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casual dining recommendations

The exciting Cartagena culinary scene is only getting better as tourism continues to grow.  Believe it or not, we have narrowed this list down to all the places we strongly recommend for you to check out during your vacation.


See our recommendations by neighborhood:

old city

old city

Harry Sasson

Located in the courtyard of the luxurious Charleston Santa Theresa Hotel. It serves international cuisines with numerous options on the menu allowing big groups the ability to order a variety of dishes. The wine list is extensive and includes half bottles of nearly every wine. Great service from the moment you walk in and every meal starts with a gourmet bread basket served with fresh mozzarella. $$$

Mark’s Recommendations: Steak Tartare | Steak Carpaccio | Crab Ravioli | Fried Rice | Greek Salad | Goat Cheese Quesadilla

La Mulata

Experience the flavor of the city with great a lunch at La Mulata. This is the ultimate lunch spot and is not a secret – you may have to wait 5-10 minutes for a table. All meals start with an incredible fish soup and now is also open for dinner! $

Mark’s Recommendations: Pechuga Asada served with a fresh salad and french fries | Whole Red Snapper | Limonata de Mango or Coco

El Boliche Cebicheria

What it lacks in décor, it makes up for in the food. This small and cozy restaurant is by far the best ceviche in Cartagena. The menu is limited, but they definitely deliver on the dishes they have.   You will also find good wine and beer from the Bogota Beer Company. $$

Mark’s Recommendations: Tamarind Ceviche | Coconut Ceviche | Crab Empanadas

La Brioche

THE place to go for breakfast. Opens early and is one of the few places where you can find the breakfast items you are used to: eggs, pancakes and French toast. They have the best baked goods in Cartagena, come here when you want a light snack or a great breakfast (breakfast served until 11AM). $

Mark’s Recommendations: Brioche Chips de Chocolate | Limonada Natural de Hierbabuena | Cartagena Breakfast | Tinto o Americano (Coffee)

La Cevicheria

Featured by Anthony Bourdain on his TV show, No Reservations, La Cevicheria serves amazing fresh seafood in a great atmosphere.  With a large menu, there is something for everyone. Ask them for their homemade hot sauce if you like to add a little heat to your meal; available for purchase by the bottle. Due to its popularity, there is usually a short wait to be seated but you can enjoy a mojito while you wait. $$

Mark’s Recommendations: Ceviche sampler | Paella | Fish of the day | Diablo Shrimp

Porton de San Sebastian

Right off of Plaza Santo Domingo, this restaurant is run by Colombian women who provide great service and generous portions. You can come here to get some of the freshest home-style cooking options in Cartagena.  Recommended for a casual lunch or dinner. $

Mark’s Recommendations: Chicken and Beef Brochettas | Sea Bass | Seafood Rice | Garlic Mushrooms | Fresh made juices

Donde Wippy

Next to plaza Santo Domingo, Donde Wippy is not the best Italian restaurant but has the best pasta dish in Cartagena (Gigli alla Rossini).  It’s open for lunch & dinner and usually doesn’t have a wait. $$

Mark’s Recommendations: Gigli alla Rossini | Tagliatelle Carbonara | Papardelli Bolognese

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La Diva

This modern Italian restaurant is our ‘go to’ spot to find excellent food in a timely manner. By using the freshest ingredients, La Diva does all the simple things perfectly, providing its guests nice and efficient service. The jungle-like décor can seem a little bit overwhelming at first, but quickly dissipates, leaving behind a fun and trendy spot ideal to enjoy an exquisite neapolitan pizza and a good time. $

Mark’s Recommendations: Margarita Pizza | Caprese Salad | Eggplant Salad

M Cocina

My favorite Mediterranean restaurant in Cartagena. The food is inexpensive, has the freshest ingredients and tastes great. Fast service and the decor is very nice. $$

Mark’s Recommendations:  Hummus M | Chicken Skewers with Lentil Rice | Steak Pharoah | Limonada

Dolce y Salado

This neighborhood restaurant has great recipes that taste like an Italian grandma is cooking for you in the kitchen. The owners are from Italy and spent extensive time in the US working at Italian restaurants.  Go here if you are looking for a hearty Italian meal that has that home-cooked feel.  $$

Mark’s Recommendations: Osso Buco | Spaghetti Bolognese | Octopus Salad


Find a combination of healthy options and fast service located in the Bocagrande area. On a hot and steamy Cartagena day, try the fruit smoothies and blends at Gokela. Come here for their organic produce that never fails the taste buds. They specialize in different wraps with interesting combinations. $

Mark’s Recommendations: Customize a wrap with your favorite ingredients

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Café Lunatico

This charming restaurant has amazing Spanish tapas at reasonable prices.  They combine a variety of flavors to create a memorable dining experience.  They also have amazing fruit juices that are a great addition to the top-notch cuisine. $$

Mark’s Recommendations: Pan con tomate | Shrimp or Mushrooms with garlic | Homemade Special Arepa

Di Silvio

Located next to the lively Plaza Trinidad, Da Silvio has the best pizza in the area and serves it late (usually until 2AM) which is rare in Cartagena. You will rarely find this place empty due to their good atmosphere and ability to provide superb Italian dishes. $$

Mark’s Recommendations: Pepperoni Pizza | Mushroom Pizza | Puttanesca Pasta


Opened by a fellow expat, this restaurant offers great tapas, pizzas and cocktails. It is located on Plaza Trinidad and due to its popularity, they expanded and added an outdoor area with several picnic style tables that are perfect for large groups. $$

Mark’s Recommendations: Shrimp Brushetta | Meatball Pizza | Crab Dumplings | Pork Secret

Oh la la

This French bistro restaurant feels out of place in Cartagena but we are glad they are here. The chef is very talented; all his dishes are cooked perfectly with unique flavors. I have never been disappointed by any of their great daily specials.

Mark’s Recommendations: Minestrone soup | Mussels | Sirloin Steak with Pepper Sauce | Penne with Shrimp


This elegant steakhouse has a great variety of Argentine steak as well as great selection of starters.  The ambiance is perfect for a date but they have the space to also accommodate a group up to 6 people. Check out their tasting menu which includes a bottle of wine.

Mark’s Recommendations: Bife Chorizo | Lomo Fino | Asado de Vacii

La Cocina de Pepina

Come here for great authentic Colombian cuisine. Run by a mother with her two sons, this place turns out some great soups and stews!

Mark’s Recommendations: Various types of Colombian stews & soups

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Located right on the bay, Verona serves up traditional Italian food and pizza at reasonable prices.  The decor is modern and on a nice day you can sit in the outdoor tables and have a view of the bay.

Mark’s Recommendations: Any Pizza | Penne Bolognese

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