As is often the case in many countries, the Colombian capital of Bogota is home to the country’s best restaurants. We enjoyed the food in Cartagena more and found Medellin to have a more interesting food culture, but when it comes to the caliber of restaurants, Bogota is king.
From traditional Colombian cuisine to food markets and fine dining restaurants, there’s no shortage of good food to be found in Bogota. Be sure to visit these 20 restaurants, cafes, and markets on your next trip to the Colombian capital.
COLOMBIAN CUISINE QUICK LINKS
To help you plan your Bogota trip, we’ve compiled links to recommended hotels, tours, and other travel services here.
Top-rated hotels in Chapinero, one of the best areas to stay for first-time visitors to Bogota.
- Luxury: Sofitel Bogota Victoria Regia
- Midrange: Hotel El Dorado Bogota
- Budget: República Hostel Cabin Beds
- Sightseeing Tour: Monserrate, La Candelaria and City Walking Tour
- Food Tour: Food Discovery Tour
- Coffee Tour: Colombian Coffee Tour with Farm Visit and Tastings
- Cooking Classes: Bogota Cooking Classes
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TYPICAL COLOMBIAN DISHES IN BOGOTA
It’s easy to find traditional Colombian dishes like bandeja paisa or tamal tolimense in Bogota, but if you were to have just one dish, then it should definitely be ajiaco.
Widely considered to be a Colombian national dish, ajiaco is available throughout the country but it’s especially popular in Bogota where it’s known as ajiaco santafreño. Aside from ajiaco, we recommend trying chocolate santafreño as well.
Ajiaco is a thick Colombian soup made with shredded chicken, three types of potatoes (papas criollas, tocarreñas, and sabaneras), corn on the cob, and guasca. Hearty and filling, it’s garnished with heavy cream and capers and usually served with a side of avocado and white rice.
We went on a Bogota food tour and according to our guide, an annual competition is held to determine which restaurant serves the best ajiaco in Bogota. We visited several former winners, along with the current title holder – Restaurante Santa Fe.
You may be familiar with hot chocolate, but have you ever had it with cheese? In Bogota, you can try a version made with blocks of chocolate melted in water or milk and then mixed in with a mildly salty Colombian cheese called queso campesino.
A popular breakfast beverage in and around Bogota, a chunk of cheese is dropped into the hot chocolate where it melts and imparts a saltiness to the hot chocolate.
THE BEST RESTAURANTS IN BOGOTA
I’ve arranged this list of the best Bogota restaurants by neighborhood to make it easier to digest. Click on a link to jump to any section of the guide.
La Candelaria is the most popular tourist area in Bogota but upscale Chapinero is home to many of the city’s best restaurants. If you travel for food like we do, then you’ll probably want to stay here.
1. Leo (The BEST Tasting Menu in Bogota!)
There’s no better way to start this list of the best restaurants in Bogota than with Restaurante Leo. Helmed by Chef Leonor Espinosa – one of Colombia’s most celebrated chefs – it isn’t just one of the best restaurants in Colombia, it’s one of the best restaurants in South America and all of Latin America.
Aside from Leo ranking 48 on the 2022 list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants and 13 on Latin America’s 50 Best, Chef Leonor Espinosa was also named the World’s Best Female Chef in 2022.
If you’re planning on having just one special meal in Bogota, then it should definitely be here.
Leo is a fine dining restaurant that features tasting menu after tasting menu of creative dishes made with unusual local ingredients like arowana and Santander ants. Calling her concept “Ciclo-Bioma”, Chef Leonor Espinosa sources ingredients from different parts of Colombia and uses them to make modern interpretations of traditional Colombian food.
Pictured below is her take on the arepa, a staple Colombian dish made with ground maize dough. We’ve enjoyed tasting menus in different countries around the world and this has easily been one of our favorites thus far.
You can see more of Chef Leonor’s creative dishes in my article about Restaurante Leo.
As described, Restaurante Leo is one of Latin America’s best restaurants. If you like fine dining restaurants with interesting tasting menus, then we highly recommend booking a table at Leo.
Address: Cl. 65 Bis #4-23, Bogotá, Colombia
Operating Hours: 12NN–4PM, 6:45–11PM, Mon-Sat (closed Sundays)
What to Order: Tasting menus
2. Las Cazuelas de la Abuela
If fine dining isn’t your thing, then you may want to go to Las Cazuelas de la Abuela instead. Hugely popular with locals, it’s a traditional Colombian restaurant that serves good food at affordable prices.
