Brunch. That one word conjures up a myriad of emotions and images. Lazy Sundays. Endless cups of coffee. Long chats with friends. Scrambled eggs. Crispy bacon. Freshly baked bread.
I love Sunday Brunch. It’s one of my guilty pleasures. A reward for getting through a hard week. Something that I have indulged in since I became a working singleton. It’s my favorite weekend pastime.
Occasionally, I’ll go with friends, but more often than not I’ll go on my own. A date with myself if you like. Me time. Time to reflect, to decompress, to recharge.
I recently lived in South Korea for a year, where Asian’s had a disappointing take on this quintessential American meal. Dishes were crammed with everything conceivable onto one plate – scrambled eggs, bacon, a waffle, and a side salad. There wasn’t much variation from that.
So, arriving into a city that has extensive Western brunch options has delighted me to no end. And caused havoc with my waistline. Needless to say, I have been indulging in a fair bit of weekend brunches since arriving in Medellin three months ago.
After seeking out all of the establishments that I could find that offer brunch – and after extensive tasting – I offer you my selection of the nine best places in which to while away the weekend:
1. Best Overall Brunch Experience – Al Alma
The breakfast menu at Al Alma is extensive. From Eggs Benedict, to omelets to green smoothies to freshly made croissants, you should easily be able to find something on either the Spanish or the English menu to entice your taste buds.
But what makes Al Alma the best overall brunch place for me is that along with delicious food, it offers artisan coffee whose beans have been locally roasted. It’s this combination of scrumptious food and delectable coffee that keeps me returning weekend after weekend.
Address: Between Carrera 35-36 on Calle #8, Provenza or Carrera 43b # 11a #43b-132, Manila, El Poblado
Hours: Monday to Friday 7:00 am to 8:00 pm; Saturday and Sunday 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
2. Best for Something Different – Botanika
The brunch menu at Botanika is not your staple offering. The dishes here are a little quirky. But I like that. And I like the vibe. It is where the alternative Pergamino digital nomad crowd hang out on their MacBook Pros.
One of my favorite dishes on the menu is the Encrusted Avocado. Essentially, it is a mango sized avocado encrusted with black and white sesame seeds. The core has been hollowed out and replaced with a creamy mushroom mixture, topped with two poached eggs, and some edible flowers for garnish. The result is a piece of natural artwork that looks too stylish to eat.
This integration of nature into the cafe is at the heart of Botanika’s core concept. The dishes include fresh herbs and plants and its open patio seating is surrounded by lush green plant life. It’s like dining in an urban jungle oasis.
Botanika morphs into a bar/restaurant at night, so if you want a mimosa or Bloody Mary with your brunch, then this is definitely the place to head.
Address: Calle 9a # 37-03, Poblado, Medellín
Brunch Hours: 9:00 am to 12:00 pm everyday
3. Best for Food – Ganso & Castor
For foodies, Ganso & Castor offers the tastiest fare with the best quality ingredients.
When I arrived on a Sunday at 11:00 am eight people were already waiting to be seated. The mixture of locals and expats was an indication that the food here was going to be of the highest quality. And it is.
Their brunch menu includes an extensive selection of typical Western dishes from eggs Florentine to salmon and cream cheese bagels to pancakes to granola with Greek yogurt. For those on a low carb diet, there is even a baked egg option.
I ordered the Eggs Benedict, which the American lady waiting in line had recommended. Although the dish was served with ham instead of my preferred Canadian bacon, the rest of the components were spot on. The eggs were runny. The hollandaise sauce was rich, creamy and with a just the right hint of lemon. The slightly grilled English muffins tasted homemade. And there were even two sprigs of asparagus.
Ganso and Castor exudes a French themed ambience. The walls are white washed. The oak tables and chairs rustic. The concertina folding doors extend the restaurant seating to an a more relaxed alfresco dining terrace. With the lazy jazz music lilting in the background you could easily while away a few hours here.
