Comments on my Cartagena Reservations?
Based on input from the board and various articles, the following is my Cartagena dining itinerary for end of April. Appreciate any comments or suggested changes:
Friday, 4/24: Juan del Mar
Saturday, 4/25: La Vitrola (already have reservations)
Sunday, 4/26: Palma OR 8-18 (both seem similar, which is better one???)
Monday, 4/27: Oh La La
Honorable mention and possible replacement restaurant: Guantanamera
You'll love La Vitrola. I thought 8-18 was also very good, but not quite as good as La Vitrola.
These are not places that require a reservation and they're probably better for lunch, but you should consider La Dulceria in Bocagrande, Club de Pesca, and Cevicheria. They're all fantastic.
Great...thanks....I'm heading off to Medellin afterwards where I heard the cuisine is not anywhere close to Cartagena....however, internet research has generated a couple of leads including Herbario, Cafe Le Gris, and Mezeler. I will report back as Colombia seems to be increasing in popularity as a tourist destination these days.
re: El Chevere
You are right that Medellin's restaurant scene does not stack up to Cartagena's. However, Medellin is making progress. Herbario is a great option. Cafe Le Gris is fine, but I think it is fine in the context of Medellin -- it wouldn't stand out in many other cities around the world.
Another good option is Anita, Le Cafitiere (or something like that). It's across the street from Oviedo Mall and it's a very modern, elegant restaurant that serves very good food. The chef was trained in France and does a really nice job with the ingredients she has available.
You might also try Mondongos Y Sancochos Exquisitos (I think that's the name -- it's a tiny, old place in Poblado, around the corner from the big church that overlooks the park). They basically sell two items on the menu and both are outstanding. It's authentic and feels like home.
Another good option is to go up to Las Palmas along the road to the airport. There are a couple good places along the way that serve great chicharron, arepas, empanadas, and other typical foods of that area. One is Dona Rosa and I cannot remember the other place's name. You could also go to San Antonio, which is a small village near the airport that has outstanding empanadas, etc.
re: El Chevere
I have not been there, so I cannot really say. I can make a general comment about Colombian beef, though. Their beef is grassfed, so it has a different flavor than American corn-fed beef. Most people think it's a better flavor. My experience with Colombians and beef, though, is that they cook it longer than we tend to in the States, so if you like it rare, you may need to make that clear to the restaurant.