Last year’s gastro scene fizzled and we’re off with plans for 2014. Here are eight places to visit, try and go back to again and again. for those who enjoy a great meal on the town, and one venue on the city’s limit.
The menu at Horacio Barbato is difficult to pin down to a certain geography or ideology. It takes a bit from here and a bit from there – paté from France, Italian gnocchi, and a British sausage – and creates a new identity. But Colombian food is the main actor here, and the star of the show is the pig (the bearded Horacio). Simple ingredients and basic cooking techniques let the flavor of the food shine through. Don’t miss the Lechón, the Codito de cerdo and prawns from the Colombian Pacific.
Part of the trusted restaurants of the Takami group, Horacio Barbato keeps its prices most fair, with main courses at $28,000 pesos.
Calle 118 No.6A – 37
The elegant retro look of the immense La Fabbrica is something to love. The Italian dishes made with artisan house-made products are something to love even more. Have a drink on the living room mezzanine in front of a fireplace and the fantastic view of the Parque 93 before choosing a table in this multi-level restaurant.
The fabulous long pastas are priced modestly from $21,900 to the shellfish charged Fruti di Mare Capellini at $39,900. Risotti at $25,000. Excellent value. They also carry (and look after) The City Paper, for that afternoon read by the 93 park, and accompanied by one of gastronomy’s great companions: an genuine Italian espresso.
Calle 93A No.13-25
Wanting to escape the Bogotá routine when it comes to taking the family out for a weekend lunch? Head up the Séptima and just beyond the city’s limits you’ll come to a typical Sabana de Bogotá village, with a family-run restaurant nestled among gardens, known as El Portico. This traditional restaurant has been serving for generations typical Colombian dishes, such as an authentic Ajiaco Santafereño and for starters, meat-filled empanadas. If in the mood for a cozy colonial setting, a roaring fireplace and very friendly service, then El Portico should become an obligatory food destination. Celebrating 50 years as a national dining establishment, we wish El Portico 50 year more!
Autopista Norte – Km 19.
Just a few steps from the National Museum and the downtown business district, Lima Canton’s open kitchen and modern design make it a classy option in the area. This restaurant is dedicated to one of Peru’s most popular cuisines, chifa, a mix of Chinese techniques with Peruvian ingredients. Try the amazing Alitas KamMen, large chicken wings filled with prawns marinated in Chinese spices and pisco. For dessert try the unusual and delicious maclau de palta, an avocado mousse with merengue topping and a kiwi sauce.
Very good value: $20,000 for a house special Chaufa and ceviches at $18,000.
Calle 30 No.6-50/54
Mr. Simon Entrecôte
Brasserie Mr. Simon Entrecôte is an informal restaurant where you can expect to get the French classics all made with the unique enthusiasm that Swiss chef Simon Buhler musters up. You can start with an onion soup and follow it up with the main attraction of the res- taurant, entrecôte served with salad and French fries. The dessert menu is brief but good; I’m a fan of the profiteroles with vanilla ice cream and topped with whipped cream, candied almonds and chocolate sauce.
Carrera 14 No.97-09
Casa is a house of surprises. The award-winning design of this renovated family home provides plenty of separate environments for a meal or a drink. Choose from a table on the first level, or walk down a few stairs to the bar and living room area, with seats by the fireplace. The outdoor patio in the back removes you from the stress of the city and takes you into a relaxing, sunlit garden. The Mediterranean influenced dishes are made with the freshest ingredients and designed to share.
Strengths: Setting and ambience. Weakness: Price for wines and limited desert menu.
Carrera 13 No.85-24
Located in Zona T, the newly opened Cabrera has a Meatpacking District vibe. The red leather booths inside give it a retro look and the partially open roof gives inside dining an outside feel. The industrial look comes from sheets of randomly placed metal and industrial piping in a get-your-attention-orange that snakes around the ceiling. The kitchen is perched on a mezzanine creatively de- signed with railroad ties and corrugated iron. The long bar just begs to be sat at, and there’s a temptingly long list of specialty cocktails. The menu is light, mostly sandwiches and hamburgers, but if you’re a steak lover, don’t miss the New York strip steak.
Carrera 12 A No.83-21
A classic venue is Niko Café. This white tablecloth restaurant focuses on seafood. It’s small, so reservations are recommended. The antipastao arabe is a platter of Middle Eastern appetizers meant to share among several people. The risottos and pastas are well prepared and service is formal, but not stuffy.
Carerra 13 No.83-48