Cartagena has some wonderful restaurants to try when you are in town. From Cuban to fine dining you won’t be disappointed. I loved staying in the center, so I could easily explore and walk to the restaurants for both lunch and dinner.
Cande: At Calle de Estanco del Tobaco No. 35-30, this was a recommendation from my hotel. It is a lovely restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating on the terrace. The outdoor garden area was really lovely with beautiful flower arrangements and displays of fruits and plantains.
I had a really wonderful lunch which started with fried yuca sprinkled with sugar. This was followed by a wonderful seafood dish of clams, mussels, fish, langostino and mixed vegetables in a coconut sauce. The sides were mashed plantains, eggplant and yuca. The food is traditional Colombian and the staff was so helpful. I highly recommend it!!
La Vitrola: This was one of the most highly recommended restaurants I had researched prior to my trip. It has an ambiance right out of Havana Cuba in the 1940’s. The menu, with one exception (ropa vieja) is not Cuban, but is Colombian with many ceviches and seafood items. The grouper in a ginger mint sauce with coconut rice was a perfect lighter meal after a large lunch. The staff was helpful and the live music really made the evening. It is located at Calle Baloca #2-01. q
El Santisimo Restaurante: Located at Calle de Torno #39-76, across from the Santa Clara Hotel. It has a lovely, attractive contemporary decor. I enjoyed a lovely lunch and a break from the heat. They feature Colombian specialties. I highly recommend the fish in the mango sauce with ginger and coconut milk which came with fried plantains. The coconut pie with strips of toasted coconut was well worth the calories!
Don Juan Restaurante: At Calle del Colegio #34-60, this was a recommendation from my hotel as one of my top choices was closed for maintenance. This was a great find as it had an upscale contemporary atmosphere and decor with good menu options with many seafood items that I prefer. The crowd was more of a local or business crowd rather than than a tourist crowd. I had my first octopus carpaccio which was excellent and a very good grilled snapper with yuca topped off with a shrimp and coconut sauce. Next door is Maria which is owned by the same team and has a very colorful, sleek atmosphere with great art. I will check it out on my next trip!
Other recommendations include Carmen, a branch of the restaurant I loved in Medellin, and Oh La’ La’.