food is fresh and simple, and in some ways can be a nice change of pace from the omnipresent seafood dinners on offer in Cartagena. The restaurant’s ice cream selection is absolutely decadent. There are two locations, one in the city center and another near the beach in Bocagrande.
Club de Pesca: Come for the breathtaking view, stay for the amazing seafood. Club de
Pesca is located at an old fort adjoining the city’s pleasure boat marina. The views of the harbor, and the old city across the water, are magnificent from tables set along the waterfront. This is the seafood restaurant in Cartagena: the ingredients are fresh, and the sauces bold.
Kiosko El Bony: This seaside shack has been a classic for Colombians vacationing in Cartagena for years. Located directly on the beach in Cartagena’s Bocagrande district, this is the perfect place to unwind, have a couple cold cervezas, and enjoy a good meal. Fried whole snapper is the featured dish here. If you’re brave enough, eat it like a Colombian, with your fingers, consuming even the skin and bones. Another good bet are the seafood and rice dishes.