Where to Eat in Cartagena Now

ceviche in Cartagena

We love Cartagena! It’s fun, scenic, and the food is delicious. While Colombians complain that Cartagena is expensive, we found the prices reasonable compared to most other parts of the world, demonstrating how affordable the rest of Colombia is! In our five months in Cartagena, with side trips here and there, we ate out a lot. Why not? Cartagena’s restaurant scene is vibrant, varied, and affordable. I did a lot of research before coming, but many acclaimed restaurants closed during the pandemic, so my list is where to eat in Cartagena now.

When we first got to Cartagena, there was a curfew in effect and the town was empty. We ate a lot of lunches rather than have to rush through dinner at 6PM. Now hours are back to normal, and tourists are back, so I recommend reservations.

This list focuses on the more touristic neighborhoods, because those are where we hang out and the best places to stay in Cartagena. I’ve sorted by neighborhood for ease of navigation.

Food in Cartagena, Colombia

Cartagena is a prime tourist destination, second only to Bogota in Colombia, and restaurants cater to visitors, serving all types of cuisine. Colombian cuisine in general features meat and rice, lots of tubers like potatoes and cassava, and legumes. Because Cartagena is on the Caribbean, also expect to see seafood dishes and plantains.

Plus, Colombia is a very green country and a big-time exporter of fruit and vegetables. Fresh produce is plentiful which is very different from other places we’ve stopped like the Bahamas and the eastern Caribbean!

Below are some of our favorite places to eat and food you should try in Cartagena, Colombia.

Where to Eat in Cartagena Now: Getsemani

Cocina de Pepina

We ate two meals at Cocina de Pepina and would go back for more if we lived in Cartagena. Both times we just walked in and the tiny space wasn’t very busy, and we were treated like honored guests. With a recent rave review in the New York Times, little Cocina de Pepina, with its earthy stews and great craft beer choices, is probably extremely busy now. As it should be! A gem like this with great staff and food deserves to be better known, but make a reservation if you can.

eating in Cartagena now at Cocina de Pepina
Sampler plate at Cocina de Pepina

Cocina de Pepina, Calle 25 #9a, Getsemani Facebook page

Terraza Municipal

The closest thing to a food truck market in Cartagena, Terraza Municipal was one of our favorite dinner spots. We went there at least 3 times, and its location on the waterfront in Getsemani made it an easy walk from the marina in Manga.

Terraza Municipal in Getsemani Cartagena
Outside at Terraza Municipal, one of our favorite stops in Cartagena

What’s great about Terraza Municipal, besides the outdoor waterfront view, is the convenience. Each food truck serves a different cuisine, but you only need to order once from as many trucks as you want. It’s mostly “fast food” style offerings but higher end ingredients and flavors. Choices include pizza, burgers, chicken wings, tacos, and a full bar with cocktails and craft beer, and more. Maybe because it’s outside and not shaded, Terraza Municipal is only open at night.

Terraza Municipal, cl 24 Getsemani Instagram

Caffé Lunatico

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee, cocktails: Caffé Lunatico does it all with a smile. They even offer morning yoga which was too early for me, and cooking classes in a studio. A charming alfresco place upstairs near the wall in Getsemani, Lunatico offers a Spanish style tapas and mains, with lots of fresh fish.

Caffe Lunatico sign
Brian photobombing my photo of the Caffe Lunatico sign

Caffé Lunatico, Av. Pedregal#29-225, 2nd floor, Getsemani Website

Celele

One of Cartagena’s most celebrated restaurants, also located in hip Getsemani, Celele is worth a visit but definitely requires a reservation. Brian and I both felt like you could plop Celele down in any hot North American city and it would fit right in. The presentation of the food was spectacular and everything tasted great here too. Probably one of the pricier meals we had in Cartagena, but still 1/3 of the price of a comparable meal in Toronto.

eating in Cartagena at Celele
Impressive presentation at Celele in Cartagena

Celele, Calle de Espiritu Santo, Cra 10c, Getsemani, Website

Maria Bonita

Sometimes you just want some Mexican food and it seemed pretty authentic at Maria Bonita in Trinidad Plaza in Getsemani. We tried tacos, nachos, and some appetizers over two visits. We liked Maria Bonita. It’s casual, reasonably priced, and in a convenient location.

