Cartagena is one of Colombia’s most historic cities, enchanting visitors with its flower-filled balconies and the refreshing sea breezes that wanders through its narrow streets. Besides the towering San Felipe fortress and the colonial city walls, Cartagena, known as La Heroica is much-loved for its food. Every dish has a story to tell, which is why food tourism in Cartagena is key to unlocking the city’s past.
Here we highlight top restaurants and opportunities to sample Cartagena’s gastronomy. These include eateries such as Marea By Rausch, Interno, El Santísimo and Don Juan as well as the Gabriel García Márquez gastronomy tour.
The flavor of Colombia’s best-known chefs
The gastronomic tour at Marea by Rausch offers visitors a sense of Cartagena culture and a ticket to the heart of this historic city.
It’s home to the first gastronomic tour the talented Rausch brothers, Jorge and Mark, have put together, the perfect blend between flavor and texture.
More than 80% of the typical Cartagena dishes included on this menu are based on the fish and seafood so central to Cartagena’s cuisine, in an experience designed to bring visitors closer to the magic of this colonial city with every mouthful.
Food that tastes of a second chance
Who would have thought inside a jail was the best place to design and create a top quality restaurant, attended by the very women whose freedom has been deprived?
Created by Johana Bahamón, Interno helps imprisoned women find meaning in their circumstances by creating and cooking delicious food. The idea is to encourage them to learn a new trade, so when they complete their sentence they have the skills they need to seek a job in any restaurant.
Visitors can sample the full range of Caribbean coast cuisine at Interno, which is part of a project managed by the Internal Action Foundation. It’s one of the best ways to experience Cartagena food tourism, with typical Cartagena dishes such as ceviches, carimañolas and cocadas on offer, cooked with passion and determination.
Top Colombian chefs have helped plan Interno’s menu since it opened in 2016, ensuring visitors can taste Cartagena’s cuisine in what is now one of its most-acclaimed eateries. Learn more about Interno here.
The best of both worlds
El Santísimo has an eighteen-year history in La Heroica, taking traditional Caribbean ingredients and producing recipes inspired by the very best in French cuisine.
The restaurant aims to satisfy even the most demanding palate. El Santísimo focuses on surprising flavors and tantalizing textures in an unmissable food tourism experience, delighting diners with its mouthwatering main courses and outstanding desserts.
Visitors keen to experience the best in Caribbean coast cuisine will be impressed by the way Cartagena’s gastronomy is complemented by Old World traditions and techniques.
Eat, drink and be merry
Don Juan is the perfect blend between a modern Caribbean eaterie and an old-style bistro. The restaurant’s impressive wine collection fills its charming building to the rafters.
Diners can enjoy the best of Cartagena’s cuisine at Don Juan, from seafood, fish and Colombian meats to stews, risottos and the country’s tropical fruit and vegetables, in a journey into the heart of the city’s culture and history.
Literature and traditional Cartagena cuisine
Gabriel García Márquez and his literary creations are an important part of the history of Colombian culture. Visitors can now experience the role Colombian cuisine played in the Nobel literature laureate’s writing.
The Gabriel García Márquez gastronomy tour begins by the Clock Tower, where Gabo arrived in 1948, and leads visitors through nine historical stops. Throughout the tour, diners experience treats such as the plantain patacones and fresh lemonades sold from wheelbarrows in the Plaza de los Coches and the detailed recipes prepared by chef Charlie Otero, in a menu inspired by the famous writer.
Foodies keen to delight their palates with food tourism in Cartagena will find the full range of experiences in this charming colonial city. There’s no better place to grab a napkin, taste typical Cartagena dishes and discover the secrets to this magical place.