The only downside for me is the coffee offering. My coffee snob friend Amanda had warned me that it wasn’t drinkable. So, I ordered a strong cold brew instead. Feeling adventurous, I choice the one with added lemon and chocolate. I should have changed my mind when the waiter asked, ‘Are you sure you want that? It is strong. Don’t try it. It’s awful.
It’s a shame that the coffee didn’t match the food, otherwise this would become my favorite locale for brunch.
Address: Carrera 36 # 7-46, Provenza, Medellín
Hours: Monday to Wednesday: 8 am – 8 pm; Thursday to Saturday: 8 am to 9 pm; Sundays and Festivals: 8 am to 1 pm
Telephone: +57(4) 268 95 72
4. Best for Extensive Variety – D’Andre Gourmet
D’Andre Gourmet has been around for awhile and you’ll see it pop up on a number of listings as ‘The Best’ brunch place in Medellín.
I went there a few Sunday’s ago. And whilst I found the ambiance a little sterile, I couldn’t fault the food. My cream cheese bagel – served with Serrano ham, scrambled eggs, avocado and tomato -was bursting with flavor and tasted fresh baked.
If you aren’t as bothered by interior decor as I am, then I would certainly add D’Andre to your brunch list. But only because they have such an extensive menu offering. In fact, the choice is overwhelming. The four pages cover a wide variety of omelettes, bagels, and baked egg dishes.
They are also one of the view establishments in the area to offer some typical Antioquian dishes like the Arepas de Chócolo which includes two arepas de chócolo topped with mozzarella cheese and served with two eggs and a sausage. Or you can go all out Colombian with the Desayuno paisa – rice and beans with tomato, onion and coriander; two eggs of your choice , sausage and arepas with fresh cheese.
One other downside to D’Andre is that in the three months that I’ve been here I’ve noticed that they keep somewhat irregular hours. So don’t count on this place being open if you head there on a Sunday morning.
Location: Carrera 37 # 10 – 15 Poblado, Medellín – Colombia
5. Best for an Escape – Cacoa Brunch
If you want to escape the tourists and and the bustling heart of El Poblado, then head to Cacoa Brunch. Nestled on the more residential area of Calle 10B, it is a little quieter and more relaxed.
The perfectly balanced menu includes a variety of egg dishes, waffles, pancakes, porridge, and granola. I opted for the Eggs Benedict, which wasn’t your traditional version in either appearance or taste. It had definitely been Colombified. The eggs weren’t runny enough, the sauce wasn’t hollandaise, it was topped with melted parmesan and it had crispy streaky bacon. I’m not selling it am I? Seriously, it was delicious. I would definitely go back, but just warning you, this won’t be the Eggs Benedict you’re craving.
My dining companion choose the french toast, which looked more traditional. It was served with a side of chocolate sauce. Fitting for a cafe/store that sells a variety of Colombia artisan chocolate bars. He gave it a two thumbs up.
To wash it down, try the pineapple, orange and ginger jugo. Just the right kick to add a jolt to your morning.
Address: Carrera 37 # 10B-04
6. Best Alfresco Dining – Park 37
For brunch in an alfresco setting, then head to Park 37. Situated on a corner lot, this bar come restaurant come cafe is one of the most tranquil spots in El Poblado to enjoy a lazy brunch.
If you choose to sit outside on the tree-stump seats, you’ll be treated to the sounds of a babbling stream and the rustling of trees swaying overhead. You’ll also avoid the noise of drills and hammers from all the construction happening near more busy areas on Calle 37. The sign of progress is good, but annoying when you’re trying to unwind.
The brunch menu is also copious here. With five pages of options, there is sure to be something to your liking. Health nuts will love the variety of granola bowls on offer that can come served with soy milk, acai, and even matcha.
Traditionalists will be spoiled with range of six different egg options. Choose from poached eggs benedictine-style to vegetable and cheese stuffed omelettes, to eggs en Francis served in a butter croissant. Alternatively, go local with the Enjoy Colombia option that includes a fried egg and guacamole on a croquette of sweet plantain.
