Colombian food is obviously very popular in Medellín. From Bandeja Paisa to ajiaco, Colombian food is hearty and authentic and we look at eight of the best Colombian restaurants in Medellín and the Aburrá Valley that are popular with good food, updated for 2022.
Some foreigners in Colombia or visiting will tell you that traditional Colombian dishes are generally bland, overly fried, too salty and meat-heavy. However, some of the dishes in Colombia are actually packed full of flavor and not everything is meat-heavy.
Colombian cuisine varies regionally and is influenced by Spanish, African, Arab and some Asian cuisines.
We previously looked at 30 exotic tropical fruits of Colombia and 9 Colombian street food options you should try. Also, we looked at 15 traditional Colombian food dishes worth trying.
Several Medellin Guru readers have asked about the best Colombian restaurants in Medellín. So, I have been on a quest to find the best Colombian restaurants in Medellín. And I have tried over 40 Colombian restaurants in the past eight years and many were with my Colombian wife.
The following list of the best Colombian restaurants in Medellín and the Aburrá Valley was created with the help of my Colombian wife.
1. El Rancherito
El Rancherito is a very popular chain of restaurants with nine locations in Medellín and nearby. This chain serves good comida típica – traditional Colombian dishes.
Reportedly El Rancherito is the biggest restaurant chain serving traditional Colombian food in the Antioquia region. El Rancherito restaurants will normally be packed with Colombian families. And they tend to have a nice relaxed atmosphere and will sometimes even have live music in the evenings.
In addition, you can find most of the 15 traditional Colombian dishes we previously looked at on the menu at El Rancherito.
The history of El Rancherito goes back to June 1975, when one of the founders reportedly dreamed she was building a small ranch to sell fritters, empanadas, chicken cakes and hot chocolate.
So, with her husband they began to shape that dream and started with a wood stove cooking food typical of the Antioquenos. Cars started to line up for this cooking. And this was the beginning of the first El Rancherito restaurant that opened in 1975 in Amagá, which is located south of Medellín.
Since that time, the chain has continued to expand where El Rancherito now has nine restaurants in Medellín and the nearby municipalities. Also, they have a restaurant in Pereira.
El Rancherito has a huge menu of over 25 pages. It specializes in comida típica – traditional Colombian dishes.
On the menu you’ll find over 25 traditional Colombian dishes including bandeja paisa, mondongo soup, ajiaco soup, sancocho soup and many more. Prices for Colombian dishes range from 9,800 to 38,500 pesos. And the bandeja paisa is priced at 29,800 pesos or 27,500 pesos for a smaller size.
El Rancherito has nine restaurants in Medellín and nearby:
- Amagá:Vereda Salinas, Vía Amagá Km 6, 200 meters before the toll.
- Caldas: Kilometer 2 Vereda La Tolva
- Copacabana: Kilometer 14 Vía Girardota, Vereda Noral.
- Guarne: Kilometer 30 Medellín to Bogotá highway, 500 meters before the entrance to San Vicente.
- Las Palmas: Calle 18 # 35 – 50, Kilometer 2 Vía Las Palmas, Medellín
- Rionegro: Vereda Sajonia, diagonal to the Texaco station, 500 meters before the airport.
- Los Molinos Mall(2010): Calle 30A # 82A–26, Local 3281, Belén barrio of Medellín.
- Mercado del Rio(2016): Carrera 48 #26-1, Medellín.
- Viva Envigado Mall(2018): Carrera 48 # 32B Sur-139, Envigado.
Hacienda is a popular chain of Colombian restaurants with six locations in Medellín. This chain serves good comida típica – traditional Colombian dishes.
Hacienda restaurants are quite popular with local Colombians and some tourists. And the restaurants have a nice relaxed atmosphere.
Hacienda was founded in 1991 in the heart of El Centro in Medellín on Carrera 49 (Junín). It is located on the second floor with a quiet balcony overlooking the busy pedestrian street below.
The goal of Hacienda was to create a place where you could experience the Antioqueña culture, rescuing its values and traditions, through good service, music and good food.
The Junín location in El Centro is the chain’s original restaurant. And this is where all its recipes were created years ago by housewives from Antioquia. These housewives carefully selected the best ingredients and in their proper quantities with a goal to offer best comida típica from Medellin.
Since opening that first location in 1991, Hacienda expanded to where it now has six restaurants in Medellín. This restaurant chain specializes in comida típica – traditional Colombian dishes.
On the menu you’ll find 14 traditional Colombian dishes including Bandeja Paisa, Mondongo soup, Sancocho soup and several more. And the Bandeja Paisa, which is called Bandeja Hacienda is priced at 30,900 pesos or 15,900 pesos for a mini Bandeja Paiasa.
