The A-list of al fresco dining in Medellin. This is your chance to combine two of the best things to do in Medellin – getting out into nature and eating out
If COVID-19 has taught us anything it is to appreciate the great outdoors. Medellin has an abundance of spectacular scenery, talented chefs and savvy businessmen. It didn’t take the latter long to put the former two together to give the lockdown massive a good excuse to escape Medellin, get out into nature and enjoy some stellar outdoor eating venues. Catering to the city’s collective culinary cravings with farm-to-table, slow food menus and a side ration of fresh air, these beer gardens with bells on, offer Medellin’s top al fresco dining. All of these outdoor restaurants come with great food and a view that makes the drive out of town well worth the while – pandemic or no f***** pandemic.
El Bosque era Rosado
The closest of this special cluster of the best restaurants to eat out(side) in Medellin, El Bosque era Rosado, comes from the same restaurant stable as upscale eatery Carbonero Medellin. High in the hills of Envigado, tucked into a forest of pine trees, this tasty outdoor venue boasts a warming mix of baos and ramen and tacos and spicy Mexican soups. Served up in cutesy, low-fi sheds to shield diners from the possibility of inclement weather and comply with the local regulations regarding social distancing. The glamping vibe soon vanishes – especially after a couple of Red Toddys, a hot whisky special that will warm the cockles of even the frostiest of hearts. There’s a brunch special on Sundays. Social distancing has never been so much fun or so difficult after a few mimosas.
Serving up comfort food in skillets by the firepit, Alberta Tastehouse is a little piece of paradise in the wild. Get your fireside stories ready (and a jacket) if your planning an evening at this mountain playground for grownups brought to you by the Sinmente restaurant group, responsible for some of Medellin’s trendiest bars and restaurants (Bordo, Belisario, El Botanico, Criminal Taqueria, Kung Food, Lobo and Egeo to name a few). Rustic by design but far from it when it comes to the ample menu, Alberta Tastehoue is the latest extension of the equestrian events space, Equus, halfway to the Rionegro airport. Order freely from the selection of soups, salads, sandwiches, pizzas and burgers it’s all good.
With a faithful following of well-heeled, petrol heads that pine for the open road, La Rufina, is a workshop for vintage motorbike aficionados that’s evolved into one of Medellin’s top open air restaurants. A pioneer in wilderness dining, this brilliant beer garden is like therapy for free spirits looking to escape the city and get out into nature. Eat, drink and be merry by the bonfire or one of the illuminated garden sheds dotted around the farm. The food and drinks on the menu sticks close to the vintage script, harking back to the golden era of US roadtrips and drive-through diners along Route 66. Staples include top-notch burgers, jerk chicken and an artisanal hot dog with guacamole, crispy bacon, pico de gallo, cheddar and Bulleit whisky mustard that ticks so many boxes.
Outdoors eating and sports are both on the menu at this elevated Medellin hangout with an impressive view of the city. The Hawaii surf vibe high up in the hills is baffling at first but when the sun’s shining and the clouds clear to reveal the city down below, who cares. You don’t even need to know that the venue’s owner also has a place on the Beach in Barranquilla. There’s so much on the surf and turf menu that it’s hard to know where to start, although we’d suggest staying clear of anything that comes too far from the mountains. There’s plenty of things to do while you’re waiting for your food including paintball, a mini skate park or downhill mountain bike.