Cartagena de Indias is without a doubt the gourmet food capital of Colombia and maybe even South America. When I travel I eat well, it is my favorite experience to try new and exotic foods that I have never eaten previously. I can reliably say that while the rest of Colombia doesn’t always get a good rap for food, Cartagena is a hidden gem of tastes, variety and styles. Let me share my notes:
Bony’s:A fish shack situated on the beach in the south of Bocagrande Beach, Bony’s win’s the prize for the best seafood during my week in Cartagena. The place would not win any special prizes for looks and the only a/c available is a plethora of fans that keep the air moving. Don’t let appearances fool you because it is a world class seafood spot. I ordered the red snapper and a glass of lulo juice. The fish looked like it would jump off the plate and eat me but below it’s rough exterior the meat was tender and flavorful. On the side came coconut rice, another super flavorful dish typical of the coast, and “Patacones” or plantain banana smashed into a flat disc and fried in oil.
Gokela:Even in Colombia you can find some pretty healthy food when you take the time to go looking for it. Gokela is the healthy-food answer to all your troubles. Featuring a menu of wraps, super fresh salads, juices and smoothies, this place is sure to perk you back up after wilting in the sun all day. Only two blocks from the beach in Bocagrande it’s super easy to get to. I ordered the Thai Chicken Salad and Rejuvenation Juice. The salad consisted of chia seeds, sesame seeds, ramen noodles, cabbage, romaine lettuce, Chinese sprouts, chicken breast, fresh cilantro, fresh basil, shredded carrot, onion and a super zesty Thai dressing. The juice was apple, ginger, carrot and beet. Sure to rejuvenate even the most exhausted beach-goer I couldn’t ask for a better quality salad.
Deli Gelato: Just a block south of Gokela in Bocagrande I discovered this gourmet gelato heaven. Small and largely unoccupied I could not resist the call of something cold and sweet. Featuring local tropical fruit flavors and many of our classic favorites I opted for a flavor that was a mild vanilla called “natilla” mixed with chips of chocolate. It was melt-in-my-mouth good!
YogYou Natural Frozen Yogurt: Hands down the best frozen delight I ate during my whole trip, I loved it so much I had to return a second time on my last day in Cartagena. This is the natural style yogurt place that will melt the heart of even the most staunch health-food junkie. Featuring a greek yogurt that is sweetened with stevia and a natural yogurt that is sweetened with sugar you can decide just how healthy you want to go, also great for diabetics!! I had to do the greek yogurt both times and for a little extra you can get a few toppings. I highly recommend that one of those toppings be Stracciacela Chocolate which hardens into a crispy chunk once added to the yogurt. Words can’t even begin to describe the love I have for this place.
Peru Fusion:The best sushi I have had in a LONG time, Peru Fusion is Peruvian Ceviche meets Japanese sushi. I ordered a roll that was so tasty I forgot to write down the name of it in my excessive haste to get it in contact with my taste buds.
Paradiso Gelateria:After discovering that president Obama and ex-Colombian president Santos had both raved about the quality of this next spot, I had to check it out. The ambience was like a Victorian cake shop, very bright and cheerful. Did I mention it has great A/C? The gelato was of course the best part. I sampled their Nispero and Café flavors. Nispero is a fruit native to Colombia’s coastal region, it has a very sweet almost nutty-ish, toffee-ish taste and blended well with the coffee flavor I had with it. Their ice creams were served in coconut shell bowls which gave it a nice, tropical touch too! Definitely the best gelato I have eaten in Cartagena I recommend you take the time to stop in, cool down and enjoy their unique and tantalizing flavors!
So there you have it, a few spots to check out, cool off and create mouth-gasms. Cartagena is definitely the food mecca of Colombia. Being pregnant I couldn’t go off on too many adventures during my trip but I could definitely feed me and baby! Come back and check out my page soon as there will be two more stories coming out in my series about Cartagena travel.