High up beside the peaks of the Andes sits Bogota, Colombia’s capital and largest city. The cool days and cold nights tend to work up an appetite for its inhabitants, and visitors to the city will not be disappointed by the excellent range of restaurants on offer.
Bogota is buzzing with activity. People from around this diverse country move here for work and bring along their own version of the varied national cuisine.
Local chefs are working with an amazing variety of fresh Colombian ingredients from the Amazon rainforest, both the Pacific and the Caribbean, as well as the rich volcanic soil beside the Andes.
Once a culinary backwater of Latin America, Bogota has emerged in recent years as one of South America’s most dynamic restaurant scenes, offering locals and visitors a ton of dining options from quick and cheap comfort food to bold and refined cuisine nouvelle.
This list of the best restaurants in Bogota covers the best and most innovative food of the Colombian capital, which reflects its increasingly cosmopolitan character and growing selection of top chefs.
As a foodie myself, I had the opportunity to visit some of the city’s most exciting new restaurants when I spent time in the capital. Here are my favorites.
Restaurante El Cielo
Bogota has a growing number of fine dining destinations, and El Cielo is one of the city’s best. Run by chef Juan Manuel Barrientos Valencia, this small restaurant features plenty of natural light, maple floors and paneling, and lots of greenery in its dining area.
Situated in Colombia’s gourmet Zona G, this fine dining restaurant has branches in Washington DC and Miami, both of which are Michelin star. Reservations, as you can expect, are essential.
The only option is the set menu of around fifteen courses, each of which is exquisitely prepared and presented, with optional wine pairing. Expect treats like tapioca arepa tacos, trout gravlax, or shrimp tortellini, followed by perfectly-crafted desserts made with local chocolate and fruit from the rainforest.
The wine list may be the best in the city, spanning many sought-after vintages from around the globe. The whole experience adds up to an unforgettable night out.
People in the know about Bogota’s dining scene rightly direct many visitors to Harry Sasson, a restaurant that has garnered a deserved reputation as one of the city’s best. There are three lovely dining rooms: the large main area with glass ceiling, the cozy two-story rooms for a more intimate dining experience, as well as an outdoor terrace.
The menu highlights many typical Colombian dishes prepared and presented on another level. The meats are wood-grilled, and the seafood is brought in fresh from the coast. A good option is the whole roast chicken or lamb, paired with the side of your choice.
The expert bar staff will match the perfect cocktail to your food, with all the top-shelf bottles you’d hope to find in stock. Save room for dessert, which shows off some creative preparation of local fruit and chocolate.
Upscale yet unpretentious, Salvo Patria attracts a loyal clientele with its amazing range of good food and well-crafted dishes. Housed in a stately brick building, the interior is warm and the staff friendly.
There is also a small patio for those who’d like to take their lunch al fresco.
Committed to sustainable practices, they post their locally-sourced ingredients on the board outside. The menu is filled with tempting choices, but we’d recommend the beef tartar, house-made chorizo, or roast chicken drumstick with quinoa tabbouleh.
For dessert, make sure to try the decadent arequipe crème brulee or millefeuille with buffalo arequipe (arequipe is Colombia’s version of caramel).
A longstanding favorite in the capital, Mesa Franca continues to do a roaring trade despite increased competition. The ambiance, knowledgeable staff, and attention to detail ensure that their guests return time and again. Refined yet convivial, it’s as good a spot for a business dinner as it is for a lunch with a friend.
The extensive menu covers everything from enviable feasts for all senses to comforting pub grub. Over a well-mixed cocktail enjoy the braised pork empanadas or cured trout with chimichurri and crunchy corn.
For dinner, order the pork belly on peanut purée with caramelized pears, or the lamb shank on corn and cheese curd purée.
Another well-regarded upscale restaurant in Bogota, El Chato is a sociable choice for innovative, locally-sourced, traditional Colombian cuisine run by the renowned young chef, Alvaro Clavijo. It also offers cooking courses in its open kitchen area.
Dishes are creatively presented; indeed, this is one of the most instagrammable restaurants you can hope to find.
Among the unique choices on the menu, you can go for the arracacha root bread with house-made butter, snails in tamarind, and radish consomé, or stracciatella with grilled fennel and dill ice cream. For dinner, you can choose the nine-course tasting menu with optional wine pairing.
To drink, the eclectic cocktail list includes drinks made with mezcal, aguardiente (Colombia’s national spirit), and viche (similar to Brazilian cachaça).
