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Where to eat in Cartagena?

I'm going to Cartagena soon and will be organizing dinners for 8-10 people each night. It will be a fairly adventurous group, willing to try most anything (not that Colombian food is incredibly exotic, mind you). Any recommendations?

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  1. I'm Colombian, but haven't been in Cartagena in a while... My dad's favorite is Nautilus, he cant stop going there.
    I personally recommend "EL Kiosko de Bony" in front of the "Hotel El Caribe". It is really a kiosk on the beach with the best fish I've ever tried in my life. Nothing fancy, regular people, but, delicious.

    Buena Suerte!!

    1 Reply
    1. re: limopa

      Thanks... any recommendations for a place to grab drinks before dinner? Nice view, nice people watching, etc. -- that type of thing.

    2. It's been a few years, but Club de Pesca used to be the 'special' dinner place. built on the ruins of a colonial fortress, the tables are right on the water next to the harbor. fantastic setting, but honestly I don't remember if the food was exceptional. def worth a try, though.

      1. I just joined Chowhound and don't know if message is late. Anyway, I am from Cartagena and know many good restaurants. In capital letters are the don't miss them:

        Expensive but good: RESTAURANTE ARABE, 8-18, La Bruschetta, LA VITROLA, El Santisimo

        Medium priced: PIZZA LUNA, La Enoteca, El Muelle del Chef, Donde Olano, Costillitas Argentinas, Teriyaki.

        Really Good Fast Food or Delicatessen: DEL OTOYAL, Hamburguesas El Corral, LA DULCERIA.

        Bon apetite.

        1. I'm back from my vacation in Cartagena and thought I would give a report on the restaurants.

          La Vitrola was hands-down the best restaurant we ate at in Cartagena. Great setting, fantastic service, and most importantly, great food. The carpaccio dishes were especially good.

          La Dulceria was a really good lunch place -- good sandwiches and desserts. Their baklava is especially good.

          8-18 was a disappointment. The food was OK, but the service was arrogant and the prices were too high. I was not impressed.

          Club de Pesca was a great spot for lunch, especially underneath the giant tree on the patio. the food was excellent and they make very good drinks.

          El Santisimo was very good, but it was not quite as good at La Vitrola.

          Cartagena is a great, beautiful city...

          1. Hey, did you go to Cartagena? I'm going shortly and am looking for where to eat...

            3 Replies
            1. re: Nicky Brooklyn

              Yes, I went. The restaurants there were wonderful, especially in contrast to Medellin, where I had been earlier in the week. The best restaurant we ate at was La Vitrola -- a wonderful restaurant by any definition. For lunch, I highly recommend La Dulceria -- the sandwiches and sweets are fantastic. Another very good option for lunch would be Club de Pesca, which has a great location and good food. We went to some other places, but those were the three best.

              1. re: Nicky Brooklyn

                I am glad Glutton had a good time. You can see my recomendations of July 23. Don't miss "La Vitrola", "Restaurante Arabe" (ask for dessert Pistachio Ice cream, unbelievably delicious), the beef kabob's in "El Otoyal" in Bocagrande on 4th Avenue diagonal to Carulla Supermarket. Enjoy.

                1. re: Fuad

                  I would also suggest trying some of the coconut sweets that you see sold all over the city, often on the street. There are lots of varieties, but I loved the coconut mixed with really sweet cane sugar and cooked until it caramelized. So good.


                1. For those headed to Cartagena in the future, a few places to try-I see some are already listed. I am half Colombian (my mother is from Cartagena) and I never get tired of visiting!

                  Enoteca - Italian, in El Centro
                  San Pedro Claver Restaurant in San Pedro Claver Square (it's a yellow building, you can dine in or outdoors)
                  La Tinaja- AWESOME Colombian food. Near El Centro. Dine outdoor under gazebos.
                  Cafe del Santisimo - El Centro
                  For some good fresh juice and wonderful coconut macaroons-Pan De Bono in Boca Grande!

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: HeatherFL

                    We had dinner at Santisimo and while I would say that it is pretty good, I thought La Vitrola was much, much better.

                    Enoteca is definitely a good spot.

                    1. re: glutton

                      Thanks for the recommendation on La Vitrola. I'm not familiar with it. (Unless...hmmm is it on the 2nd floor where you can dine on a balcony?) A definite must try next time I'm there! I'll have to ask my grandparents if they know it. :)

                      1. re: HeatherFL

                        No, not on the second floor. If I remember correctly, it is just around the corner from Gabriel Garcia Marquez's house/compound. It's on street level and you enter through a little wooden door into a beautiful setting. A wonderful, wonderful place.

                  2. Any ideas for a fun, young and lively place for drinks and snacks?

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Nicky Brooklyn

                      There is a nice, dimly lit bar at the Santa Clara Hotel that I thought was a cool place to hang out.

                      In the old town area, there was a plaza in front of one of the major churches (my memory escapes me at this point). Lots of tables were set up and lots of bars serviced those tables. Yes, it might be a bit touristy, but it was still a very pleasant place to sit, drinking a nice beer, watching the parade of people, looking at the well-lit church as a back-drop.

                      There is definitely a bar scene and a club scene, but I did not go out to those places on the few nights I was there last time, so I cannot really say more than that.

                      1. re: Nicky Brooklyn

                        There is a place that opened in Boca Grande that is called International something or other. I'm blanking on the name, but I'll try to remember. It's fairly new. Less than a few years old (I think.) Across the street from a popular pizza place. It's really trendy. Good place for small portions and some wine! You can sit indoors or out.

                      2. In Cartagena, if you want FANTASTIC & fresh seafood, go to Grand Chef on the beach by the airport, just before Las Americas. It's a 10 minute cab ride. You can eat in the restaurant on on the beach. In the morning, the fisherman stop by there w/ their still live fish, shrimp, squid, etc & the chef George buys what he needs.

                        Think of Diners, Drive Ins & Dives Cartagena. Laid back, non pretentious beach atmosphere. Fried Kingfish is my favorite...but the Casuela (like a Colombian seafood gumbo...WOW!!) will knock your socks off.

                        I found out the chef owner is Colombian born & American raised. If you want wonderful, authentic Cartagena cuisine w/o paying an arm & a leg...go to The Grand Chef.