What are the Best Restaurants in Medellin?
The restaurant scene is constantly being upgraded in Medellín and this is in no small part thanks to the many tourists that come down and end up staying. These tourists (now turned residents) discover the opportunities all over the city and end up bringing with them recipes from their country of origin, something unheard of 10 years ago.
Just walking the streets of Provenza and Parque Lleras you’ll stumble across Italian, Greek, Tex-Mex, Thai, Indian, Japanese, Colombian, Peruvian, Argentinian and Arabic cuisines, just to name a few. You’ll also walk by a street food carts and all of this just adds to the always growing food scene.
Every group we have will always be looking for the best places to eat and drink and it is for that reason that we asked ourselves “What are the Best Restaurants in Medellín?” So sit back and let us go through our favorites.
Colombian food is known to be exotic, starchy, filling and as varied as any other countries’ cuisines. When in Medellín you’ll discover plates such as The Bandeja Paisa (white rice, pinto beans, fried pork fat, ground beef, Colombian sausage, fried plantain and blood sausage) which is a dish you must try before you leave, Mondongo (beef tripe stew) trust me, it’s good, Sancocho (Colombian stew with potatoes, yuca, plantain, ribs, chicken, carrots and cilantro) and as an app, you have to try the chicharron (fried pork fat).
Medellín’s best Colombian restaurants are:
Known for its eclectic menu and traditional Colombian decor, Hatoviejo serves up some tasty Colombian dishes. With 3 restaurants in the city, tasting the best local food the city has to offer is fast and easy.
Hatoviejo is known for being the restaurant that feeds the city’s creme de la creme along with many tourists that wish to see what Colombian cuisine is all about. For some, restaurants like this don’t have the authentic feel but since it’s grand opening in Las Palmas (you’ll see the restaurant on your way down from the airport) more than 30 years ago, Hatoviejo continues to be the most visited restaurant serving ‘paisa’ food.
Las Palmas (across the street from the Intercontinental Hotel) – Calle 16 # 28 – 60
Oviedo Shopping Center – Calle 6 sur #43A – 227 4th floor
Center of the city – Carrera 47 # 52-17
Cost – An appetizer, entree and soft-drink will run you $25 usd.
Known for their public cafeteria-like ambiance, gargantuan-sized portions and Miami restaurant, Mondongos is a great place to try all of the aforementioned Colombian plates in a much more informal establishment.
Mondongo’s is named after a beef tripe stew that is quite common round these parts and although it might not sound like something you’re interested in (beef tripe is cow stomach) when in Medellín, be sure you try this restaurant and if you do manage to visit, try the stew, you won’t regret it.
There are 2 Mondongo’s in town, the first opened more than 2 decades ago in Laureles (an upscale Medellín neighborhood) and the second is the conspicuous Mondongo’s on 10th street, across the street from the entrance to Parque Lleras. The third is their critically acclaimed Miami spot.
They serve larger than average plates, multiple bananas, copious amounts of cilantro and enough avocado to satisfy even the most avid avocado eater. This is our preferred Colombian restaurant when looking for a big meal before or after a trip to the massage parlor.
Poblado la 10 (across the street from the entrance to Parque Lleras) – Calle 10 # 38 – 38
Laureles – Carrera 70 # C3 – 43
Miami – 3500 NW 87th Ave, Doral Fl 33172. (305) 718-4977
Cost – Appetizer, entree and a drink will cost you roughly $15 usd.
Last on our list of restaurants that serve up Colombian cuisine, we have La Hacienda. Serving up traditional Colombian plates in locales with traditional decor, La Hacienda has two restaurants, the first of which opened up 25 years ago in the center of the city while the second is in the heart of the financial district, in La Strada shopping center.
Upon entering, the locales depict houses and neighborhoods that existed more than 50 years ago in the department of Antioquia. Staff use uniforms which are the clothes Medellín grandparents used in their youth which gives the whole restaurant more of an authentic feel. Go for the Bandeja paisa and you’ll have before you a dish that looks big enough to satisfy a family of dinosaurs.
