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A server walks among customers in a dining room with bold green and yellow tile flooring.
The dining room at Restaurante Doña Elvira.
Lesley Suter

The 33 Essential Bogotá Restaurants

An upscale take on roadside grilled meats, breakfast arepas at a produce market, bold cocktails inspired by Colombia’s ecosystems, craft coffee made with local beans, and more of Bogotá’s best meals

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The dining room at Restaurante Doña Elvira.
| Lesley Suter

Perched on a plateau in the Andes at close to 9,000 feet, Bogotá is at a high point in more ways than one. Culturally, artistically, and gastronomically, the Colombian capital has never felt more energetic, especially as the country fashions a culinary identity on par with Peru or Mexico. A new generation of chefs are creating a cuisine by turning their gaze inward toward native ingredients and ancient recipes, with an eye on sustainability as well. At the same time, the streets are brimming with traditional restaurants and tiendas selling cheesy empanadas, soul-warming soups, and platters of grilled meats with potatoes and plantains.

From casual spots for arepas to experimental takes on local classics, these are the essential dining experiences of Bogotá.

Liliana López Sorzano is a food and travel writer based between Mexico City and Bogotá, Colombia, where she contributes to local and international media. She is a former editor-in-chief at Food & Wine in Spanish.

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Andrés Carne de Res

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This place’s fame surpasses borders, and for good reason. It specializes in grilled meats and typical Colombian dishes: Plan to share so that you can sample the arepas de choclo (sweet corn cakes), papas criolla (Colombian potatoes), chicharrones, lomo al trapo (cloth-wrapped grilled beef), and plátano maduro relleno de queso y bocadillo (baked plantains stuffed with cheese and guava). The rest is pure fun: live music, over-the-top decor, and improv actors. If you want to party, Saturday is the best night (and the toughest reservation). It’s well worth the 45-minute drive to Chía for the true experience in one of Colombia’s most unique restaurants, though the Bogotá location will give you a good approximation of the original. 

Inside a chaotically decorated bar.
The eclectic decor at Andrés Carne de Res
Andrés Carne de Res/Facebook

Oda Restaurante

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The hills of Bogotá frame the view from this restaurant, located on the 10th floor of an office building in the Cedritos neighborhood, far from the usual dining destinations. Almost every dish turns out to be a surprise, with sophisticated plating and complex flavors. There are interesting combinations of Colombian products, such as the chipirones (baby squid) with sweet chile, chontaduro (peach palm), Andean chicharrón, turnip, and rocoto or the hearts of palm with avocado, peas, and tamarillo leche de tigre. Bartenders make use of ingredients from the two poles of Colombia, Guajira and Amazonas, to create exciting drinks.

A table set with cutlery and flowers in the foreground, with large windows beyond framing the city of Bogota and the hills beyond.
The view from Oda.
Liliana López Sorzano

Restaurante El Tambor

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On weekends, Bogotanos like to head out to the countryside for a bit of fresh air and a long lunch. Thirty minutes outside central Bogotá, El Tambor is sort of an upscale piqueteadero, casual roadside restaurants specializing in grilled meats served by the platter. Al fresco seating consists of large wooden stumps and acres of grass for reclining while you nibble on a feast of morcilla, chorizo, grilled beef and pork, smoky grilled corn, guacamole, sweet plantains, yuca, potatoes, arepas, chicharrones, chunchullo (fried beef small intestine), longaniza, and lots of beer to help plow through it all. There are three locations, but the La Calera branch is by far the most popular.

Customers at tables on a rolling hill beneath blue sky.
The lawn at Restaurante El Tambor.
Lesley Suter

Chef Daniel Castaño oversees several of Bogotá’s hippest restaurants. At Julia, he spent a year of trial and error in pursuit of excellent pizza dough, resulting in pies that are considered some of the capital’s best. He likes to top them with buffalo mozzarella and a sauce he makes from the San Marzano-style tomatoes he cultivates exclusively for his restaurants.

