An Adventurer’s Guide to Cartagena: What to Eat
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Part 2 of 3 Cartagena is a foodie’s paradise (or really, anyone who enjoys eating) and it is as affordable as it is delicious. Seafood is the city’s speciality (Ceviche is the iconic dish) but really you can’t go wrong whatever you eat. Cartagena’s food is a fusion of flavours from Colombia, the Caribbean, Europe and beyond, and some of the best chefs in the world have restaurants here. Fair warning, some of my recommendations don’t quite fit the student budget as I decided that I wanted to splurge and try a few of the best restaurants in the city while I was there - but fear not, you can also get fantastic meals in Cartagena for less than a fiver! Breakfast Cartagena takes breakfast/brunch to a whole new level and it is all amazingly affordable. My favourite places were:
- Crepes and Waffles: home to the best ice cream I ever had and a menu that goes for days, I ended up going twice because I loved it so much, also great for lunch.
- Café Epoca: come to this chic little café with a big appetite for delicious pancakes, omelettes, and the best Colombian coffee in the city.
- Beiyu: this adorable gem in Getsemani has the most amazing acai bowls, sandwiches and more smoothies than you can imagine (plus coffee with the best latte art).
- Mila: this historic, picturesque bakery hits the sweet tooth with amazing pancakes, brownies, juices and coffee.
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- El Bistro: historic Cartagena lunch spot with lots of character and classic Colombian food.
- Marzola Parilla: This Argentinian restaurant is known for its meat and its crazy décor, the whole walls and ceiling covered in bottle caps and memorabilia.
- Rosa Mezcal: quirky Mexican place with Frida Kahlo inspired pink décor, delicious tacos and refreshing frozen margaritas.
- 1621*: Without a doubt the nicest place I ate at, 1621 is the crème de la crème of Colombian eating. Situated inside a classic Colonial mansion, you can eat meals that are more like works of art in the romantic garden Courtyard served by waiters in tuxedos and gloves. I justified it to myself because in London my meal would’ve cost 5 times as much, and while your wallet might not thank you your stomach will.
- Carmen*: This was arguably my favourite meal of my whole trip, and easily some of the best food I’ve ever had in my life. This chic modern restaurant prepares Colombian delicacies with a modern twist and has unforgettable cocktails.
- Malagana: This hidden gem in Getsemani has the cutest rooftop where you can enjoy fresh-made cocktails and amazing Colombian-meets-comfort food while you listen to the bustle of the streets below.
- Cuba 1940: The food at this Cuban restaurant doesn’t quite live up to the ones I’ve already mentioned, but it makes the list because of their incredible mojitos (house speciality), the pool in the middle of the restaurant with overhanging plants and their great live music.