The Medellin Restaurant Scene

The Medellin restaurant scene is now solid after a complete 10-year transformation.

Colombian

QUEAREPARAENAMORARTE

Hands down, the best Colombian restaurant in Medellin (ok, a little outside the city, but well worth it!)

Prepare yourselves. Seriously... for some of the best Colombian food around.

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Queareparaenamorarte meaning, "what do I have to do to make you love me?", serves food in a class of its own.

The proprietor, Julian Estrada, professor, food historian and chef, traveled the country researching traditional recipes and food ways, saving them from extinction by recreating them here.

Not in the city per se, this is the best Medellin restaurant!

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Prepared with love and attention, slowly stewed, marinated, grilled or deep fried, the food is light, nuanced and incredibly tasty.

We shared the Parantela de Empanadas, served with Creole chili sauces made with mango, pineapple, cilantro and guanabana (a delicious Colombian fruit also known as Soursop in English.) Scrumptious and the touch of the fruity chili sauces added a little "zing" to the experience.

For main course, I had the Tamal de Guapi. A tamale made with flour from plantain and coconut, wrapped around shrimps and passion fruit. These are prepared by being steamed in plantain leaves. Delicious.

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My mother-in-law had the Pusando de Fogon de Negros. Fish soup with coconut milk served with plantain, yuca, tiger prawns and sea bass. Hands down, the best fish "soup" I've ever tasted.

My wife had the Fajas de Sobrebarriga con Salsa tejo. Marinated beef, prepared on the grill and served with a delicious sauce (ingredients remain a secret).

HATOVIEJO
Calle 16 # 28-60 (On las Palmas)
tel: 268 68 11 / 268 54 12
$$

As far as Medellin restaurants go, this is far more typical. Located directly opposite the Hotel Intercontinental, this upmarket Colombian grill serves solid steaks, chucho (chicken or beef marinated, and grilled on skewers), pork of all shapes and sizes and a decent pepper steak.

There is both outside and inside seating with the same menu. Outside, next to a bar decorated as a traditional "campesino" (peasant) store, is less formal and if having dinner, you'll have a view of the sparkling lights from the city. Peaceful, but note that the main road, Las Palmas, is directly in front of the restaurant but surprisingly quiet every time I go.

Medellin restaurants nearly always serve meat but here, it is superb and so are the chicharron (pork scratchings) they serve as a snack when you arrive. It's relatively upmarket and the food consists of straightforward, hearty Colombian meat dishes.

NEW Colombian

HERBARIO (Newly opened) 311 2537 ext105
Carrera 43D, #10-30, Medellin
www.elherbario.com

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Serves great food using mainly local produce with strong flavors derived from the specialized use of herbs. Light starters followed by heartier entrees with delicious sauces. Again, a lot of meat on the menu.

Spacious, elegant and stylish with a calm atmosphere.

"A" marks the spot on the following map. Just off the Calle 10 (Caye diez), two blocks down from Avenida del Poblado (Carrera 43A)


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Italian

La Rotunda Italian
Calle 7D No. 43c
tel: 3117668

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One of the better Medellin restaurants for a number of factors.

Firstly, they serve tasty pastas focusing on quality and fresh produce. Secondly, the location is superb with outdoor seating and a quiet, relaxed ambiance. Thirdly, the service is professional and very friendly which makes this a good family restaurant.

This is probably my all time favorite for lunch in Medellin.

They serve a good selection of pastas and thin crust pizza. Enjoy a long lunch in Medellin, sip at your wine and take in the mood.

Highly recommended!

Hands down one of the best Medellin restaurants for a number of factors.  Firstly, they serve fine Italian focusing on quality, fresh produce and good pastas. Secondly, the location (right next to Bakuba) is superb with outdoor seating and a quiet, relaxed ambiance. Thirdly, the service is professional and very friendly which makes this a good family restaurant.  This is probably my all time favorite for lunch in Medellin.  La Provincia Tel (4)311 9630/ (4)312 0127 Calle 4 Sur, No 43a-179 (Located in the Oviedo shopping mall)  Serving a fusion of French and Italian, La Provincia is in my humble opinion an overrated restaurant both in terms of pricing and the food that is rather bland. It is frequently described as one of the best Medellin restaurants but beyond it's slightly classy exterior, they don't deliver.  Having said that, the location and decor is comfortable and the outward appearance of the place is of merit. The service is good.

La Provincia Tel (4)311 9630/ (4)312 0127
Calle 4 Sur, No 43a-179
(Located in the Oviedo shopping mall)

Serving a fusion of French and Italian, La Provincia is in my humble opinion, an overrated restaurant both in terms of pricing and the food that is rather bland. It is frequently described as one of the best Medellin restaurants but beyond it's slightly classy exterior, they don't deliver.

Having said that, the location and decor is comfortable and the outward appearance of the place is of merit. The service is good.