A full pizza topped with a large heap of greens.
Julia’s specialty pizza.
Santiago Rodríguez

Arepas are a staple of the Colombian diet and they’re found throughout the city. Either of Abasto’s locations — one in friendly Usaquén and the other in Quinta Camacho — are ideal breakfast spots to sample different types of arepas made with ingredients from local farmers markets. Also be sure to try their granadilla juice (it’s not easy to find), as well as the palm hearts from Putumayo and the Santa Rosa de Cabal chorizos.

A closeup on a large arepa served with a side container of sauce.
An arepa at Abasto.
Liliana López Sorzano

For a breakfast meeting, mid-day treat, or leisurely afternoon of coffee and pastries, Masa is the place to be. Owners and sisters Silvana and Mariana Villegas both worked in restaurants throughout New York City before returning home to open Masa; their morning buns and doughnuts attest to that time abroad. At lunch, go for the turkey sandwich on raisin-nut bread with bacon, avocado, cheese, and romesco, or a customizable salad. The chocolate chip cookies, arguably Bogotá’s best, pair well with a good Colombian coffee. The amazing location on Calle 105 has won architecture awards and has been featured in many design magazines.

From above, a table full of pastries, sandwiches, and coffee.
A spread at Masa.
Lesley Suter

Pajares Salinas

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It’s impressive that this fine dining institution has been in business for more than 60 years, but more remarkable is how the classic Spanish restaurant has maintained its excellent standards for food and service over its long life. Start with a few tapas from the bar menu and move on to the cochinillo (suckling pig), paella, or lamb chops. The formal dining room attracts the city’s elite, everyone from politicians to celebrities.

Shrimp in a large skillet.
Spanish-style shrimp at Pajares Salinas
Pajares Salinas

They say a shoemaker’s son always goes barefoot. For decades, Colombia’s coffeehouse culture has been somewhat sparse. Over the last few years, however, a spate of new third-wave coffee houses has emerged, including Azahar. At the spacious cafe in the Parque de la 93 area, baristas execute an array of brewing methods with Colombian beans sourced from small and medium-sized farms.

From above, two lattes with designs drawn in milk foam.
Drinks at Azahar.
Lesley Suter

Crepes & Waffles

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Born in the early 1980s, this fast-casual chain now has more than 50 locations in Bogotá alone, and has become integral to Colombian food culture thanks to its quality, consistency, and fair prices. The salads are generous and tasty, and the variety of crepes, both savory and sweet, is extensive. The ice cream menu is especially popular, and some locations have ice cream parlors — either next door or built into the restaurant — that offer seasonal flavors.  The company also makes an effort to hire women who support their households financially.

Les Amis Bizcocheria

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Les Amis Bizcochería feels more like a friend’s home than a bakery. The smell of fresh medialunas (Argentinian sweet croissants) wafts down the stairway before you even enter. Inside, a large table displays pastries, cakes, and breads on cute vintage plates. The place is ideal for breakfast, dessert, or sipping afternoon tea with whatever just came out of the oven.

Plates of empanadas and other baked goods with small labels sticking out.
Empanadas at Les Amis.
Les Amis Bizcochería/Facebook

Osaka Cocina Nikkei

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With sister franchises in Chile, Peru, and Argentina, the Bogotá location of “Osk” owes its success to excellent food, tropical ambiance, and stellar service. The menu is based on Nikkei cuisine, featuring dishes like grilled shrimp with red curry-leek sauce and soy-marinated whole fish with crispy garlic, almonds, and Peruvian chiles.

Unagi-wrapped vegetables on a crispy slice of wonton.
A crispy wonton bite at Osaka.
Osaka Cocina Nikkei/Facebook

This restaurant’s name is an homage to the building it occupies, a 1950s home by the famous Colombian architect Guillermo Bermúdez. Classified as an architectural heritage site, its interiors have a sophisticated mid-century style, while the back terrace has a luxe jungle feel, perfect for enjoying a sunny afternoon. The menu is vaguely Mediterranean; try the fried rice with oxtail, the mussels, and the tuna tartare. Conveniently located on a prime dining street, it’s a perfect stop after perusing the nearby boutiques or Andino Shopping Center.

