While the Colombian kitchen might not be world-famous (yet), it has some surprising and unique flavor combinations to offer. Bogotá is a great place to discover some of these typical tastes and delicious dishes. In this post, we will present you five restaurants where you can enjoy the culinary creations of locals. Some more experimental, some more traditional. Spend some time in a comfortable setting with good food and drinks and explore the best way possible - tasting your way through the flavors of this country.
1. Salvo Patria
Image source: https://www.eater.com/2018/10/17/17963368/salvo-patria-best-restaurants-bogota-colombiaWhat makes this place special?
The restaurant first was a coffee shop, born from the frustrating search for good coffee in Colombia. That might just made you wonder because - yes - Colombia is famous for good coffee but as a lot of it is exported not every coffee here is good coffee.
Long story short - the founders of Salvo Patria wanted to make the search easier and opened a coffee shop with a small food menu. This small food menu has developed into a versatile and mouthwatering choice of dishes with Colombian influence.
Their name is also influenced by the local culture. “Salvo Patria” is what you will hear Colombian children scream in a game of hide and seek. Once they reach the safe haven where they win the game, they will exclaim the phrase which literally translated means “I save the homeland”. An unusual name for a restaurant but it makes sense, considering that their mission is reviving the connection of Colombians with their cuisine, especially the traditional ingredients that are only sparsely used today. What kind of food do they serve?
The owners serve foods that are the result of a deliciously successful experimentation with native ingredients and contemporary cuisine. These experiments are continuous and account for a changing menu of main dishes framed by all-time-favorites as appetizers and desserts.
Take a culinary journey through Colombia by tasting the variety of mains, desserts and delicious creations all sourced from different regions. The process of sourcing is also an important topic at the restaurant, as they highly value the origin of the ingredients.What should I order?
The menu changes regularly but their seafood and fish plates, which often originate from the Pacific region, are usually a good choice.
A dessert that is often raved about is their “Milhoja de la Patria” which is a pastry served with the typical Colombian Arequipe (cream with a caramel taste) and a side of ice cream. Careful because this is only for people with a serious sweet tooth.
On the cocktail menu, you should look for the lulada con ginebra. Lulo is a Colombian fruit with a sour taste. Paired with a generous shot of gin and some sugar it makes an amazing drink.Helpful Information
The restaurant is located in Chapinero Alto in the north of Bogotá, one of the busiest nightlife spots in the city. The exact address is Cl. 54a #4-13 you can open this link
to get the directions.
Reservations are recommended and can easily be made through the homepage of Salvo Patria
Salvo Patria is open from Monday through Saturday from 12 pm - 10 pm.Price Ranking
Appetizers between 15.000 and 30.000 pesos (US$ 4 - 9)
Mains about 30.000 pesos (US$ 10)
Desserts 15.000 pesos (US$ 4)
Image source: https://www.facebook.com/PrudenciaBogota/photos/a.515687908589716/662404623918043/?type=1&theaterWhat makes this place special?
Prudencia was a family’s dream come true and this is what you will notice in the restaurant. The owners opened their doors after carefully redesigning the old house. The building has previously been a preschool and a family house. While you still notice these influences in the preserved architectural elements, they have been ingeniously combined with a modern glass construction as a roof.
But it is not only the impressive architecture that will make you feel welcome in this place. You will notice that it is a family business in every corner. They have their own herbal and vegetable garden and a playhouse for kids outside.What kind of food do they serve?
The fusion of modern and traditional elements is not only present in the comfortable atmosphere of the place but also in the culinary creations. While the influences of different cultures are noticeable in the plates offered, the preparation methods and ingredients are mainly local and traditional. Prudencia also applies various techniques that allow the food to slowly develop its flavors like smoking or fermentation.
The owners like to push themselves to be creative and offer a daily different menu that is also dependent on the availability of ingredients at the market. The local sourcing of produce is as important to them as a balanced and healthy composition of their meals. You can check their daily menu on their Facebook page
. What should I order?
Eating at Prudencia is following the journey of their experimental and ever-changing dishes. Recommending one dish would simply lead to the disappointment of not finding it on the menu. Instead let the kitchen surprise you with their daily specials.Helpful Information
They are located in the historical center of La Candelaria. The address is Cra. 2 #1134 and you can get the directions here
Note that they are only open for lunch (Monday to Saturday 12 pm - 4 pm). This way, Prudencia is the perfect pit stop on your city tour and you’ll be able to enjoy the rays of Andean sun falling through the impressive glass roof.
Reservations are especially recommended between Thursday and Saturday.Price Ranking
Lunch menu 59.000 pesos (US$ 18)
3. Club Colombia
Image source: https://www.atrapalo.com.co/restaurantes/club-colombia_f11964.htmlWhat makes this place special?
If you’ve already discovered some Colombian beer brands, you have probably seen the name Club Colombia. The restaurant, however, goes much further than serving bottled beer. Starting from the homely atmosphere of the place and continuing throughout the typical Colombian dishes you can try here, this place is an experience.
An experience of the country they value very much. They have dedicated their work and their dishes to all Colombian mothers, abuelas (grandmothers) and everyone who preserves the traditions of the Colombian kitchen. Humorously they admit that their sazón, the special taste of the food, will probably never be able to compete with their grandmother’s one. However, they are passionate about serving every guest with the best Colombia has to offer.What kind of food do they serve?
The goal of Club Colombia is to be 100% Colombian and this is visible on their menu. If you want to try the unaltered classics of the country, this is your place to go. You will quickly discover that most dishes are influenced by the region they originated from. This is characteristic of the local kitchen.
