Carrera 11a # 89-38
Not for those with a light wallet, but definitely worth splashing out on, this is the swanky new Italian restaurant everyone is fighting to get into. Sitting in a fantastic space just on the edge of Parque Virrey, the modern but very darkly-lit Cacio y Pepe is the place for the hip young (and not so young) crowd to see and be seen.
Perhaps for this reason, it seems impossible to reserve a table. I was advised by the restaurant to arrive early and wait on spec. This seems to be what half the restaurant was told as when I arrived there was not a single seat free at the bar, but plenty of unoccupied tables.
The menu here follows the traditional Italian formula with antipasti to start and two main plates to follow. The artichokes I began with were sautéed to perfection. There was then a selection of pasta dishes of fantastic gnocchi with crunchy crab bits. There is also a great mixture of meat and fish.
I plumped for roasted prawns atop a polenta bed with a sweet mustard sauce. The meat was a tad dry but the flavours complemented each other well. The only disappointment was the dessert menu which had curiosities like banana and arequipe. Not very Italian.
Expect to pay around $30,000COP for the pasta and $30-40,000COP for the meat and fish dishes. A nice range of wines start from around $70,000COP a bottle, and $9,000COP by the glass.
It was great to find dishes here with very distinct flavours and some thought has clearly gone into the menu. The head chef is apparently from the US, but he seems to have arrived in Bogotá with gusto. I will certainly be back to try the rest of the menu.
Service: 3 (would be 5 if they could work out their reservation policy)
Value for Money: 4
Carrera 16 #93a-21
Reservations 256 7894
If the former restaurant is very much about being hip and showy, the same cannot be said of the understated Biwon. This is one of the very few Korean restaurants in Bogotá, lying a few blocks from Parque 93.
You feel like you’re walking into somebody’s living room, which is probably the case, as the dog bowls in the internal garden and basic interior don’t seem to have had much love in a number of years. The only giveaway that the place may be Korean are the barbeque plates built into the tables.
This place came on the recommendation of my dining partner, who lived in Asia for two years. Having only eaten Korean food a handful of times previously, I was therefore guided to the must have dishes. We ordered four, with almost everything on the menu priced at $25,000 COP.
Before your dishes even show up, you are treated to an amazing array of about five small delicacies, including the spicy cabbage Korean speciality Kim-chi, so make sure you don’t over order!
There is a real range of things here, so I would ask for more detailed descriptions if you are a newcomer to Korean food. One of the highlights was Yukhoe; a raw shredded beef dish that is like the Asian equivalent of steak tartar.
The gogigui, or meat roasting, takes place on the hot plate in the middle of your table, so you can cook your bacon or beef to preference. My only criticism is that I like strongly spiced food, and some dishes seemed to lack the spice of other Asian cuisines.
If you are sick of chain owned Wok restaurants and want something more authentic, then you should definitely seek this place out.
Value for Money: 4
By Duncan Hall