36 Hours in Bogotá Part Two

By Jen Murphy Posted April 01, 2009

Sunday morning: If you only have 36 hours in Bogotá, then you have to rally from a late night out (the city is known for its nightlife). After a few hours of sleep I made my way down to the complimentary breakfast at 104 Arts Suites. After I downed three  con leche with my arepas and fresh fruit (mango, pineapple, papaya), I headed to the city's main square, Bolivar Plaza, in the historic La Candelaria neighborhood. This is the perfect cultural jumping-off point, central to the city's main museums (all of which are free on Sundays). I started at the Museo de Arte (grabbing yet another café con leche at the museum’s Juan Valdez café) to see the fascinating photography exhibit documenting botanist Richard Evans Schultes's journeys into the Amazon. Next door is the Museo Botero, showcasing the famed portly sculptures by Colombia's best-known artist, Fernando Botero. A few blocks away is the newly opened Museo del Oro (“gold museum”), which is unexpectedly compelling and features one of the world's largest collections of precious metals. While in the neighborhood, I was hoping to check out Anderson’s, a much-buzzed-about new restaurant opened by Nebraska natives Martha and David Myers that serves Southern-inspired American home cooking (house-made bacon and sausage, baby back ribs, bananas Foster). Unfortunately it’s closed on Sunday, so I’ll have to save it for my next trip.

Afternoon: I hit Las Pulgas, the Sunday flea market in Usaquen, another neighborhood lined with restaurants, bars and cafés. I met up with Felipe Vasquez, one of Bogotá's restaurant entrepreneurs. Felipe and his brother are responsible for Osaki, an Asian-inspired restaurant with three locations, and Sipote Burrito, a Mexican chain modeled after  Chipotle. The brothers recently teamed up with chef Andrew Blackburn on two fine-dining ventures. I met Andrew and Felipe for lunch at the first of the two, 80 Sillas (“80 chairs”—though Andrew admitted they have added a few more since opening). Even at 2 p.m. there was a line out the door at the upscale cevicheria. We ate our way through more than a dozen preparations of ceviche (I thought the most interesting was the signature, dressed in a mix of red onion, tomato, coconut vinegar, Tabasco, lime juice, ketchup and mayo. It sounds like a flavor disaster but worked brilliantly).

Early evening: Most restaurants are closed on Sunday evenings, but because Monday was a holiday Felipe told me he was keeping his and Andrew’s second venture, the year-old Central Cevicheria in Zona Rosa, open. So I popped in for a light dinner—a tiradito (a Peruvian spin on ceviche). From the 15 styles of ceviche I chose one topped with coconut milk, ginger and Sriracha served in a cute sundae dish. I was officially in ceviche overload when I left that evening for the airport.

Dulces at one of the many cafés in La Candelaria.

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