Those with a sweet tooth will be delighted with the variety of French toasts offerings. Options include sweet French toast topped with strawberries and maple syrup; a savory bacon and cheese French toast served with maple syrup, and my favorite, peanut butter French toast with caramelized nuts and bananas. Whipped cream extra.
Park 37 also has an in-house bakery downstairs, so if these options are a bit heavy for you then just indulge in a butter croissant or some banana bread.
Location: Carrera 37 # 8A-4, Poblado, Medellín
Brunch Hours: Tuesday to Friday: 8:00 am – noon; Saturdays, Sundays and Festivals: 9:00 am to 1:00 pm
7. Best Chain Restaurant – Crepes and Waffles
I think the name says it all. What else could you want for breakfast? The omnipresent Crepes and Waffles chain can be found at numerous locations around the city, which makes it my go-to-choice when I just can’t decide.
I am obsessed with their open-faced French style crepe which is surrounded by Serrano Ham. Nestled in the middle are two over easy eggs. A slightly different take on brunch, but a delightful addition to the expansive brunch répertoire available in Medellín.
Since you are already indulging in brunch, why not top off your meal with a waffle and some creamy helado. Crepes and Waffles offers the best arequipe ice cream and waffle combination in the city.
The only real downside to Crepes and Waffles is that they don’t open until noon.
Two Poblado Locations: Carrera 36 # 10-54, Medellín and Av. Poblado # 5A-233,
Brunch Hours: Noon until late.
8. Best 5 Star Brunch – The Charlee
For a special occasion, I would recommend heading to the The Charlee. Their signature restaurant on the ground floor offers white-linen dining sure to impress. The breakfast buffet for 49,000 pesos includes your choice of eggs cooked to your taste and prepared on order.
The al a carte menu includes one of my favorite breakfast staples – the breakfast burrito. I opted for the ATC Burrito – a white flour tortilla stuffed with scrambled eggs, bacon, mozzarella cheese and avocado. Served with a homemade hash brown patty.
Their Ranch Burrito sounded equally scrumptious. A green plantain, hash browns, tortilla filled with red beans, cream cheese, avocado, onion and tomato, pork ham, and chorizo, accompanied by hot sauce and guacamole. At 18,000 pesos for the burrito options, you won’t be paying much more than the main dishes at other restaurants mentioned here, but you get the cache of dining at an opulent locale.
The upmarket chic ambiance is heightened by the fact that the open-air deck allows a gentle breeze to waft over you as chill out.
Keep an eye out for their occasional Sunday brunch slash rooftop pool parties. These special events offer unlimited bubbles with some tunes.
Location: Calle 9A # 37-16
Hours: Everyday from 6:00 am
Telephone: +57 4444 968
9. Best for Coffee – Pergamino and Velvet
Pergamino and Velvet occupy rival positions across the street from each other on Carrera 37. Hailed as the two best coffee shops in El Poblado, I’d head here if your brunch requires several cups of craft coffee.
They both do offer a limited range of breakfast dishes from baked eggs to granola parfaits, but the food isn’t the focus here. The coffee is. And to be honest, for me, brunch without a decent cup of coffee is really not worth having.
Location: Carrera 37 Calle # 8A-46, Vía Primavera.
Hours: 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Monday to Saturday; 11:30 am to 8:00 pm Sundays.
Location: Carrera 37 Calle # 8A-37, Vía Primavera
Hours: Monday to Fridays 8:00 am to 9:00 pm; Saturdays 9:00 am to 9:00 pm; Sundays 10:00 am to 6:30 pm
The Bottom Line: The Best Brunch Places in El Poblado
Several years ago, there were very few places in Medellín to indulge in a traditional Sunday brunch. Now, areas like El Poblado have a vast array of cafe options to choose from and a variety of dishes to eat.
Have I missed your favorite brunch spot? Leave a comment to let us know.