The Best Traditional Colombian Restaurants in Medellin

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2020-10-17

Where to taste the city’s best traditional Colombian dishes and delicacies

Medellin is famous for the bandeja Paisa, a calorific horror show on a plate for weight watchers, terribly addictive cheesy fritters (buñuelos), and frijoladas, the most delicious of bean stews, as well as a plethora of other pork treats. You have to try them all to understand this city’s rural roots. The best traditional food from Medellin and most Colombian culinary treats are built to keep you going in the countryside. In the land of the sopa y seco – a soup followed by a ‘dry’ dish that invariably involves a slab of meat, double carbohydrates (rice and chips is common), beans and a salad, it’s a wonder that the locals aren’t all built like barrels. Sure there’s a few that are carrying more than is healthy but in general the Colombian metabolism is built to digest more food than would be considered normal anywhere else on earth. In Colombia, food in abundance is a sign of love and the matriarchs of Medellin have been stuffing their kids with as much food as possible for centuries. The restaurants on this list have been built on the family tradition of giving mum a day off from time to time. They all get busy on Sunday’s when the paisa’s love to fill their boots with the Colombian version of brunch. Whichever day you go, be sure to have a hammock or bed lined up somewhere to sleep off the sluggish effects of eating out Colombian-style.

Ajiacos y Mondongos
You have to love a restaurant with only three options on the menu. Two of them are in the name and the third is a frijolada, the traditional bean stew that comes with fried pork belly, diced meat, avocado, rice and crisps sprinkled on top for good measure. Oh, don’t forget the arepa, of course. It’s been this way since 1991 with little changing in the interim. An obligatory pitstop for out-of-town celebrities when they’re in Medellin, this ultra-traditional eatery close to Parque Poblado offers the best ajiaco in town. The traditional stew is made with chicken, two types of potatoes, sweetcorn and served with capers, cream, rice and avocado. The third option on the menus is the mondongo stew made with cow’s stomach. All three are terrific and served up fast for a lunchtime crowd that wants their fill in a hurry. The restaurant recently opened a second smaller location in Laureles and an outlet in the Olaya Herrera airport for one last hit before leaving town.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 12:00pm-3:30pm
Sat-Sun: 12:00pm-4:00pm

Contact & Locations:
T. +57 4 312 2520
Web: Ajiacos y Mondongos
IG: Ajiacos y Mondongos
Calle 8 #42-46, Poblado, Medellin

Mondongo’s
This culinary landmark has two incredibly popular venues on two of the most emblematic streets in Medellin, La 10 and La 70 in Poblado and Laureles. Both are brilliant for observing the ultra-traditional paisa families and couples in their natural habitat. As the name suggests, they serve up the most traditional of paisa stews, Mondongo, made with tripe, yuca or cassava. They also have everything else that you could possibly want from a traditional Colombian restaurant. Delicious arepas, empanadas, and a bandeja paisa that will unleash all the seven deadly sins in one gluttonous lunchtime challenge. First there’s the greed for wanting it, the lust for pork, envy that you didn’t order something else (half way through), intense feelings of gluttony throughout, a little wrath (at yourself) for thinking that you could finish it alone, then pride when you finally do. Followed by a sloth in the immediate aftermath of doing so. The original was opened in 1976 but has since moved to Calle 70. The Poblado version has been in Calle 10 since 1995. 

Opening Hours:
Mon-Wed: 11:30am-9:30pm
Thu-Sat: 11:30am-10:00pm
Sun: 11:00pm-8:00pm

Contact & Locations:
Web: Mondongos
IG: Mondongos
Calle 8 #42-46, Poblado, Medellin

Mondongo’s Laureles
T. +57 4 604 1677
Cra 70 #C3-43

Mondongo’s Poblado
T. +57 4 604 8116
Calle 10 #38-38

Restaurante Hatoviejo
It’s not always great when a restaurant becomes a tourist attraction but the city’s most famous traditional Colombian restaurant, Restaurante Hatoviejo, hasn’t let fame go to its head and continues to do what it has been doing so well since it first opened in 1982. If ain’t broke don’t fix it and a colonial house high up on the hill serving traditional culinary fare is difficult to beat when it comes to enjoying a typical Colombian meal. The setting in Las Palmas next to the Hotel Intercontinental is the best venue although they have added some extra outlets including a restaurant downtown and a couple of mall outlets. The typical cazuela, bean stew, is a keeper and they also serve up a special made with green beans on weekends and holidays. If you fancy testing yourself with a but-gusting, bandeja paisa for breakfast they open at 08:00.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 11:00am-9:00pm
Sun: 11:00am-5:00pm

Contact & Locations:
Web: Restaurante Hatoviejo 
IG: @Restaurante_Hatoviejo

Hatoviejo Palmas
T. +57 312 862 6698
Av. Las Palmas Frente al
Hotel Intercontinental
Calle 16 #28-60

Hatoviejo Centro
T. +57 311 631 1324
Avenida La Playa con Sucre
Carrera 47 #52-17

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