We look at eight smaller expat-owned restaurants in Medellín that have survived the coronavirus pandemic and are still operating. Readers, support these small expat-owned restaurants. It is challenging operating a restaurant during the coronavirus pandemic. In this article we tried to include a variety of foods but did not try to include all the expat-owned restaurants in Medellín.
These eight restaurants are in alphabetical order.
BaoBar is a restaurant in El Retiro with very good and authentic Singaporean food. This restaurant was created by a expat Singaporean and her Colombian husband.
The restaurant was started by Singaporean Yan and her Colombian husband Jose. Yan and Jose moved to Medellín after living in Singapore. And after living in Medellín, Yan started missing food from home.
They started out cooking for friends and neighbors. Also they started selling mochi ice cream to restaurants in El Retiro and El Poblado and later opened the BaoBar restaurant in August 2018 in Parque Llleras.
Also, they opened a second restaurant in El Retiro in July 2019. But the first location in Parque Lleras was closed in October 2019. So, there is only BaoBar located in El Retiro now.
Address: Km 23.5 via las Palmas, Los Salados, El Retiro, Antioquia.
Phone: +57 321 669 1673
Bigotes is a German pizzeria with two locations in Medellín and the Aburrá Valley. Bigotes is owned by a German expat.
Bigotes specializes in German-style pizza, which is characterized by semi-thick crust and natural and artisanal ingredients including German ham and German bacon, which is made by the pizzeria chain.
Bigotes specializes in pizzas and there are 27 different pizzas on the menu. Also, the pizzas come in three sizes: small with four slices, medium with six slices and large with eight slices.
Bigotes has two locations in Medellín metro area listed below.
- Carlos E. Restrepo: Calle 53 # 64A-39
- Cristo Rey barrio of Guayabal: Carrera 52 # 3 Sur-88 (near Parque Cristo Rey)
3. Caduff Pasta Fresca
Caduff Pasta Fresca is a popular Italian restaurant located in Laureles in Medellín with some very good Italian food with pasta made in this restaurant. Also, the owners of this restaurant are a Swiss couple.
Caduff Pasta Fresca has a decent sized menu with several appetizers, pasta dishes, pizzas, salads, meat and fish dishes and desserts.
There are several types of pasta dishes available on the menu including fettuccine, linguine, ravioli and penne. And the pasta is fresh and made in the restaurant. Also, you can substitute the pasta in each dish for a different pasta.
Address: Circular 73B # 39B-26, Laureles, Medellín
Phone: +57 302 424 8017
4. Café Cliché
Café Cliché is a popular French Café in Laureles in Medellín that is French-owned and is a popular place to hang out with a varied menu with good food.
This restaurant has a French chef and has a variety of spaces to hang out including cozy corners for couples and an eclectic décor.
Note that Café Cliché moved to a new location in mid-2020, two block from its old location.
Address: Carrera 77 #39b-45, Laureles
Phone:+57 310 368 4867
5. District 1
District 1 is a popular restaurant in Medellín with good Vietnamese food that has reopened. The original owner was an expat from the U.S. with Vietnamese parents.
District 1 first opened in January 2018 by Alex Nhan. Alex was born in the U.S. but his parents are from Vietnam and immigrated to Los Angeles after the Vietnam war.
However, this first restaurant in El Poblado closed in late 2020, likely due to the coronavirus pandemic. The newly reopened restaurant in Laureles is owned by Hieu Le from the Bay Area in California. Same great food and menu. Different location.
We confirmed this restaurant has reopened in April 2021 in Laureles with a new expat owner.
Address: Calle 40 # 74-88, Laureles
Phone: +57 324.353.4795 (WhatsApp for deliveries during curfews)
6. El Sombrero
El Sombrero is a popular Mexican restaurant in Sabaneta with authentic and really good Mexican food. A Mexican owns the restaurant and the cooks reportedly are Mexican as well. So, this restaurant has very authentic traditional Mexican food.
Since the owner of this restaurant is Mexican it has some authentic and very good Mexican food. In my experience, authentic Mexican food is difficult to find in the Medellin metro area.
Address: Carrera 43C # 66Sur-27, Sabaneta
Phone: +57 4 301 9182
7. Mu Medellín
Mu Medellín is a popular British-owned restaurant in Medellín with arguably the best ribs in Medellín. Ribs are essentially the only thing on the menu at Mu.
The ribs at this restaurant are huge and meaty. Mu is owned by husband and wife Simon and Elizabeth. And this restaurant only serves ribs. Also, only cash is accepted at this restaurant, no credit or debit cards.
Address: Calle 7 # 35-56, El Poblado, Medellín
Phone: +57 305.289.1096
Poblanos is a Mexican restaurant in El Poblado and has some good Tex-Mex style food. Poblanos is Tex-Mex restaurant started by four partners, three brothers from the U.S. and a family friend from Medellín.
Poblanos has some tasty food with high quality ingredients. This restaurant is similar to a Chipotle in the U.S. Basically, you pick your base (burrito, tacos, quesadilla, bowl or salad), meat and toppings. So, you get your favorite ingredients.
Address: Carrera 43D #10-77 local 107, Manila barrio of El Poblado, Medellín
Phone: +57 305 316 0014
The Bottom Line: Expat-Owned Restaurants in Medellín – Surviving the Pandemic
In this article, we looked at eight smaller expat-owned restaurants in Medellín that have survived the coronavirus pandemic and are still operating. And one of these opened recently.
In our article we included a variety of foods: two Mexican restaurants, a pizzeria, an Italian restaurant, a Singaporean restaurant, a Vietnamese restaurant, a French restaurant and a ribs restaurant.
We have articles covering all nine restaurants in this article, click on the heading for any of the restaurants above.
The bottom line, it is challenging operating a restaurant during the coronavirus pandemic.
This is not intended to be a complete list of expat-owned restaurants in Medellín. We included 10 restaurants in our initial list with a variety of types of food. and plan to add to this.
Readers, what additional expat-owned restaurants should we add to our list?
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Editors note: updated on August 15 to add Caduff Pasta Fresca based on a reader comment and removed Eden Bistro that we found closed the end of July.
Editors note: updated on September 23, 2021 to remove Messkla that is closed.
Jeff, excellent list.
There is also a restaurante called “caduff Pasta Fresca” in Laureles, next to Carulla and Tostao. The owners offer fresh pastas, ravioli, pizzas and the German noodle style called “Spätzle” with a nice lomo de res. They also sell the pasta and ravioli over the counter. The couple is from Switzerland and the restaurant exists for over three years. Their business are doing much better since the pandemic.
Thanks, we added Caduff Pasta Fresca to the list.
Thé “Eden” restaurant has either been in deep renovations for the past weeks, or is transforming into something else. The sign has disappeared and the whole place and its first floor are turned inside out. If you are in contact with the Korean owner, could you find out if his restaurant is definitely closing or simply transforming.
Word on the street is that [t]urban Kabob on Cl 10’s owner is Turkish. The falafel is quite good there.