Romeo Osteria

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As one of Peru’s most renowned chefs, Rafael Osterling has always had one foot in Bogotá. Located above Oficial, Romeo overlooks treetops, creating a sense of warmth when combined with the contemporary interior design. Highlights of Osterling’s take on Italian cuisine include pizza baked in the wood-burning oven — from the classic margherita to the Splendida topped with mortadella, stracciatella, tomato confit pesto, pistachio, and jalapeno. For antipasti, try the burrata with grilled grapes, romesco, and almonds; for  primi, go with the Bolognese and forest mushroom lasagnetta; and among the mains, choose the pork tomahawk Milanese with mashed potatoes and sprouts salad.

An airy, light-filled dining room with cane banquettes and modernist leather chairs, tables set for lunch, and greenery outside.
Inside Romeo Osteria.
Romeo Osteria

La Huerta

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Located in the pedestrian Zona T area, this lively bar specializes in produce-driven craft cocktails. The team uses nearly 100 different vegetables, herbs, and Colombian fruits cultivated in the bar’s own garden to create a rotating slate of unique drinks. Try the Naturaleza made out of viche (a Colombian spirit from the Pacific Coast), passion fruit, rice horchata, and honey, or go for the Daiquireando con Lulo with rum, lulo, ginger, and lemon.

El Bandido

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Bandido nights are well known in this town. The management has a knack for booking jazz bands and cover acts that draw the crowds every night. The French bistro fare is completely serviceable, but you’re really here for the scene. Within the restaurant is El Enano, a smaller bar serving craft cocktails.

Various seating areas on a patio, lit by low lamps at night.
Bandido’s outdoor seating.
El Bandido

Harry Sasson

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Harry Sasson is perhaps Colombia’s most famous chef. His namesake restaurant, now in its third decade, is known for its service, consistency, ambiance, and quality ingredients. Expect simple, well-prepared food utilizing traditional, Colombian cooking elements, including a wood-burning stove and a charcoal grill. Start with the blue cheese pan de yuca and arepa de huevo, before moving on to the main event: large cuts of meat, like the wood-fired sobrebarriga, which is flank steak served with arracacha (an Andean root vegetable). Share side dishes like the patacones with avocado cream (fried plantain), sauteed green beans with ginger and garlic, or the spicy corn kernels in smoked butter. Then try a few desserts with one of the many coffee offerings.

Tables set beneath a geometric, open-air glass structure.
The modern dining room at Harry Sasson.
Juan Pablo Gutiérrez​

Chichería Demente

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Situated in a beautiful converted home from the 1920s, Chichería Demente is an unusual star in La Concepción, a neighborhood known more for its auto parts shops than gastronomy. The concept is inspired by piqueteaderos, roadside restaurants focused on grilled meats. The large, open kitchen is dominated by a cavalcade of grills, which turn out various cuts of dry-aged beef, pork tomahawks, and organic chicken with aguardiente and herbs. Vegetarians can feast on salads, empanadas, and stuffed zucchini flowers, making this place perfect for big groups of all kinds of diners.

Chefs work in an open, industrial-style kitchen.
The kitchen at Chichería Demente.
Chicheria Demente/Facebook

Restaurante Nueve

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Chef Pedro Escobar’s cuisine draws inspiration from his travels, especially from Spain in his tapas and small plates, but the flavor of Colombia is present in every dish. Try the bravas criollas potatoes stuffed with txistorra (Basque sausage), the yucca milhojas with siete cueros cheese and eryngii mushrooms, or the butifarra sausage tempura with lemon mayonnaise. Diners can also order a glass of anything from the robust wine list, which is unique for Bogotá.

Fried croquettes presented in a small metal holder with dipping sauce.
A dish at Restaurante Nueve.
Liliana López Sorzano

Elektra Punk & Food

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The atmosphere of this plant-based restaurant is hardly what you would expect. There are no ferns, plants, or light wood, but rather street art, posters of punk bands, black cushions, and neon lights, with The Clash and Violent Femmes on the soundtrack. Although chef Denise Monroy does not like to call her menu vegan, nothing at the restaurant is sourced from animals. Start with the empanadas, made with house-ground corn dough, filled with mashed potatoes and hogao (tomato-onion sauce), followed by the pickled papaya ceviche with cashew crunch. For mains, go for the mushroom risotto or the pear salad with micro-sprouts and nut-based feta. Ciders and kombuchas are all made in house as well.