Nachos Mexican food in Getsemani
Nachos at Maria Bonita in Getsemani

Maria Bonita, Plaza de la Trinidad, Getsemani, Facebook Page

Di Silvio Trattoria

Di Silvio was recommended as one of the best and most reliable Italian restaurants in the city. It’s in a great location off Plaza de la Trinidad and has lots of space with open windows to keep things cool. Pizzas are popular at Di Silvio, but the best menu item I tried was the mussel penne. They serve good sangria too!

eating in Cartagena mussel pasta at Di Silvio
Mussel pasta at Di Silvio in Getsemani

Di Silvio Trattoria, Calle 29 #9-72, Getsemani Website

Café del Mural

Touted as one of the city’s best coffee shops, it took us a while to visit Café del Mural because it doesn’t open until mid-afternoon. We eventually got there for a cold brew and to take some photos of this cool café and the beautiful street where it’s located, one of the city’s best for street art.

colorful cafe del mural in Getsemani
Café del Mural exterior

The coffee is delicious. We had cold brews on a very hot Cartagena day. And we loved the atmosphere!

coofee at Cafe Mural Getsemani
Super spot for a coffee in Getsemani

Like I said, Café del Mural has weird hours for a coffee shop. It’s open from 3-8PM!

Café del Mural, Calle de San Juan, #25-60, Getsemani, Facebook Page

Where to Eat In Cartagena Now: Centro

Carmen

One of the first places we ate in Cartagena, Carmen was also one of the best. It has a beautiful courtyard and absolutely delicious food.

Interior of Carmen in Cartagena
Carmen Cartagena

Despite being a very well-reviewed restaurant, we went for a late lunch and almost had the place to ourselves. This was during huge lockdowns and curfews when Cartagena had very little tourists, so Carmen is probably much busier these days. I don’t think we had dinner that night because the menu was so tempting we ordered a few courses. And enjoyed all of it.

Food at Carmen Cartagena
Food at Carmen Cartagena
ice cream eating in Cartagena
Dessert of home made ice cream – four flavors- at Carmen

Carmen was founded in Medellin by a chef couple who trained at culinary school in California. The restaurant was so successful, they’ve expanded across Colombia, so you can eat at a Carmen or offshoot in Bogota or Medellin.

Carmen Cartagena, Calle 38 #8-19, Old City Cartagena Website

Mama’s Pizza

Maybe it’s a good thing we didn’t find Mama’s Pizza until our last week in Cartagena because otherwise I would have wanted to go all the time. With a downstairs restaurant and a sweet rooftop bar in the middle of the old city, Mama’s offers delicious brick oven pizza with ambience.

Mama's Pizza in Cartagena
The pizza at Mama’s is among the best I’ve had in the Caribbean

We watched some fireworks while sipping cocktails on the roof – Cartagena loves fireworks! The pizza was one of the best I’ve had since moving onto the boat, which is why Mama’s is on my list of where to eat in Cartagena now.

Mama’s Pizza, in the Casa Movida Hotel, Calle del Tablon #7-35 Website

Marzola Parilla Steakhouse

For some friends’ anniversary we dined at Marzola Parilla, an Argentinian steakouse in the old city. This place was worth going to just for the decór and people watching but the food is great too! We ate some good meals in Cartagena, and they like their steak.

cow restaurant Cartagena
You know you’re at the right place when you see the cow in front of Marzola Parilla Argentina

Marzola Parilla Argentina, Calle de curato 38-137, Cartagena Facebook Page

Cartagena also has an outpost of Andres Carnes D’Res, but we didn’t go because we’ve been in Bogota – twice. But if you have never experienced an Andres Restaurant, we recommend it for the steak and the atmosphere.

Restaurante El Gobernador

An upscale restaurant in a high-end hotel, El Gobernador is a bit “fancy” but we went after returning from Toronto so it was still a bargain to us! We enjoyed a leisurely meal with excellent service and delicious food.

Seafood soup Cartagena
Seafood soup at El Gobernador

The seafood soup was rich and hearty and we loved the incredible meringue “egg” dessert. Serving the dessert was a performance so I had to document it on video.

It was almost too beautiful to taste. Good news! The egg tasted as good as it looked!

El Gobernador, in the Bastión Hotel, Calle del Sargento Mayor #6 – 87, Centro Website

Manga Restaurants: Where to Eat in Cartagena Now

Restaurante D’Res

A steakhouse quite close to our marina, D’Res is highly recommended by other cruisers and hugely popular among locals. The steak at D’Res is high quality, perfectly cooked, and very reasonably priced. Good value!

eating in Cartagena at D'Res
Cafe D’ Res near the marinas in Manga Cartagena

It seems to be a steakhouse thing in Cartagena to have live music. And D’Res follows the norm. On the weekends the mariachi band is good but quite loud, even for Cartagena!

D’Res, Carrera 17, #24-90, Manga Website

Señor Miyagi Sushi Express

The only sushi bar we went to in Cartagena, we loved their rolls and cocktails. Señor Miyagi is only a couple of blocks from the marina in Manga and is well-priced, fresh, and the staff was fun and helpful.

sushi roll Miyagi Sushi
Sushi Roll at Miyagi Sushi Express Manga

Sr. Miyagi Sushi Express, Calle 24 #20-2, Manga Facebook Page

Atrium Pizza and Burger

We were surprised how many places in Cartagena, especially in Getsemani, offered burgers and pizza. We didn’t go out for either very often, but we found the burgers and fries at Atrium, not far from our marina, good and reasonably priced.

