Classy Caribbean: Cool Cafe and Cuisine, Cartagena, Colombia

Café del Mar. Superb lounge and dance music. Ibiza? No, Cartagena, Colombia. 
A trendy city with lots of flavor …

Alcohol is unhealthy. That said, I traditionally enjoy a single piña colada when on holiday. The world’s most fattening drink. This time it got out of hand and I had three of these fitness-destroyers this week. Unfortunately they were followed by mojitos. The warm weather and Caribbean atmosphere drives you to the bar …

Café del Mar, an open bar with dining under the sky. We visited it several times. Great music. Early in the evening ambient, later inciting lounge and dance rhythms.

Café del Mar opens at 17 o’clock. Two days we were lucky and got there early: Lots of seats – and drinks and bill arrive at top speed. Two days we arrive later and virtually all seats are occupied and serving and bills arrive at a snails pace; we wait 20-30 minutes.

The place is popular, understandably so. The bar is located on the massive city wall overlooking the guard towers, cannons, ancient buildings and the Caribbean Sea.
At night, especially at sunset, an almost infinite number of selfies are taken here.

At the bar: Mass production of mojitos, a phenomenal summer cocktail from the southern hemisphere and author Ernest Hemingway’s favorite drink.


Mojito recipe

Bartender magazine recipe, Summer drink of the Year 4 years in a row (2009-12).

Ingredients

6 cl light rum
4-6 pieces of lime fruit
1-2 tsp cane sugar
4-6 mint leaves
Sparkling water (soda)

Method

  • Put mint leaves, lime pieces and sugar in a high glass
  • Fill the glass with crushed ice and add rum
  • Stir and add a little soda water
  • Serve

Mojito is available in quite a few varieties. At Café del Mar there is a ‘white’ and a ‘black’. The dark one tastes o.k., however, we prefer the traditional ‘white’ version …

The DJ moves in and out of the small tower featured on thousands of Cartagena photos.

After a drink-before-dinner, there are several exciting restaurants, where you can enjoy international or local dishes. In general the food and dining experience was good.
Just before we had to fly back home,  we went to dine at Salou, Cartagena, a small local restaurant just opposite the city walls near Cafe del Mar.

It was not planned, we just stopped by and had no special expectations. A very large wine rack gives the impression that the place focuses on wine tasting. But no:
We get a menu and right afterwards, the host also shows up with a special menu:

Tour Colombia

Salou specialty; Four-course deluxe menu. Price for two: 195,000 pesos (59 EUR / 443 DKK).

Of course, when in Colombia we can hardly refuse, however I was a bit worried as I – maybe due to the heat – felt that having a four-course menu would be too much.
But it is no problem; The dishes are very small, serving size like treats for a dog …
actually appropriate for a tasting menu.

First we are served a special Cartagena appetizer; green banana chips with dip. Tasty.

1. Course for sharing 
Cassava Puree & Sweet Platain Croquettes. 
Two identical croquettes in the middle and two with different fillings on each side.
Cassava, also called Manioc, Casabe and Yucca, is a carbohydrate root vegetable.
Plantain, ‘green banana’, full of fibre, less sugar – for cooking.

2. Course for sharing 
Crab & Oxtail Wonton
Pirogues with crab and slow cooked ox tail with two kinds of sauces. Delicious.

   

3. Course. Main course. One serving for each: 
Posta Cartagenera y Sailor Fresh Fish
A local ‘surf and turf’ dish:
A local sea composition: Bream, shrimps, octopus and mussels. And:
Black steak (posta negra) made of slow cooked tenderloin. This dish is accompanied by coconut, dark rice with coconut flavor and raisins, a classic Cartagena dish.

4. Course for share (too bad, there should have been one for each of us) 
Enyucado
A typical Colombian dessert here served warm with piquant guava sauce and vanilla ice cream.
Enyucado dessert cake has yuca (potato-like root vegetable), cheese, coconut and star anise seeds as main ingredients along with sugar, butter and coconut milk.

Salou Tour Colombia Review

Really tasty dishes with special, sweet, South American flavors. In addition, the red wine and white wine, house wine, went well with the meal. Regrettably not local Colombian wine because it could not be ordered by the glass.

Welcoming, enthusiastic and informative service.

♥♥♥♥♥ (5/5 stars)

Thank you.

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