A vacation isn’t just about sipping cocktails by the beach and lazing around the pool. It’s about indulging all your senses… not least your belly. Treating yourself to some local cuisine is always a highlight of a trip abroad, especially if that place has become something of a hot foodie destination. In the last few years, Cartagena, Colombia has become exactly that. With regional delicacies like fried fish plate, Cazuela de Mariscos, Camarones al Ajillo and Posta Negra on the menu, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to indulge your inner glutton. But where should you be eating? Where are you guaranteed the best food with the best service? Stay tuned to find out as we guide you through the 10 Best restuarants in Cartagena, Colombia.
1. Lila's Pomarossa
Where: Carrera 8 39 100, Cartagena 130001 Colombia
With its mix of Caribbean and Latin dishes, Lila's Pomarossa is a firm favorite with the locals of Cartagena, and little wonder. Menu highlights include fried octopus, watermelon burrata, pork elbow, smoked fish empanadas, and shrimp cooked one hundred and one ways to heaven.
2. La Cevichería
Where: Calle Stuart 714, Cartagena Colombia
If you’re in Cartagena, the only excuse you have not to try ceviche is a seafood allergy. And where better to try the celebrated national dish than at La Cevichería? Expect the freshest fish, the liveliest flavors, and a lightness of touch that makes the ingredients sing. Just be sure to turn up bang on the stoke of opening time – leave it any later and you’ll struggle to find a seat.
3. El Santisimo
Where: Calle Del Torno # 39 - 76 Cartagena de Indias, Cartagena 00000 Colombia
Ranked as one of kimkim.com’s top places to eat in Cartagena, El Santisimo is a riot of creativity, innovation, and, most importantly of all, incredible food. The main menu offers a fine selection of seafood and meat dishes, but its the dessert menu and its theme of the seven deadly sins that’s the real standout. The wine list is extensive (albeit slightly expensive), while the service and ambiance are outstanding.
Where: Calle del Colegio No. 34-24 Centro Historico, Cartagena 130001 Colombia
Alquimico might serve great food (don’t miss the grilled octopus and spicy meatballs) but it’s the décor that makes it stand out from the rest. Set over three stories in a former shoe store, its gorgeous blend of luxurious velvet carpets, soaring ceilings, art décor flourishes, and imposing columns gives the impression of having come straight for the roaring 20s. The craft cocktail menu, meanwhile, is too tempting to resist.
5. La Cocina de Pepina
Where: Callejon Vargas Entre Arsenal y Calle Larga Getsemani, Calle 25#9a-06 Local 2 Casa Amarilla, Cartagena 13001 Colombia
If you want a truly authentic Columbian experience, head to La Cocina de Pepina. This old school diner serves up traditional dishes that manage to be big on flavor and small on price. Menu highlights include the mote de queso (a deliciously thick and creamy cheese and yam stew) and stuffed peppers.
6. Gran Inka Gastrobar
Where: Carrera 6 32 62 Calle del Candilejo, Cartagena 130001 Colombia
Gran Inka Gastrobar is a gastrobar with a difference. Serving up a fine collection of seafood dishes (don’t miss the flambéed calamari) that are big on flavor and executed to perfection, it’s the perfect place for a lazy lunch or celebratory dinner. The ambiance is intoxicating, while the team of front-room staff goes out of their way to deliver an outstandingly personalized, welcoming service.
7. La Tapería
Where: Calle el vicario de Santa Teresa carrera 2 # 31-46, Cartagena 130001 Colombia
La Tapería is a tiny little tapas restaurant tucked away up an almost impossible to find side street. But if you do manage to find it, you’re in for a treat. A favorite among locals for its inspired blend of Mediterranean and Columbian dishes, it’s a must-visit for seafood lovers.
Where: Calle 38 # 8-19 Calle Del Santisimo, Cartagena Colombia
According to theculturetrip.com, Carmen ranks as one of Cartagena’s best restaurants. We don’t disagree. Its contemporary interior and tranquil outdoor seating area are perfectly complemented by a menu that blends classic Columbian flavors with modern innovation. Service is first-rate, and the award-winning wine list is surprisingly affordable.
9. Zaitún Cartagena
Where: Calle De Ayos Calle 35 #34-37 Local 3, Cartagena 10001 Colombia
If you want to try Columbian fusion food, there’s only one place to head - Zaitún Cartagena. The eggplants rolls are a must-try, while the falafel are, if an unusual addition to the menu of a Columbian restaurant, a very welcome one. Prices are reasonable and the atmosphere is lively and warming as the food.
10. El Arsenal: The Rum Box
Where: Carrera 24 # 8B-19 Calle Del Arsenal, Cartagena 130003 Colombia
El Arsenal: The Rum Box occupies the top spot on Trip Advisor’s round-up of Cartagena’s best restaurants. Looking at some of the reviews, it’s not hard to see the attraction. “Five stars is not enough to thank the incredible staff for being so friendly and attentive. And the food was absolutely amazing! I don't think I've ever had a better dining experience anywhere! I wish I could return many more times,” one reviewer has said, with a 2nd adding to the positive feedback with “El Arsenal is truly a gem. Beside getting a sip of rum with chocolate as soon as you sit down, the staff is truly friendly and are happy to see you. The food is excellent. We loved the food and the friendly staff we went back a second time. We had the fish, sausage, pork chops, ceviche and everything was fresh & flavorful. It is a small restaurant, so during the busy season & weekends it fills up fast. No disappointments at all. Only enjoyment!”
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Written by Liz Flynn
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