On a balmy night in Cali, Colombia, the streets are abuzz with Caleños linking arms on their way out for a bite. The food scene here has grown rapidly and there are no shortage of hotspots. It’s not the first Colombian city to garner attention for its gastronomy, but its energy and edge set it apart. Cali is the salsa capital of the world and its tropical heat and party vibe make for a memorable experience.
Trained in some of the top restaurants in Spain, Pablo Ravassa and his partner Luis deliver some of the best food in town at La Guacharaca. Try the “buñuelos de marisco” as appetizer and then the “arroz atollado de pato”, the squid ink rice or the suckling pig. The pastas are al dente and fantastic. Highly recommended.
Come hungry to sample authentic Caleño fare at bolthole El Zaguan de San Antonio set high in the San Antonio old town. Feast on empanadas stuffed with minced pork and fried in drippings, marranitas and the delicious local soup, sancocho.
Colourful and inviting, Platillos Voladores serves up exquisite meat and seafood dishes. Take your seat inside or in the tropical garden. Good steak is hard to come by in Cali, but Platillos Voladores’ is grilled to perfection. Seafood is prepared Pacific style in coconut milk, light and fresh. We strongly recommend the enormous pink peppercorn gin and tonic.
Antigua is a cool little shop-come-restaurant in Cali’s old town. Come for a browse before sitting down to dinner. The menu is Mediterranean/Colombian, staff are friendly and the ambiance the best in town.
A laidback establishment with an authentic atmosphere, Arepas Cuadradas was once a renowned street food stall that became so popular, the owners decided to open a restaurant in order to keep up with demand. Found in San Antonio, Arepas Cuadradas serves the very best arepas. This quintessential Colombian dish is simple and unfussy, offering a true taste of Colombian cooking.
La Marcela Suite
La Patricia Suite
La Patricia SuiteGabler’s Grisaille Master Suite
The Valenzuela Suite
No visit to Cali is complete without a night of salsa dancing at Tin Tin Deo. Practically a national pastime, nowhere in Colombia does it better than Cali. Plenty of bare skin, neon lights and flashy attire make this a night to remember with local professionals showing the crowds how it’s done.
We strongly recommend hitting Cali’s Old Town and San Antonio neighbourhoods. There’s a wonderful old church, plenty of little boutiques, tempting street food stalls and sweeping views of the city.