Hidden gems in Bogotá, #1: Food

There’s no doubt that Bogotá is growing and becoming more international. That combined with the amazing food scene… what do you get? A huge and awesome melting pot of restaurants from all around the world, countries you didn’t even know what they really eat. (Which reminds us, what do they eat in Serbia?). We are huge foodies. We are always on the lookout for new and hidden places where you can really enjoy a nice meal, and we’ve decided to share this with you!

Wakei Sushi Izakaya ($$$)
First up, sushi! This is really one of the most authentic Japanese restaurants we’ve been to in our lives. Although Bogotá still needs to catch up with the availability of Asian cuisine compared to some other cities, this really does do you justice. This humble hole-in-the-wall restaurant serves fresh fish and amazing traditional Japanese dishes while giving you great hospitality. Anyone really needing some real Japanese food, go here! PS: Reservation is essential.

Price range: normal dishes cost from 15,000 COP(USD$5) to 30,000(USD$11) and a piece of nigiri ranges from 6,000 COP(USD$3) to 20,000 COP(USD$7) for special cuts such as sea urchin and bluefin tuna. MAP

La Castaña ($$)
This is one of those very cozy restaurants that give you a nice homey feeling. La Castaña has a nice menu with a great selection of dishes, Colombian but mostly foreign. The most important thing you need to know about this place is the baked Argentinian empanadas. Filled with different flavors and meats, these big baked-goods are a nice change from their typical Colombian sisters. You can go there for breakfast, lunch, or an afternoon snack. It is one of the best places to be on a rainy afternoon for some snacks and a cup of coffee, or if that’s not your cup of tea, well… get tea! They also have a mini-mart inside with homemade and organic oils and condiments. MAP

Price range: approx. 25,000 – 30,000 COP(USD$8 – 11) per person

Pastas Toscana ($)

Coming here is an old tradition of Bogota families. Go here on a weekend and you’ll see whole families enjoying their quality time together, from grandparents to grandkids. Of course, we wouldn’t say this is Italy-grade Italian food, but they make tasty pasta. All the pasta dough are freshly made there and the meat, as well as vegetarian sauces, are great. For a nice value for money, you can get a full round belly after eating here. We personally recommend both the lasagna bolognesa and the vegetarian version. MAP

Price range: 15,000 – 20,000 COP(USD$5 – 7) per person.

Sandwich Taller ($$)

If you like beans and meat and costeño food – from the Caribbean coast of Colombia, but at the same time some authentic creations, head over to Sandwich Taller. They’ve put the usual Colombian dishes in between two homemade buns and turned them into sandwiches! This is definitely another one of our personal favorites. This tiny, tiny restaurant really does offer everything you need. The great music and atmosphere, amazing and fun staff, artisanal beers, and awesome sandwiches all contribute to this never-disappointing sandwich joint. MAP

Price range: 24,000 – 32,000 COP(USD$8 – 11) per person

La Arepera ($)

Sorry, Colombia, but our love for you does not include arepas. You have probably heard of the constant small rivalries between Colombia and Venezuela; whose empanadas are better, whose women are prettier, whose arepas are better… well, we’re going with Venezuela on this one. La Arepera is a small Venezuelan arepa joint run by two friends. These crispy arepas filled with different kinds of stuffing such as avocado, cheese, chicken, meat, etc., along with a glass of fruit juice, is perfect for a nice light dinner. We are not big fans of arepas, but when Venezuelans make them, they are delicious. MAP

Price range: 5,000 – 11,000 COP(USD$2 – 4) per person.

Tapas Macarena ($$$)

You can never go wrong with tapas, especially when the restaurant is a tiny corner in one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in the city. Tapas Macarena, Sandwich Taller’s neighbor, is a great place for any occasion; a romantic dinner or just a friendly get-together. They offer different chorizo and cheese platters and all the other Spanish delicacies. Very recommended: Try all three types of sangria. This cozy, familiar restaurant lets you sit right beside the kitchen so you know what’s going right to your plate. Another recommendation: Do it Spanish style! Order as many dishes as possible and try them all. MAP

Price range: each dish costs about 25,000 – 38,000 COP(USD$8 – 13) while platters are a little more pricey.

Bonus:

El 604 ($$$)

An experience like no other, El 604 is set in apartment number 604 in Bogotá. Lead by chef Ximena Leal, a Colombian whose family originally came from Mexico, El 604 offers you a private and secret culinary experience just in this one apartment. The location is unknown until you reserve your Mexican dinner. Ximena will cook you perfected selections of Mexican street food. Only available on Fridays, make sure to reserve well in advance to meet Ximena and her husband and enjoy a four-course meal with unlimited margaritas.

Price range: 90,000 COP(USD$30) per person

Bogotá is a mine with thousands of gems to be discovered. This country and city are still broading their connections and have the potential for a lot more! Stay tuned for more about this awesome city. Enjoy it!

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