A restaurant interior with bright graphic wallpaper.
Inside Elektra Punk & Food.
Liliana López Sorzano

Amor Perfecto

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This was one of the first places in Bogotá to serve specialty coffees prepared with a variety of brewing methods. But Amor Perfecto is more than a coffee shop. The company has trained many of Colombia’s best baristas, and its micro lots are roasted in-house. At all five locations, the expert staff will craft your drink while explaining the story behind every bean. The Chapinero location is the original and most charming.

A restaurant interior with exposed brick wall, glass panel ceiling and wall, leather couches, and tables.
Inside Amor Perfecto.
Kevin Chacón

Café Bar Universal

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Café Bar Universal sports a sophisticated Caribbean feel thanks to the sunlight that pours in and the potted palm trees that decorate this Chapinero restaurant beloved by locals. The menu is a combination of Mediterranean and Latin food, with especially strong crudo (raw fish dishes) and ceviche, as well as powerfully flavored vegetables and salads. Main courses include pastas, risottos, and dishes designed for sharing, such as a suckling lamb shoulder with hummus. Don’t miss the fried criolla potatoes (a Colombian variety) with parsley. Although there is a fixed menu, weekly specials are written up on a board, according to what’s available at the market.

Slices of crudo beneath herbal garnishes and slices of pepper.
Crudo at Bar Universal.
Liliana López Sorzano

Leonor Espinosa’s creativity and talent for rescuing forgotten ingredients from the country’s remotest areas has earned her numerous awards, and her skill in the kitchen has solidified her status as a pioneer of contemporary high-end Colombian cuisine. Leo’s tasting menu and its innovative fermented beverage and wine pairings capture the technique, flavor, history, and aesthetic vision for which the acclaimed chef is known. On top of that, the modern architecture and design of the new location, decorated with Colombian contemporary art, is stunning. Upstairs you’ll also find La Sala de Laura, a cocktail bar overseen by Espinosa’s daughter, Laura Hernández, where the focus is on cocktails using specialty in-house spirits that represent various ecosystems, such as páramo (alpine tundra), desert, and Andean forest. The bar also serves an a la carte lunch menu and three different tasting menus for dinner.

Four small plates presented in decorative ceramic bowls.
A variety of small dishes at Leo.
Liliana López Sorzano

El Chato

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The dishes at this contemporary bistro get buzz for being as innovative as they are delicious. On the first floor, guests can dine on a la carte options, while the second floor is reserved for the tasting menu. Chef Álvaro Clavijo smokes, ferments, pickles, and dehydrates local ingredients before working them into an array of unique dishes: granadilla with orejero seeds, cashew cream, and tiger milk; crispy tapioca pate with wild blackberry; and a dessert of pickled, grilled eggplant with ice cream. Look out for Clavijo’s special collaborative dinners, which have previously featured chefs like Ana Ros from Hisa Franko in Slovenia and Elena Reygadas from Mexico City’s Rosetta.

From above, a dish consisting of meringue-like puffs in a bed of green shavings.
An experimental dish at El Chato.
Denise Monroy

Mesa Franca

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Menu items at the popular Mesa Franca may appear simple, but they’re loaded with flavor, color, and Colombian ingredients. Sample the watermelon ceviche with crunchy kale or the succulent pork belly accompanied by peanut chile sauce, caramelized pears, and arugula. Don’t miss the cocktails, and look out for evenings featuring DJs, which make for the perfect Bogotano night out.

Slices of pork alongside sprigs of greens in a yellow sauce.
Pork and greens.
Liliana López Sorzano

Restaurante Río

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Although Río has been open since 2017, a new location in 2022 inspired the owners to redesign. A beautiful garden with generous vegetation surrounds a large terrace, while the interiors are decorated with contemporary Colombian art.  It’s a cozy atmosphere for a dinner or lunch with family.  Starters include raw dishes, such as passion fruit tiradito with crunchy tomato or crab with corn, avocado, and carantanta (super crispy toasted corn dough traditionally prepared in the Cauca region), while many of the entrees come off the grill. Try the pork ribs with guava barbecue sauce and side dishes, such as grilled ripe plantain, leeks with miso vinaigrette, or creamy corn rice.

