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2024 Guide to the Best Restaurants in Medellin

Blog Medellin

Food in Medellin is a big deal, and tourists and locals alike take it very seriously. At Two Travel, we firmly believe that your culinary experience in a country can make or break a vacation. That’s why we’ve made a list of the best restaurants in Medellin to ensure you are getting the most out of your trip. 

There are a handful of superstar chefs who have put Medellin on the culinary map. With innovative dishes, locally and responsibly sourced ingredients, and Michelin-starred resumes, their projects in the City of Eternal Spring have been a roaring success. But the beautiful thing about Medellin is that you can also find incredibly flavorful food on any and every street corner. Local dishes are hearty and filling, and evoke a comforting sense of home; even if your grandma isn’t an old Latina lady. Which brings us to the following question…

What do people in Medellín eat?

Paisa (local to Medellin) cuisine is famous all over Colombia. The most famous dish is the Bandeja Paisa, which is a mixed platter of some of the most delicious local foods. It consists of rice, beans, avocado, chicharron (fried pork belly), sausage, mincemeat, sweet plantain, and a fried egg. After all, calories don’t count when you’re on vacation! You can’t leave Medellin without trying an arepa, a delicious and versatile corn patty, served with pretty much everything. Mondongo is a traditional soup packed full of potatoes, yucca, meat, and tripe. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it; Paisas pride themselves on their mondongo recipe!

Many of Medellin’s best restaurants have adopted and adapted these traditional foods to put a contemporary and exclusive twist on them. The restaurants included in our list below range from Michelin-star-worthy fine dining to relaxed, hearty food. In Medellin, you can enjoy intimate, romantic dinners, or raucous cocktail-fuelled nights that end with you dancing on a rooftop. Given Medellin’s perfect, spring-like climate all year round, sourcing local, seasonal ingredients has also been a huge recent trend. Sustainability is trending, and we are here for it!

Where are the best restaurants in Medellín?

On your trip to Medellin, you will come across a plethora of restaurants. Some of the best restaurants in Medellin are hidden in plain sight, and some are conveniently located for going out to party afterward. Most are located in El Poblado, but some of the restaurants with the best views are a little further up the mountain. You’ll be sure to find some of the best restaurants in Medellin with a view in this list! As well as its exquisite variety in gastronomy, Medellin is also an excellent place to go out partying. Don’t miss our Guide to the Best Places to Party in Medellín!

The following places are our unmissable recommendations for foodies, so prepare your palate for some big eats at Medellin’s top restaurants. 

It’s our passion to help you plan your trip from start to finish, and help you with the small details too! We can make restaurant reservations for you, create personalized itineraries, and even do your shopping. Get in touch with us today to enquire about Two Travel’s Concierge Services.

El Cielo – Best for a Michelin-starred experience 

El Cielo Restaurant, Medellin
Photo by: El Cielo Hotel

El Cielo is an unmissable fine dining experience in Medellin. Its concept is proudly and undeniably Colombian, with avant-garde techniques that make it stand out in an exceptional way. Chef Juan Manuel “Juanma” Barrientos is a young chef who has achieved incredible things throughout his career, leading the path for molecular cuisine in Colombia and the USA. El Cielo D.C and Miami were both awarded a Michelin star, and its branches in Bogota and Medellin are on the same level. The menu is a 22-course sensory experience where you are encouraged to eat with your hands, play with your food, and truly enjoy yourself. This isn’t an experience to be rushed, so make sure you dedicate your evening to it, and let yourself be swept away by the creative innovation of Juanma and his team. 

Price: $$$
Dress code: Smart 
Reservations needed?: Yes, make sure to book early

Carmen – Best for locally inspired fusion

Carmen Restaurant, Medellin
Photo by: Carmen Restaurant

If you’ve read our blog on the Best Restaurants in Cartagena, you’ll already have heard us sing the praises of Carmen Restaurant, which has branches in both Cartagena and Medellin. Carmen works with ingredients of the highest quality; locally sourced and expertly crafted. The restaurant itself is intimate and beautifully designed with its high ceilings and jungle-like conservatory. The cooking of head chef Carmen Angel takes Colombian classics such as the empanada, a stuffed fried patty common in Colombian street food, and makes it sophisticated. The meat is sourced from the nearby Andean mountains, and the fish is freshly caught in the Pacific Ocean. They also have a tasting menu with wine pairings that are highly recommended. 

