Last year I looked after the pesos, which meant the pesos looked after themselves. Yes, money was a little tight and, like many a Colombian and traveller before me, I learned to eat on a budget. (Remember last year’s Budget Food Awards?)
This year, life is better – which means I’m fatter, having visited some of the swankier venues in town. I’ve dropped the ‘budget’ from my now annual food awards, although I’ve yet to eat at Club Colombia…
Here are my not-so-budget food awards:
The City’s Best Breakfast
I love breakfast more than any other meal. I was so happy to discover the English breakfast at El Pub Ingles (Kr 11#69); sitting there watching Liverpool play Chelsea with fried egg yolk leaking into your beans – it was like being at home. But there can only be one winner in this category, hello Bagatelle (Kr 11a#94). The place is expensive but worth every peso – the tower of smoked salmon and cream cheese topped off with a glass of fresh papaya juice and a pan au chocolat for, ahem, dessert will set you back about 25,000 pesos. Dress up and pretend you’re on Sex And The City… you know Samantha would.
The City’s Best Lunch
Good food doesn’t always have to break the bank. Felipan (Clle 51 #9) is probably the only restaurant in the world where the customers complain the food is too cheap! Your 8,500 pesos will cover a delicious soup, a beautifully crafted vegetarian main and a naughty dessert from a chef who started out as a baker before travelling the world and returning with more than a few culinary tricks. One of the city’s best kept secrets – you’ll love it.
The City’s Best Dinner
Despite the Colombian fondness for lunch being the main meal of the day, Bogotá’s pretty strong on dinner too. Sushigozen (Clle 94 #14) is an excellent Japanese and Usaquen’s Mediterranea de Andrei (Kr 6 #119) serves up beautiful mediterranean fare (it’s so old and authentic the roof even leaks when it rains) But I’ll always be an Italy lover – I like Isola (Zona T) but Pontevecchio (Clle 85 #12) is better. Close your eyes and imagine you’re in Italy – the tender lamb second plate is divine and you won’t go wrong with the pizza either, all washed down with a lovely glass of red.
The City’s Best Dessert
Without doubt the best category and, for me, the popular chain restaurant Wok is a hands down winner here. Forget the Asian theme, the desserts here are old-school European. I attribute my thickening waistline to the panna cotta, creme brulee, raspberry and mascarpone cheescake and sticky toffee pudding. Occasionally all in one sitting.
The City’s Best Snack
Hands up if you loathe the December rains? Yep, me too – swimming is fun in the ocean, not on the Septima. Luckily, if you happen to be in that part of town, there’s a fabulous little place to hide out. I love Cafe Samba (Kr 7 #58). Their Samba Special Sandwich (a baked chicken effort which arrives drenched in melted cheese) is deliciously decadent alongside an excellent Oreo milkshake. The Ropa Vieja is great too and there’s enough wine on the menu to stop you feeling soaked – at least for a second.
The City’s Best Cake
I’ve neglected La Macarena a bit here – a neighbourhood home to some beautiful food. But never fear, have you tried the cakes at ArteSano (Kr 4a #27)? I’ve been more than once and La Macarena is at least an hour away from my house. That probably tells you all you need to know… now where did I put that gym membership card?