Thursday, July 28, 2011


Andrés Carne de Res – 11-57 Calle 82 (Zona Rosa); 011-57-1-861-2233 or 863-7880;; bizarre combination of dance club and steakhouse but excellent for both.
BarDeLeo – 6-73 Calle 27b (La Macarena); 011-57-1-286-0539;; stylish bar in which to sit back & relax with cigar & martini after dinner; city skyline illuminates windows, with red-&-black chairs, roses on every table & chandeliers; Bogotá’s best bands & DJs, music ranging from electro to jazz; two warnings: (1) this is beautiful people bar filled with beautiful people, so be sure to arrive fully-coiffed; and (2) avoid aguardiente (anise-flavored alcohol).
B.O.G. Hotel – 69-74 Carrera 11 (Cundinamarca); 011-57-1-639-9990;; rooftop bar with 360°-views over city skyline & mountains; modern but comfortable with lounge furniture and dramatic pool; bar snacks & cocktails; bar is mainly for guests staying at hotel and only sometimes open for public so call ahead.

Abadia Colonial – 2-32 Calle 11 (La Candelaria); 011-57-301-388-1698;; 12 rooms in rustic old house in sun-drenched courtyard.
Hotel Ambala – 13-46 Carrera 5 (La Candelaria); 011-57-1-341-2376;; clean & functional.
Hotel Andino Royal – 12-28 Calle 85 (Center); 011-57-1-651-3131;; modern, clean, good for business; conveniently located.
B.O.G. Hotel – 69-74 Carrera 11 (Cundinamarca); 011-57-1-639-9990;; 55-room boutique with restaurant & spa.
Hotel Casa Deco – 2-36 Calle 12c (La Candelaria); 011-57-1-282-8640;; modern, 20-room inn.
Hotel Casa Medina Four Seasons – 69A-22 Avenida Carrera 7 (Cundinamarca); 011-57-1-325-7900;; when Colombian architect Santiago Medina Mejia built Casa Medina in 1946, he filled it with stone columns, floorboards & hand-carved wooden doors salvaged from demolished convents; these gracious period details alongside Mejia’s original wrought-iron finishes have survived 2 rounds of renovations; 62 rooms, all with hotel’s masculine furnishings (courtesy of interior designer Lauren Rottet) that complement original slanted beamed ceilings, sweeping lobby staircase, fireplaces & convent doors with Chesterfield lounges, geometric patterned rugs & mirror-clad travelers’ trunks; sunny courtyard is now topped with glass & converted into all-day Spanish diner, Castanyoles.
Hotel de la Opera – 5-72 Calle 10 (La Candelaria); 011-57-1-336-2066;; colonial-era darling; 42 rooms; Simon Bolivar’s private guards’ former residence.
Bogotá Marriott – 69b-53 Avenida El Dorado (near airport); 011-57-1-485-1111;‎; large clean rooms & comfortable beds.
W Hotel – 115 Avenida Carrera 9 (Cundinamarca-Usaquén); 011-57-1-746-7111;; feels like Goldfinger & King Midas did décor; lobby, with falling water wall, glitters with gold disks; bathrooms are dotted with golden tiles; gold leather pillows adorn beds; with disco vibes in lifts & sheets of tassels hanging from bar, it is all slightly outrageous, novel & extrovert in style.