A unique dining experience in Bogota’s La Candelaria neighborhood, Prudencia features a rotating menu, with chef Mario Rosero and her team preparing most of their dishes in their wood-fired oven.
They have a small indoor dining area along with a leafy patio in a quiet area uphill from downtown and are only open for lunch.
Their set menus, made by ‘human souls channeling God’, can include an aperitif cocktail followed by house-made bread and butter, and a main course choice between wagyu, beef short ribs, porchetta, or roasted salmon. Vegetarians will love the grilled mushroom risotto and ancho chili tofu.
Dessert options include rhubarb cream and cinnamon ice cream or plum and hibiscus sorbet. For our money, this may be the best dining experience in Bogota.
Bogota’s premier Spanish restaurant, Pajares Salinas serves both classic tapas and wine by the glass, and more substantial meals with all the Iberian classics.
The interior is all straight lines and white tablecloths, wines cover several regions of Spain, and are kept at the correct temperatures. The experienced staff can answer any questions you may have.
Standouts for dinner include the riñones al jerez (intestines in sherry), oxtail tortellini, and the Bilbao-style snapper. The extensive tapas menu features top-grade jamón ibérico and txistorra (Spanish ham and Basque chorizo), grilled octopus, and callos a la madrileña (Madrid tripe stew). For dessert, try the caramel flan or maracuyá pie.
Another outstanding dining experience in Bogota, Ukiyo specializes in Japanese-Colombian fusion using local ingredients.
The simple but refined interior reflects their commitment to serving expertly-presented meals with the freshest ingredients.
Foodies will love the pacific crab dumplings in garam masala, pork or mushroom ramen with soft-boiled egg, or the grilled piraricú fish with nori-wrapped leeks. For dessert, don’t miss the ‘mochi trilogy’ featuring three different tropical fruit mochi (corozo, mambe, and gulupa).
The creative cocktail list also features the bounty of Colombia’s various climates. Try the viche negroni, akuma (with aguardiente and grapefruit and rosemary), or the ‘favorito de Ana’ (st germain, gin, basil, lemon, and cardamom).
In the past couple of decades, Japanese-Peruvian nikkei cuisine has taken the world by storm, and Bogota’s Osaka has brought it to Colombia. The smartly-appointed interior matches well with the beautifully-presented food and drinks, which are as much a feast for the eyes as for our appetite.
To begin, order some tiradito (sashimi marinaded in ceviche), or their house nigiri, which includes salmon belly with truffle oil and tuna with seared foie gras. More your main, try the pork ribs glazed in citrus and pisco, or the Angus tenderloin in miso and rice wine with pachamanca rice.
Alternatively, book ahead for their tasting menu that features ceviche, tiradito, and pork confit. To drink, there is a good selection of wine, cocktails, and sake.
Bogota has numerous Italian restaurants, but Storia D’Amore sets itself apart for its stylish interior, authentic menu, and flavorful food. Their flagship restaurant in Zona T is the best of their three locations, with its lovely dining area and expert staff.
Start off with the burrata or carpaccio di porchetta, before moving on to the shrimp cacio e pepe or the osso buco. Ask your server for a recommendation from the impressive list of Italian wines to go with your meal. Make sure to save room for dessert, and go for the tiramisu or Venetian lemon sorbet made with vodka and prosecco.
With a limited amount of seating and some excellent barbecue, La Kasta has become one of the most popular tables in town. The friendly staff is inviting, and the cozy interior is ideal for an outing with family or friends.
The focus here is on well-grilled meat and seafood cooked to order. They offer several popular Colombian-style cuts of beef, including bife chorizo, punta de anca, and churrasco.
The grilled seafood platter is also a winner, which includes shrimp, calamari, octopus, whitefish, and mussels. Wash down your hearty supper with their palatable house wine.
Speaking of barbecue, the folks at La Fama have carved out a reputation for serving excellent Texas and St Louis-style barbecue with all the trimmings. The interior is urban-chic, and would not be out of place in Austin, Texas. All the meat is cooked over charcoal on a rotating spit.
It’s hard to go wrong here, but make sure to try the 18-hour-smoked wagyu brisket and the pork baby back ribs. Other temptations are the pulled pork and the jalapeño pepper jack chorizo.
While waiting for your food, walk over to the ice-filled bathtub and grab a beer. If you have space for dessert, go for the key lime pie or brownie with ice cream.