Center of the city – Carrera 49 # 52-98 Balcon de Flores de Junin
Carrera 43A #1 sur – 150 Milla de Oro, La Strada
We may not have the recognition Bogota has as far as food is concerned but Medellín is growing, and growing quickly. Our neighbors to the South and capital, Bogota is the business capital of Colombia meaning they have more people, more variety and of course, more restaurants. The term more might not mean better but that topic is up for debate.
Medellín will eventually replace Cartagena as Colombia’s most visited city and that is a prediction we do not carry lightly. We want to have great restaurants that will satisfy the needs of not just someone looking for traditional Colombian cuisine but also, fine dining as well. Here are our top contestants.
Coming in at #1 we have Carmen, a restaurant that is always praised by critics and often named Medellín’s best and one of Colombia’s best restaurants. Responsible for helping Medellín take a leap forward and opening its doors to the world, Carmen has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times and has seen personalities the likes of Andrew Zimmern, Anderson Cooper, Steve Wozniak among others not just walk in but also enjoy a great meal.
Owned and operated by California and New Mexico natives chef Robert Pevitts and Carmen Angel, Carmen is just a few blocks over from Parque Lleras and is labeled as contemporary cuisine with Colombian and International influences. With dishes such as Pork Bahn Mi (best pork i’ve ever had) Korean tacos on flour and cilantro tortillas and amberjack fish with a plantain crust on coconut risotto as a few of their options, you know you’ll have an amazing experience here in the city of eternal spring and in no small part thanks to Carmen.
Looking for great cocktails? Carmen also has a wide array of cocktails that are sure to amaze even the pickiest of cocktail connoisseurs.
Carrera 36 # 10a – 27
Telephone number – 311-9625
Next on our list we have, Ocio. A restaurant that since it’s opening back in 2013 has since garnered praise from the city’s creme de la creme. Ocio might not have the recognition Carmen has but this Afghani/Asian/Colombia/Contemporary cuisine restaurant provides an experience like no other. From their decor to the music they play, for the duration of your experience you’ll most likely forget you’re still in Medellín.
Ocio has been serving up delicious plates and cocktails for only 3 years but with dishes such as leg of lamb (slow roasted for 6 hours) accompanied by fresh local grown vegetables and a roasted pepper sauce with almonds as well as pork fat (cooked for 6 hours) over mashed ripe bananas and brown sure along with stir fried cassava beans sauteed with beans and onions.
Also, be sure and try their desserts, you’re not going to want to miss out on homemade ice-cream sandwich crumbled caramel and macadamia ice-cream.
Carrera 33 # 7-21 Poblado, Medellín (4 blocks north of Parque Lleras).
Last on our list of fine-dining eateries in Medellín, you’re going to want to hit up Herbario. Known for their use of fresh herbs and spices, Herbario is a typical restaurant you would find in New York or LA but with local flavors. The perfect place to bring a date or share a reasonably priced meal and a glass of wine or scotch.
With plates such as suckling pig slow roasted with oranges served with baby vegetables and corn puree or crunchy prawns with finely chopped vegetables, sauteed in a tamarind sauce food like this will easily cost you $50 per plate out in NYC but expect to pay half the price for the same plate plus an appetizer.
Carrera 43D 10-30
Now, there are tons of restaurants in Medellín that are the best in the category so here is a short list of places that have exceeded our expectations. So next time you’re out here and the question what are the best restaurants in Medellin? comes to mind, be sure to hit up any of the places that made our list.
Naan – Indian Cuisine with a great setting and location owned and operated by local chef, Maria Teresa Velez.
Location – Carrera 35 # 7-75
La Pampa – An Argentinian steakhouse with a wide selection of great wines and live music Thursdays and Fridays.
Location – Mall Interplaza, Provenza and Las Palmas Mall.