Price: $$$
Dress code: Smart 
Reservations needed?: Yes, book ahead 

X.O. Medellín – Best for a sensorial exploration of Colombian ingredients 

Photo by: X.O. Medellin

Part of the Carmen group (recommended in our Cartagena restaurants blog), X.O. is a haute cuisine must-see in Medellín. A true celebration of Colombian biodiversity, this restaurant pays tribute to small farmers and artisans, whilst maintaining an exceptional level of quality and service. In the words of Chefs Rob Pevitts, Mateo Ríos and Sebastián Marín, “Our inspiration is food coming from the source, which can become a powerful ingredient”. Each dish is a work of art and will take you on a culinary exploration of the Colombian territory. Check out the 13-course tasting menu, which is an homage to sustainably caught seafood. Despite the quality and outright beauty of their dishes, the concept of X.O. is “fun dining, not fine dining”, so come along prepared to have a good time!

Price: $$$
Dress code: Fun & chic
Reservations needed?: Book ahead

Sambombi Bistró Local – For true farm-to-table dining

best restaurants in medellin colombia
Photo by: Sambombi

Who said food had to be complicated? Sometimes we just need to let the ingredients do the talking. And in Sambobi Bistro Local, you can’t get much fresher than this. This unassuming Provenza-based restaurant is quickly gaining ground as one of the best restaurants in Medellin. With a sustainable approach to sourcing the best local ingredients, Sambobi is infused with modernism while still nodding to a rich cultural heritage. The interior is stylish yet unpretentious, and the food is consistently excellent. Highlights include the snapper crudo, the roast chicken with shiitake mushrooms, and the caramel/white chocolate flan. We also had the best, most flavorful tomatoes of our lives at Sambombi. However, the menu changes weekly and sometimes even daily due to being seasonal and local, which we love.

Another reason to visit Sambobi is for their forward-thinkingness in sustainability. They don’t use plastic bottles and use biodegradable packaging. We hope that all restaurants of the future look like this one.

Price: $$
Dress code: Laid-back yet stylish vibe
Reservations needed?: Book ahead

Mamba Negra – Best for craft cocktails and Mediterranean cuisine

best restaurants medellin colombia
Photo by: World’s 50 Best

Located on the 22nd floor on a luxury rooftop, Mamba Negra boasts stunning views over the Medellin Valley. It’s the perfect place for an intimate evening meal or drinks with friends. With a similar vibe to Alquimico, one of our favorite bar-restaurants in Cartagena, Mamba Negra has a laser focus on quality and local ingredients. They source ingredients seasonally and locally, and their Mediterranean-style cuisine with Spanish influence is second to none. And all their hard work has paid off, as Mamba Negra has been mentioned in the “World’s 50 Best Discovery” list; an impressive feat, given that Medellín has only come into its own as a tourist destination over the past 10 or so years. This place is definitely a vibe, and a hotspot for Medellin nightlife.

Price: $$$
Dress code: No official dress code, but you will want to dress stylish to come here
Reservations needed?: Book ahead to avoid disappointment

Do you want to know more information about Medellín to make the most of your stay? We can help you by creating a fully customized itinerary according to your budget and what you are looking for!

Oci.Mde – Best for gourmet comfort food

Oci.Mde Restaurant, Medellin
Photo by: Oci.Mde

Home is slow-cooked meat. Home is big plates of delicious food to share. Head chef Laura Londoño has done an incredible job in creating a warm and inviting environment in her restaurant Oci.Mde. Families, groups of friends, and couples gather around tables piled high with food. They share mouthwatering dishes such as the 5-hour braised pork, or short ribs 12 hours braised in lemon and chili caramel sauce. It tastes like comfort food but still packs enough punch with local Colombian ingredients and innovative techniques to keep you on your toes. Londoño trained at a 3-Michelin star restaurant in Paris and brought her many years of knowledge to her home country to create her own concept. Although Oci.Mde’s specialty is slow-cooked meat, vegetarian and vegan options are available.

