Colombia Food Diary

So many great things about Colombia. This was probably my favorite country so far including the food.


My first few days didn’t start off on a good note as I was dealing with an illness but still managed to try out a few establishments in Cartagena.

Walled City of Cartegena

Unknown Indian restaurant – Different palate flavor from what I’ve had but good nonetheless. And the mango lasse was really refreshing in the Cartagena heat. ($6-7)

Butter chicken

Castallenos – This was called a seafood casserole but more of a soup. The seafood was tender but it was a bit salty. I had to ask for more bread to balance it out a bit. The jamón app was delicious though. ($18)

Seafood casserole

One Day Hostel – This is a pretty traditional Colombian breakfast; arepa (basically a thick tortilla made with corn and slightly sweet), eggs, and fruit. It’s usually served with coffee or hot chocolate. A lot of the hostels provide this type of breakfast included in the price. (Free with the stay)

Free breakfast!

Sandillos – This is a cute little juice and lunch spot. I got the jamón and local soft queso and a mango/passionfruit smoothie. ($5-6)

Creamy soft cheeeeeese
Love the smoothies in South America!

Unknown local restaurant (Cartagena) – This is usually a cheap lunch option which I was lucky to find for dinner. Fried whole fish with beans, coconut rice, salad, soup, and beverage. ($3-4)


I spent about a week in the City of the Eternal Spring and loved every minute of it. The city has so much history and its reflected in the people and food.

View from the Metrocable to Arví Park

Unknown local restaurant – This monster is known as Bandeja Paisa. It’s a very traditional dish for people from the Antioqilla region. Let’s run down the list: rice, beans, carne (beef or pork), chicharrón, fried egg, chorizo, avocado, arepa, and a little bit of salad. Yea, I ate it all and felt amazing and terrible afterward. ($3-4)

So much goodness…

Unknown restaurant near Arví Park – This is a Colombian tamale. It is huge and packed with indistinguishable meat and veggies. This wasn’t the best version of tamale but very filling. ($2-3)

Chicken or pork?

El Güero Taqueria Manila – This hip neighborhood spot in El Poblado serves some really nice taco similar to the upscale taco joints in the States. ($4 for both)

Al pastor and chicken mole

Any corner restaurant or fried food stand – Look for anything fried and delicious. ($0.50-1)

Fried potato and ground meat

Cafe Al Alma – Colombia is known for its coffee, right? This cappuccino was exactly what I needed for an afternoon pick-me-up. ($1-2)

Cool logo

Tal Cual – TripAdvisor does it again. This place was the definition of fusion. The plate of tender calamari, shrimp, fish, mussels, and clams came with tangy criolle salsa and a tart green sauce. The complimentary “bread” was this massive cracker puff of some sort. Kind of like Indian papadum but better and with a garlic dipping sauce. Along with a pitcher of sangria, this place hit all the sweet spots. And the presentation and service was amazing! ($16-18 including the sangria)

Amazing seafood dish

Any empanada shop (Medellín) – These small stores are all over the city selling these fried bundles of joy. All the ones I’ve seen in Colombia are fried and usually filled with beef, chicken, or potatoes.  The best ones I had were from a cart where they were being made by hand and fried fresh. ($0.25-$0.50)

Colombia loves fried everything!

Unknown Peruvian restaurant – This was a very casual place serving up some traditional plates and sandwiches near the Purple Monkey Hostel. I got the lomo saltado which is stir-fried beef loin with onions on top of French fries and rice. ($7-8)

Lomo saltado

La Causa – This is another highly rated TripAdvisor Peruvian restaurant in the El Poblado area. A few of us shared this appetizer of ceviche, fried shrimp, and prawns. My entree was similar to a seafood risotto/paella. ($16 including a beer)

Appetizer of ceviche, fried shrimp, and prawns
Seafood risotto

Unknown seafood restaurant – This place was right by my Airbnb. There’s no menu and lots of outdoor seating. I was only given two options: whole fried red snapper or the meal of the day. I chose the former as this was my last meal in the city. The fish was huge and cooked perfectly. It came with the best coconut rice I’ve ever had. ($9-10)

Arroz con coco

Unknown airport restaurant – This was a take on Bandeja Paisa all on an arepa. This wasn’t the best but filling and satisfying. ($6-7)


Bogota is known for its amazing food. I only a few days in the capital so I was limited in the quantity but the quality was superb.

Views from Monserrate repping Atlético Nacional

Local restaurant right outside el Mercado La Concordia – This was recommended from the walking tour guide. I got the meal of the day which included traditional Ajiaco soup, chicken, steak, rice, potatoes, and guacamole. Everything was delicious and came with juice as well! ($3)

Bogotá’s most famous dish, Ajiaco soup
Meat and carbs

Opa Gyros – Came here for a quick dinner with some hostel mates. I got the lamb and chicken gyro. The house-made tzatziki was delicious. ($6 including a beer)

That’s it for Colombia. This was some of the best and most affordable food in Latin America. I am certainly coming back to this amazing country. Who wants to come with?!