[dropcap]B[/dropcap]ogotá offers many possibilities for great eating: high-end, moderately priced, inexpensive and the common budget-friendly corrientazos. Let’s not forget about those interesting street food stalls in the city’s center. If you are not a meat eater, you can find restaurants with many choices for a great veggie dish.
Bagatelle has various locations throughout the city. The one featured in this article is located on Calle 71A No.5-83. Casual and uncomplicated, the waiters were also friendly and obliging. I ordered a warm veggie salad and it came served was a very generous portion in a large deep white porcelain bowl. It was simply delicious; the bite-size vegetables were dressed with the right amount of olive oil and seasoning. I had a freshly squeezed lemonade that was great.
Baita (Cra. 5 No.69-26) offers Israeli cuisine. It was a surprise bundled in a chic, modern industrial space. The spotless open kitchen allows guests to observe the meticulous food preparation so I ordered the falafel sandwich in a pita. It was tasty, moist and seasoned to perfection. Again, I went for spearmint lemonade and it was very nice as well. The waiters were extremely courteous, professional and speak quite good English.
Suna (Calle 71 No.4 – 47) is an organic food market which has been catering to clients in Chapinero Alto and Rosales with their buy grains by the gram philosophy. As you walk through the main door past an outdoor patio you will appreciate the self-service dispensers filled with spices, nuts and rices. You can even churn your own almond butter or squeeze an avocado into oil with another special gadget. The restaurant’s ambiene is casual and cozy. Seating is available in an enclosed terrace, as well. The veggie sandwich was very good and I would go again.
If you are new to Bogotá or a veteran resident you know Crepes and Waffles delivers on freshness and choice. But for many, who live north of the Calle 127 in the vibrant Cedritos district, I came across a “win-win” experience at the C&W in the Palatino shopping mall (corner of Cra.7 with Calle 138). This very Colombian chain turned global franchise stays true to it crepes-based menu, tropical fruit ice creams and assorted salads. I settled on a champiñon pocket, which met all my expectations. Even though it was a lunch on-the-go, it wasn’t rushed and the service pleasant. Once again, the spearmint lemonade “was to die for.”
Word is out on Madre (Calle 12 No. 5 – 83) a pizza oasis at the heart of La Candelaria. With its stunning décor of wall-to-wall banquettes, soft lighting and waffling chill-out lounge music, the menu is based on mainly Italian dishes. I ordered a personal pie with no cheese. The pizza masters went out of their way to accommodate my needs adding an extra portion of mushrooms to compensate. The service was excellent and a fantastic place to have dinner, before going to the theater. Worth the trip!
Arun Pal’s India Gourmet (Cra. 19B No.92-52) maybe slightly-off the beaten path if you are not familiar with Chicó and tend to eat overlooking Parque 93, this family-owned restaurant delivers on friendly service (at the helm is Aldemar) and they offer vegetarian dishes, as well as classic veggie Indian starters such as samosas, pakoras and a lentil dahl.
If near the Calle 100 or looking for a pre-theatre lunch in La Castellana, then the recently-launched Naturveda (Calle 99 No.49-70) is a great option for south Indian cooking with ayurvedic ingredients. The restaurant offers an all-you-can-eat vegetarian buffet for $21,000 pesos and there are some refreshing detox juices to boost your immune system.
With changing lifestyles and the traditional Colombian diet being challenged by more nutritional foods, Bogotá increasingly has variety and choice. Even though we could delve into organic markets (from the established to the back-yard) in this edition, we’ll leave those for another day, and the chance to keep exploring a diverse metropolis that is increasingly turning green – not with envy – but with health-conscious competition.