A restaurant interior with funky backlit cutouts for art objects, tables set for dinner, and a window to a courtyard.
Inside Río.
Monica Barreneche

Los Troncos

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This old-school Bogotá chain has specialized in food from the Valle del Cauca region for more than 30 years, as well as variations on empanadas from around the country. The pipián is a total delicacy: It’s filled with red potato, peanut, achiote, onion, tomato, and garlic, and served with a side of peanut chile sauce for dipping. You’ll also find tamales stuffed with the same ingredients; luladas, drinks made from the aromatic yet pleasantly bitter Colombian lulo fruit; and other regional specialties.

A plate of empanadas.
Los Troncos’ famed empanadas.
Liliana López Sorzano

Mini Mal

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On a curvy street in the Chapinero neighborhood, this welcoming restaurant is one of the pioneers of the new Colombian food movement, with dishes inspired by the diverse regions of the country, from the Amazonas to the Pacific coast. Chefs Eduardo Martínez and Antonuela Ariza are passionate about rediscovering and promoting national ingredients, and showcasing them in creative dishes like plantain balls filled with crab meat simmered in house-made red curry or braised beef with Amazonian tucupí (a traditional sauce of cassava and chile), lemon ants, fried cassava, and starchy flatbread.

An airy dining room filled with diners.
The dining room at Mini Mal.
Lesley Suter

Humo Negro

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After working in Europe and as sous chef at El Chato in Bogotá, chef Jaime Torregrosa flies solo at Humo Negro. At his moodily designed restaurant (as the name suggests), Torregrosa combines endemic Colombian ingredients with techniques learned while traveling, especially to Japan. Dishes are designed for sharing, such as the mini taiyaki — potato croquettes with seaweed, mambe (toasted coca leaves) buttermilk, and Amazonian chile. Or try the grilled leeks with chontaduro (peach palm), amaranth, and cashew, and pirarucu belly filet with camu camu and tucupi. Don’t leave without ordering one of the cleverly crafted savory cocktails.

Restaurante Doña Elvira

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For a deep dive into traditional Colombian cuisine, hit up lunch at Doña Elvira. Founded in 1934, the restaurant has a humble facade and a simple cafeteria-style interior. The menu is likewise simple, but it represents the best of everyday Colombian eating. Try the stuffed chicken necks, chopped pork ribs, or the braised flank steak. The original location is in the neighborhood of Galerías, but there’s a second in the city center.

A server walks among customers in a dining room with bold green and yellow tile flooring.
Inside Restaurante Doña Elvira.
Lesley Suter

Plaza de Mercado de Paloquemao

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If you’re eager to explore Colombian produce — and you should be — Paloquemao is the place to do it. This vibrant and colorful market is one of Bogotá’s oldest, and although it’s way off the regular tourist path, the market is worth the trek just to sample the awe-inspiring array of local fruits. Get there early for breakfast in one of the stalls serving arepas, lechona (stuffed pig with rice), tamales, or caldo de costilla (beef-rib broth), or enjoy a fresh juice at Jugos Doña Vero.

A vendor stands looking over stacks of fruit.
A vendor at Plaza de Mercado de Paloquemao.
Plaza de Mercado de Paloquemao/Facebook

Café San Alberto Museo del Oro

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San Alberto produces one of the country’s most awarded coffees at a single estate farm in the Quindio department. At the brand’s cafes, you can taste that specialty coffee in various preparations, but you can also take part in a coffee baptism — a tasting lesson where coffees are paired with rum or honey — or a molecular coffee cupping, which is a deeper exploration of taste and texture (book experiences ahead). The location next to the Gold Museum is spacious and bright, a very pleasant space to spend a morning or afternoon sipping coffee. 

