The Top-Rated Restaurants in Bogota, Colombia
Bogota, the capital city of Colombia, is known for its diverse and flavorful cuisine that reflects the country’s rich cultural heritage.
Some of the most popular dishes in Bogota include:
- Ajiaco: a hearty soup made with chicken, potatoes, corn, and capers
- Bandeja paisa: a platter of grilled steak, chorizo sausage, rice, beans, fried egg, avocado, and plantains
- Arepas: grilled or fried corn cakes stuffed with cheese or meat
- Empanadas: fried or baked turnovers filled with beef, chicken, or cheese
- Changua: a breakfast soup made with milk, scallions, and eggs
Bogota is also known for its street food scene which includes delicacies such as churros filled with dulce de leche (sweetened condensed milk), buñuelos (deep-fried dough balls), and almojábanas (cheese bread). If you’re looking for a Bogota restaurant, there are many great option to choose from.
The top-rated restaurants in Bogota
Leo Cocina y Cava
This restaurant is known for its innovative tasting menus featuring local ingredients and creative pairings with wine and cocktails. It was listed on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2021. It’s led by Leonor Espinosa, a local celebrity chef in Colombia who has had a significant impact on the country’s cuisine since opening her flagship restaurant. The restaurant showcases little-known Colombian ingredients while championing local communities and gastronomic traditions. Espinosa won the title of Latin America’s Best Female Chef in 2017 and her love of anthropology, contemporary art, and culture is evident in both her cooking and the restaurant itself. The dinner menu offers an eight- or thirteen-course tasting menu that focuses on Colombian ecosystems through the Ciclo-Bioma concept. This concept explores how new species can be used in the kitchen, with each ingredient’s origin represented on a map of Colombia that shows how far Espinosa has traveled to source unique products for Leo. Standout dishes include mussels with coconut and Galerazamba salt, dried shrimp with snails and ants, and duck jelly served with coquindo oil and salt from the Manuare Salt Flats.
Leo Cocina y Cava: Cl. 65 Bis #4-23, Bogotá, Colombia
A fine dining establishment that offers French-inspired cuisine using local ingredients. The restaurant has a sophisticated atmosphere and an extensive wine list. Criterión, owned by the Rausch brothers who own over 10 restaurants in Colombia, was named Best Restaurant in Colombia for three consecutive years from 2013 to 2015. Established in 2004, it was among the first to offer tasting menus and now offers two options: one that focuses on classic dishes and another that showcases bestsellers since its inception. The restaurant is helmed by Chef Jorge and Pastry Chef Mark, who present innovative dishes such as smoked aubergine with guava hoisin sauce and foie gras tartelette with chocolate and tamarind. Lionfish is prominently featured on the menu as Jorge advocates for the consumption of this invasive species that poses a threat to ocean ecosystems. Criterión’s bright and elegant dining room is situated in the Chapinero neighborhood.
Criterion: Cl. 69a # 5 – 75, Localidad de Chapinero, Bogotá, Cundinamarca, Colombia
At the young age of 23, Juan Manuel Barrientos made waves in 2007 by opening the first El Cielo in Medellín, which employed former guerrilla fighters and ex-military members recovering from years of civil war. The Bogotá location followed in 2011, and since then, El Cielo has expanded to Miami and Washington DC. The restaurant is renowned for its unique tasting menus that offer sensory experiences such as “choco-therapy,” where guests wash their hands in liquid chocolate to awaken their senses. With over 15 courses on the menu, everything at El Cielo is super creative, including dishes like corn tempura with sweet potato and coconut and a grapefruit lollipop with vermouth and white chocolate. In March 2021, Barrientos opened the first El Cielo boutique hotel in Medellín, featuring luxury suites and romantic getaway packages. “El cielo,” meaning “heaven” in Spanish, perfectly encapsulates the heavenly experience that awaits diners at El Cielo restaurants. The restaurant specializes in molecular gastronomy, which involves using science to create unique culinary experiences. The menu features dishes that play with texture, temperature, and flavor.
El Cielo: Calle 70 #4-47, Cl. 70 #4 – 47, Bogotá, Colombia
A contemporary steakhouse that offers high-quality cuts of meat cooked to perfection, as well as seafood, pasta, and other dishes. Harry Sasson is one of Colombia’s most famous chef-restaurateurs, and he presides over a mini-empire of venues in Bogotá that includes a bar, bakery, and steakhouse. However, his eponymous flagship restaurant remains the crown jewel. The menu is a fusion of Latin American, Asian, and European elements with popular dishes such as pides and empanadas alongside mozzarella counters and wok-fried dishes served alongside robata-grilled meats. Housed in a mock-Tudor mansion with an impressive glass and girder-clad bar, the restaurant draws in Colombia’s rich and famous while still maintaining an inclusive atmosphere through warm service and simple yet delicious food. It also has one of the country’s most extensive wine lists.
Harry Sasson: Cra. 9 #75-70, Bogotá, Colombia
La Brasa Roja
If you’re looking for something more casual, stop by a location of the chain La Brasa Roja. La Brasa Roja is a popular chain of rotisserie chicken restaurants in Bogotá that has been serving up delicious food since 1986. The menu is centered around the famous rotisserie chicken, which is slow-roasted to perfection and served with sides such as fries, plantains, and salad. In addition to the chicken, it also offers other Latin American dishes like bandeja paisa (a traditional Colombian platter with rice, beans, beef, pork rinds, sausage, egg, and avocado) and empanadas. As for drinks, La Brasa Roja offers a variety of soft drinks and juices as well as beer and wine. Many diners opt for the classic Colombian drink “refajo,” a mix of beer and Colombiana soda.
La Brasa Roja: Various locations