TLDR? Santa Elena is a great place to go if you want to enjoy traditional Colombian cuisine.
Santa Elena is a beautiful small town right outside of Medellin—it takes just about 45 minutes to get there from the city center.
Its proximity to both Medellin and the nearby Jose Cordova National Airport makes it a highly convenient choice. This is especially true if you’re looking to escape the city but don’t want to stray too far from necessities in Medellin or elsewhere.
Since Santa Elena is so close to Medellin, it would make sense that it would have some great dining options. The community has an inevitable influx of visitors of taste from the city who flock to the town during vacation times and the weekends.
It also doesn’t hurt that the town is an agricultural community in one of the most fertile sections of the Andes mountains, either! Here are a few ideas to get you started.
The venue of the pizza joint itself is situated in a very cute building with wood furnishings and a comfy atmosphere. There’s also a small patio where you can sit and enjoy your food that features great views of the surrounding valleys, forests, and mountains.
Bicipizza has a well-balanced menu that features a variety of toppings for a make-your-own pizza experience. It also has a very extensive menu of house pies that feature an intriguing theme.
The menu is compartmentalized to feature pizzas based on the food cultures of several European countries. This includes France, Spain, and Italy.
I took home a Spanish-themed Campagnola pie, which featured Serrano Ham, balsamic vinegar, and a healthy dash of sea salt. I topped it off with a very tasty Mango soda and schlepped back to my dwelling with a heavy stomach and a happy heart.
Another great thing about Bicipizza is the fact that it delivers. This can be an important factor to consider when you’re looking for places to eat in Santa Elena. This is since distances between places in Santa Elena can be quite far, especially if you’re exploring the area without a car.
This one goes out to all my veggie lovers, vegetarians, and vegans. Tulia’s is a 100% vegan restaurant that features a very creative (and very delicious) menu. There are plates of pasta, salads, sandwiches as well as staples that constitute the typical Colombian diet.
They are all prepared completely without using any meat or dairy products. As someone who eats both meat and dairy, I have to say that I was very impressed!
The restaurant itself is very charming and also has a patio. The view provided overlooks the extremely beautiful Antioquian landscape.
I almost feel that the dishes pair well with the land itself. It feels good to indulge in some cuisine that is both good for my body and good for the land while I admire the bounty of the planet we all live on.
Tulia’s is also pet friendly, so it’s a good place to go if you’ve brought along your furry friend to enjoy the mountains with.
The staff and ownership of Tulia’s are very community-oriented, and the restaurant itself is engaged with several community-oriented events. This includes a compost program and hosting yoga classes at the restaurant itself weekend mornings.
So, if you’re a vegetarian or even just friends with a vegetarian, Tulia’s is a great place to eat good food that you can feel good about. All while you soak in the fantastic views of the surrounding countryside!
Santa Elena is an agricultural community and there are frequent farmer’s markets in the town center. They all feature a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as locally made textiles and crafts.
The farmer’s markets are set up in the center of town near the concert pavilion. The town is so small that it’s practically impossible to miss them once you’re in the vicinity.
The vendors are generous and will usually hand out free samples of whatever they’re peddling. I got a few Mangosteens for free, and they were so delicious that I ended up buying a small bag to take home.
I also got to sample some wine made from the Jabuticaba fruit, something I had never encountered before. Jabuticaba is a variety of guava that grows on trees in the Amazon and is scrumptiously sweet (and the wine packs a bit of a punch, I might add).
The farmer’s market is incredibly affordable, so it’s a great way to pack up a large amount of fresh produce for whatever use you might have in mind. It works well for a small budget.
That being said, most of the vendors only accept cash. So, make sure to bring some along when you go.
Santa Elena has a multitude of authentic and delicious Colombian eateries. They’re all run by the hard-working locals who inhabit the community.
Oftentimes on a walk or a stroll, you’ll come across a shack where someone is concocting a delicious stew or a small restaurant hocking empanadas and grilled chicken.
I feel like much of the magic of exploring a place like this comes from letting life come to you and trying out the unexplored. I had many tasty meals at unassuming restaurants that didn’t look like much from the outside! And they were cheap to boot.
Nourish The Body In A Nourishing Landscape
There’s something really special about eating great food in a beautiful natural landscape. The two things complement each other so naturally.
Santa Elena packs a big punch when it comes to both these things, so hopefully, this guide serves as a useful starting point when exploring the region.
And who knows? You might come across something a little off the map yourself.
If you like this blog, you might like the Casacol Instagram page to keep up with all the new articles. Anything we need to update or correct? Care to contribute? Email us at email@example.com.