There’s more to Colombia’s food scene apart from fried fish, patacones, and costeño cheese although Colombians do seem to love their costeño cheese. Aside from its mesmerizing beauty, Cartagena is the perfect place to experience Colombian food at its finest whether sampling street food favorites or breaking bread in one of the Old City’s many restaurants.
When we weren’t devouring buttery, cheesy arepas from street food vendors, we filled our bellies at these Cartagena restaurants, all of which are located within the walled city…
After our first full week in Latin America, we were ready for some different, non-Latin flavors, and so we headed to Frenchie to celebrate our first night in Cartagena. Frenchie seems to be a relatively new restaurant that specializes in savory crepes.
On the night we ate there, it was kind of late, and we were the only diners which gave the already cozy space an even more intimate feel.
I ordered a shrimp crepe while Jave ordered a chicken crepe with all sorts of creamy, mushroom-y goodness. While my crepe was good, I thought the chef definitely skimped on my shrimp since the shrimp-to-crepe ratio was off. Although I liked Jave’s crepe better, I still really enjoyed mine. My brother ordered a fish dish which came with veggies and mashed potatoes, and he really enjoyed his meal as well. If I remember correctly, our meal and drinks was just over $20 total – ¡delicioso!
Calle del Santisimo
“How do we get to La Comunión?” I asked the receptionist at our hotel’s front desk as she giggled and pointed to the door leading to the restaurant behind us.
“Well that’s convenient!” I said as we made our way through the door. I knew our hotel had a restaurant since we ate breakfast there each morning and since my brother raved about their watermelon lemonade for his afternoon refreshers, but I had no idea that it was La Comunión, one of Cartagena’s touted eateries where impassioned Chef Charlie Otero is the co-owner and chef. Chef Otero has spent much of his career researching the customs and cooking traditions of Colombian cuisine – especially Colombian coastal cuisine.
On the night we dined there, Chef Otero was on hand, chatting with someone at the table behind ours. As we mused over the menu, he approached our table and convinced us to try a dish he was experimenting with – some sort of shredded pork dish with rice. It didn’t take much for him to sway us, and we each ordered the dish which was so delicious that we cleaned our plates. And we washed it down with the watermelon lemonade my brother couldn’t stop talking about although it was a bit too sweet for my tastes.
a 39-184, Cra. 9 #3928
+57 318 5445876
A few weeks before heading to Cartagena, I recall watching an old episode of No Reservations where Anthony Bourdain dined at La Cevicheria. Wanting to know if the restaurant lived up to Bourdain’s hype, I decided to add it to our itinerary for our last dinner in Cartagena; I’m so glad I did. As its name suggests, La Cevicheria specializes in ceviche and other drool-worthy seafood dishes.
Wanting to try something beyond ceviche, I decided to try the Mulata Tropical Paella which is a medley of seafood and veggies simmered in coconut milk. The pictures really don’t do this dish justice. Jave went for the Vietnamese Rice which consists of brown rice made with coconut curry sauce, fresh seafood and small chunks of the fish of the day. I can’t remember the names of the dishes my brother and his girlfriend ordered, but we all really liked our food, and the presentation was particularly cute with our dishes served in uniquely-shaped earthenware.
By far, La Cevicheria was the priciest place we ate at while in Cartagena with some dishes on the menu costing as much as 90,000 COP (approx. $31 USD). Seeing that we were on a tight budget, we tried to keep our costs at about 50,000 COP each, and while I’m not exactly sure, I don’t believe we spent more than 120,000 COP which sounds scary, but it was really only about $40 for both of our meals.
Calle Stuart 714
+57 5 660 1492 or 5 579 5552
After walking for a good 20 minutes or so in search of La Paletteria, Jave was pretty disappointed in me when I walked out of the shop with a grape popsicle in hand.
“Grape? You ordered grape, Carmel? You could’ve gotten that at home.”
I guess I just wasn’t feeling very adventurous on the night we made the journey to La Paletteria and so I just went for what I knew. And looking back, I could kick myself for not ordering flavors such as mango biche, salpicon, or strawberries with peppermint amongst a bevy of other tropical popsicle options.
La Paletteria fuses Italian ice cream and Colombian products to make paletas de agua, paletas de cream and paletas de yogurt. And although I only tried the grape popsicle and a lick of Jave’s mango, I can vouch that this cute shop is worth a visit if you ever find yourself in need of a cold, sweet tooth fix when in Cartagena.
Diagonal a la Plaza de Santo Domingo, Calle de Ayos