Las Cazuelas de la Abuela has a wide menu offering Colombian classics like ajiaco, bandeja paisa, sancocho, and cazuela de mariscos. Pictured below is a hearty bowl of mazamorra chiquita. Originally from the mountainous Boyacá department of Colombia, it’s a thick soup made with beef cooked with beans, dried corn, vegetables, and potatoes.
We tried many delicious Colombian dishes in Bogota, but this cazuela montañera was one of the most memorable.
A specialty at Las Cazuelas, cazuela montañera is a thick Colombian stew made with chicharron (fried pork rinds), chorizo, beans, ripe plantains, arepa, and avocado. It’s topped with a fried egg and served with a side of white rice and peto dulce.
Here’s a closer look at the dish’s ingredients. If you like bandeja paisa, then you’ll enjoy cazuela montañera. I like to think of it as a stewed version of bandeja paisa.
Las Cazuelas serves their cazuela montañera with a bowl of peto dulce. Also known as mazamorra, peto refers to a sweet Colombian soup made with hominy corn, milk, and panela (unrefined cane sugar).
Las Cazuelas de la Abuela is a popular restaurant in a less polished part of the Chapinero neighborhood. If you want simple but excellent traditional Colombian cuisine, then this is a great place to go.
Las Cazuelas de la Abuela
Address: Cl. 59 #9-16, Localidad de Chapinero, Bogotá, Colombia
Operating Hours: 12NN-5PM, daily
What to Order: Cazuela montañera, bandeja paisa, patacon con todo
3. Patacones Food and Gallery
Patacones was one of my favorite restaurants in Bogota. They specialize in different variations of the popular Colombian street food dish called patacon con todo.
Before sharing a patacon con todo, we started with this tasty appetizer called canasticas de chicharrones BBQ. It’s made with deep-fried plantain cups filled with chunks of chicharron smothered in barbecue sauce and topped with cilantro.
Patacon con todo refers to a Colombian street food dish made with flattened twice-fried plantains topped with a variety of different ingredients. At Patacones, they make them with ripe or unripe plantains topped with a wide range of international and local ingredients.
We prefer traditional ingredients so we went with this delicious patacon tipico topped with chicharron, chorizo, morcilla, pork fajitas, potatoes, and refried beans. We asked that the patacon be made with platanos maduros or ripe plantains. Patacones made with ripe plantains are softer and sweeter than patacones made from unripe plantains.
If you want a patacon con todo made with less traditional ingredients, then you can try one with toppings like Thai fried rice or seafood fried rice.
Patacones Food and Gallery has a few branches in Bogota. We went to the outlet in Chapinero, along busy Carrera 7.
Patacones Food and Gallery
Address: Cra. 7 #61-71, Localidad de Chapinero, Bogotá, Cundinamarca, Colombia
Operating Hours: 12NN-9PM, daily
What to Order: Patacones con todo
4. Aqui en Santa Fe
Aqui en Santa Fe is another good restaurant to visit for traditional Colombian cuisine in the Chapinero neighborhood.
We went here specifically to try their bandeja paisa, an overflowing platter of food made with a variety of ingredients like chicharron, chorizo, morcilla, patacon, arepa, carne molida (ground meat), avocado, white rice, and a fried egg. If you’re hungry, then this is always a good dish to order.
Bandeja paisa is traditionally associated with the Paisa region of Colombia (like Medellin) but it’s widely available throughout the country. It’s considered by many to be a Colombian national dish so it’s something you should try at least once in Bogota.
Aqui en Santa Fe offers a few dishes made with different ingredients served over a large arepa de maiz peto (hominy arepas). Pictured below is the montañera. It’s topped with your choice of either shredded beef or chicken, beans, hogao (Colombian tomato sauce), and guacamole.
Like Patacones Food and Gallery, Aqui en Santa Fe is located along busy Carrera 7.
Aqui en Santa Fe
Address: Cra. 7 #62-63, Bogotá, Colombia
Operating Hours: 12NN-9PM, daily
What to Order: Bandeja paisa, grilled meats
5. La Revolucion de la Cuchara
Spend some time in Colombia and it quickly becomes apparent that Colombian food is a meat-heavy cuisine (especially pork). Fried pork rinds are almost as common as arepas so it was surprising to find so many vegan restaurants in Bogota.
