The wooden front of the French restaurant Bonaparte seems taken from a movie set, and somewhat out of place in the heart of Bogotá’s Plaza de Bolívar – perched one block north of the Republican Mayoralty – and among the vintage window displays of the Calle 11.
Bonaparte is about the powers that be, and of course, its name lives up to a larger than life reputation. On any given weekday, especially during those busy lunches, the brokers, bankers and lawyers working the halls of the nearby Supreme Court, National Congress and Ministry of Communications converge over crepes and a menu as traditionally French as can be found in the capital.
With its distinctive lace curtains and menu posted near the swinging main door, Jacky Pinaut, is the proprietor of Bonaparte, and a cook turned businessman, who personally greets each guest, having stepped foot in Colombia two decades ago.
Falling in love with the country and having learned the art of crepes cooking in central France, were he was living, Pinault was first a regular at Bonaparte and later its owner, after he took the bold decision to buy the business when its founding owner returned back home.
Jacky Pinaut has been at the helm of Bonaparte for 14 years and remains loyal to his authentic French menu and signature crepes. One of the house favorites – the smoked salmon crepe. The restaurant also offers a carefully chosen selection of wines from across France, especially Bordeaux, all of which are reasonably priced. The dining experience is enhanced by a music selection of French chansons and photographs decked on walls showing different parts of the mother country’s bountiful countryside.
Bonaparte’s crepes can be enjoyed as both savory and sweet, as entrees or desserts. There is a Berrichonne Chicken and a Banana Split, glazed with chocolate sauce, vanilla ice cream and crunchy coconut caramel.
During the week, Jacky often prepares special house dishes with market fresh poultry and game, such as a rabbit in stew, or duck platter. The house also offers guests a three-cheese platter made up of goat, brie and camembert.
Bonaparte is an affordable French restaurant in the heart of Bogotá. It’s central location, an honest and hearty option to international dining, makes it is good option when walking La Candelaria or just dropping by for a not so power lunch.
Carrera 8 No. 11-19