Who doesn’t like to eat? We definitely do! And one of our favorite things about Bogota is the number of great places to fill up our bellies for a great price! Here you can find food from all over the world, with great quality that can fit all budgets, from the backpacker that usually cooks in the hostel to foodies that prefer spending more to have amazing eating experiences. However, one thing is true: everyone that travels to a new country has to try their traditional dishes, as it’s an important part of the cultural experience. So, in this post, we will show you some great options for trying Colombian food in 3 different price ranges.
$: up to 12,000 COP (around USD4)
Empanadas are the locals favorite. You can find them anywhere at any time, and you will always see a Colombian eating one when they have a break. It’s a small snack made with a thin dough filled with anything your imagination can handle and then baked or fried. The typical Colombian one is made with corn dough, filled with any meat and rice/potatoes or just good ol’ plain cheese. The most important thing is the aji casero, the typical hot sauce made of chillis, lemon juice, onions, tomatoes. Henry’s Empanadas are our favorite, not only because of the empanada itself but their sauces: aji casero, spicy guacamole, and garlic sauce that Henry and co. make themselves, make a total difference. The empanada costs 1.800 pesos, but you can also get a huge meal-size “godzilla empanada” for 9.000 pesos by ordering it half a day in advance. MAP
Centro Comercial y Cultural Veracruz
The typical Colombian lunch set is called almuerzo corriente, or simply corriente, and usually comes with soup, rice, meat, sides, and a drink. The menu changes every day and the prices go from around 5000 to 12,000 COP. You can find these everywhere, but one of our favorites is located in this very small, half-empty shopping center. Just go to the end and go up the stairs, you will find 3 places to choose from. We recommend the middle one (Donde Ofelia) with the cute picnic tablecloths. It is only open during lunch time (closes by 2.30 pm) and the full set costs 6,000 COP (approx. 3 USD). You can choose the meat and the sides, the juices are also great; our vegetarian friend customizes his own plate without the meat and pays a little less. MAP
Nativo Arte y Comida
Nativo is a great option for vegetarians in Bogota. Finding meat-free food might be difficult in Colombia, but Nativo serves vegetarian pastas, rices, and other international dishes, as well as the typical Colombian lunch menu, which is the one we recommend the most. For a great price (around $10.000 COP), quality and taste, visit this restaurant in the heart of La Candelaria neighborhood. MAP
$$: up to 25.000 COP(approx. USD8) per person
Tamal Santandereano, one of the famous and most delicious tamales of the country.
Pasteleria Florida takes you back in time to the 1930’s when it was founded. There, you can enjoy the traditional breakfasts like tamal and other pastries with a good cup of Colombian coffee or the famous “chocolate santaferreño”. Make sure to have a seat in the Republican hall on the second floor, where you can actually relive the Bogota old days and be part in their tradition of having “onces”, an afternoon snack amongst different generations of Colombian families. Their milhojas de arequipe and almond tart are our personal favorites for those with a sweet tooth. MAP
Azimos is a cool cafe, and market, focused on organic food. They have amazing pancakes, but that’s not what we are here to talk about. Besides the tamal, caldo de costilla is another common breakfast dish here in Colombia and is especially great for when you are sick or hungover. Azimos serves one of the best caldos we had so far, so we had to mention it. MAP
Quinoa y Amaranto
Another one for the veggies! Quinoa y Amaranto serves healthy lunches focusing on balanced meals, whether it is vegetarian or with organic meat. Another cool thing about them is the fact that they buy their products from small local producers. Healthy and conscious! MAP
$$$: more than 25.000 COP(approx. USD8) per person
Sancocho de Gallina from the southwest of Colombia. Source
Fulanitos serves typical valluna food from the southwest of Colombia. The food and drinks are great; we recommend the sancocho de gallina to eat paired a lulada to drink, chunky lulo juice. It is branched out among 4 restaurants in the city, but we especially recommend the one in Candelaria as it has a terrace with a great view of the historic center! Make sure you make a reservation to guarantee a table with the view. MAP
Puerta de la Catedral
Located one block from the main square, the windows look out to the wall of the cathedral. It might seem like a tourist trap (just ignore all the other guys showing the laminates picture menu out front), but they actually have great traditional food. Don’t miss their ajiaco, one of the best in town, and bandeja paisa, patacon with hogao, and sancocho. It’s also a good place for having breakfast. MAP
Leonor Espinosa, one of the most significant, upcoming female chefs in the country, takes a twist on Colombian food. Her restaurant, Leo, serves modern versions and combinations of all your typical ingredients. It is considered one of the best restaurants in the country! It is definitely worth a visit! MAP
Andres Carne de Res
Andres is in every Bogota guide, but we have to mention it. The 2 km2 restaurant is not your traditional one. Different from anything we have ever seen anywhere, with its crazy decorations, actors and entertainers going around tables, dancefloors and of course, great food! Especially beef. It’s a mix of restaurant and nightclub, so we recommend going for dinner and stay on for drinks! The original one is a few miles north of Bogota in a town called Chia and Andres DC is in the famous zona T, around calle 85. For the unique experience you will never find again we really recommend going to Chia. In some nights they charge a cover entrance fee, so be prepared to spend a little more than the usual Colombian night out. MAP
Bandeja Paisa: Colombia’s Superstar. Greasy, Meaty, and Delicious
What better way to try as many of Colombia’s local fruits, foods and drinks at once than our Free Food Tour? If you are into trying a little bit of all the Colombian delights like pan de bono, arepa, obleas and much more, check out our Free Tour which runs Monday to Friday at 2pm. For more information and reservations, visit our page.
BY BEYOND COLOMBIA