We wanted to know what vegan Colombian cuisine was like so we went to La Revolucion de la Cuchara to try their non-meat version of patacon con todo. It’s topped with corn, avocado, aioli, salsa criolla, and vegan ropa vieja (probably made with seitan).
If no one told you this was vegan, then you’d probably have no idea that it isn’t made with real meat. It’s delicious.
As previously mentioned, we went on a Bogota food tour and were happy to learn that La Revolucion de la Cuchara is one of our tour guide’s favorite vegan restaurants. If you want a quick break from meat in Bogota, then you may want to enjoy a meal here.
La Revolucion de la Cuchara
Address: Cra. 9a #60-44, Santa Fé, Bogotá, Colombia
Operating Hours: 12NN-4PM, Mon-Wed / 12NN-7:30PM, Thurs-Sat (closed Sundays)
What to Order: Vegan dishes
We had our first meal in Bogota at Masa. It would be the first of many terrific bistro cafes we’d wind up visiting in the Colombian capital.
Masa is a modern cafe/bakery that serves typical bistro fare like sandwiches, tartines, pastries, and desserts. A few dishes caught my eye but at the behest of our server, I wound up going with this delicious steak sandwich. It’s made with slivers of juicy steak sandwiched between toasted rye bread with avocado, tomato, cheddar cheese, and caramelized onions.
This pollo al limon was equally tasty. It’s made with moist chicken breast sandwiched between slices of sourdough bread with pesto, queso campesino, roasted peppers, and arugula. Both sandwiches were served with a side of french fries.
As good as Masa’s sandwiches are, their pastries may be even better. One publication claimed that Masa makes the best chocolate chip cookies in Bogota. They may be right.
The oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies are delicious but their double chocolate is TO DIE FOR. My god was this good!
If you like donuts, then you’ll have several flavors to choose from like arequipe (dulce de leche), mora (blackberry), and chocolate. I went with the most interesting flavor – zanahoria (carrot). It’s like a carrot cake in donut form. Yum!
We enjoyed Masa’s pastries so much that we wound up going back for takeaway. We got more cookies, a pastry cream doughnut, and a ham and cheese croissant. Like the first time, everything was amazing.
Masa has several branches in Bogota. We went to the outlet along Calle 70 which I believe is the main branch.
Masa has a separate breakfast menu which looks amazing as well. If you enjoy doing brunch, then Masa is a great place to visit in Bogota.
Address: Cl. 70 #4-83, Bogotá, Colombia
Operating Hours: 7AM-9PM, Mon-Fri / 8:30AM-9PM, Sat / 8:30AM-5PM, Sun
What to Order: Sandwiches, pastries, breakfast
7. Amor Perfecto
Colombian coffee’s reputation precedes itself. Coffee is amazing everywhere in Colombia so you need to visit as many coffee shops as you can while you’re in Bogota.
Amor Perfecto doesn’t have as wide a food menu as Masa, but their Chapinero branch may have been my favorite coffee shop in Bogota. I absolutely loved this cafe, both for their coffee and for the space itself. More on that below.
Aside from world-class coffee brewed using different filtration methods, Amor Perfecto offers liquor as well. You can get shots of liquor (like Glenfiddich or Martini Rosso) to enjoy with your coffee or order coffee-inspired cocktails like this fantastic espresso martini. They offer Irish coffee and negroni cocktails as well.
I spotted more than one Amor Perfecto branch in Bogota but their Chapinero coffee shop was my favorite. It’s located in an old repurposed house with 70s-style architecture.
I visited many cafes in Bogota but this Amor Perfecto branch was one of my favorites. I’d probably come here almost everyday to have coffee and work on my laptop, if we lived in the Chapinero neighborhood.
I just loved the retro 70s vibe of this place. It was super comfortable and the staff was warm and welcoming.
Address: Cra. 4 #66-46, Localidad de Chapinero, Bogotá, Cundinamarca, Colombia
Operating Hours: 8:30AM-8PM, Mon-Thurs / 8AM-9PM, Fri-Sat / 9AM-7PM, Sun
What to Order: Coffee, coffee cocktails
8. Les Amis Bizcocheria
As described, we went to many great cafes in Bogota, but Les Amis Bizcocheria was our favorite. I preferred the Chapinero branch of Amor Perfecto as an everyday type of cafe, but in terms of food and coffee, Les Amis Bizcocheria was hands down the best.
From their pastries to the coffee and their French-inspired bistro fare, this place was nothing short of amazing.