Abasto – 1198-52 Carrera 6 (Usaquén); 011-57-1-215-1286;; traditional market; serves excellent homemade empanadas (additional locations in Bogeda, Mercado de Campo & Quinta Camacho).
Andrés Carne de Res – 11-57 Calle 82 (Zona Rosa); 011-57-1-861-2233 or 863-7880;; bizarre combination of dance club and steakhouse but excellent for both.
La Bagatelle – 94-45 Carrera 11A (Chicó); 011-57-1-634-7159;; traditional Bogotá breakfast (steaming chicken tamales, spiced egg soup & hot chocolate); perfect if have hangover; fried egg & chorizo comes in iron skillet with corn arepas.
El Bandido Bistro – 7-12 Calle 79B (El Refugio & Nogal, not easy to find (tightly nested at end of winding road populated by private homes, antique shops & churches)); 011-57-1-212-5709;; French food served in 2nd-hand furniture & Argentine vintage knick-knack environment; step back in time at this high-end bar & brasserie; DJ’s spin oldies (think Big Band, Elvis) between live jazz/swing sets; excellent menu of brasserie standbys, including chorizo appetizer, coq au vin & fish meunière.
Casa San Isidro – Paseo Bolívar Estación funicular, 2 Piso (Cundinamarca); 011-57-1-281-9309;; specializing in seafood & white-glove service; worth trip for location alone, perching 2K' over Bogotá on Cerro de Monserrate top; can dine fireside; try lobster with squid & shrimp; French-influenced menu includes plenty of local dishes (wide range of ceviches, Amazonian yellow catfish & tropical blue crabs); excellent wine selection; be sure to leave by midnight before last cable car returns to streets below.
Casa Vieja – 3-63 Avenida Jimenez (La Candelaria); 011-57-1-342-6752;; famous for its ajiaco (potato soup); this is original, Belle Epoque location.
El Cielo – 4-47 Calle 70 (Zona G, Chapinero & North); 011-57-1-703-5585;; listed on Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants list; 2 tasting menus, using avant-garde techniques like bed of mist on table to resemble cloud forest; vertical garden; elegant.
Donostia – 5-84 Calle 29 (La Macarena); 011-57-1-287-3943;; multicolored leather booths; excellent lemon octopus ceviche, lamb meatballs with salsa & shrimp with garbanzo beans.
El Envigadeno – 5-19 Calle 23 (Cundinamarca); 011-57-1-334-8918;ño/131734733548874; meat-rich, Antioquian cuisine, bandeja paisa, (paisa is someone from Paisa Region & bandeja is Spanish for platter; variations are known as bandeja de arriero, bandeja montañera, or bandeja antioqueña; typical meal popular in Colombian cuisine, main characteristic of which is generous amount % variety of food: red beans cooked with pork, white rice, carne molida (ground meat), chicharrón, fried egg, plantain (plátano maduro), chorizo, arepa, hogao sauce, black pudding (morcilla), avocado & lemon.
El Gato Gris – 13-12 Carrera 1a (La Candelaria); 011-57-1-585-6421;; beautiful, 2-story restaurant overlooking neighborhood’s original square; notable for live music.
Leo Cocina y Cava – 18-23 Calle 36 18 23 (La Macarena, near Museo Nacional); 011-57-281-6267;; when Chef Leonor Espinosa, nicknamed Leo, opened this fine-dining restaurant in 2007, Colombian food changed forever; her impeccable research into country’s isolated indigenous & Afro-Colombian cultures’ cuisine put her in touch with ingredients that no other chef in Bogotá was using, let alone in fine-dining setting; some of her classics include seared tuna with hormigas culonas crust & smoked rabbit carimañola; wine pairing is arranged by Espinosa’s daughter, sommelier, though more interesting are their ancestral beverages, made from wild cane spirits & flavored with herbs & vines; most awarded restaurant in Colombia, as it is listed on prestigious Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants list & her development foundation was nominated for Nobel-like Basque Culinary World Prize in 2016.
Matiz – 11-17 Calle 95 (La Macarena); 011-57-1-520-2003; or; little Peruvian restaurant with classically sober dinin groom & terrace seating facing waterfall on ground floor; considered among best fine cuisine restaurants in Bogotá; 4 distinctive settings & 3 different menus; on 2nd floor, lounge, furnished with cozy sofas to relax & enjoy cocktails & music, while 2 reservados convey quieter mood with dark but warm colors & wooden wine racks embedded in mahogany-paneled walls.
La Puerta Falsa – 6-50 Calle 11 (La Candelaria); 011-57-1-286-5091;; Bogotá’s most famous snack shop; multicolored candy displays beckon you into tiny spot in business since 1816; try sticky breva candy, eggs, or tamales for breakfast, or sit with chocolate completo (also called chucula y almojábanas, hot chocolate with cheese, buttered bread & biscuit).
Rafael – 4-63 Calle 70 (Cundinamarca); 011-57-1-255-4138;; Bogotano foodies & chefs unanimously praise Peruvian Chef Rafael Osterling’s creative homegrown cuisine; contemporary space melds cold aesthetics like concrete ceilings with intimate garden.
Harry Sasson Restaurant – 75-70 Carrera 9 (Calle 82 District); 011-57-1-347-7155;; famous chef’s namesake restaurant in remodeled 1934 mansion; stunning bar is all glass & girders; food is Asian influenced layered over Colombian foundations; try smoky, wood-fired tomato soup & chicken & shrimp fried rice doused in sesame oil; reservations essential.
La Sociedad – 6-42 Calle 11 (Cundinamarca); 011-57-1-336-5849;; elegant dining in 250 year-old building with Colombian staples like tilapia and plantains; good lunch spot.
Mi Viejo – 5-41 Calle 11 (Cundinamarca); 011-57-1-704-6796;; fine Argentinian food.

