A favorite of Anthony Bourdain, La Cevicheria delivers impeccably fresh ceviches that give Peru a run for its money.
Restaurante Donjuán, under Chef Juan Felipe Camacho, blends traditional Caribbean flavors with Euro-bistro inflections—try the char-grilled octopus.
The toughest reservation to get in Cartagena is at La Vitrola, where the bartenders mix a mean mojito to accompany live salsa music. The order: Any of the signature “Vitrola” salads, pastas or fish dishes.
For traditional Cartagena food done with panache, Candé offers a vine-filled outdoor courtyard, waiters in head-to-toe linen and superb fish and stewed meat dishes, like rabbit slow-cooked in coconut milk.
La Casa de Socorro, located just outside the old city in the Getsemaní neighborhood, serves local classics like spicy minced shark with fried plantains and a seafood stew so loaded with shrimp, fish, squid and octopus they nearly drown out the broth.
Mila is the classiest shop in town to nibble on pastries like the rightly famous arepa de huevo cartagenera, a fried corn cake filled with an egg and spiced ground meat.
La Paletteria specializes in artisan popsicles made from tropical fruit juices like maracuyá (passion fruit), nispero and the mouthwatering lulo, an orange-like wonder from the Colombian mountains.