Les Amis Bizcocheria is primarily a pastry shop but they do offer a few brunch dishes like croque madame sandwiches, blueberry pancakes, and acai bowls. This croissant serrano was the best croissant sandwich I’ve ever had in my life. My god was this good!
This lovely little pan of food was the special of the day. Because of my limited Spanish, I couldn’t catch everything our server said but it consisted of stewed spinach and mushroom topped with a fried egg, cherry tomatoes, herbs, and cream. Délicieux!
We were so taken by their pastry display that we couldn’t leave without trying a few. Gooey, nutty, and just a little bit sweet, this almond croissant was insanely delicious. Wow!
This croissant filled with pastry cream was delicious too, though not quite as heavenly as the almond croissant. With more time (and stomach space), we would have loved to try all their pastries.
Like I said, the coffee is amazing everywhere in Colombia, but I can confidently say that this was the single best cup of coffee we had after over a month in the country.
Like the Chapinero branch of Amor Perfecto, Les Amis Bizcoheria is located in an old 70s-style home. You have to ring the doorbell to be let in, which only adds to the place’s charm. It felt like you were being invited into someone’s home.
Aside from sweet and savory pastries, Les Amis is known for their cakes as well. I really wish we had more time because we would have loved to try every single one of these. In the words of our server, their cakes are “espectacular”!
“Cute” isn’t a good enough word to describe just how charming this place is. A perfect blend of sophisticated and sweet, if Breakfast at Tiffany’s Audrey Hepburn were a cafe, then she’d be Les Amis Bizcoheria.
Isn’t that tote bag adorable? We bought it and brought it home with us.
Les Amis Bizcocheria
Address: Cra. 16 #86A-05, Localidad de Chapinero, Bogotá, Cundinamarca, Colombia
Operating Hours: 8AM-7:30PM, Mon-Sat / 8AM-6PM, Sun
What to Order: Pastries, cakes, brunch dishes
Azahar is yet another great cafe you can visit in the Chapinero area of Bogota. It’s very similar in feel and menu offerings as Masa, with a good mix of brunch dishes, sandwiches, pastries, and cakes.
And of course, excellent Colombian coffee.
I would have loved to try some of their savory dishes but I was only here for coffee and dessert. This blueberry cheesecake was excellent.
My better half asked me to bring home either an almond croissant or a slice of carrot cake. Azahar had both so I wound up getting both for takeaway. Wifey was happy!
Azahar currently has two branches in Bogota. I went to the outlet in the northern part of the Chapinero neighborhood, near Parque de la 93.
Address: Cl. 93b #13-91, Localidad de Chapinero, Bogotá, DC, Colombia
Operating Hours: 7AM-8PM, Mon-SAt / 7AM-5PM, Sun
What to Order: Brunch dishes, pastries
La Candelaria is the main tourist area in Bogota. It’s home to many of the city’s top museums so first-time visitors will undoubtedly be spending a lot of time there. In our opinion, the restaurants in La Candelaria aren’t as good as the places in Chapinero, but there are a few gems to be found in the area.
10. El Mejor Ajiaco del Mundo – Antigua Santa Fe
Google “best ajiaco in bogota” and this place is sure to come up. After all, the restaurant’s name literally translates to “the best ajiaco in the world”!
We haven’t had it enough to know if their proclamation is justified, but the ajiaco at this restaurant was definitely one of our favorites. Average ajiaco can be a bit bland but this one was well-seasoned and delicious.
This restaurant’s ajiaco is good, but their cazuela de frijoles may be even better. Cazuela de frijoles is a hearty Paisa dish made with Antioquia beans served in a thick soup with chorizo, avocados, and plantains. In Medellin, it’s usually served with chicharron but this one was made with hefty chunks of pork hock. ¡Que rico!
El Mejor Ajiaco del Mundo is located in a busy part of La Candelaria – just off Plaza de Bolivar – so it shouldn’t be hard to find.
El Mejor Ajiaco del Mundo – Antigua Santa Fe
Address: Cl. 11 #6-20, Bogotá, Colombia
Operating Hours: 7AM-6PM, daily
What to Order: Ajiaco, cazuela de frijoles
11. La Puerta Falsa
Located just a few doors down from El Mejor Ajiaco del Mundo, La Puerta Falsa may be the most famous restaurant on this list. This Bogota institution has been open for over 200 years and was featured on the Colombia episode of Parts Unknown with the late great Anthony Bourdain.
