I am a faithful carnivore lured by the provocative smell of a grill. So when I ventured into Armadillo right in the middle of their lunchtime rush, I realized they were no sloth to Bogotá’s busy dining scene. Having commanded control of a corner in the city’s financial district of the Calle 72 for more than a decade, Armadillo has a generous dining room with an elegant feel to it, and a catchy two-story wood and mirrored bar which gleams brightly on a sunny afternoon.
My lunch companion feverishly taps her Blackberry while we wait for a table. The staff busily ferry plates from one level to another. With an assured urban vibe, Armadillo seems comfortable as a classic Bogotá bistro.
Armadillo’s menu is inspired by California’s food fusion that swept the U.S. in the late 1980s. With dish plates such as Big Pine (Pork chops with saffron and onion jelly) Avalon Bay (Grouper with coconut and curry), Luis Obispo Los Angeles (BBQ ribs in Hoisin and orange sauce) one is firmly ensconced in an archetypical approach to freshness. I order a starter of San Diego Crab Claws with a garlic and butter dressing. The first course offerings are vast and value priced, ranging from Carpaccio of beef, salmon and octopus to lobster ceviche and the quesadillas.
Armadillo’s kitchen excels at turning out dishes that could risk being cliché, but seem comfortable here. I escaped to Alcatraz ordering a sirloin steak with a side of sautéed wild mushrooms. My tech gadget guest steers towards El Cajon, with its beef tenderloin slices in caramelized shallots. The charred crust and encased juice on both meats are excellent. The tenderloin was equally flavorful and classically combined with the sweetness of the onions. For non-beef lovers, there is a broad selection of poultry, pastas, and fish. All reasonably priced.
Not known for topping my meal off with dessert, I succumb to a plate of profiteroles that had whirled past me earlier as I waited to be seated. They were a definite showstopper. A vanilla scoop, sandwiched in a pastry orb, doused with chocolate liquid velvet. Fortunately, there were three of them and we fought over who would have the last bite.
Avant-garde culinary techniques are not to be found at Armadillo nor are their offerings simply slapped on a grill. The approach to food and service shows they are a reliable option, secure in their food niche and confident for the next rush of clients.
Carrera 5 No. 71A-05