Anna & Otto
Sometimes you just need a good pizza. Anna & Otto have attracted a loyal following for their consistently good brick oven pizza.
All pizzas are made from scratch with San Marzano tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, and all-organic toppings.
The bufala margherita pizza is simple but delicious, and the olive oil-based blanca pizza with gorgonzola and dates is a hit. If you’re not feeling pizza, go for the osso buco or pork loin in red wine and gorgonzola sauce. The house sangria (red or white) is a good match for the meal.
This hip place defies simple definition, as Chicheria Demente does a number of things very well. If you’re after a good cocktail or beer, a bar snack, or a filling meal, you’re in the right place.
The open kitchen and floor plan make it a great destination for groups, and the staff contribute to a fun atmosphere.
For something lighter with a drink, try their tapas menu where the choripan and manchego empanadas stand out. For sharing, the pizzas pumped out of their wood-fired oven score highly. As the name implies, you can enjoy some delicious Peruvian-style chicha (non-alcoholic corn drink) with your meal.
La Puerta Falsa
A Bogota institution, La Puerta Falsa has been dishing up hearty highland classics for decades. Locals flock here for good reason: their no-nonsense, filling Colombian food that guards against the cool climate and to which even Anthony Bourdain gave a nod of approval on his visit to Bogota.
Portions are large and prices are fair. Their house special is the tamal, a typical street food where steamed cornmeal is filled with rice, chicken, peas, and carrots, which is a great choice for first-time visitors to Colombia.
If you’re feeling more hungry, their bandeja paisa, a heavy combination of rice, beans, avocado, pork rinds, sausage, and a fried egg, will fill you up for days.
On a crisp morning, popular choices to order include the ajiaco, a soothing soup with potatoes, chicken, rice, corn, and avocado, alongside their hot chocolate.
For dessert, choose between ‘matrimonio’ and ‘divorcio’ (marriage or divorce), the first with raspberries and arequipe, and the second with cheese curd, raspberries, and mountain papaya. Marriage counseling is not included.
Serving up delicious and nutritious food for the right price, Zarzamora is a great-value option for breakfast and lunch.
No-frills and efficiently run, their kitchen whips up a wide range of tasty dishes using traditional ingredients. In addition to the main dining room, there is a patio out back.
Offerings can be as basic as an arepa and fried rice with coffee, or as hearty as a pork cutlet with roasted potatoes, salad, and soup. They also bake their own croissants, serve fresh fruit juice, and make filling stews packed with ingredients and flavor.
A rare find in Latin America, Cooking Taichi is dedicated to preparing authentic Chinese cuisine. The interior is well-appointed with traditional art, sculptures, and calligraphy, and the circular tables are equipped with lazy susans for easy sharing of food.
While most ‘chifa’ restaurants in South America don’t offer much beyond fried rice and orange chicken, this is the place to sample Cantonese, Sichuan, Beijing or Shanghai dishes the way they ought to taste.
The menu is huge, but you can’t go wrong with the whole Beijing duck, mapo tofu, or the dim sum platter with siu mai, xiaolongbao, and hargow. Complete the meal with a pot of oolong tea.
When it comes to world-famous Bogota restaurants, few can compete with Leo, situated in Bogota’s upmarket Chapinero neighborhood. The restaurant is run by celebrity chef Leonor Espinosa De La Ossa, who was crowned the best female chef in the world according to The World’s 50 Best Restaurants “50 Best” list in 2022.
Leo itself currently ranks at the position of the 48th best restaurant in the world and is famed for its truly innovative take on traditional Colombia ingredients, which span everything from ‘big-bottomed’ ants to mojojoy Amazonian larvae.
The eight or 13-course tasting menu takes you on a tour de force of Colombia, showcasing the remarkable biodiversity of different regions through an array of unique dishes.
The dining space is refined and the experience as you sample calf’s foot jelly or dried shrimp with snails and ants (alongside more familiar ingredients) is one you certainly won’t forget.
Upstairs, her daughter and sommelier Laura Hernández Espinosa commands a smaller restaurant, with a reduced menu, and a greater focus on unusual wines and Colombian alcoholic drinks.
Looking for more recommendations for unmissable dining experiences in Colombia? Check out our guide to the best restaurants in Cartagena, as well as our recommendations for unmissable things to do in Colombia, itineraries for exploring this incredible country, and our guide to the best hotels in Colombia.