A couple things about food in Cartagena: it's good, but not quite as good as you want it to be; street food can be amazing but can also lead to some stomach issues, so be smart and start a strong dose of probiotics a few weeks before you go; and don't be afraid to ask for salt as it seems under seasoning is a city-wide epidemic. It's also important to remember that Cartagena has only become a popular destination in recent years and the food scene is still trying to catch up. What they lack in food, though, they more than make up for in friendly service, lively atmosphere and great attitudes.
ALMA at Casa San Agustin
We stayed at this hotel and it's probably one of the most charming places I have ever been. And the courtyard restaurant doesn't disappoint either. Just stick with the Aquachile which is fresh and light, the roasted sea bass and the shrimp skewers (and the Iberico ham is pretty good too). Stay away from what they recommend, though — the Sea Bass Chicharrones — which sound amazing but are actually just fried and under seasoned fish.
CAFE DEL MAR
Centro, Baluarte Santo Domingo
+57 5 664 6513
I don't even know if they serve food here to be honest, but the drinks are good and the view at sunset from the terrace is not be missed.
Cra. 10 #29-29, Cartagena
+57 5 660 4226
Outside the walled city in Getsamani (think Williamsburg), Demente is super cool and super inventive Tapas-Italian-Colombian influenced food that is all locally sourced. The pizzas are great and it's awelcome change from the norm.
Cra. 7 #36122, Cartagena
+57 5 6641779
El Kilo is a relative newcomer to the Cartagena food scene and it's probably one of the younger and more hip-feeling places. The food is easy — ceviches, raw bar and skewers. The whole fish was one of the best we had.
Cl. 39 #7 14, Cartagena
+57 5 660 1492
The name says it all.
Calle Quero 9 58 Sandiego, Cartagena
+57 5 6646 222
perfect spot for lunch. Young, busy and full of locals.
Cl. 35 #4 - 42, Cartagena
+57 5 664 2157
Another Peruvian-style place that we didn't love, but have heard such good things about I have to hope they were just having an off night. Regardless, the Tamarind Margarita was well worth the visit.
Centro, Calle Baloco, #2-01, Cartagena
The menu is authentic Cuban (!) and the atmosphere is worth the visit. It's pretty old school so make sure you're no traveling with anyone under the age of 16 — they won't be allowed in!
OOH LA LA
Cl. 35 #4-48, Cartagena
+57 5 664 4321
We did a cooking class here (See WHAT TO DO) and the food was great. Run by a husband and wife team (he's French, she's Cartagenian) who worked all throughout Paris, the food is a great combo of both if their backgrounds.
Candé is a fave for tourists and Cartagenians alike. The menu is 100% authentic with a few twists and the room is lovely: whitewashed and fresh. We loved it for lunch. Don't miss the traditional ceviches, the chicharrones and the crab rice.ing on menu.
In the Tcherassi Hotel + Spa
Centro, Calle Del Sargento Mayor, #6-12, Cartagena
+57 5 664 4445
This might have been the best restaurant we ate in, which is weird considering its Italian, but Chef Daniel Castano spent 12 years working in New York with Mario Batali, so there you have it. The pastas were great and I had a fantastic Mediterranean salad with perfectly grilled artichokes and a perfect dressing. It's not easy to find a green vegetable in Cartagena, let alone a salad, so this was a welcome change.