A cafe counter with lots of coffee products on display.
Inside Café San Alberto.
Café San Alberto

La Puerta Falsa

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This 200-year-old restaurant is located just a block away from La Plaza de Bolívar, Bogotá’s central public square, and is a beloved emblem of the capital’s cuisine. Tamales, almojábanas (cheese bread), and chocolate with cheese are essentials for either breakfast or onces, the Colombian equivalent of a morning snack or afternoon tea. If you stop by for lunch, try the ajiaco — the city’s signature soup — and one of the desserts from the vast spread. 

Plates of tamales and hot chocolate.
Chocolate and tamales at La Puerta Falsa.
AndreaBroad.com

Prudencia

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When visiting the historic central neighborhood of La Candelaria, don’t leave without having lunch at Prudencia. The colonial, French-style home was renovated by star architect Simón Vélez, known for his flair with bamboo. Chef Mario Rosero — who was raised in Los Angeles and is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America — utilizes grills and ovens he designed himself to deliver dishes with powerful doses of umami. The seven-course tasting menu changes regularly, but it always features a vegetarian option, and everything from the bread to the butter is made from scratch with local ingredients. Expect dishes like turkey breast smothered with chocolate and roasted in the wood-fired oven or watermelon tarama garnished with house-made bacon (or dehydrated eggplant).

Diners beneath a tall glass ceiling in an airy space.
The dining room at Prudencia.
Lesley Suter

Andrés Carne de Res

This place’s fame surpasses borders, and for good reason. It specializes in grilled meats and typical Colombian dishes: Plan to share so that you can sample the arepas de choclo (sweet corn cakes), papas criolla (Colombian potatoes), chicharrones, lomo al trapo (cloth-wrapped grilled beef), and plátano maduro relleno de queso y bocadillo (baked plantains stuffed with cheese and guava). The rest is pure fun: live music, over-the-top decor, and improv actors. If you want to party, Saturday is the best night (and the toughest reservation). It’s well worth the 45-minute drive to Chía for the true experience in one of Colombia’s most unique restaurants, though the Bogotá location will give you a good approximation of the original. 

Inside a chaotically decorated bar.
The eclectic decor at Andrés Carne de Res
Andrés Carne de Res/Facebook

Oda Restaurante

The hills of Bogotá frame the view from this restaurant, located on the 10th floor of an office building in the Cedritos neighborhood, far from the usual dining destinations. Almost every dish turns out to be a surprise, with sophisticated plating and complex flavors. There are interesting combinations of Colombian products, such as the chipirones (baby squid) with sweet chile, chontaduro (peach palm), Andean chicharrón, turnip, and rocoto or the hearts of palm with avocado, peas, and tamarillo leche de tigre. Bartenders make use of ingredients from the two poles of Colombia, Guajira and Amazonas, to create exciting drinks.

A table set with cutlery and flowers in the foreground, with large windows beyond framing the city of Bogota and the hills beyond.
The view from Oda.
Liliana López Sorzano

Restaurante El Tambor

On weekends, Bogotanos like to head out to the countryside for a bit of fresh air and a long lunch. Thirty minutes outside central Bogotá, El Tambor is sort of an upscale piqueteadero, casual roadside restaurants specializing in grilled meats served by the platter. Al fresco seating consists of large wooden stumps and acres of grass for reclining while you nibble on a feast of morcilla, chorizo, grilled beef and pork, smoky grilled corn, guacamole, sweet plantains, yuca, potatoes, arepas, chicharrones, chunchullo (fried beef small intestine), longaniza, and lots of beer to help plow through it all. There are three locations, but the La Calera branch is by far the most popular.

Customers at tables on a rolling hill beneath blue sky.
The lawn at Restaurante El Tambor.
Lesley Suter

Julia

Chef Daniel Castaño oversees several of Bogotá’s hippest restaurants. At Julia, he spent a year of trial and error in pursuit of excellent pizza dough, resulting in pies that are considered some of the capital’s best. He likes to top them with buffalo mozzarella and a sauce he makes from the San Marzano-style tomatoes he cultivates exclusively for his restaurants.

