Due to a steady stream of holidaymakers and an increasingly strong local economy, there are plenty of fine places to eat in the Colombian seaside city of Santa Marta. Said by some aficionados to rival heavyweight foodie destinations such as Cartagena and Bogota, the city’s upscale eateries impress fussy diners, while some delightful cheapies keep budget travelers yearning for more. Here are Culture Trip’s picks for the best restaurants in the city.
Restaurant, Mediterranean, Italian, Greek, $$$
Ouzu | Courtesy of Ouzo
Situated on the buzzing Parque delos Novios, Ouzo Restaurante is the perfect place to combine some people-watching with a high-quality feast. Its Mediterranean-inspired menu features all your favorite Greek and Italian dishes, including superb wood-fired pizzas which are arguably the best in town. For the more adventurous diner, the slow-cooked octopus goes down a treat.
Bar, Cocktail Bar, Restaurant, French, Fusion, $$$
For some delectable French cuisine, look no further than À Deriva, a classy and popular option located just around the corner from the Parque de los Novios. A sophisticated upstairs cocktail bar offers amazing drinks and wonderful views while the constantly changing menu of the downstairs restaurant is a hit with locals and tourists alike. It gets busy at times, so try to get in early for the best selection.
Pasta, steak, seafood and pizzas are the name of the game in this upscale Italian restaurant in the well-to-do Rodadero district. Situated just meters from the beach, this highly sought-after eatery is known to pack out, so be sure to make a reservation to avoid disappointment. Prices may be higher than elsewhere, but it’s worth it for the authentic food and friendly service.
Perhaps most famous for their delicious freshly squeezed juices, the team at Lulo are also adept at pumping out delicious and healthy cuisine. Their arepas – a Colombian corn flour pastry topped with cheese – are particularly worthy of attention. If possible, try to pop in for Sunday brunch to enjoy a seriously satisfying start to the day.
Restaurant, North American, American, Fast Food, $$$
Even the most passionate hamburger connoisseurs will leave happy after a trip to Radio Burger, a former radio station with stacks of associated paraphernalia on Santa Marta’s most happening plaza. The atmosphere and service and excellent, though it’s their towering meaty creations chock full of top quality ingredients that really pull in the crowds.
Another fine option in the buzzing Parque de los Novios district, Entre Cuates is known for dishing up some of the best Mexican fare in town. Tasty tacos and tortillas accompany top quality guac and even some Tex-Mex options in this buzzing restaurant which converts into a bopping gastropub on busier evenings.
It always makes sense to try some seafood when visiting a seaside town, and the freshly caught fare of Donde Chucho is widely regarded as the best in the city. Ceviche is the crowd favorite at this relatively upscale eatery, though the calamari, shrimp and octopus are worthy of a mention too.
With top quality cuisine in a romantic location overlooking the sea, this gem of a restaurant is widely regarded to be the best in the neighboring village of Taganga. The menu offers mainly Caribbean and Mediterranean-inspired cuisine, although there are a number of superb international dishes such as curries and falafels too.
Restaurant, South American, Caribbean, Seafood, $$$
Perched on a cliff overlooking the ocean in the trendy Rodadero district, it doesn’t get much ritzier than a night out at Burukuka. On weekends, delicious though expensive Colombian and Caribbean dishes kick off the evening before the city’s young and beautiful turn up to dance the night away in style.
Just after something quick and tasty that won’t break the bank? Then head to Tronco Burrito for an excellent value and mouthwateringly scrumptious Mexican roll. Some great vegetarian options are on the menu meaning everyone can eat like a king for under five bucks at this wonderful budget takeaway.