If you’re coming from a part of the world where dinner is the culinary delight of the day, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn that lunch is the highlight in Medellin. Colombia’s second largest city, boasts a growing food scene. Whether you’re only in town for a few days or you’ve been here awhile, be sure to venture to different neighborhoods or barrios to experience the full range of the delicious treats Medellin has to offer.
1. Versalles (Centro)
First on the list is a spot full of Medellin tradition and what used to be the most popular gathering places for artists, athletes, poets, and politicians in the 60’s. This two-story restaurant was a beacon of culinary innovation when traditional Colombian food was the only thing available, it was the first place to serve Chilean-style empanadas and pizza! Today, Versalles retains it’s quality food, including flaky, rich pastries, grilled meats and Argentine empanadas. If you’re hungry don’t miss the menu del dia or the asado platter. After lunch, take a stroll down Calle Junin and or visit Mi Viejo Pueblo for artisan handicrafts.
Hours: Monday – Saturday 7am – 9pm | Sunday 8am – 6pm
Address: Cr. 49 # 53-39, Paseo Junín
2. AULA (Carlos e restrepo)
This family run restaurant boasts Mediterranean influences, delicious coffee, and an inviting atmosphere. A perfect combination of cozy and trendy perfect for university students, travelers, professionals and families alike, Aula, or classroom, will surely satisfy your craving for comforting dishes or lighter fare. With an outdoor patio and Hellriegel beers, you might even be tempted to spend the night chatting with locals. The menu del dia is especially good, but the highlight of the menu is the slow roasted beef or the hamburger. Vegetarians don’t fret, there are plenty of filling, delicious options for you!
Hours: Monday – Saturday 12 pm – 11:30 pm | Sunday 1 pm – 10 pm
Address: Calle 52 # 64A-29 | Carlos E. Restrepo,
3. Salud Pan (Laureles)
Salud Pan focuses on ecologically sustainable and nutritious food. In light of all the fast food options nearby, Salud Pan stands out as a gem. They offer a wide variety of locally-sourced menu items, as well as a large selection of natural and whole foods products. The menu del dia, which is offered throughout the day, is delicious, filling and will leave you energized for the afternoon. If your not hungry, at least stop by to peruse the selection international products – Buffalo mozzarella, anyone?
Hours: Monday – Saturday 8 am – 8 pm
Address: Circular 4 #70 – 84, Barrio Laureles
You won’t have to settle for one cuisine with a trip to Mercado del Rio! This new addition to the Medellin food scene is an expansive collection of restaurants, bars, and shops with plenty of space dedicated to sitting comfortably with friends and family. The offerings include sushi, Peruvian food, traditional Colombian fare and so much more. It’s close to the Modern Art Museum and the parks of Ciudad del Rio. Eat, drink and enjoy with friends at reasonable prices.
Hours: Sunday – Tuesday 7 am – 9 pm | Wednesday 7 am – 11 pm | Thursday – Saturday 7 am – 12 am
Address: Calle 24 #48-28, Medellin (close to Ciudad del Rio)
Budget: $$ – $$$
A popular place with Paisas (anyone hailing from Medellin), Mondongos is a Medellin tradition. Serving huge platters of hearty Colombian fare, you’ll most likely find this legendary institution packed with families and professionals during lunch time. Mondongos was founded with the intention of bringing families together over the traditional Paisa dish of Mondongo. If you like slow-cooked tripe soup with plenty of vegetables, served with avocado, rice, banana and arepas, this is the perfect spot to give it a try.
Hours: Hours vary by location
Address: Calle 10 #38-38, Poblado | Carrera 70 #C3 – 43
Budget: $$ – $$$