- Leo Cocina y Cava (Bogotá): Leonor Espinosa’s eponymous restaurant has been redefining contemporary Colombian cuisine since opening in 2007. It’s because of her that unusual ingredients like big-butted ants from Santander and fermented yuca broth from the Amazon now appear in the realm of fine dining.
- El Cielo (Bogotá and Medellín): With restaurants in Bogotá and Medellín, not to mention TV appearances, young chef Juan Manuel Barrientos has become one of the faces of Colombia’s growing food movement. He adds molecular touches to native ingredients, so expect to have all of your senses tingled.
- Cafe Pacifico (Pacific Coast): Afro-Colombian traditions and regional ingredients are explored at this surprising Buenaventura restaurant. After a ceviche made with piangua, the local black clam, chase it down with a shot of viche, the regional aguardiente, which they have macerating with native herbs and fruits behind the bar.
- Carmen (Medellín): This lively Parque Lleras restaurant is run by two Cordon Bleu grads who like to pair Colombian ingredients with international cooking styles. Think pork belly glazed with tamarind or pig-cheek tacos with yuca tortillas.
- El Boliche (Caribbean Coast): What happens when a chef trained in three-Michelin-star restaurants in Spain opens a tiny, 16-seat cevicheria in Cartagena’s Centro Histórico? Fresh seafood and other Colombian flavors are beautifully prepared for an always-changing menu.
- Criterion (Bogotá): Originally a French restaurant from the Rausch brothers, their flagship Criterion has increasingly moved toward Colombian ingredients. Their work with lionfish, an invasive predator, is helping save coral reefs in the Gulf from further deterioration.
- Villanos en Bermudas (Bogotá): Two of Latin America’s most promising young chefs, one from Mexico and one from Argentina, join together in a three-level building to create Colombia’s most ambitious restaurant ever. Food is strictly based on what’s in season.
- Andrés Carne de Res (Bogotá): You don’t know Colombia until you have spent an evening at Andrés Carne de Res in the town of Chia outside of Bogotá. Like a small city, the restaurant serves thousands of people every night, who come for steak and traditional specialties and to rumba until closing time.
- Mora Castilla (Cali & the Southwest): The colonial city of Popayán is one of the centers of Colombian gastronomy, and this unpretentious little restaurant serves classic recipes like salpicón payanese and carantatas.
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.