A full pizza topped with a large heap of greens.
Julia’s specialty pizza.
Santiago Rodríguez

Abasto

Arepas are a staple of the Colombian diet and they’re found throughout the city. Either of Abasto’s locations — one in friendly Usaquén and the other in Quinta Camacho — are ideal breakfast spots to sample different types of arepas made with ingredients from local farmers markets. Also be sure to try their granadilla juice (it’s not easy to find), as well as the palm hearts from Putumayo and the Santa Rosa de Cabal chorizos.

A closeup on a large arepa served with a side container of sauce.
An arepa at Abasto.
Liliana López Sorzano

Masa

For a breakfast meeting, mid-day treat, or leisurely afternoon of coffee and pastries, Masa is the place to be. Owners and sisters Silvana and Mariana Villegas both worked in restaurants throughout New York City before returning home to open Masa; their morning buns and doughnuts attest to that time abroad. At lunch, go for the turkey sandwich on raisin-nut bread with bacon, avocado, cheese, and romesco, or a customizable salad. The chocolate chip cookies, arguably Bogotá’s best, pair well with a good Colombian coffee. The amazing location on Calle 105 has won architecture awards and has been featured in many design magazines.

From above, a table full of pastries, sandwiches, and coffee.
A spread at Masa.
Lesley Suter

Pajares Salinas

It’s impressive that this fine dining institution has been in business for more than 60 years, but more remarkable is how the classic Spanish restaurant has maintained its excellent standards for food and service over its long life. Start with a few tapas from the bar menu and move on to the cochinillo (suckling pig), paella, or lamb chops. The formal dining room attracts the city’s elite, everyone from politicians to celebrities.

Shrimp in a large skillet.
Spanish-style shrimp at Pajares Salinas
Pajares Salinas

Azahar

They say a shoemaker’s son always goes barefoot. For decades, Colombia’s coffeehouse culture has been somewhat sparse. Over the last few years, however, a spate of new third-wave coffee houses has emerged, including Azahar. At the spacious cafe in the Parque de la 93 area, baristas execute an array of brewing methods with Colombian beans sourced from small and medium-sized farms.

From above, two lattes with designs drawn in milk foam.
Drinks at Azahar.
Lesley Suter

Crepes & Waffles

Born in the early 1980s, this fast-casual chain now has more than 50 locations in Bogotá alone, and has become integral to Colombian food culture thanks to its quality, consistency, and fair prices. The salads are generous and tasty, and the variety of crepes, both savory and sweet, is extensive. The ice cream menu is especially popular, and some locations have ice cream parlors — either next door or built into the restaurant — that offer seasonal flavors.  The company also makes an effort to hire women who support their households financially.

Les Amis Bizcocheria

Les Amis Bizcochería feels more like a friend’s home than a bakery. The smell of fresh medialunas (Argentinian sweet croissants) wafts down the stairway before you even enter. Inside, a large table displays pastries, cakes, and breads on cute vintage plates. The place is ideal for breakfast, dessert, or sipping afternoon tea with whatever just came out of the oven.

Plates of empanadas and other baked goods with small labels sticking out.
Empanadas at Les Amis.
Les Amis Bizcochería/Facebook

Osaka Cocina Nikkei

With sister franchises in Chile, Peru, and Argentina, the Bogotá location of “Osk” owes its success to excellent food, tropical ambiance, and stellar service. The menu is based on Nikkei cuisine, featuring dishes like grilled shrimp with red curry-leek sauce and soy-marinated whole fish with crispy garlic, almonds, and Peruvian chiles.

Unagi-wrapped vegetables on a crispy slice of wonton.
A crispy wonton bite at Osaka.
Osaka Cocina Nikkei/Facebook

Casa

This restaurant’s name is an homage to the building it occupies, a 1950s home by the famous Colombian architect Guillermo Bermúdez. Classified as an architectural heritage site, its interiors have a sophisticated mid-century style, while the back terrace has a luxe jungle feel, perfect for enjoying a sunny afternoon. The menu is vaguely Mediterranean; try the fried rice with oxtail, the mussels, and the tuna tartare. Conveniently located on a prime dining street, it’s a perfect stop after perusing the nearby boutiques or Andino Shopping Center.