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Forums Other Destination advice Bogota activity / restaurant recommendations?

  • Rhys
    HfP Staff
    190 posts

    Hi all!

    I’ll be heading to Bogota later this month to review Iberia’s new business class on the A350, staying at the Four Seasons (both of them).

    I’d love to hear your recommendations for restaurants, bars, cafes and other activities including museums. I’m there for three nights and my flights arrive early am an depart late pm so I have a substantial amount of time.

    TYIA!

    jek 123 posts

    I enjoyed taking the Monserrate Cable Car, Museo del Oro, Botero Museum, and a Walking (Food) Tour the three nights I was in Bogota in October. I can’t recommend restaurants or bars…

    Royback 115 posts

    Hi Rhys

    Matt Jones (Matts Planet was there…..here is a link to his video

    https://youtu.be/OSJRyOsV_qk?si=nH_Sa-Kef7A94boc

    Worth a watch!

    meta 1,470 posts

    Still in my top 3 restaurant experiences is El Cielo.
    It was a recommendation by the concierge of Grand Hyatt Bogotá (btw. a very nice hotel with amazing views).

    https://elcielorestaurant.com/en/home-english/

    The original branch was in Medellín, but Bogotá one is equally great. It’s like going to theatre show, but with food.

    SamG 1,683 posts

    It’s worth doing a walking tour of the downtown area (La Candelaria) during the day. Personally not an area I’d be in after dark! I haven’t been but some colleagues enjoyed a trip out to the salt cathedral

    can’t recommend anywhere specific but Zona Rosa / Zona T will have plenty of very decent high end options for cocktails and food right by the Four Seasons Bogota and Chaperino/Zona G near the other one, traffic can be horrible so it’s worth arranging plans according to your hotels

    Uber works there and I used another taxi app Tappsi. Both accept credit card in the app. Though the quality of cars can be very variable (Uber is better) so long trips e.g. downtown better to arrange something via the hotel, there wasn’t much of a mark up on any trips I took that way

    meta 1,470 posts

    You should also try hot chocolate with cheese cubes. It’s an interesting combination…

    meta 1,470 posts

    @SamG just reminded me that the concierge at GH suggested I hire a private chauffeur through the hotel, cca $30 per day for 10 hours a day incl. petrol. I ended up doing a private day tour, but this can be a good value.

    Traffic can be terrible so built extra time when moving around.

    yonasl 976 posts

    As in most of Latin/South America, use Uber and never “normal” taxis (this is from Colombian friends). I will get you a list of a few places to try from a person that lives there and I trust when it comes to eating out.

    KimK 10 posts

    Bogotá restaurants

    Prudencia
    El Chato
    Hacienda Maracay
    Leo
    Tabula

    SamG 1,683 posts

    You’re OK using the normal taxis via an app (though IIRC Rhys you’re rather tall and they’re usually rather tiny so short hops only!) but you mustn’t hail one or get in one if approached by a driver. I’m not sure if it’s an urban myth but reportedly there are various scams involving drugs or gas or you may get overcharged etc

    https://colombianbuddy.com/services/ I used these people a few times for airport transfers and “virtual buddy” but they do in person as well

    yonasl 976 posts

    Some of the recommendations from a friend that lives there:

    Vitto
    Le Grand (I tried this place for breakfast and still miss its pastries. Highly recommended)
    Llórente
    Toscana

    She also said Attik is a popular spot for drinks

    When I was there she insisted in going to Andres Carme de Res which is a very quirk chain that does all sort of Colombian specialties in very funky settings. It is one of those places that you either love or hate but can be fun to try just once.

    Rhys
    HfP Staff
    190 posts

    Thanks for all the recommendations all, we take a look in the next few days!

    cin3 168 posts

    If you get out of Bogota, check out the rest of this amazing country.

    The place is very well-touristed these days but anything outside of Medellin and Bogota sees significantly fewer gringos.

    The coffee region is lovely especially if you want to spend a few days hiking from Salento to Ibaque over Tolima.

    The south including San Augustin, Pasto, Popayan and the beautiful church at Ipiales.

    The Amazon is as good as you get in Peru and Brazil.

    I don’t like the Caribbean cost but some people do, the smaller places like Palomino, Tayrona and near to Venezuala are lovely.

    I also really like the countryside around Bucaramanga and the whole length of the Valle de Cauca.

    cin3 168 posts

    Regarding Bogota, many of the best restaurants and cultural places have now gone but there’s still a lot. Zona Rosa is pretty soulless and the bars are crap but there’s good restaurants there these days.

    El Chato, Leo and El Cielo were probably the top three meals there I had in my 2 months in 2023 but cheaper places like Mesa Franca are also very good. I think Matiz and Criterion are no longer around. Andres Carme de Res is trash and should be avoided if you care about food.

    Teatro Nacional La Castellana is a great theatre. Electronic music scene is very good.

    MAMU and MAMBO are good art museums but the best contemporary art is at El Parqueadero in the Botero complex which is probably the best art museum. Museo del Oro also a must-see.

    Use the transmilenio rather than cars during rush hour.

    elguiri 224 posts

    For some typical good food (and not expensive) try Tolù in La Plaza de Mercado de la perseverancia. It won the award for the best Ajiaco.
    Also Doña Elvira at Cll 50 # 20-26 comes highly recommended.

    Tamales for breakfast if you can.
    Mango biche for typical street snack (school kids buy this at break time)

    If you want the equivalent of a Full English, find a place that offers a good bandeja paisa – although really you should be in Medellin for this.

    Patacones and sancocho (soup) are great, and when out and about grab a pandebono, have arepas with cheese and add honey, buñuelos are traditional Xmas fare but should still be able to find some.

