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5 Cartagena Restaurants

Cartagena street
Cartagena restaurants enjoy the city’s Old World charm.

A vibrant cruise port on the coast of Colombia, Cartagena boasts a wide variety of different restaurants.

With an influx of native-born chefs with international skills, the culinary scene has grown more diverse and dynamic.

1. La Perla

A contemporary Peruvian restaurant, La Perla presents itself as one of the most sophisticated and charming restaurants in the city. Along with gourmet dish choices, La Perla also offers excellent views of Old Town Cartagena.

Peruvian chef Carlos Accinneli has earned a reputation for his thin strips of fresh tuna, sea bass cured in tiger milk, Mojito Mango Biche made with green mango, Pisco Sour Maracuya and Peruvian marinades.

La Perla’s drink list includes a selection of worldly-wise cocktails and house-made limoncello. The restaurant changes its menu multiple times each year. 

2. Malagana Café

The family-owned Malagana Café offers sweeping city views from its rooftop bar. With a calm, yet vibrant atmosphere, it’s a great hangout spot coupled with an air of seclusion for the romantic.

Malagana is well known for serving up excellent ceviche, empanadas and margaritas. Moreover, the restaurant is the perfect starting point to explore Getsemani, an attraction in itself. Getsemani features dance halls, gallery spaces and talented live bands.

3. Don Juan

Home of one of Cartagena’s most illustrious chefs, Juan Felipe Camacho, Don Juan has earned a reputation for serving Basque-influenced culinary delights. Camacho is known for using only the best ingredients, resulting in hefty prices.

Popular choices include grilled octopus, crayfish and lobster risotto. Desert choices are also extensive and include the popular chocolate mousse made with dark chocolate and black truffles.

4. Marea by Rausch

Marea by Rausch is possibly the best seafood restaurant in Cartagena. Along with a panoramic view of the ocean, Marea offers a menu fashioned by Colombia’s most famous culinary double-act, Jorge and Mark Rausch.

Popular choices include the sensational deboned, golden fried fish, presented in swimming position accompanied by patacones, coconut-flecked rice and tangy hogao sauce. Other seafood choices include seafood rice infused with turmeric, Entrecote, as well as dishes of lobster, shrimp and a variety of clams.

5. Karib Restaurante

Karib is a traditional Columbian restaurant, offering old Columbian style dishes with slight twists.

The traditional menus were created by the owners, with additions and twists created by eccentric chef Diego Camacho. Today, the creative dishes served here mainly include seafood, but other common choices are popular as well.

One of the main features of this restaurant is the plainness of its menu choices. This is especially catered to those who are prone to upset stomach. Popular choices include various types of fish, oven-roasted red snapper fillet with coconut rice and salad and tenderloin steak.

Cartagena is an excellent city for having great food at a low cost. Added to that is the Old World nature of the city, the olden charm and views of the deep blue sea. As a tourist, Cartagena eateries are some of the top attractions in the city.

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. He is the author of four books about cruising in the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexican Riviera.
February 17, 2020

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