By Jessica Russo
Ahh, Cartagena - Colombia's capital of color and cuisine. From warm arepas, to crispy empanadas, to fresh ceviche, this city is overflowing with flavor. Can't wait to try Colombian cuisine? Be sure to add these must-try restaurants to your itinerary!
Cra. 2 #33-66, Cartagena
If you visit Cartagena without having a meal at La Vitrola, you're missing out. Not only does this incredible restaurant serve up delicious food, but its atmosphere comes alive with Cuban music and impromptu mid-meal dancing. Decorated with a flair that'll remind you of 1950s-era Havana, La Vitrola offers a vast menu, ranging from fresh seafood and hearty steak to light soups and fresh pasta. One piece of advice? Haga una reserva! (Make a reservation.)
Cl. del Quero #9 58, Cartagena
Savor the flavors of authentic Caribbean cuisine at this quirky go-to restaurant. Inside La Mulata, you'll find fun decor, fresh ingredients, and homemade dishes that'll have you yearning for more. Sip some sweet, refreshing limonada coco and enjoy savory coconut rice with all entrees. This lively restaurant is the perfect place to celebrate the local culture of Cartagena!
Local 2 Historical center Calle del Colegio #34-60, Cartagena
From the decor to the food, María is bursting with bright flavor. Step into this classy, jungle-chic restaurant and expect an Instagram-worthy atmosphere, exceptional seafood, and beautiful cocktails. Known for boasting impeccable service, María is a slam-dunk from start to finish.
Calle Stuart por el hotel Santa Clara Calle 39 #7 14, Provincia de Cartagena
This local hot-spot is not the hidden gem it used to be - it's so much more. Made famous on an episode of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations, La Cevicheria has blossomed into a Cartagena must-try. While you can't go wrong with any dish, the octopus in peanut sauce and Peruvian ceviche were packed with flavors we still dream about.
Calle #36, Provincia de Cartagena
From the glamorous decor to the lobster empanadas and oxtail risotto, there are so many reasons Alma is one of Cartagena's must-visit restaurants. Relax in the charming courtyard and listen to live music, or sip a classy cocktail at the trendy bar!
Di Silvio Trattoria
Cl. 29 ##9A-08, Cartagena
Yes, there really is authentic Italian food in South America, and we've found it! Of course, fresh seafood is fabulous, but we don't blame you if you start craving some savory, cheesy, carb-filled goodness at some point during your vacation. Di Silvio Trattoria offers authentic pizza, pasta, and entree dishes in a cozy, romantic setting.
Calle Quero, Cl. 37 ##9130, Cartagena
What's more Colombian than an arepa? When in Cartagena, it is your foodie-duty to try these sweet, savory pockets of goodness. But, how do you know if you're getting a good arepa? Luckily, we've found Quero Arepa, serving up some of the best arepas in Cartagena! Stuffed with everything from cheese, meat, and veggies, this local go-to spot is the perfect place for quick meal that's low in price, but sky-high in deliciousness.
El Boliche Cebicheria
Cra. 8 ##38-08, Cartagena
This fantastic restaurant is a kaleidoscope of color and culinary innovation. Sitting quietly on a tiny, flower-filled street, El Boliche Cebicheria offers impeccably fresh, creative dishes. Try empanadas stuffed with crab, coconut milk, lemongrass, and chimichurri, or savor the bright flavors of cebiche coco - ceviche with shrimp, squid, and conch, dressed up with coconut milk, cilantro, and sweet peppers. With crispy plantain chips served on the side, your palate will be teeming with flavor.
Nestled right in the heart of Getsemaní's party atmosphere, Demente is a trendy spot for craft beer, crisp cocktails, tasty tapas, and - yes - good pizza. With a retractable roof, this buzzing social hub is the perfect go-to when the weather is nice and you want a light bite.
Cra. 10 #29-29, Cartagena
Calle del Colegio # 34-60 Local 1, Centro Histórico, Provincia de Cartagena
Ah, Donjuán, where fun and trendy meet classic and traditional. Nestled in the historic center of Cartagena, this Caribbean-bistro hybrid is set in a charming colonial building with sky-high ceilings and elegant decor. Not only does this restaurant showcase local ingredients and wines on its shelves, but it features them in its dishes. Order fresh seafood, perfectly seasoned meat, or tender veggies - it's all perfectly plated and dangerously delicious.