Hacienda has six restaurant locations in the Medellín area listed below:
- Barrio Manila – El Poblado – Calle 12 # 43D-114
- Ciudad Del Río – El Poblado – Carrera 48 # 20-34
- La Strada – El Poblado – Carrera 43A # 1Sur-150
- El Centro (Junín) – Carrera 49 # 52-98, 2ndfloor
- Guayabal – Calle 16 # 55-129
- Buenos Aires – Calle 49 # 21-38, local 301 in La Central mall
Hours: Noon to 9 pm (except the El Centro location, which closes earlier at 8 pm).
3. Hato Viejo
Hato Viejo is a popular chain of restaurants with four locations in Medellín. This chain serves good comida típica – traditional Colombian dishes.
Hato Viejo restaurants are popular. And they tend to have a nice relaxed atmosphere plus at some locations live music on Friday and Saturday nights.
Over thirty years ago, the history of Hato Viejo started when it opened its first restaurant located in the Las Palmas area in front of the Intercontinental Hotel in Medellín.
And at the same time, it would offer visitors the best of typical Colombian food, such as Bandeja Paisa, Ajiaco, Sancocho and Mondongo, complemented with roasts (also called “Planchitas” at this restaurant).
A short time later, this restaurant determined there was a need in Medellín for an upscale venue with typical Colombian food to serve the executives who worked in the city center. So, the company opened a location in El Centro.
And ten years later it opened a location in the Oviedo mall. Finally, in October 2018, it opened its newest location in the new Viva Envigado mall
This restaurant chain is known for its Colombian cuisine with a menu including salads, soups, casseroles, Colombian desserts, a varied selection of wines and spirits and a series of contemporary dishes that include various flavors of Colombia.
On the menu at Hato Viejo you’ll find over 20 traditional Colombian dishes including Bandeja Paisa, Mondongo soup, Ajiaco soup, Sancocho soup and many more. Prices for Colombian dishes range from 33,500 to 55,000 pesos. And the Bandeja Paisa is priced at 34,900 pesos.
Hato Viejo has four restaurant locations in the Medellín area:
- Las Palmas – Calle 16 # 28-60 in front of the Hotel Intercontinental, phone: +57 4 268 6811
- El Centro – Carrera 47 # 52-17, phone: +57 4 251 2196
- Oviedo Mall– Calle 6 Sur # 43A-227, 4th floor, phone: +57 4 321 1965
- Viva Envigado Mall– Carrera 48 # 32BSur-139, Local 331, phone: +57 4 479 9453
Mondongo’s is a very popular Colombian restaurant with two locations in Medellín. This restaurant serves good comida típica – traditional Colombian dishes.
Mondongo’s is very popular with local Colombians and some tourists. And the restaurants have a relaxed atmosphere. In addition, this restaurant chain is named after Mondongo soup, which is a traditional Paisa dish.
Mondongo soup is made from diced tripe (the stomach of a cow), which is slow-cooked with chicken or beef stock, cilantro, and many vegetables such as peas, carrots and onions. Mondongo a hearty dish and is sometimes the soup course in a traditional almuerzo (lunch) meal in Colombia.
In October 1976, the idea of creating a small and cozy restaurant on Avenida San Juan, which was named Mondongo’s, materialized.
The founders conceived the idea of a unique restaurant, aimed especially at bringing together Antioquia families around a very Paisa dish – the Mondongo soup – which the restaurant was named for. And the restaurant quickly became very popular.
After several years, the initial restaurant moved to a larger location on Carrera 70 in Laureles, where it is currently located. In March 1995, a second location opened in Medellín on Calle 10 in El Poblado. And at the request of Colombians living in Miami in the U.S., a third restaurant was opened in Miami in December 2001.
This restaurant chain specializes in comida típica – traditional Colombian dishes. On the menu you’ll find 13 traditional Colombian dishes including Bandeja Paisa, Mondongo soup and several more. Prices for Colombian dishes range from 21,000 to 36,000 pesos. And the Bandeja Paisa costs 33,500 pesos.
Mondongo’s has two restaurant locations in the Medellín area:
- El Poblado – Calle 10 # 38-38, Telephone: +57 4 312 2346
- Laureles – Carrera 70 # Circular 3-43, Telephone: +57 4 411 3434
In addition, Mondongo’s has a location in Miami, Florida located at 3500 NW 87 Avenue.
Hours: 11:30 am to 10 pm.