Eating in Cartagena Manga at Atrium
Atrium Burger Bar in Manga

This was a convenient stop on our way to some of the mechanics in Manga, and especially well located halfway to the mall where we did a lot of our supermarket shopping. The burgers, with fries or salad, range from $10-$15 depending on toppings, and they serve cold craft beer to go with them.

burger and fries Atrium Manga
Burger and fries at Atrium Burger Bar in Manga

Atrium Pizza and Burgers, Calle 25 #19-26, Manga Website

Where to Eat in Cartagena Now in Bocagrande

Ely Café

One of our best meals was brunch at this hotspot in Bocagrande. This place gets busy, as it would in Miami Beach or NYC, because Ely is a super cute French-style restaurant with delicious and decadent dishes. Besides absolutely amazing brunch food and pastries, Ely is known for cocktail deals all day. At brunch, the varied mimosas, including passion fruit, are recommended.

brunch in Boca Grande eating in Cartagena
Ely Café Lobster Bennie croissant for brunch

Ely, Calle 7, #2-50, Bocagrande Cartagena Website

Charlie’s Coffee

Another great morning spot, Charlie’s had delicious coffee and yummy pastries. Located right at the edge of Bocagrande, you could tell it was popular with locals and tourists both.

Charlie's Coffee Bocagrande
Charlie’s Coffee in Bocagrande

Charlie’s Coffee, Carrera 1, #56-2, Bocagrande Instagram

We didn’t visit Bocagrande as much as the other tourist neighborhoods of Cartagena, mainly due to location. So try these two places first and then branch out on your own. It’s a bustling neighborhood with a mix of hotels and residents, so Bocagrande offers a lot of dining options.

Food You Should Try In Cartagena

Now you know where to eat in Cartagena now, here are my suggestions of what to eat!

  • Ceviche: many Cartagena restaurants offer this dish of fresh raw fish cured in fresh seafood dishes. You can also find kiosks near the Clock Tower selling it curbside, and restaurants devoted solely to ceviche. The local recipe is tomato heavy, which isn’t my preference, but it’s more about the freshness of the fish than anything.
ceviche in Cartagena
Ceviche in Cartagena
  • Fresh produce: the avocados alone are the best I’ve ever eaten. You can often find vendors pushing produce carts selling avocados, mangoes, whatever is in season. Buy some!
Cartagena produce vendors
Friendly produce vendors in Cartagena
  • Juice: Fruit juices are plentiful, varied, fresh, and cheap, usually a quarter or fifty cents for a cup.
mora juice in Cartagena
Fresh juice in flavors you may not have heard of is available all over Cartagena. This is mora juice
  • Coconut Candy/Manzanitas: Visit the vendors in the square inside the clock tower, known as Portal de Los Dulces, for the most delicious homemade coconut candy. A small bag will set you back a dollar or two and it’s worth it if you have a sweet tooth. They have different fruit flavors or plain coconut.

Where to Eat in Cartagena Now

Hope you liked my guide to eating in Cartagena. As you can see, it is very easy to eat well in Cartagena. Now I need to do more exercising on the boat to make up for it!

Cartagena is a big city so find out fun things to do in Cartagena between your meals!

After writing this, I am reminded of restaurants on our list which we didn’t visit. I guess it’s a reason to return again one day. Have you been to Cartagena or planning to go? Have I tempted you with any restaurants or are there places I missed? Please share in the comments. As they say in Colombia, Buen provecho!

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Author: Mel

Living aboard a sailboat, scuba diver, cat parent, cyclist, blogger, love the water and exploring new places.

9 thoughts on “Where to Eat in Cartagena Now”

  1. Great guide! I love that you mentioned buying fresh produce. I looove buying fresh produce whenever I’m somewhere tropical, because it usually tastes SO much better than it would at home. There’s nothing like a fresh avocado in central or South America!

  2. Oooh these all sound fabulous! I am really intrigued to try avocado to see how much better they can be (I’ve only ever tried imported ones…so it must be so different!! I looove the sound of seafood dishes and plantains…but it is good to see there are options for Italian food and sushi if you need comfort food that you know well. 🙂

  3. Definitely a lot of options! I would love the seafood stew and the fresh mangoes and avocados. Many of the restaurant looked similar to what we would find in the US.

  4. Yum this is making me hungry. One of my favorite things about traveling in trying all the new food! I was happily travel around Cartagena just to eat haha

  5. I love the number of options you listed, it’s amazing and everything looked so delicious. I really want to travel around Columbia so your post will come in handy when I make it over there. Thanks for sharing.

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