Bogota as a city is really an up and coming destination for foodies. There is really no shortage of options when it comes to finding excellent restaurants. It has a strong local identity which is derived from Spanish and Caribbean influences. It is good to understand that having arisen out of a forty year civil war, the progress in culinary arts and the infrastructure to offer world class food is nothing short of an excellent achievement.
Several of their restaurants have made their way recently into the lists of the top 50 best in Latin America and two to the top 100 in the world. El Chato has been open a few years now, but it has been the best kept secret of foodies and connoisseurs all the while. We picked up on it in our last trip to Bogota, but reservations were made 3 weeks ahead of time. So on our most recent trip we had only a little time, but we decided to show up and ask. They in fact were able to accommodate us due to a last minute cancellation. It sits on a street full of well-known restaurants and typical of so many great places it is an unassuming property with a small entrance and intimate environs.
Once we entered the ambience took on its own character. The lighting was dim, the music appealing and immediately we were accommodated like any other guest with a reservation. The staff were attentive and knowledgeable from the first moment. The menu is definitely local, farm to table, national dishes but made with an international twist. For instance, my starter was a deconstructed burrata cheese on a pear salad.
My guests ordered fish and meat and everything was more than satisfactory to all. Prices are very affordable for what you would pay for this quality of atmosphere and food in other parts of the world for sure. The chef came table by table and asked how everything tasted. I can see El Chato climbing soon to some of the ‘best of’ lists in the country if not the world and it is without a doubt one of the best restaurants of Bogota.
The wine we asked for was as well in a competitive price compared to the typical restaurant mark up and their selection was quite eclectic both by the bottle and by the glass. The desserts were savory as well. As is typical of premium restaurants, do not expect an extensive menu, rather they do a very few items extremely well. They do try to rotate the menu from time to time so that return guests are pleased and their own creative horizons can be broadened.