Set in a lovely colonial mansion—within the delightful Ananda hotel—with a poised but unpretentious vibe, Carmen has raised the bar on Cartagena’s gourmet dining scene. California transplant Chef Rob Pevitts delivers a seafood menu exquisitely conjured from fresh local ingredients as well as rare Amazonian produce, including the cupuaçu (a relative of cacao but with a fruity aroma). Gastro-molecular techniques are expertly deployed without the pomp and go-home-hungry complex common to the genre. There are no duffs on the menu. For a fine preamble, start with the cebiche lamindo (fish infused with fermented coconut and served with the theatrical enhancement of “coconut smoke”). The fish of the day (wrapped in a green plantain crust and served with coconut rice risotto, and drizzled with a rum raisin purée) is heavenly, or there’s an outrageously good pineapple and cachaça–encrusted red snapper bathed in a curry sauce and dressed with creamy yam, tempura banana, and a lychee chimichurri. Desserts display the same exoticism, attention to detail, and stunning presentation. Guests can dine in the romantic courtyard, on the roof terrace with gorgeous views, or in the modern dining room.
Calle del Cuartel no. 36–77
Our Rating Neighborhood Old Town Hours Daily, noon–3pm, 7–10pm Phone tel. 5/660-6795 Prices Main courses COP$24,000–COP$52,000 Reservations Reservations required well in advance Cuisine type Mediterranean Web site Carmen
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.