La Puerta Falsa offers a few typical Colombian dishes on their menu but they’re best known for three things – ajiaco, tamales, and chocolate santafreño. La Puerta Falsa once held the crown for the best ajiaco in Bogota, so this is as good a place as any to try the city’s signature dish.
We had just finished lunch at El Mejor Ajiaco del Mundo so unfortunately, we didn’t have room for their ajiaco or tamales. Instead, we were here to try their chocolate santafreño, which along with Pasteleria Florida’s version, is one of the most famous in the city.
Also known as chocolate completo, chocolate santafreño is an interesting combination of sharp and sweet. It’s typically served with buttered bread and almojábana – a type of Colombian cheese bread made with cornmeal and cuajada cheese.
Another good beverage to try at La Puerta Falsa is the peto. As described, it’s a traditional Colombian drink made with white hominy corn, milk, and panela. If you come here for breakfast, then I suggest enjoying either of these hot beverages with a tamal.
La Puerta Falsa is a tiny restaurant located just a few doors down from El Mejor Ajiaco del Mundo. You may want to try the ajiaco at both restaurants to see which one you like best.
Just know that La Puerta Falsa only accepts cash. We wanted to try their ajiaco on our last day in Bogota, but we didn’t have enough cash so we wound up going somewhere else. Oh well.
La Puerta Falsa
Address: Cl. 11 #6-50, Bogotá, Colombia
Operating Hours: 7AM-7:30PM, Mon-Sat / 7AM-6PM, Sun
What to Order: Chocolate santafreño, ajiaco, tamal
If you like salsa music, then you need to make a stop at Babou. Located in the heart of La Candelaria, it’s a fun gastropub that serves good food and plays live salsa music everyday.
Babou has an extensive menu offering many Colombian and international dishes like ceviche, steak, spaghetti, and hamburgers. I wanted something small and local so I ordered two appetizers, starting with this order of empanadas.
Babou’s empanadas are smaller than the average Colombian empanada but they’re loaded with flavor. That salsa was delicious!
For my second starter, I went with this trilogia de patacon which is basically three bite-sized patacones topped with chicharron, shredded chicken, and cheese. The patacones and chicharrones were a little hard but very tasty.
I went to Babou around noon and had the whole place to myself, but I imagine the place gets more crowded later in the day when the band starts playing live salsa music. It’s a fun place to snack on bar chow and enjoy a few drinks like this 3 Cordilleras Colombian beer.
Isn’t this place fun? Located in a busy (and colorful) part of La Candelaria, you can’t help but notice Babou, especially when salsa music is inviting you to come inside.
Babou consists of two floors with several dining areas. I just loved the vibe of this place, even when it was empty.
This is where the band sets up. According to my server, they start playing live salsa music from around mid-afternoon till closing.
Address: Cra. 2 # 12B-49, La Candelaria, Bogotá, Cundinamarca, Colombia
Operating Hours: 8AM-1AM, daily
What to Order: Bar chow
13. Pasteleria Florida
Pasteleria Florida was on my list of restaurants to visit so I was pleased to find that it was one of the stops on our Bogota food tour. Like La Puerta Falsa, it’s an institution that’s been serving some of the best traditional Colombian breakfasts in Bogota for many years.
Pasteleria Florida offers an extensive menu of bread, pastries, and typical Colombian dishes but two of the things they’re best known for are their tamales tolimenses and chocolate santafreño. Originally from the Tolima department of Colombia, these tasty tamales are made with a filling of chicken, pork belly, pork ribs, potatoes, boiled eggs, peas, carrots, and rice.
If you like tamales, then you need try these at Pasteteleria Florida. They’re loaded with ingredients and absolutely delicious.
Here’s our tour guide dropping a block of cheese into my chocolate santafreño. The cheese melts just enough to impart a touch of sharpness and saltiness to the hot chocolate.
Established in 1936, they haven’t been open for quite as long but like La Puerta Falsa, Pasteleria Florida is one of the most famous places in Bogota to have a traditional breakfast of chocolate santafreño and tamal tolimense. If you like historic restaurants, then you need to make a stop here as well.
Address: Cra. 7 #21-46, Santa Fé, Bogotá, Cundinamarca, Colombia
Operating Hours: 8AM-7PM, Mon-Fri / 8AM-8PM, Sat-Sun
What to Order: Tamal tolimense, chocolate santafreño
14. Divino Cafe Especial
I’ll never forget this tiny cafe in La Candelaria. It wasn’t the nicest or most comfortable cafe I visited in Colombia, but I learned more about coffee in thirty minutes here than I have in over thirty years of drinking it!
