Restaurants in Cali, Colombia: Gastronomy & Typical Cuisine
The food in the Colombian state of Valle de Cauca, known as "Vallecaucana cuisine", features a vibrant display of customs and traditions used by the region's indigenous people who once inhabited the fertile lands where the city of Cali now sits.
Due to its diverse dishes and use of unique local ingredients, Cali's cooking has gained fame as some of Colombia's best cuisine. In any neighborhood throughout the city, you'll come across a wide variety of restaurants serving delicious regional dishes prepared with the authentic seasoning used in traditional Vallecaucana cuisine.
In addition to Cali's wide variety of options for enjoying a great meal, there is one area that stands out due to its famous restaurants and excellent cuisine. Cali's "Corredor Gastronomico" (Cuisine Corridor) is made up of various neighborhoods such as Granada, El Penon, Parque del Corazon and San Antonio.
The neighborhood of San Antonio is the most popular area for dining out, not only because of its excellent gastronomy, but also for its warm atmosphere with old mansions, colonial architecture and a tranquil ambiance. In San Antonio, you'll come across streets with different restaurants offering various kinds of international cooking, such as Mediterranean, Italian, French, Spanish and the famous Colombian cuisine, in addition to regional dishes from the Cali area.
If you want to try some delicious regional cooking, make sure to visit Bahareque, a cultural restaurant where various artists and bands liven up the ambiance with music. At Alcornoque restaurant, enjoy the famous "fritanga", a variety of fried food such as potatoes, bananas, meat, spicy pork sausage and viscera, as well as the traditional "sancocho de gallina" (hen stew) accompanied by a cold beer.
Meal time in Cali has always been culturally important, since it was used as a time to get together and discuss art, family, culture, etc, all while enjoying regional dishes. Nowadays, locals and tourists can savor traditional foods like "sancocho de gallina", a chicken stew prepared with a mix of banana, beef, onion, green tomato, spring onion and cassava, seasoned with cumin, saffron and celery. Another dish you should try is "arroz atollao", rice prepared with meat, chicken wings, ribs, spring onions, red pepper, potato, pepper, saffron and cumin, served with fried plantains and spicy pork sausage.
Snacks and Drinks
In Cali, you can enjoy favorite local snacks, such as "arepas" (a kind of corn bread), "puerquitas" (fried plantains stuffed with bacon), and "aborrajados" (battered, deep-fried plantains stuffed with cheese). Accompany these snacks with some delicious drinks prepared with local ingredients, like the traditional "champus", a drink made of corn dough, pineapple, clove, sour orange leaves, cinnamon, water and lulo (a tropical Colombian fruit). Juices and sorbets made of tropical fruits like soursop, borojo, badea and chontaduro are local favorites that you must try when traveling to Cali.
"Caspiroletas" (a dessert prepared with egg, wine, cinnamon and raisins), cassava bread, "arroz de leche" and "pandebono" (made with corn, cheese, honey, junket and egg), as well as "bizcocho de arequipe" are just a few of the traditional desserts that you can enjoy after a meal of delicious Vallecaucana cuisine.
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