Looking at the menu you’ll find endless choices from the different Colombian departments, regions or cities like ceviche from the pacific region, carimañolas from Cartagena, empanadas from Bogotá and Popayán, chorizo from Caldas or from Santa Rosa paired with Arepa, puerquitas from Valle de Cauca and many more specialties.
* carimañolas are meat-pies in torpedo-shaped yuca fritters
** puerquitas are fried plantain balls with a fillingWhat should I order?
The choices are just endless, so if you go with a few friends, its a good idea to order several things and share. This way you’ll get to try more of the classics.
Make sure to order a fruit juice with your meal. These are also very common across the whole country and Club Colombia offers a broad range. Some of the most typical ones that you will probably not find in your home country are lulo, guanabana and tomate del árbol.Helpful Information
The restaurant is located close to the bar scene “Zona T”. The address is Calle 82 # 9-11 and you can get the directions here
If you want to make a reservation, you can do it through their website
Their regular opening hours are from Monday to Friday 7 am to 12 am and on the weekend from 8 am to 12 am.
An extra tip: On Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays Club Colombia offers a breakfast buffet with juices, cakes, bread variations and warm dishes. There are also some Colombian breakfast staples like tamal and arepa. However, the choice of typical dishes is, of course, wider during lunch and dinner.Price Ranking
Appetizers 10.000 - 25.000 pesos (US$ 3 - 7)
Mains 40.000 - 60.000 pesos (US$ 12 - 18)
Desserts 10.000 - 15.000 pesos (US$ 3 - 4)
4. Mini Mal
Image source: https://www.facebook.com/mini.mal.3133/photos/a.1622649201308187/2046440142262422/?type=3&theaterWhat makes this place special?
The often recommended Mini mal is a place of where a modern style marks the culinary offerings as well as the atmosphere of the restaurant. The complex dishes are a well-thought-out combination of flavors that take you on a culinary journey to the most extraordinary corners of Colombia, like the Amazon and the Pacific.
For your sweet tooth, you can walk a few minutes until you find their designated store Dulce Mini mal. A bakery that sells variations of bread and desserts. Pick up a treat along with a good coffee. What kind of food do they serve?
Mini Mal is fusion food at its best. Their creations are based on modern dishes paired with Colombian ingredients on an occasionally changing menu. The chefs know the traditional local kitchen and take it to the next level with their creativity.
The fresh choices you can find on their menu are related to the typical taste and products from different regions. When it comes to sourcing those products, their intent is to create a direct relationship between the producers and the cooks, following the farm-to-table idea. What should I order?
Choose your favorite from their large choice of local juices - If you haven’t noticed by now, juices are a big thing here.
If you want to try something really experimental go for “Selva Adentro” which translates to jungle inside. You will get some classics like beef and yuca in a typical sauce topped with Amazonian ants. Yes, ants...talk about experimental kitchen! As they feed on lemongrass in their home, they have a slight lemony taste.
If you want to go for a safer but still surprising dish you should order the Palmira rolls, a perfect embodiment of the kitchen’s characteristics as they contain classic Colombian ingredients like ripe plantain and chicarrón (fried pork belly) but are served as a sushi roll.Helpful Information
The restaurant is located in Chapinero Alto as well. Their address is Trans. 4 Bis # 57 - 52 (get the directions here
Monday to Thursday they offer lunch from 12:30 pm to 3 pm and dinner from 7 pm to 10 pm (Thursdays they’re open till 11 pm) and Friday/ Saturday you can have dinner there from 12 pm to 11 pm.Price Ranking
Appetizers 12.000 - 25.000 pesos (US$ 3 - 7)
Mains 28.000 - 40.000 pesos (US$ 8 - 12)
Dessert 10.000 pesos (US$ 3)
5. Las Margaritas
Image source: https://www.historiacocina.com/paises/articulos/colombia/margaritas.htmWhat makes this place special?
What started as the simple empanada booth of Margarita Arenas in 1902 is today one of the most famous restaurants in Bogotá. If you go here, your meal will be served with a side dish of a captivating family history that dates back a century. Imagine that the restaurant has seen days where the vibrant bar and restaurant district Chapinero was still a pine forest.
A visit to Las Margaritas will take you back in time with a homely atmosphere and welcoming hosts that like to chat about the history of their family and their business.What kind of food do they serve?
Las Margaritas is another place that offers you the Colombian staples. They are passionate about preserving the tradition of their restaurant and of the local kitchen along with it. If you go here you can expect to find almost all the typical dishes - of course with regional influences.What should I order?
Clearly, you have to try their empanadas. Some say you haven’t really tried empanadas until you have eaten them there. However, if a few empanadas don’t satisfy you, the restaurant also offers other typical dishes like chicharrón, tamales and ajiaco.
A great afternoon pick-me-up is the chocolate santafereño. This is classic Colombian hot chocolate (ask them how it’s prepared) with a side of cheese to dip in the cup. This might sound a little odd but Colombian cheese is really mild so this makes a great combo.Helpful Information
The Las Margaritas is still in its original location in Chapinero. The address is Cl. 147 #91-17 (click here
Las Margaritas is closed on Mondays. They are open from 12 pm to 4 pm from Tuesday to Friday and from 8 am to 5 pm on the weekends. Price Ranking
No matter which of these restaurants you choose, you will be able to get in touch with the Colombian culture through its food. Choose Salvo Patria, Prudencia or Mini Mal if you are looking for something a little more experimental or go to Club Colombia and Las Margaritas for the Colombian staples. Anyway, you will enjoy an awesome meal with local ingredients.