You can order single cups of coffee at Divino Cafe Especial, but if you have the time, then I highly recommend doing one of their coffee-tasting experiences.
I was choosing between Divino’s “Variety Lovers” or “Method Lovers” coffee-tasting experiences. The former lets you taste three different types of coffee beans brewed using the same filtration method, while the latter allows you to taste the same bean brewed in three different ways.
I wanted to go with the Method Lovers experience but the barista Daniel suggested I go with Variety Lovers. These are the three coffee bean varieties I chose for the tasting.
I won’t get into too much detail here but Daniel really opened my eyes to the art of coffee. I’ve been drinking around three to four cups of black coffee everyday for almost two decades so I thought I knew coffee. I used to think that strong coffee is good coffee, but that isn’t necessarily the case.
Daniel asked me how I like my coffee and I told him I like it strong. He told me that’s how most foreigners usually prefer their coffee.
Colombians, on the other hand, prefer balanced coffee – coffee that’s rich and complex with a good mix of fruitiness and acidity.
As described, I’ve been a heavy coffee drinker for most of my life but after today, I feel like I’m relearning how to properly drink and appreciate coffee.
If you like coffee, then I highly recommend doing a coffee-tasting experience at Divino Cafe Especial. They’re a Traveller’s Choice awardee with a perfect 5-star rating on TripAdvisor.
Divino Cafe Especial
Address: Cra. 2 #12d-24, Bogotá, Colombia
Operating Hours: 9AM-5PM, Mon-Sat (closed Sundays)
What to Order: Coffee-tasting experience
15. Cafe del Mercado
It’s hard to find a bad cup of coffee in Colombia. In spite of its uninspiring name, Cafe del Mercado is just one more in a long line of great coffee shops you can visit in Bogota.
Cafe del Mercado offers the usual coffee preparations along with some tea and a few freshly baked desserts, like this tasty carrot cake.
Cafe del Mercado has two branches in Bogota, this small shop and a booth a few blocks away in Plaza de Mercado la Concordia. Between the two, I recommend going to this one.
Cafe del Mercado is a tiny, family-run shop with about three or four tables on the first floor and a few more on this second-floor loft space. It’s a great place to have coffee and dessert after a day exploring La Candelaria.
Cafe del Mercado
Address: Cra. 2 # 11 – 88, La Candelaria, Bogotá, Cundinamarca, Colombia
Operating Hours: 10AM-7PM, daily
What to Order: Coffee, cakes, pastries
16. Plaza de Mercado la Concordia
As described, it was harder for us to find good places to eat in La Candelaria. We prefer local food so we were walking around the neighborhood, perusing menu after menu without finding anything we really liked, when we stumbled upon Plaza de Mercado la Concordia.
Plaza de Mercado la Concordia is an upscale market with around two dozen or more stalls selling different types of Colombian artisanal food products like coffee, chocolate, fruits, and desserts.
The previous entry on this list – Cafe del Mercado – has a stall here.
Some of the artisanal products were interesting but what we really liked about Plaza de Mercado la Concordia were these stalls selling prepared food. There’s an outdoor seating area on either side of which are about half a dozen stalls offering traditional Colombian dishes like ajiaco, lechona, frijolada, and bandeja paisa.
We went here on our last day in Bogota (and Colombia) so we ordered two of our favorite dishes in Colombian cuisine – bandeja paisa and ajiaco.
Many of the stalls offer the same dishes. None of the stalls stood out with a particularly long line of customers so I don’t think it matters as much where you go. We got this bandeja paisa from La Cocina de Nicolasa.
This ajiaco came from Recetas de la Abuela. Neither dish was particularly great but they were good enough, especially for the price.
If you’re looking for cheap but decent traditional Colombian food in La Candelaria, then Plaza de Mercado la Concordia is a good place to consider.
Plaza de Mercado la Concordia
Address: Cl. 12c # 1 -40, Bogotá, Colombia
Operating Hours: 7AM-5PM, Mon-Fri / 7AM-7PM, Sat-Sun
What to Order: Traditional Colombian dishes
LA PERSEVERANCIA / LA MACARENA
La Perseverancia and La Macarena are neighboring districts located behind the National Museum of Colombia. They’re located right next to each other but they couldn’t be more different in feel and appearance. La Perseverancia is mostly sketchy while La Macarena is mostly nice with lots of good restaurants to choose from.
