You know, I have spent a few weeks roaming the streets of Cartagena and all the while keeping an eye out for good places to eat, yet barring the expensive restaurants, I only came across one place with decent prices and really great food (el Bistro, which I will write about later). All other eateries were different variations of that (ex, low prices for bad food or high prices for simply good food). According to this article, I may have missed a few key spots!
“GREAT food cities tend to have a few things in common — a history steeped in culinary arts, a bounty of exceptional ingredients and a handful of cocky young chefs at the helm. A history of cocaine trade, drug violence and rotting neighborhoods don’t usually make the list.
But recently, the Colombian port town of Cartagena has become an unlikely food destination, attracting the kind of culinary travelers who spend their vacations in Rome and Paris. And what they find is a city far more exotic, but no less adroit at catering to sophisticated palates — 200-year-old Spanish colonial mansions refurbished with crisp interiors, trendy bistros that elevate plantains to haute fare, and theatrical rooms buzzing with dignitaries in starched collars and Windsor knots sipping minty rum drinks.
“Colombian food has been hiding,” said Felipe Arboleda, the boyish, perpetually smiling former chef at Palma, one of the city’s white-hot restaurants. “Colombians hide their identities when they travel because people think we’re all drug dealers. People ask if I have a cocaine plantation or if I am related to Pablo Escobar. So our cuisine hasn’t left the country.”
The rest of the story is here at NYT. For the photos (like the one above) which accompany the story, go here. If you wish to know more about Cartagena’s cuisine and restaurants, the NYT article has inspired others…