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Move over Lima — the food scene in Bogota is quickly becoming one of South America’s best. A unique blend of Latin, Spanish, French, Italian and Asian influences, the food is as varied as you can get — with some of the top restaurants serving dishes you wouldn’t expect in a South American city.
There is a newfound push for farm-to-table, locavore cuisine. The food at Salvo Patria, for example, is bright and beautiful, with dishes like grilled calamari, quinoa salad with local produce and freshly made pasta served with spiced chorizo.
If you’re craving Colombian fare, visit celebrity chef Leonor Espinosa’s beloved Mercado. Here, you’ll find national favorites, like pollo campesino (braised chicken) or ajiaco (chicken and potato soup) served with a fresh twist.
The best way to get acclimated to the incredible bounty of Colombia’s farming industry is to shop at the markets — so spend ample time wandering through Paloquemao. At this market, you’ll encounter an incredible assortment of fruits, vegetables, flowers, cheeses, meats and fish.
The smells are overwhelming, the narrow alleyways between stalls chaotic and the fresh fruit tantalizing, but it’s absolutely worth a visit to see how the locals shop for their groceries. Try the local roasted ants from one of the many vendors or, for the less adventurous, a fresh-squeezed fruit juice.
No trip to Bogota is complete without a meal and a drink at Andrés Carne de Res, a local institution that sits about 40 minutes outside of the city. This sprawling restaurant, bar and adult playground is known the country over for its succulent assortment of grilled meats, from steak to lamb to chicken. The cocktails are served big and strong, so nosh on plenty of hearty fare to sop up the alcohol.