    For beer try the BBC (Bogotá Beer Company)
    Otherwise the Club Colombia Oro/Roja/Negra are good amber/brown/dark beers.
    Águila is lager and better for the hot coastal region where you just need refreshing (and they mix it with Kola Roman, a bit like our shandy, but instead of lemonade it’s a vimto lookalike and bright red in colour).
    For soft drink try the aguapanela or some of the many fruit juices (lulo, guanábana, tomate de árbol, coroso…)

    If you go to a Caribbean restaurant make sure to have plátano and arroz con coco with your fish dish.

    On the dessert front, try bocadillo which is guava paste, often sandwiched with arequipe (dulce de leche), and definitely try the postre de tres leches!

    cin3 168 posts

    BBC has gone downhill in the last decade. There are now exciting craft beer options actually available.

    It would feel very very wrong to eat a bandeja paisa in Bogota and I can’t think of anywhere that does a good one.

    I think pandebono, bunelos, patacones, tamales and Colombian arepas are amongst some of the worst food in the world. Their soups especially the ajiaco are excellend though.

    Forgot the most important thing – try all the amazing fruit from the market that you can’t get in the rest of the world: my faves are lulo (get a few luladas), gulupa, granadilla, guanabana, mora, curuba, guayaba, feijoa and maracuya. Worth also getting a freshly prepared chontaduro from the market too.

    elguiri 224 posts

    BBC has gone downhill in the last decade. There are now exciting craft beer options actually available.

    It would feel very very wrong to eat a bandeja paisa in Bogota and I can’t think of anywhere that does a good one.

    I think pandebono, bunelos, patacones, tamales and Colombian arepas are amongst some of the worst food in the world. Their soups especially the ajiaco are excellend though.

    You obviously haven’t tried any good ones then, bunuelos, patacones and arepas are all sold in other countries where people have a much bigger choice of alternatives, yet they sell well. I know our local colombian eatery has now expanded to two locations here and is planning its third later this year…

    Cat 126 posts

    Sorry to have not replied to this Rhys – me being me, I left Bohmgota straight away, and headed for the mountains!

    I hope you have a blast! I’m looking forward to reading all about it!

    zapato1060 720 posts

    I think pandebono, bunelos, patacones, tamales and Colombian arepas are amongst some of the worst food in the world.

    This is one of those “what in the world?!” comments you see once in a while. Then he/she goes onto correctly state some very nice fruit so I do not know if he/she was initially trolling.

    meta 1,470 posts

    I’ve certainly had fresh guanabana, goayaba, maracuyá, feijoa outside Colombia…

    cin3 168 posts

    I think pandebono, bunelos, patacones, tamales and Colombian arepas are amongst some of the worst food in the world.

    This is one of those “what in the world?!” comments you see once in a while. Then he/she goes onto correctly state some very nice fruit so I do not know if he/she was initially trolling.

    Not remotely trolling, I’m 100% serious. They are objectively bad and part of the reason why Colombian food has such a poor reputation in Latin America. Just bland boring stodge. Other countries’ versions are often better e.g. tamales can be very good in Mexico but patacones are almost always bad as are arepas even the better Venezuelan ones.

    Luckily there’s tons of amazing food in Colombia beyond these.

    I’ve certainly had fresh guanabana, goayaba, maracuyá, feijoa outside Colombia…

    Pray tell where? I’ve guanabana in some places outside the tropics and maybe something similar to a Colombian maracuyá but can’t recall seeing most of the others in Europe for example.

    elguiri 224 posts

    I think pandebono, bunelos, patacones, tamales and Colombian arepas are amongst some of the worst food in the world.

    This is one of those “what in the world?!” comments you see once in a while. Then he/she goes onto correctly state some very nice fruit so I do not know if he/she was initially trolling.

    Not remotely trolling, I’m 100% serious. They are objectively bad and part of the reason why Colombian food has such a poor reputation in Latin America. Just bland boring stodge. Other countries’ versions are often better e.g. tamales can be very good in Mexico but patacones are almost always bad as are arepas even the better Venezuelan ones.

    Luckily there’s tons of amazing food in Colombia beyond these.

    I’ve certainly had fresh guanabana, goayaba, maracuyá, feijoa outside Colombia…

    Pray tell where? I’ve guanabana in some places outside the tropics and maybe something similar to a Colombian maracuyá but can’t recall seeing most of the others in Europe for example.

    Guanabana in el Corte Ingles in Spain. (https://www.elcorteingles.es/supermercado/0110118101700104-guanabana-al-peso/)
    Other fruit you can find if you go to local markets in areas populated by Latin Americans (or other ‘exotic’ countries). Around London, Frankfurt and various towns in Spain we have picked up many of the fruits of Colombia.

    Again I’d counter the argument about patacones completely. They can be so succulent, flavoured with so many different toppings, it’s like saying pasta is really bad. We ate them in Barbados too where it is also a staple, and never have fewer than 6 plantains on the counter at home at any time.

    With arepas if you haven’t had good ones you wouldn’t know they could exist, but they do. Agree that Venezuelan ones are also good.

    yonasl 976 posts

    Arepa paisa (mostly eaten in the centre of Colombia like Medellin) are quite insipid when compared to the arepa con huevo of the Caribbean (maybe that one is closer to the Venezuelan version?)

    Colombian food can be a little more bland than that of Mexico or Peru but is by no means bad.

    meta 1,470 posts

    I’ve had maracuyá (same as in Colombia) in West Africa for example (locally grown) and yes you can get it in pretty much any other South American country. You can buy them in Europe (I’ve even bought guanabana once with my local fruit shop in London), but taste is not as good.

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