Where and What to Eat in Medellín
Aptly named the City of Eternal Spring, Medellín’s idyllic climate provides the foundation of a great gourmet experience through a rich catalogue of home-grown fruit, vegetables and hearty dishes. Meanwhile, the Colombian city’s emergence as one of the world’s most exciting travel destinations has created a wealth of dining spots varying from cool cafés and local favourites all the way to fine dining restaurants. So, experience Medellín’s cuisine the right way, as we take you on a tantalising culinary journey through this foodie guide to Medellín.
Best restaurants in Medellín
Found in the leafy area of Carlos E. Restrepo, Ex Libris is a great place to start the day with a hearty breakfast and a strong coffee. The “Calentado Paisa” (scrambled eggs, plantain, rice mixed with refried beans and an arepa) is as Colombian as it gets, while more familiar but equally delicious options can be found in the banana pancakes or French toast. The café also doubles as a quasi-library, offering countless books for those looking to improve their Spanish, meaning an afternoon read accompanied by a slice of cake is always on the cards.
Not just a must visit for anyone vegetarian or vegan, SaludPan comes highly recommended for those of all dietary tendencies. This is in large part thanks to its set menus that offer unique, tasty combinations along with delicious fruit juices at a very affordable price (approximately 15,000 pesos or US$5). What’s more, those looking to upgrade their South American culinary skills should keep an eye out for the cooking classes offered on a monthly basis.
A trendy, candle-lit restaurant sporting comfy sofas and garden seating, Café Zorba oozes a cool, yet welcoming atmosphere. Most importantly however, Zorba has the best pizzas in town. The key to the flavour comes from the kitchen’s use of freshly sourced ingredients, while friendly, top class service makes this the perfect dining experience. Don’t miss the range of fresh sparkling juices (mint, passionfruit, ginger and basil) prepared to perfectly complement your meal.
Another charming café found in the Laureles neighbourhood that serves terrific lunches at very good prices. Vegetarian-friendly but also serving meat dishes, Naturalia whips up its Menu del Día of homemade soup, main dish and a fruit juice for 15,000 pesos. Expect original combinations and flavours that leave you extremely satisfied, and a peaceful atmosphere thanks to a cool, courtyard seating, far removed from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Restaurante Lucia – Charlee Hotel
Found in the heart of Poblado, Medellín’s fine dining hub, lies the Charlee Lifestyle Hotel and its top-notch Restaurante Lucia. If you’re seeking out the best Italian food on offer in Medellín, then look no further. Specialising in top notch cuts of meat, Restaurante Lucia also provides classic Italian pasta dishes and salads, while live music often accompanies the meal.
Widely recognized as one of Medellín’s finest eateries, Carmen takes traditional local ingredients and adds a touch of flair to create vibrant dishes that see a fusion of modern international cuisine and Colombian flavour. Carmen features a classic wooden interior complemented by a beautifully tranquil garden, aptly reflecting the verdant nature of the city.
Local food in Medellín and where to find it
At the foundation of Medellín’s most typical dishes comes rice, arepa (a corn disk), fríjoles (refried beans) and more often than not, platano (fried plantain). For those looking to really eat like a local, here are a few staple dishes that simply must be tried:
Arepa con huevos revueltos: The ever-popular corn disk accompanied with scrambled eggs, usually containing spring onion and tomato.
Bandeja Paisa: The flagship dish of Medellín, featuring rice, frijoles, arepa, avocado, salad, fried plantain, chicken or beef. Save lots of room before taking this to task!
Ajíaco: A delicious chicken soup with potatoes, herbs and corn.
Sancocho: Another hearty soup made up of fish or meat, potato, corn, plantain and served with white rice.
Tamales: Large corn parcels filled with garlic, tomato and pepper, usually accompanied by chicken or pork, and steamed in large banana leaves.
Cazuela: A common dish across many south American nations, Colombia’s cazuela tends to come in two varieties. The first (Cazuela de Mariscos), more frequently found on the Pacific and Caribbean coast, is served with shrimps, white fish and vegetables. The second, and more likely to be served in Medellín, is the Cazuela de Fríjoles complete with chorizo, potato, avocado, plantain and beans. Both are equally delicious!
Such is the pride in Colombia’s national cuisine that you can be sure to find the following dishes in every local eatery. If you are staying near Laureles then make your way to Carrera 70 (by Estadio Metro) where countless charming restaurants will serve them up. Meanwhile, those staying in Poblado can find a similar number of local eateries in and around the ever-popular Parque Lleras.
If this foodie guide to Medellín has whet your appetite, why not plan your Colombia trip today with Discover Your South America? You can pick and choose the hotels and activities you want, adjust the durations of each stay and tweak all the details; click here to browse our Colombia template tours and start personalising your trip! Alternatively, you can call us on 1 866 978 7398 (Canada and USA) or 080 8189 0438 (UK) to talk to an expert, and Discover Your South America with Surtrek!
Otherwise, keep reading our travel articles on Colombia: such as our Medellin City Guide, Beaches of Colombia vs Brazil, Top Ancient Sites in Colombia and La Feria de Cali.
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