CRISPINO
Circular 1o 74-04 (Laureles)
tel: 413 3266
$$ (Med price)

Always hunting for a good Italian Medellin restaurant, I was initially very excited about the food at this place run by the charming Italian, Salvatore Crispino Oliva. They serve sturdy Italian, full and rich as you might expect, but not quite as good as I had hoped. To be fair, the pastas were absolutely fine, but not to rate it top notch. La Rotunda in Astorga still holds the title of best Italian restaurant in Medellin as far as I'm concerned. It was a little too rich and creamy for my liking - but only a touch mind you - and the pasta was not quite "al dente".

The service was friendly, played on the Italian charm-approach and was quick. We shared the house salad for starters; green salad with aubergine and red peppers, alright but on the mushy side and had the Spaghetti Bolgnesa and the Fettuccine Palitroqui for the main course. I actually preferred the Bolognesa that was a bit lighter then the Fettuccine. Definitely tasty, but a bit "heavy".

For starters they serve among other dishes Bruschetta, Mozzarella, the house salad and carpaccio.

For Pizzas, they have the Calzone, vegetarian, seafood, Margarita, cheese and ham and Hawaiian.

They serve several pastas for main course including Spaghetti al Pommodoro, Pesto, Carbonara, salmon, gnocchi, ravioli and different Lasagnas.

Among the meat dishes they have grilled steak and chicken, pepper steak and steak with bacon served with cream.

Seafood

MONTMAR Restaurante
Carrera 37 #10a-64
El Poblado
tel: 311 40 50
Mon-Sat: 12pm - 11pm / Sundays: 12pm - 5pm
$$$ (On the expensive side but worth it)

A good Medellin Restaurant located 3 blocks from the Parque Lleras. Calm and relaxing atmosphere. Professional with excellent service.

Strictly speaking, this is a seafood restaurant but the owner is Japanese and gives everything a touch from back home - very successfully I might add.

This is quite simply the best seafood I've had in Medellin. My wife and I both had one of the specialties of the day, the Dorado (also known as Mahi Mahi) with Teriyaki sauce. The fish was completely fresh, shipped in from the Pacific coast from Bahia Solano (Choco) that same morning, served with small rich cakes with sesame and a delicious salad.

Among a large selection of starters you will find shrimp Tempura, tuna salad, tuna pate, squid and tofu dishes.

For main course, they have the daily specials in addition to the tuna Albacore, mackerel, grouper, flying fish and rice dishes served with shrimps, tiger prawns or shell fish.

They have a good selection of wines, including roses from Argentina and Chile to accompany the food.

We also shared an excellent chocolate mousse with a very light homemade ice cream that tasted almost like a sorbet.

The clientele appeared savvy and the place filled up for lunch that gives a hint as to it's popularity. We were recommended to make a reservation if wanting to come for dinner.

Restaurante Bar Nuqui Tel 312 37 49
Cra 42 No. 10 - 49 (100m from Pomona supermarket)
Mon - Sat 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Sun & Holidays 11:30 a.m. to 6:oo p.m.

They play live music on Fridays and serve scrumptious seafood and excellent soups for starters.

Lively and friendly place and what´s more, the food is really cheap! Also good for lunch.

Breakfast in Medellin

Lolita (Tel: 311 5675)
Cra. 36 No.7-52
El Poblado

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A favorite Medellin Restaurant of mine, this charming little café sells delicious pastry and excellent coffee in an area that recently acquired a unique charm. There is even a small fountain outside the venue.

Imagine warm pastry with cheese and ham or Guayaba filling. There are now 5 other cafes in the chain in Medellin but this particular one is 50m from Kasa Kiwi Hostel and a 5 minute walk from Parque LLeras.

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DESAYUNADERO LA 10 (Tel: 2661515)
Calle 10 40-44
Colombia - Antioquia, Medellín

Located on the "Diez" heading up the hill from Avenida el Poblado toward Parque LLeras, Desayunadero la 10 serves, in my opinion, possibly the best classic breakfast in Medellin. Wooden tables surround a courtyard in this family friendly place that boasts classic Spanish architecture where the service is unpretentious and warm.

Generally speaking, I find other guests are of a certain type: friendly, often with children and down to earth if you get the picture.

The food is straight forward; eggs any style, bacon, arepa (Colombian corn bread), white bread, beans, juices, coffee and hot chocolate.

The only drawback is that the noise levels tend to be on the high side from the heavily trafficated Calle 10 but with the recent roadworks, re-directing of traffic and implementation of wider sidewalks this will hopefully improve.

Well worth a visit!

ANITA'S (Tel: 310 1770 - 310 1771)
Calle 4 sur No. 43-A 97
El Poblado

This Medellin restaurant is located on the parallel street down to the left after McDonalds when walking away from the Oviedo Mall (toward downtown), this modern and friendly cafe, has ample seating both inside and outside (covered).

They makes eggs any style, bacon or French toast with a choice of bread.

You can also get good sandwiches (ciabatta or baguette), salads such as Caesar, tuna, Thai or Italian and they serve delicious coffee.

WE HOPE YOU ENJOY OUR MEDELLIN RESTAURANT GUIDE!

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