Price: $$
Dress code: Smart / smart casual
Reservations needed?: Highly recommended, especially on weekends 

Colosal – Best for fine dining with a view

Photo by: Carlos Velez

If you want to make the most of the spectacular views on offer in the mountainous valley that surrounds Medellin, don’t think twice about heading to Colosal. Colossal is one of the best restaurants in Medellin with a view. Located in leafy Envigado, just a stone’s throw from Poblado, this restaurant stands out from the crowd. It offers outdoor dining, live bands and DJs, and impeccable service. The food speaks for itself, and has something for everyone. You can enjoy perfectly-cooked meat and fish, to delicious homemade pastas, and substantial salads. Colossal is the perfect place for a romantic evening, and their wine list is extensive and well-crafted.

Price: $$
Dress code: Dress to impress
Reservations needed?: Highly recommended

Oni – Best for fresh Japanese flavors

best restaurants in medellin colombia
Photo by: Sin Mente

If you’re looking for a restaurant that has it all; chic decoration, fresh and experimental flavors, and impeccable service, Oni is the place to be. This Asian fusion restaurant serves Nikkei-inspired dishes. The Nikkei style is a harmonious synthesis of Peruvian and Japanese cuisines. In true Japanese and Peruvian style, the dishes are simple with high-quality ingredients that speak for themselves. The tuna tacos in crunchy wonton are unmissable, along with the tiradito with ají amarillo, a Nikkei classic. They have perfect dishes for sharing, and some which you will want to keep all to yourself. Oh, and stick around for dessert. It’s worth it.

Price: $$
Dress code: Chic-casual 
Reservations needed?: Not strictly necessary, but book ahead for busy times

Alambique – For Secret Garden vibes and Latin American cuisine

Hidden behind a tiny and unassuming doorway in el Poblado lies an oasis filled with plants, flavors and aromas. Despite being difficult to find, Alambique is a hidden gem and definitely worth looking for. The interior is jungly and cozy, and gives vintage “living room” vibes, which make a refreshing change from the usual aesthetic of el Poblado. They also have a rooftop terrace where you can enjoy their creative cocktails and live music. Alongside traditional liquors, Alambique also makes use of local Colombian liquors such as Viche, a sugar-cane based drink that is part of Colombia’s “cultural and ancestral heritage”.

The cuisine at Alambique is traditional Colombian food with a creative twist. Common street-foods such as the buñuelo (cheesy fried maize balls) are reinvented and elevated. Portions are big and meant for sharing – make sure you don’t order more than one dish per two people. Service is slow so go with plenty of time and be prepared to enjoy their relaxed ambiance and some great conversation. Good food is not meant to be rushed.

Price: $$
Dress code: Casual 
Reservations needed?: Book ahead via WhatsApp

Rúnico – For a classy night out with a touch of mysticism

best restaurants in medellin colombia
Photo by: Forbes Colombia

Rúnico is the passion project of Colombian ex-footballer Juan Fernando Quintero. With over $700,000 USD invested in its creation, the result was always going to be impressive. Runico is super stylish and vibey, with an industrial interior and a varied international menu. There are several ambiences at Runico, but the general atmosphere is a party atmosphere rather than a super intimate one. Their DJ pumps out excellent tunes until 2 A.M on the weekends, making it a hotspot for Medellin nightlife, and an unforgettable night out. The menu boasts an array of textures and flavors; in their own words, “a ritual of ancestral sensations”.

Prices for mains average at around $70,000 COP – $100,000 COP per dish (around $20 USD), but reach up to $600,000 COP ($150 USD) for their signature Cowboy ribeye steak with truffle butter. The live shows (including juggling, aerial acrobatics and fire breathing) give a mystical and dynamic twist to your night out.