5. Restaurante El Viejo John
El Viejo John is a very popular restaurant in Sabaneta that specializes in traditional Colombian food. It’s a great place to experience Colombian food including Antioquian specialties like bandeja paisa.
El Viejo John has many traditional Colombian dishes on the menu including bandeja paisa, buñuelos, cazuela de mariscos (seafood casserole), empanadas, mondongo soup, pescado frito (fried fish) sancocho soup and tamales.
The portions at El Viejo John are huge and the prices are reasonable. I frequently have needed to ask them to pack some of the leftovers to take home, as it has been too much to eat.
Many of the staff working at El Viejo John are long-term employees. Also, the décor of the restaurant is quite rustic and is consistent with paisa traditions. In addition, El Viejo John is located next to Parque Sabaneta, which is arguably the nicest park in the Medellin and Aburrá Valley metro area.
Restaurante El Viejo John has a big menu with chicken, meats, fish, bandejas, sancochos and many other types of typical Colombian and Antioquian cuisine.
Address: Carrera 45 #70 Sur-42, Sabaneta
Hours: Monday – Sunday: 7 am – 10:00 pm.
Payment accepted: Only cash
6. Ajiacos y Mondongos
Ajiacos y Mondongos is a very popular Colombian restaurant in Medellín with good food. This restaurant serves three traditional Colombian dishes.
Ajiacos y Mondongos has been open for nearly 30 years. And it’s only open for lunch and is a popular lunch place in El Poblado in Medellin.
This restaurant is popular with locals and some foreigners due to having some very good Colombian food. I have eaten at this restaurant many times and the food and service has always been very good.
Ajiacos y Mondongos originally opened in 1991 with the goal to make customers feel like they are visiting a Colombian home with recipes that have lasted for generations along with pleasant and cordial service.
Being true to its roots, this restaurant has a simple menu with only three traditional Colombian dishes – a Ajiaco soup, Mondongo soup and Cazuela de frijoles. All three Colombian dishes cost 24,500 pesos or 19,500 pesos for a half-order.
Each dish is made with fresh ingredients and a number of products used are reportedly grown by the restaurant.
Address: Calle 8, # 42-46, El Poblado, Medellín
Hours: Open only for lunch daily – Monday to Friday: noon to 3:30 pm and Saturday and Sunday: noon to 4:00 pm.
6. La Hija de Stella
La Hija de Stella is a very popular Colombian restaurant in Sabaneta with good food. This restaurant serves traditional Colombian dishes (comida tipica).
La Hija de Stella is Spanish for “Stella’s Daughter”. This restaurant is popular with locals in Sabaneta and a few foreigners that have discovered it due to having some very good Colombian food.
La Hija de Stella has several Colombian dishes on the menu with prices ranging from 16,000 to 36,000 pesos. The Bandeja Paisa here costs 26,000 pesos.
Address: Carrera 46 # 75 Sur-254, Sabaneta
Hours: Monday to Thursday: 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm; Friday: 5:00 pm to 11:30 pm; Saturday: Noon to 11:30 pm; Sunday and Holidays: Noon to 10:00 pm.
8. El Peregrino
El Peregrino is a very popular Colombian restaurant in Sabaneta best known for its buñuelos but also has good traditional Colombian dishes (comida tipica).
The El Peregrino restaurant has been in operation for nearly 30 years and is famous for its large buñuelos. But this popular restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and also has a nice selection of traditional Colombian dishes.
This is a large restaurant located next to Parque Sabaneta with both indoor and outdoor seating options.
The buñuelos at El Peregrino are famous and are sized at 200 grams. And they are made from a recipe brought by Pedro José Vásquez from the pueblo San José de la Montaña about five decades ago.
Vásquez’s son Pedro Vásquez Pino is the founder and owner of El Peregrino. His grandmother provided a very specific recipe to made the buñuelos, which require very fresh and high-quality ingredients.
El Peregrino has several Colombian dishes on the menu with prices ranging from 17,000 to 38,000 pesos. The Bandeja Paisa here costs 26,000 pesos.
Address: Calle 70 Sur # 43b-55, Sabaneta
Hours: Monday – Sunday: 5:30 am – 10:00 pm.
