Bogota’s restaurant scene has plenty to keep an eye on for next year. Here are eight places to visit in 2014; some new, some old and some renewed, but they are all places to try out or go back to again and again.
The menu at Horacio Barbato is difficult to pin down to a certain geography or ideology. It takes a bit from here and a bit from there – pate from France, Italian gnocchi, and a British sausage – and creates a new identity. But Colombian food is the main actor here, and the star of the show is the pig (the bearded Horacio). Simple ingredients and basic cooking techniques let the flavor of the food shine through. Don’t miss the lechon, the codito de cerdo and prawns from the Colombian Pacific.
Calle 118 #6A – 37
The posh, retro look of the immense La Fabbrica is something to love. The Italian dishes made with artisan house-made products are something to love even more. Have a drink on the living room mezzanine in front of a fireplace and the fantastic view of the Parque 93 before choosing a table in this multi-level restaurant.
Calle 93A # 13-25
Pass through the thick wooden doors of Café Amarti, keep walking back towards the kitchen where cooks put flatbreads in the wood-burning oven at a frenetic pace to keep up with the demand. Keep going until you reach the back dining area, where the high ceiling, vertical gardens and glass walls create a bright atmosphere. The long menu has all the favorite international dishes, and is a good place for pizza or pasta. For dessert try the chocolate volcano, one of the best I’ve had in Bogota.
Calle 119 #6-24
Just a few steps from the National Museum and the downtown business district, Lima Canton’s open kitchen and modern design make it a classy option in the area. This restaurant is dedicated to one of Peru’s most popular cuisines, chifa, a mix of Chinese techniques with Peruvian ingredients. Try the amazing Alitas KamMen, large chicken wings filled with prawns marinated in Chinese spices and pisco. For dessert try the unusual and delicious maclau de palta, an avocado mousse with merengue topping and a kiwi sauce.Calle 30 #6-50/54
Brasserie Mr. Simon Entrecôte is an informal restaurant where you can expect to get the French classics all made with the unique enthusiasm that Swiss chef Simon Buhler musters up. You can start with an onion soup and follow it up with the main attraction of the restaurant, entrecôte served with salad and French fries. The dessert menu is brief but good; I’m a fan of the profiteroles with vanilla ice cream and topped with whipped cream, candied almonds and chocolate sauce.
Carrera 14 #97-09
Casa is a house of surprises. A national monument, the award-winning design of this renovated house provides plenty of separate environments for a meal or a drink. Choose from the tables on the first level, or walk down a few stairs and around the corner to the bar and living room area, with seats by the fireplace inviting you to stay for a while. The outdoor patio in the back removes you from the stress of the city and takes you into a relaxing, sunlit garden. The impeccable Mediterranean food is made with the freshest ingredients and dishes are designed to share.
Carrera 13 # 85-24
Located in Zona T, the newly opened Cabrera has a Meatpacking District vibe. The red leather booths inside give it a retro look and the partially open roof gives inside dining an outside feel. The industrial look comes from sheets of randomly placed metal and industrial piping in a get-your-attention-orange that snakes around the ceiling. The kitchen is perched on a mezzanine creatively designed with railroad ties and corrugated iron. The long bar just begs to be sat at, and there’s a temptingly long list of specialty cocktails. The menu is light, mostly sandwiches and hamburgers, but if you’re a steak lover, don’t miss the New York strip steak.
Carrera 12 A #83-21
An old favorite is Niko Café, a white tablecloth Mediterranean restaurant focusing on seafood. It’s small, so reservations are necessary at almost any time. The antipastao arabe is a platter of Middle Eastern appetizers meant to share among several people. Their emphasis on using USA certified meats is a good reason to visit the restaurant, but the risottos and pastas are too.
Carerra 13 #83-48
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