Price: $$$$
Dress code: Smart & stylish chic 
Reservations needed?: Yes – you can easily book on their website

Ritwal Mesa y Mística – For fancy Mediterranean cuisine and stunning mountain views

best restaurants in medellin
Photo by: Ritwal

Far from the hustle and bustle of central Poblado, in Alto de los Balsos, lies Ritwal. This restaurant consists of wooden “casitas” perched in the mountains. It offers stunning views of the city and the Aburrá valley. It is a breath of fresh air – quite literally – and gives the unique feeling of being in nature yet still close to the city that one can only experience in Medellin. Make sure to bring something to cover you up if you have dinner reservations, as it can get chilly at night. From brunch to dinner, the menu at Ritwal is hugely varied. Despite being pricier than other options in Medellin, the quality and presentation of the dishes is impeccable. 

The “brunch del sol” (available from 10am to 2pm) is unmissable – we can’t get enough of the caramelized banana and honey pancakes or the Italian mortadella sandwich with burrata as a savory option. They also offer sessions of yoga alongside the brunch to complete the transformative experience in the middle of nature.

Price: $$$
Dress code: Casual and chic 
Reservations needed?: Yes – a $50,000 COP deposit is required for each person in the reservation (this amount goes towards the final bill)

Dos Santos Cantina – For an authentic Mexican experience with mariachis

best restaurants medellin colombia
Photo by: Restaurant Guru

If you are looking for an authentic Mexican experience you came to the right place. Dos Santos is characterized for being a 100% Mexican restaurant that combines flavors of that country and has a wide range of liquors between mezcals and tequilas to live a complete experience of textures and flavors. In addition, every day there is a live show of the best mariachis in Medellin, so you will really feel in Mexico while listening to a famous ranchera and drinking tequila in a party atmosphere and with good food. Also, its location is perfect, as it is located in Provenza and very close to all the nightlife of Medellin.

And as if that wasn’t enough, on Tuesdays of course they do Taco Tuesday, where you can eat two octopus tacos, two chicharron tacos, two al pastor tacos, and two chicken tacos accompanied by two margaritas. So if you are looking for an authentic Mexican atmosphere to eat, have some good drinks, and continue the night this is the place to be.

Price: $$$
Dress code: Casual 
Reservations needed?: Not strictly necessary, but book ahead for busy times on their Instagram

El Botánico – To live an experience of senses around signature cuisine

best restaurants medellin colombia
Photo by: El Botánico

El Botanico is one of the most reputable restaurants in Medellin. Since it opened its doors 7 years ago it has become one of the references in terms of fusion food and sensory experiences around perfectly prepared food dishes served especially for each person who visits them. Their food and cocktails are perfect for any occasion and their exclusivity makes them one of the most sought after for locals and tourists.

Every process, every cut, and every ingredient is properly thought out to achieve a final result that blends tradition and flavor. At El Botánico the experience will be much more profound and you will feel that eating is really an art and that food should be enjoyed as in this restaurant.

Price: $$$
Dress code: Casual and chic (no shorts, no sandals, and no tank tops) 
Reservations needed?: Yes – You can easily book here

Mondongo’s – Best for a hearty local Sunday lunch

Photo by: Mondongos

Mondongo’s is the place to head for a Sunday lunch when you need some hearty home cooking to rectify a hangover caused by a heavy night out. Its generous portions, friendly service, and local vibe make it a favorite amongst Paisas and tourists all over the city. Make sure you try its namesake, mondongo soup, served with avocado, fried plantain, lime and arepas. Here is also a perfect place to try the famous bandeja paisa, a traditional lunch in Medellin. Its popularity means that queues can sometimes lead out of the door, but they generously provide bottles of water and the queue moves relatively quickly. Come hungry and prepare yourself for a true local Colombian dining experience.

Price: $
Dress code: Casual
Reservations needed?: No reservations, get there early to avoid queues on weekends.

With so much choice and gastronomic variation in the city of Medellin, this guide is your best go-to for checking all the culinary boxes during your vacation. Let us help you plan all the other details, too!

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