I always joke that Bogotá is where I ‘unlearned’ how to cook. It is so easy to get food delivered, or to go out and eat somewhere for a reasonable price, that I’ve become extremely lazy in the kitchen. My intention is not to encourage readers to adopt my bad habits (!) but to give you some ideas about places to eat in Bogota when you’re just not in the mood to cook! In some cases I have given the address, but if you type any of these restaurants into Google Maps, you’ll find them! Some of these places are only open for lunch, so check their opening times before you head out.
Typical Colombian food
This eatery is famed for being the oldest restaurant in Bogota, as it opened its doors to the public in 1816. It’s a very small but quaint little place in the Candelaria, and you usually need to queue for a table. The group tables are on a mezzanine level, which although cute gets very hot as it receives all the heat from the kitchen below! Their specialties are ajiaco, tamales, and hot chocolate with bread and cheese. By the way, the cheese is supposed to be dipped in the hot chocolate; yes, I was doubtful too at first, but it’s a genius combination which has to be tried!
La Puerta de la Catedral is just a few doors down from La Puerta Falsa, but is very spacious and light inside, and not as unbearably hot! They also offer the classic dishes ajiaco, tamales and hot chocolate and cheese, but also have a menu full of other dishes, in case you want options. I really liked this place and in future I would definitely choose it over it’s smaller, more famous neighbor!
Sushi and Asian Food
3. Takuma Cocina Show
Takuma in the Quinta Camacho neighbourhood won’t only feed you delicious Teppanyaki-style Japanese food, they’ll entertain you with flames, juggling and Samurai swords too! Tell them you want the full experience when you go in, and you will have your very own grill and chef. Throughout the cooking process they will ask how much seasoning and sauce you want, and they’ll also ask about allergies. I strongly recommend the Takuma Evolución dish, a mouth-watering fusion of pork, bacon and pineapple with rice, followed by shrimps in basil sauce. The service is outstanding, and the complimentary starters and desserts are a lovely touch.
I love this place in Chapinero (carrera 10 with 54a). It’s pretty tiny with just a few tables, so get there as soon as it opens (12pm) or say around 6-6.30pm for dinner, to ensure that you don’t have to queue! The chef is Japanese and although there are only a few options, the sushi was divine! If my memory serves me correctly, Hokkaido was my favorite! The prices were also ok – 18,000 – 26,000 for a sushi roll (10 pieces).
When I was staying in downtown Bogota last year, this was my best sushi option (cra. 2 with 12b in the Candelaria). Happy Hour is on..I wanna say Monday (but don’t take my word for it – check beforehand!) before 7pm, the prices are reasonable and the food is tasty.
A very nice, popular option in Chapinero Alto, I really enjoyed the sushi here. Our favorites were the Dragon Roll and the Acevichado (with ceviche!). It was quite busy when we went (on a Sunday afternoon) and I found the service a bit snobby too, but we did enjoy our meal!
A very popular option for Asian food in Bogotá with restaurants all over the city, and a large range of very tasty dishes at ‘okay-for-Bogota’ prices. You’ll find Thai, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Chinese and Japanese dishes on the menu. This is also a safe option if you need to cater for vegetarians or vegans, as there are a few good dishes and sushi options to choose from. My favorite are the gyozas (dumplings) in the starters menu!
Not only does Buffalo Wings offer the best chicken wings in the city (in my humble opinion) they also have the best nachos I’ve ever tasted! However, please bear in mind that I have never been to Texas – I’m informed that nothing compares to Texan nachos! Check on Google maps to find the restaurant nearest to you.
9. El Boliche
I think this is the best value option for good pasta in Bogota. We used to go to the one in Quinta Camacho (calle 69a with 9) at least once a week, as it has a lovely, homely feel about it. My favorite pastas were the Di Melanzane and the Tocinapolitana.
This is an attractive restaurant in the Candelaria for those with a mid-range Bogota budget (most dishes cost between 25,000 – 40,000 pesos). I had the Straccetti al Balsamico – strips of beef with spicy radish, with mashed potato as a side – which was very tasty. It’s open for lunch Monday to Wednesday, and lunch and dinner from Thursday to Sunday. I recommend getting there early (12pm for lunch or 7pm for dinner), as we arrived just after a table of 15 people had been seated and we had to wait a long time for our food.
11. Di Lucca
You’ll receive very good service at Di Lucca, an Italian restaurant in the Zona T, at reasonable prices for the area. I remember enjoying the pasta dish I had there.
