Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.


Cartagena, Colombia

Find out where to get fresh seafood or eclectic fusion with a healthy twist.


Ready to book a trip now?
Get exclusive savings on hotel rooms.

WHERE TO EAT — CARTAGENA RESTAURANTS



Café del Santisimo
Calle del Santisimo N° 8-19
57 5 664 33 16

Seafood
13/20
$$$$$

A small Madonna is discretely tucked above a murmuring fountain on the wall of this colonial patio, and is vaguely evocative of a cloister. Yet despite its name, this is not a shrine. The devotion here is addressed to the food. The menu, playing with the name of the street, offers a “monk special dinner” and a dessert card dubbed “the sins of the nun.” Chef Federico, who hails from Medellin, has acquired a reputation here with dishes like the Perdon del Senor (the forgiveness of the Lord) which consists of prawns cooked in a mango, ginger and cilantro sauce. Also try the true Colombian meal of Carimanolas: fried yucca croquettes stuffed with ground meat with a local Caribbean sour cream.


Café San Pedro
Plaza San Pedro N° 30-11
57 5 664 18 88

Eclectic
12/20
$$$$$

Facing the San Pedro convent, this restaurant benefits from a gorgeous location right in the middle of the historical center. Chef Diego Camacho has a love for healthy food with little or no fat—a taste not very common in Colombia. Camacho is also influenced by the Asian cuisines: his “Shangaï Chicken” is cooked in a mandarin juice and his Ceviche borrows from a Thai passport. Surprisingly, he also prepares a large assortment of sushi. The place is popular and often crowded, so it’s a good idea to make reservations. Service can be a little slow.


Chef Julian
Carrera 3 N° 8-108 Boca Grande
57 5 665 56 98

Spanish
12/20
$$$$$

If you happen to be in Boca Grande, you will have no other choice than to dine at Chef Julian. This typical but genuine Spanish table is the unique restaurant of the new city. Appetizers incude chorizo ham and cheese from La Mancha, and their paellas and risottos are good.


Club de Pesca
Fuerte de Pastellito Manga
57 5 660 45 94

Seafood
12/20
$$$$$

An old limestone terrace on a quiet marina is the lovely stage of the oldest restaurant in Cartagena.  All manner of seafood is prepared simply, such as spiny lobsters and crabs. Shellfish arrives on your plate in very generous portions.


Juan Del Mar Restaurante
Plaza San Diego No. 8-12
Cartagena, Colombia
57 5 664 58 62

13/20
$$$$$

As denoted by its name, this beautiful colonial house is devoted to the sea, from the color of its walls and the maritime décor, to generous seafood menu. The fresh catch of the day is barbecued (à la plancha), grilled, fried or rare. Fish is offered in a dozen variations from Cubano-Caribbean to Marinara style. Try the Arroz Negro: paella prepared with a squid in its ink and a touch of sherry. The other attraction of Juan del Mar is Juan himself. The chef-owner, who is also a popular artist and a torero, treats his guests as friends and, between dishes, sings with the band. If you have one dinner only in Cartagena, don’t miss this one. If you're in the mood for a variation, try Juan Del Mar Mesa Italiana (57 5 664 51 08) or Juan Del Mar Pizzeria Gourmet (57 5 664 58 62), both in the same Plaza San Diego.


Quebracho
Calle Baloco N° 2-69
57 5 664 11 90

Argentine
12/20
$$$$$

Quebracho is Argentina transported to the Caribbean, and a destination for those who like meat and South American rhythms.


El Refectorio
In the hotel Sofitel- Santa Clara
Calle del Torno/ Bario de San Diego
57 5 664 60 70

Modern Continental
14/20
$$$$$

In the former convent that now hosts the posh Santa Clara-Sofitel hotel, Swiss chef Simon Buhler utilizes the best local ingredients from the sea and from the turf to elaborate a menu with a modern European profile. His specialties include a duo of crab and avocado; duckling carpaccio à l’orange; and Osso Buco with crackling rice. Desserts follow the tradition with tiramisu and warm apple pie. All this fare is perfectly executed, service is attentive, and the wine list is beautiful.


La Vitrola
Calle Baloco N° 2-01
57 5 660 07 11

Seafood
13/20
$$$$$

Remember these old phonographs with the huge copper horns? One of these, a Victrola, sits imposingly in the restaurant’s entrance, and is the centerpiece of this chic, air-conditioned, wood-panelled house frequented by the well-heeled local society. On a menu largely based on seafood, the squid carpaccio stands out as well as the prawns sautéed in curry and coconut cream. The wine list is substantial.




MORE CARTAGENA INFORMATION

This matador, Juan Vergara, is also the hip restaurateur of Juan del Mar

Cartagena Hotels
Cartagena Restaurants
Cartagena Attractions
Travel Guide Colombia
Colombia Tourism

PSG010408

Plan a voyage to a tropical paradise aboard one of GAYOT's Best Caribbean Cruises.
Get the 411 on the City of Angels. Find the city's top hotels, restaurants, attractions and more with GAYOT's guide.