17. Plaza de Mercado la Perseverancia
Fans of the Street Food Latin America series on Netflix will be familiar with this next entry. Everything in the Bogota episode – meaning all eateries featured in the show – can be found inside this market.
This food market is located in La Perseverancia, which is the very first working-class district in Bogota. The origin of the neighborhood can be traced back to the establishment of the Bavaria brewery in the late 19th century. The brewery’s workers settled and lived here.
According to our food tour guide, life wasn’t so easy back then but the workers stayed and persevered, hence the name of the neighborhood – La Perseverancia. Open since the mid-20th century, this market started as a place for peasants from neighboring towns to sell produce to the people living in the area.
Today, the market is home to around two dozen stalls selling prepared food from different parts of Colombia. If the Concordia market in La Candelaria looked appealing to you, then you’ll definitely enjoy this one. It’s better than Concordia and offers a good selection of traditional Colombian food at affordable prices.
I ate here on three different occasions. It was also the meeting point and first stop on our Bogota food tour.
Fans of the Street Food series need to try this bowl of ajiaco. It’s from the Tolu stall, the owner of which was the central figure in the Bogota episode.
This bowl of soup once held the crown for best ajiaco in Bogota. Personally, it wasn’t our favorite but we recommend trying it and making your own decision. Taste is subjective and we know of at least one person who loves Tolu’s version of ajiaco.
I was hoping to see the owner of Tolu – the woman featured in the show – but she wasn’t there on any of the three times I visited.
We haven’t explored the entire country but Cartagena and the Caribbean region is home to the best food we’ve enjoyed in Colombia thus far. And my favorite Caribbean dish? Cazuela de mariscos. It’s a creamy Colombian stew made with different types of seafood cooked in coconut milk.
This bowl of cazuela de mariscos was from another stall featured on the show – La Esquina de Mary. It wasn’t quite as good as the versions we had in Cartagena but it was cheap and overflowing with seafood.
La Esquina de Mary offers dishes hailing from the Caribbean region of Colombia.
There’s nothing in this picture to give you a sense of scale, but this hueso de marrano was massive and good enough for two. A specialty of the Donde Gladys stall, hueso de marrano refers to a Colombian dish made with a hefty chunk of pork leg bone stewed in salsa criolla.
Donde Gladys wasn’t featured in the Bogota episode of Street Food but it remains one of the more popular and highly-rated stalls at the market.
Plaza de Mercado la Perseverancia
Address: 40, Cra. 5 #30 A, Bogotá, Colombia
Operating Hours: 8AM-4PM, Sun-Fri / 6AM-5PM, Sat
What to Order: Traditional Colombian dishes
18. Restaurante Santa Fe
We learned about Restaurante Santa Fe through our Bogota food tour guide. According to him, they’re 2022’s reigning title holder for best ajiaco in Bogota so naturally, we had to eat here. We weren’t disappointed.
Restaurante Santa Fe offers a wide menu of traditional Colombian dishes presented in artful ways. What you’re looking at below are empanaditas de carne served with spicy guacamole. We enjoyed tasty empanadas throughout Colombia but these empanaditas were easily the best.
Equally delicious was this cute cazuela of callos. Called Callos de la Santa Maria, it’s a spicy callos starter made with chickpeas stewed in a tomato sauce with tripe and chorizo.
To eat, you add spoonfuls of stew to these tiny arepas. Aren’t they cute? If you like callos, then you need to try this. It’s delicious!
Not only was the ajiaco at Restaurante Santa Fe the best tasting, it was also the most beautifully presented.
Called Ajiaco Santafereño de Doña Maria Teresa de Usaquén, Bogota’s reigning best ajiaco was served in a small black pot heated by a candle. We enjoyed many bowls of ajiaco in Bogota and this was the only version that was heated so it stayed warm throughout.
As you can see below, the capers, rice, avocados, and cream were artfully presented as well. At the end of that little red broom was a piece of corn on the cob.
As described, average ajiaco can taste bland but this one was well-seasoned and abundantly flavorful. It’s delicious and a must if you’re serious about finding the best ajiaco in Bogota.
Like many of the restaurants on this list, Santa Fe is located in what appears to be an old, repurposed house. Restaurante Santa Fe is a TripAdvisor Traveller’s Choice awardee with a perfect 5-star rating even after over a thousand reviews.
Restaurante Santa Fe’s interior and dining rooms are as lovely as the dishes they serve. After Leo, this was easily the best restaurant we visited in Bogota.