ARTBO –; most important Latin American art festival; in Fall.
Bogotá Bike Tours – 12-72 Carrera 3 (La Candelaria); 011-57-312-502-0554;
Funicular – 21-48 Carrera 2 East (Monserrate); 011-57-1-284-5700;; tram to top of Andes mountain peak (Cerro de Monserrate) near city.
Hernán Acevedo –; for private tours.

Amelia Toro – 12-10 Calle 82 (Zona Rosa); 011-57-1-610-9296;; slim-fitting quilted overcoats, frilly, patterned blazers & dresses.
Atenea Orfebreria – 85-62 Carrera 11 (Chapinero); 011-57-1-475-8662;; arts & crafts stuff; good gift source.
Beatriz Esguerra Art – 86A-31 Carrera 16 (Zona Rosa); 011-57-1-530-0339;; in particular, ask to see works by Pedro Ruiz.
La Cometa Galeria – 94A-25 Carrera 10 (Usaquén); 011-57-1-601-9494;; Latin American artists.
Giraldo Taller Manual del Cuero – 26A-18 Carrera 5 (La Macarena); 011-57-1-342-8964;; artisanal leather workshop.
Luvina – 28A-6 Carrera 5 (La Macarena); 011-57-1-284-4157;; bookstore where local writers hold forth.
Olga Piedrahita – 82A-36 Carrera 14 (Usaquén); 011-57-312-351-0856;; fashion designer from Medellín who creates pieces using unique textiles, prints & textures inspired by Amazon rainforest, with wrinkled & pleated fabrics giving sense of movement; upscale garments & various other elegant products.
Valenzuela Klenner Galleria – 26-28 Carrera 5 (La Macarena); 011-57-1-243-7752;; contemporary art gallery; focuses on contemporary Latin American art with emphasis on those produced in & from Colombian context.
XOCO Puro Chocolate – 115-60 Carrera 7 (Centro); 011-57-1-612-7035;; innovative chocolatier.

Biblioteca Luis Ángel Arango – 4-14 Calle 11 (La Candelaria); 011-57-1-343-1212;; not only will you find books, check out events in auditorium (see schedule); Botero Museum (see below) is part of library; also bookstore on 1st floor, specializing in books about Colombia, scientific magazines & literature related to Colombia.
Bogotá Cathedral – 11-10 Carrera 7 (Bolivar Square); 011-57-1-341-1954;; built several times in same place; construction between 1556-65 replaced original thatched chapel but, due to poor foundation, it later collapsed; rebuilt around 1572, but 1785 earthquake reduced to ruins; built again between 1807-23; biggest cathedral in Colombia & among biggest in South America.
Botero Museum – 4-41 Calle 11 (La Candelaria, in Biblioteca Luis Ángel Arango); 011-57-1-343-1212;; Botero works, as well as selections from his personal collection, Chagall to Renoir.
Centro Cultural Gabriel Garcia Marquez – 5-60 Calle 11 (La Candelaria); 011-57-1-283-2200;; modernist structure by Rogelio Salmona, housing art space, bookstore & café.
Chingaza Natural National Park – Fomeque; 011-57-1-353-2400;; day trip; 40 natural glacial lakes; animals include spectacled bear, deer, tapir moor, pumas, Andean condors, Cock-of-rocks, jaguars, turkeys, woolly monkeys, nocturnal monkeys, ocelots & toucans.
Gold Museum (Museo del Oro) – 15-88 Carrera 6 (Centro); 011-57-1-343-2222;; traces gold history & its relation to Colombia.
Jardín Botánico de Bogotá Jose Celestino Mutis - 68-95 Calle 63 (Cundinamarca); 011-57-1-437-7060;; 50-acre oasis of palm trees and lush tropical gardens; orchid gallery, butterfly tent, cactus trove, and floating lotuses (dinner table size).
Mercado de las Pulgas de Usaquén Usaquén Flea Market – 120-07 Carrera 5 (Carrera 6 at Calle 118, Parque de Usaquén);; colorful craft show with street food and puppies.
Sumapaz National Park – Meta (hour’s drive south of Bogotá’s Usme); 011-57-1-381-3000;; contains world’s largest páramo expanse, making it ideal home for some of country’s most distinct mountain-dwelling fauna & flora, as well as scientific research center; 595-square-mile park; animals like oncillas (small spotted cats related to ocelots), golden eagles & several types of deer.
Teatro de Cristobal Colon – 5-32 Calle 10 (La Candelaria); 011-57-1-284-7420;; national opera house originally designed in 1890s by Pietro Cantini; recently renovated.
Zipaquirá Salt Cathedral – Parque De La Sal (Zipaquirá, Cundinamarca); 011-57-315-760-7376;; stunning underground structure carved by removing 250K tons of salt; highlighted by largest cross ever built in underground church.

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