12. Home Burgers
I am a huge fan of Home Burgers. They serve basic hamburgers, cheeseburgers and offer a veggie-burger too, and you can choose whether to add cheese, guerkin, onion and bacon. They keep it simple but they’re just the best burgers in the city in my opinion, at a good price. The ones in El Nogal (cra 9 with 81) and Chapinero Alto (cra 5 with 70a) are pretty small and are very busy at lunchtime – you’ll be lucky if you get a seat. The one in the Centro Internacional (Traversal 6 with calle 27) is a bit hidden away, but has more seating than the other two.
13. El Corral
A popular burger restaurant with restaurants all over the city. They have a good range of burgers, though no veggie-options at the time of writing.
A nice burger restaurant which I’ve gone back to a number of times – specifically the ones in Parque de la 93, Usaquén and Chapinero Alto. Very good burgers, also with four different vegetarian burger options, at good prices.
Some of the restaurants above offer veggie options and here’s a fuller list of vegetarian restaurants in Bogotá. These are a couple of my favourites!
I had the best veggie-burger of my life at this place in Chapinero! Lentils and chickpeas tend to be a bit heavy on my stomach, so I decided to try their quinoa burger, which ended up being a great decision! They also have some other vegan dishes, and including vegan cookies and brownies.
A cute but quite small place in the Candelaria (calle 11 with 2). Get their meal of the day for 16,000 pesos. They’re only open for lunch and close at 4pm.
17. Sr. KIM
A small place with a delicious selection of Korean dishes (with vegetarian options), located quite close to the Zona T (calle 78 with cra 12). My favorite dish is the Bibimbap(?) with added beef for 15,000 pesos.
Lovely French place near the Candelaria with original dishes that you won’t find anywhere else in the city. Slightly on the pricey side but a really nice option if you’re looking for something a bit different. Only open for lunch.
I found this place in the food court in the Gran Estación shopping mall in Salitre, but they have kiosks in malls around the city. I loved the combination of meat and fresh fruit. You also get a huge serving for your money.
A cool place in Quinta Camacho where you can get a full English breakfast or a Sunday roast, and watch the football (soccer) or rugby over a beer! Open from 9am to 4pm everyday except for bank holiday weekends (puentes or festivos).
A funky place in Chapinero Alto (cra 4a with 57) offering Colombian, Asian, Mediterranean fusion dishes. with some vegetarian options. I had a kind of ceviche with baby octopus (a first for me!) which was delicious!
This amazing place comes with a back-story! Al-Banun is a small Syrian-Arabic restaurant owned by Almotaz Khedrou, one of six Syrian refugees living in Colombia. His place is located in Suba on cra. 95 with calle 151 – 44. He found it difficult to find a job when he arrived in Colombia, so his mother, still living in Damascus, suggested that he learned how to cook and start a business. She taught him how to cook over Skype and he started out with a food cart selling Syrian food. Eventually business was going so well that he managed to open a small restaurant. He imports many of his ingredients from the Middle East so this is genuinely the most authentic Arabic food in Bogota, and also – I personally guarantee – the tastiest! Javi and I took an Uber up to Suba because we’d heard his story and wanted to try the food for ourselves. It really is delicious. Order the Combo Al-Banun for 13,000 pesos and enjoy a tray of various delicious Arabic nibbles (see the photo above), or a Shawarma (chicken/meat wrap) with fries for 11/12,000 pesos. You won’t regret taking this journey!
If you go for lunch, why not combine it with a trip to the nearby Parque Mirador de los Nevados? Climb to the peak, enjoy the views over Bogota and gaze across to the snow-capped mountains in the distance on a fine day. This’ll help you to work up an appetite for the delights in store at Al-Banun! (open 4-10pm Tuesday to Friday, 12-10pm on weekends, closed on Mondays and on Tuesdays following a bank holiday Monday).
A chain restaurant specializing in – you guessed it – crepes and waffles (and ice cream)! They offer sweet and savory dishes, though I prefer to stick to their desserts. There’s a great salad bar, which is a good option for a cheap lunch/dinner or for vegetarians. You’ll find restaurants all over Colombia.
These are some of my favorite places to eat in Bogota! If you visit any of these restaurants, I am sure you will eat well!
Tell me about your favorite places to eat in Bogota in the comments section below!
Why I haven’t mentioned Andrés Carne de Res
When you ask people about their favorite restaurant in Bogota, many will mention Andrés Carne de Res. There are restaurants in the Zona T and in Chía, just outside of Bogota. I went to the one in the Zona T a few years ago – I didn’t eat there but the meat is supposed to be good (if extremely over-priced) and it had a great party atmosphere. However, a few years ago, a young woman was raped at the restaurant in Chía, to which the owner responded in the media afterwards, “well, what does she expect if she goes out wearing a mini-skirt?” I therefore decided that, no matter how good the meat or the party was, I wouldn’t be giving my money to someone like that!