Medellín is much more than a city; it is almost a country by itself. It has it all. The city of eternal spring is characterized by the internal and external beauty of its people. This rich history has been written for several centuries and tenacity towards adversity that is admirable. But beyond that, Medellín has a unique vibe and, at the epicenter of that unusual feature, is a gastronomic scene full of culture, Amazonian flavors, and fusion of the best of its surroundings.
In the center of this developing gastronomic scene, three restaurants are giving a unique twist to the tradition and combining it with the ancestry of the country.
Located between the streets of the town, this small restaurant goes unnoticed. This is until you sit down, order, and start an unexpected culinary journey. The young chef Fabio Sierra and his brother Mateo Sierra have created a particular combination of traditional dishes with a modern, sophisticated touch and very tied to local and seasonal ingredients. At first glance, its menu does not say much, but everything has a purpose. Off the menu, there is a world of recipes and proposals to try, only if you get carried away by the recommendations. Without a doubt, the best-kept secret in the whole city. You will repeat it every time you are in Medellín.
Once you arrive at this restaurant, you are quickly transported to one of the most remote corners of the Colombian Amazon. The atmosphere, menu composition, and cooking techniques are reflected in each step of the tasting. Just before starting the gastronomic journey, you have no idea what to expect, but, little by little, you are delighting in flavors that you had never experienced. Guided by the knowledge of a shaman, who will approach your table, you will understand the heart and soul of many indigenous tribes from the Amazon, their culinary customs, and the characteristics of their cuisine. In each dish, you can experience the culture of the country.
Since the end of 2017, chef Miguel Warren began playing a different symphony in this city. Although there are already several haute cuisine restaurants in Medellín, Barcal is raising the scene to the next level. Very quietly, its tasting menu, attention to detail, the design of the venue, and high-end service are changing the rules of the game in Colombia. Each time, the tasting menu goes on a crescendo and highlights the extent of the country’s biodiversity. Their secret: they are using the best possible ingredients (their tuna is flown to the restaurant!), they are buying to small indigenous producers, and cooking with European techniques. Barcal is a name that will make a lot of noise soon in Latin America.
The charm of Medellín has no limits, and its cuisine is pushing those limits and starting to put the city on the map of the entire gastronomic community. The best is yet to come.
Paul E González Mangual is an author of four books, founder of FOODIEcations, columnist for Sabrosía Puerto Rico, TEDx speaker, Guinness World Record Holder, whiskey enthusiast, coffee addict, and producer of the Coffee & Chocolate Expo.
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