Restaurante Santa Fe
Address: Calle 26b # 4 30, Santa Fé, Bogotá, Cundinamarca, Colombia
Operating Hours: 12NN-10PM, Mon-Sat (closed Sundays)
What to Order: Ajiaco, but everything is good here
If you’re in Bogota over the weekend, then you need to spend the day at the Usaquen flea market. They call it a flea market but it’s much better than that.
The vendors at the market don’t sell second-hand goods. Instead, they offer artisanal products that look like they belong in stylish boutique stores. We weren’t planning on it but we wound up doing all of our shopping in Bogota at the market.
If you do decide to visit the weekend flea market, then one of the best places to enjoy a meal in trendy Usaquen is Abasto. A hugely popular brunch spot, it’s similar in feel and menu offerings as Masa or Azahar.
Pictured below is a simple but perfect plate of toasted bread with avocado and egg.
Abasto is known for its arepas. These two dishes were listed separately but when I saw arepa de choclo and sopa de zanahoria on the menu, it gave me an idea.
Arepas de choclo are filled with cheese while sopa de zanahoria refers to carrot soup, so I ordered both and made my own Colombian version of a grilled cheese sandwich with creamy tomato soup. Yes, I’m a genius haha…
As I hoped, the buttery and cheesy arepa with the creamy carrot soup made for a perfect combination. So comforting and delicious!
Don’t let this picture fool you. We got there a little early and didn’t have to wait long to be seated, but by the time we got out, there was a long line of locals waiting to have brunch at Abasto. Clearly, Abasto is one of the most popular places for brunch in the Usaquen neighborhood.
Like many of the bistro cafes / brunch spots on this list, Abasto’s interiors are on point.
We were initially seated at a high table inside before something opened up in this airier back section.
Address: Cl. 118 #5-41, Bogotá, Colombia
Operating Hours: 7AM-4PM, Mon-Tue / 7AM-10PM, Wed-Fri / 8AM-10PM, Sat / 8AM-4:30PM, Sun
What to Order: Brunch dishes, comfort food
BOGOTA FOOD TOUR
20. Viejo Bogota Food Tour
If you’d like to go on an immersive Colombian food experience in Bogota, then I highly recommend booking this Bogota food tour. Offered by A Chef’s Tour, it’s a 4+ hour tour led by Andres, a Colombian food historian who knows everything there is to know about Colombian food and its history.
The tour starts in the Perseverancia district and takes you on a culinary walk through some of Bogota’s most storied neighborhoods. Here’s Andres giving us a taste of chicha made by one of the city’s most storied sellers. Chicha is a fermented beverage typical of the Andean and Amazonian regions of Colombia.
Andres then takes you inside La Perseverancia market to try another former winner of Bogota’s best ajiaco (not Tolu).
Along the way, we stopped at a corner store to try these delicious brevas con arequipe. It consists of a cooked unripe fig enhanced with dulce de leche. Had it not been for a knowledgeable local like Andres, we would never have known about interesting and tasty snacks like this one.
Andres would later take us to a local market to try exotic Colombian fruits. Have you ever seen dragon fruit that looked like this?
I won’t give away too much but these were just a few of the stops on a tour that was supposed to go for four hours but wound up lasting closer to six. We were having so much fun bonding over a mutual love for food that we completely lost track of time.
All in all, we made over ten food stops, including a quick game of tejo with beer and a coffee-tasting session. If you have a passion for food and want to learn more about Bogota and Colombian cuisine, then there’s no better tour guide than Andres. You can book this Viejo Bogota food tour on Get Your Guide.
To help you find these Bogota restaurants, I’ve pinned them all on this map. Click on the link to open a live version of the map in a new window.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE BEST BOGOTA RESTAURANTS
We didn’t go but if you’re in the mood for steak, then one of the most highly-recommended restaurants in Bogota is Andrés Carne de Res.
Often described as one of Bogota’s most unique restaurants, the original location of this legendary steakhouse is in Chía – about a 45-minute drive north of the Colombian capital – but they do have a branch in the Chapinero area as well. A steak dinner won’t come cheap but the quality of the meats – plus the venue itself – will make it worth your while.
And there you have it! Twenty amazing restaurants, cafes, markets, and a food tour to fill your days (and stomach) in Bogota. If you’re a local and have any suggestions, then please let us know in the comment section below. We’ll definitely check them out on our next trip to Bogota.
Thanks for reading and we hope this list of Bogota restaurants leads you to many memorable meals in the Colombian capital.
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