Payment accepted: Only cash
The Best of Medellín
Besides this article about the 9 best Colombian restaurants in Medellín and the Aburrá Valley, Medellin Guru has several more articles about the best restaurants and coffee shops in Medellín and the Aburrá Valley:
- 19 Best Restaurants in Laureles in Medellín
- 15 Best Restaurants in Envigado, Colombia
- 15 Best Restaurants in Sabaneta, Colombia
- 14 Best Pizza Places in Medellín: The Best Pizzerias in the City
- 13 Best Burgers in Medellín: Best Burger Places in the Aburrá Valley
- 12 Best Steakhouses in Medellín and the Aburrá Valley
- 12 Best Vegan and Vegetarian Restaurants in El Poblado
- 10 Best Mexican Restaurants in Medellín and the Aburrá Valley
- 8 Best Colombian Restaurants in Medellín and the Aburrá Valley
- 9 Best Italian Restaurants in Medellín and the Aburrá Valley
- 9 Best Places for Brunch in El Poblado
- 5 Best Independent Coffee Shops in El Poblado
- 8 Top Coffee Shops in Laureles
- 5 Best Nano/Micro Breweries in Medellín
Also, we have several additional best of Medellín articles:
- 35 Top Things to Do in Medellín and Nearby: Top Tourist Attractions
- 21 Best FREE Things to Do in Medellín and the Aburrá Valley
- 17 Top Kid-Friendly Things to Do in Medellín and Nearby
- 14 Best Malls of Medellín – the Ultimate Guide to Medellín Malls
- 12 Best Museums of Medellín and the Aburrá Valley
- 8 Best Pueblos Near Medellín Worth Visiting
- 7 Best Panoramic Views of Medellín
- 5 Best Neighborhoods in Medellín
- 2 Best Walking Tours in Medellín
- 14 Top Churches in Medellín Worth Visiting
- 22 Best Mobile Apps to Use in Medellín and Colombia
The Bottom Line – the Best Colombian Restaurants in Medellín and the Aburrá Valley
All of the Colombian restaurants in the above list have good food and it was honestly difficult to rank the best Colombian restaurants in Medellín and the Aburrá Valley.
We have detailed reviews on the Medellin Guru website of all of the above best Colombian restaurants. You can click on the link in the heading of each of the best Colombian restaurants listed above to find these restaurant reviews. And the reviews include detailed information about the food menu and drink menu of each restaurant with prices.
I eaten at well over 40 different Colombian restaurants in the Medellín metro area. And with the help of my Colombian wife we chose our eight favorite Colombian restaurants for this list of the best Colombian restaurants in Medellín and the Aburrá Valley.
However, I haven’t tried every Colombian restaurant in the metro area, as there are literally hundreds of them. So, if you know of a very good Colombian restaurant that you think belongs on this best Colombian restaurants list, please leave a comment below.
We are happy to try out additional Colombian restaurants and will update this list if we find other good Colombian restaurants.
What is your favorite Colombian restaurant in Medellín?
Sign up for the Free Medellin Guru Newsletter – You can see all of the previous Medellin Guru weekly email newsletters and sign up here.
Editors note: updated on August 12, 2019 with current menu prices at El Rancherito.
Editors note: updated on February 15, 2020 with current menu prices at Ajiacos y Mondongos.
Editors note: updated on February 12, 2021 to remove Barcal, which has closed and reordered the list and updated information.
Editors note: updated on January 10, 2022 to reorder list.
Hi Jeff, Steve and Mana Lumpkin here. We will be attending your Aug 6 meet up. I grew up in Houston too, will be fun to chat for a couple of minutes. Thanks for organizing! (We attended your February event as well.
Steve and Mana Lumpkin
I have you down for 2 RSVPs. See you at the Medellin Guru event on August 6.
Wait, what??? you’re having a party and I wasn’t informed?!?!? 🙂
That was before the pandemic in 2019 when Medellin Guru hosted the largest Medellin Guru events for foreigners and averaged over 175 attendees. We con no longer do these due to restrictions.
Nice list. Barcal as your #1 has some awesome food. Also, El Rancherito and Hacienda have very good comida tipica. I haven’t tried all of these but added several to my list – the bunuelos at El Peregrino look worth the trip to Sabaneta.
Hi Tom, thanks. El Peregrino is famous for its buñuelos that are large compared to buñuelos at other places.
I highly disagree with your list. Only one to highlight. Mondongos. El Rancherito is the worse. So bad customer service and reheated food is unacceptable.
In my experience whether a Rancherito is bad or good depends on which one you go to. The one in Los Molinos is nowhere as good as the one on Las Palmas.
The one in Los Molinos not only is substandard but part of the kitchen is in the dining area and the mixer/blender machine makes a helluva racket. The one up on Las Plamas is a classy joint. When I ate there the food was excellent, prices reasonable and the atmosphere is superb.
Hi Jeff,you should mention the new era of fusion food that is becoming a tendency due to the excellent results on new flavors and unveils the creativity of the Medellin’s people.