The final leg of our mammoth trip was a week in Cartagena trying to find the big emerald from Romancing the Stone. It’s never made clear in the film that this is discovered by Jack T Colton. Sure, he owns a dirty great yacht and he’s wearing crocodile skin boots. But he could have inherited a fortune or had some luck on the stock market. We just don’t know.
This gave us ample time to explore the many restaurants for tourists and a couple not for tourists.
The La Cevicheria is apparently recommended by Anthony Bourdain, but recommendations from celebrity drug users aside, the food was excellent. The ceviche was so sharp it took me a full evening to unpucker.
The La Estrella De La India and the Fogon Costeno were excellent cheap places to go. Estrella has little box in the corner from which a bulky mamacita dispensed dishes to the haunted server with the terrifying effiency of a Gulag overseer. Fogon was a little cosier with an excellent fellow who made himself understood even with my inept Spañish who served up some good, cheap scran.
Oh La La was a datey place which was adorable and I should have gone back, but the sleazy run-down charm of El Bistro next door was too much to resist. If you want to feel like a Graham Greene antihero, sipping a mojito in the oppressive humidity under an ineffective fan then this is the place for you. Confusingly Teutonic staff give it an additional twist and we went back 3 times for happy hour and some decent pasta.
Being in South America I imagined we’d get good beef so I forced us to visit Pepe Anca (http://www.pepeanca.com/) and was not disappointed. I enjoyed a long, succulent slab of Wild Bull. Highly recommended.
Finally, Mrs Del Monte and I enjoyed some (slightly overpriced) pasta at Andante Allegro Vivace (http://www.andanteallegrovivace.co/), an attractive little restaurant with an open kitchen:
I think you need a mouthy Napolitian shouting at everyone in this sort of venue.
One of the best things about Colombia and Ecuador in general is the lashings of fresh fruit juice at low, low prices. Getting the same thing here is to be extorted and disappointed. The food is generally quite good, with some lowlights as well as highlights; but the freshness of the ingredients cannot be argued with. Well I suppose it can, but how would you? Leave me alone.
Next stop? To find the money Steve Buscemi concealed in the snow outside Fargo! Hollywood is a goldmine suckers.
Calle 39 # 7 14
LA ESTRELLA DE LA INDIA
La Estrella De La India
Calle 36, 152
OH LA LA
Oh La La
Calle de Ayos, Calle 35 # 4-48
Tel: +57 5 6601757
Tel: +57 5 6604334
ANDANTE ALLEGRO VIVACE
Andante Allegro Vivace
Centro, Cll Don Sancho esq. Cll de la Mantilla
Tel: (57)+5 664 01 56