Cartagena, Colombia truly has so much to offer but in my opinion, one of the best and most notable things you can enjoy there, is their food. From high end Instagram-worthy restaurants to specialty coffee cafes and local liquor stores serving up some of the best mojitos you’ve ever had; there’s such a wide range of options in a variety of price points. To help you better navigate your visit and narrow down your search, I’ve rounded up a list of the best bars and restaurants in Cartagena, Colombia.
The Best Restaurants:
Cost: Dishes range from $3-20 US.
Located in the Getsemaní neighborhood of Cartagena, Caffe Lunatico is a small, neighborhood restaurant serving up delicious tapas. Quieter than restaurants within the Old Town, Caffe Lunatico is a great place for a low key night out with tasty food. What to Order: Grandma’s Croquettes, Fried Green Tomatoes, Ham and Gazpacho.
Cost: Mains range from $12-26 US.
Restaurante Donjuán is an Instagram-worthy restaurant in Cartagena’s Old Town. It’s not only aesthetically pleasing, but the food is just as good as the picturesque interiors. This is definitely the spot to go if you’re looking for a trendier dining experience. What to Order: the Pulpo (Octopus) and the Jumbo Shrimp Risotto.
Juan del Mar
Cost: Mains range from $13-22 US
Situated on Plaza de San Diego and across the street from Hotel Santa Clara, restaurant Juan del Mar is truly an experience. You can feel the energy of the Plaza in the restaurant; from the live music to the people themselves, this is the spot to be if you’re looking to really kick off a night out. What to Order: the Tuna appetizer.
Cost: Dishes range from $10-$32 US.
One of the more touristy restaurants in the area after being featured in Anthony Bourdain’s show ‘No Reservations,’ La Cevicheria is well known to both locals and visitors alike. Specializing in seafood dishes, this is great place if you’re looking to take a break from all of the meat dishes that Cartagena has to offer. Though it wasn’t our favorite restaurant, it was still well worth the visit. Just be sure to put your name in early as there’s a typically a long wait for a table. What to Order: Ceviches “Miss-Cellanea”.
Note: The restaurant is often a target for vendors so dining outside can be a less than desirable experience, with lots of people coming up to you throughout your meal. If you have the option to dine inside, I’d opt for that!
Cost: Dishes range from $7-11 US.
Our meal at La Mulata was by far one of our favorite meals of the trip. A small restaurant located on a quiet street, La Mulata offers authentic Caribbean cuisine packed with flavor. The restaurant itself is underwhelming, but wow, does the food make up for it! What to Order: Coctel Camarones.
Cost: Pizzas range from $5-8 US.
Although the food offerings in Getsemaní are a bit more limited than those in the Old Town, we took this as an opportunity to try a classic dish in a new city. That’s why we headed over to Basilica Pizza for their Getsemaní Pizza; a blend of Spanish sausage, corn and traditional criollo sauce.
Cost: Dishes range from $6-12 US.
Located right near Plaza Santo Domingo La Perla is the ideal place to go to fuel up after a morning shopping. A fusion of Mediterranean and Peruvian cuisine, La Perla’s dishes are packed with flavor, while still also being light and refreshing. What to Order: Grilled Octopus and Prawns & Chorizo with Yuca.
The Best Bars & Coffee Shops:
Cost: Coffees range from $1.19-1.77 US.
A trip to Colombia isn’t complete without trying some authentic Colombian coffee, and ÉPOCA Café is just the place to do it. Try everything; Espresso, Campesino, you name it. You could easily stop by everyday and try something new each time. I highly recommend checking it out!
Townhouse Hotel Rooftop
Cost: Drinks range from $2-$9 US
This place had come highly recommended by friends and it did not disappoint. Not only is the Townhouse Hotel Rooftop a great place to take in the city views, but they serve a pretty mean drink. Head here for an afternoon drink to escape the city heat or pop by when the sun goes down for more of a party atmosphere. What to Order: Green Apple Mojito.
Cafe del Mar
Cost: Cocktails range from $6-$11 US
Cafe del Mar has become popular among tourists for their view of the sunset over the sea. While it may seem like a tourist trap, it really is worth the trip to watch the sunset and enjoy one of their fruity cocktails. Try to get there on the earlier side as it can get crowded!
Cost: Food ranges from $2-12 US
Located just a few doors down from La Cevicheria, El Balcon is a casual bar and restaurant with a great happy hour of 2-for-1 drinks. Oftentimes there’s a wait at La Cevicheria so I highly recommend hopping over to El Balcon to have a drink while you wait, or just pop by on your own. The drinks are great and the views from the second floor balcony just can’t be beat!
Cost: Cocktails range from $8-11 US
By far one of the best and most unique bars in all of Cartagena, El Baron needs to be at the top of your list. Not only are their flavor combinations unique, but the presentation is also something to be seen. We stopped here almost every night to make our way through their cocktail list. Plus, the space itself is so inviting!
Hostel Green House Getsemani
Cost: Mojitos are $7 US
Hostel Green House Getsemani has a small bar attached to it that serves drinks. We stopped by on our way home one night and grabbed some 2-for-1 mojitos and to this day they are still some of the best mojitos I’ve ever had.
El Coro Lounge Bar
Cost: Cocktails range from $10-14 US
Bar El Coro is located in the famed Hotel Santa Clara. The hotel itself is absolutely beautiful and is actually a former monastery. To this day there are still monks buried just below the bar area and sometimes the staff will walk you down to see. On top of that, the bar serves up some of the best cocktails that we’ve ever had so I highly recommend if you’re willing to splurge a little.
Though we didn’t have the best experience here in terms of service, it’s definitely worth a trip to the Movich Hotel rooftop for the views. You can beautifully see the contrast between new and old Cartagena.
Cost: Mojitos are $2.50 US
q’onde gustavito yianena is a small unassuming liquor store in the Getsemani neighborhood. The best part? They serve some great drinks! On the night that we went we opted for the 2-for-1 mojitos (clearly a trend in Cartagena) which only came to about $5 US for both. We had such a great time sitting there outside of the store, sipping on our drinks.0