Culinary Excellence: 5-Star Dining in Cartagena

Part 2

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Marea by Rausch

Calle 24 #8A-344
+57 322 678 8400

Marea by Rausch is one of the very best restaurants in Cartagena for dining on the waterfront. Two of Colombia’s most famous chefs, Jorge and Mark Rausch, have created a fabulous restaurant that can be found in the center of town, the vibes of which are coastal, cosmopolitan and romantic. 

This waterfront location offers some of the most spectacular views available at any restaurant in Cartagena. However, it would be unreasonable to pair this amazing location with anything but the very best food and outstanding service.

This is the reason why Marea by Rausch has become one of the premier fine dining spots in the city. 

The ambiance at Marea is second to none. Right on the harbour with covered seating which creates the sensation of being on one of the larger boats or pleasure yachts slinking by on the beautiful glazed sapphire water. Complimenting this view is the luxurious modern decor with bright colors and pale woods that once more make it feel as if you are dining on a luxury sailboat.

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The menu is equally dazzling. With dishes like tuna tartare with wasabi mayonnaise and octopus carpaccio, there is no doubt that the Rausch brothers crafted the menu with Cartagena in mind.
All of these wonderfully fresh offerings come directly from the sea, harkening back to Cartagena’s seafaring history and simplistic, yet exciting Spanish Caribbean cuisine.

Enjoy traditional favorites like monkfish, mojarra, or more down-to-earth offerings including various delicate ceviches, as you sip a sensational cocktail, gazing at the sinking sun slipping below the horizon.

This yin-yang pairing of exciting, exotic cuisine with more down-to-earth dishes is the signature vibe at Marea by Rausch in Cartagena.

This is the reason why this restaurant is perfect for those seeking haut cuisine and also those who prefer more traditional fare.

Pair all this together with exceptionally attentive service, Marea is a must-visit during your time in Cartagena.

Dress code: Smart but relaxed.
Reservations needed: Yes, if you want a waterside table. 

It is even possible to order what is called their onboard menu, which features a selection of takeaway meals that you can enjoy on your own private yacht.


Restaurante El Gobernador by Rausch

Calle del Sargento Mayor #6 – 87
+57 315 741 7642

El Gobernador by Rausch is one of the true high-end dining options in the city. It is known for serving traditional local cuisine with a European flair and for using sustainable produce, such as lionfish.

You will be safe in the hands of its Executive Chef, Jaime Rodríguez, who has participated in international culinary championships. The Rausch brothers are two of the best-known chefs in Colombia and when their name appears next to a restaurant, you can be assured of a quality offering.

In Cartagena, two such restaurants bear the Rausch seal, Marea and El Gobernador. Located within the Bastión Hotel,  El Gobernador offers the finest of cuisine in an elegant, slightly formal setting.

Pass through the wrought iron gates of the hotel and enter this sophisticated restaurant with an old-time feel.

Featuring an understated yet polished interior and a glorious patio, the focus is clearly on the food providing a sensational experience. Attentive service and knowledgeable staff make this the perfect place to dwell over several courses at one’s leisure.

The kitchen turns out next-level versions of classic costeño food, creating delicate, surprising and endlessly artistic dishes. Get a true taste of Cartagena, often with a twist, through the lionfish ceviche, shrimp with an aguardiente sauce, gruyere cheese with local sea bass, or duck in corozo sauce.

Take a tour of the diverse culinary regions of Colombia with their nine-course tasting menu that highlights dishes from Tolima, Bogotá, Medellín and beyond. Flavors are bold yet somehow achieve the perfect balance. Plenty of saffron in the paella and prawns marinaded in a coconut milk curry are great examples.

Desserts are incredible with many options including rich arequipe pastries, creamy meringue, a decadent cacao cake, pistachio dacquoise with compote of corozo and cotton candy.

Dress code: Smart, slightly formal.
Reservations needed: Good idea.


Restaurante 1621

Calle del Curato
+57 311 491 2308

Inside the Sofitel Legend Santa Clara, one of the most outstanding luxury hotels in Cartagena, Restaurante 1621 invites you into an elegant world of times past. Chandeliers drip from the ceiling, while white tablecloths, plush burgundy couches and ornate decorations inspire both awe and a sense of refined calm.

Within this grand setting, you will experience a menu comprising French cuisine with Caribbean inclinations, such as sea bass with potato and carrot purée. For those who appreciate fine wines, 1621 has the most outstanding and varied wine cellar in the city, with literally hundreds of wines from which to choose.

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1621, open only for dinner, is rather formal for such a laid-back city as Cartagena, so dress up to appreciate the atmosphere.

In the historical heart of Cartagena, Restaurante 1621, creates a sophisticated dining experience in a gorgeous historical setting. The hotel itself used to be a convent and the nuns ate in what is now the restaurant dining room.

With 400 years of history, 1621 has become a theatre of elegance, The ambiance is lovely, with options for outdoor seating in the lush cloister garden or inside the beautifully designed interior. 
Enjoy a spectacular tasting menu compiled from the best local products, a cuisine of detail and full of surprise or indulge in the outstanding à la carte selection.

Restaurante 1621 integrates the refinement of French haute cuisine using the best local ingredients as well as a detailed experience full of adventure. The palate and senses will be invigorated for an unforgettable culinary adventure. The appeal here is a sophisticated mélange of local ingredients such as lagoon crab with green mango, allied with traditional French cooking techniques.

The gastronomic offerings of 1621 consist of sophisticated dishes that enhance the flavors of local products, particularly in the unique ten-course tasting menu. This includes an amuse bouche, a fish flower with grapefruit marinated with ponzu,sea bass tiradito and a butterfly-shaped rocoto. Other dishes such as cromesqui of morillo wrapped in a crust of herbs and ginger, crab and squid cannelloni, pickled eggplant with sweet potato, fresh palm heart and mambe bread, fish bisque with corn and herbs, or the Andean tuber risotto.

The staff of Restaurante 1621 are exceptional, providing attentive and thoughtful service throughout the meal.

The Head Sommelier, Ana Maria Buitrago, has developed pairings designed to highlight the flavors on your palate, with an impressive selection of wines from the Wine Spectator-awarded wine cellar.

Restaurante 1621 mixes old and new world cuisines, serving high-end Caribbean dishes prepared with a French gourmet flair. You will find that 1621 has the most wonderful atmosphere for a romantic dinner al fresco. 1621 is extremely popular with both local and visiting guests, offering a sensational blend of traditional French and Caribbean fare.

There is an adjoining wine bar for those who wish to further explore the wine cellar.

Restaurant 1621 is open from 6.30 pm to 11.00 pm, Wednesday to Sunday.
Dress code:  Formal without being stuffy.
Reservations needed: Highly recommended, especially on the weekend.


El Arsenal: The Rum Box

Calle Arsenal #8b-19
+57 300 811 0700

What you might not expect to find at such a stylish cocktail bar is amazing food. However, El Arsenal: The Rum Box delivers in spades. Located in the coolest of neighborhoods, Getsemaní, El Arsenal: The Rum Box is notable for creating superior culinary experiences and exceptional cocktails.

El Arsenal exudes an enchanting blend of colonial charm and contemporary sophistication. The restaurant’s style pays homage to the historic surroundings of Cartagena, with its colonial architecture and cobblestone streets.

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The ambiance is a harmonious fusion of old-world elegance and modern allure, creating a captivating setting for culinary indulgence. Wooden beams, rustic elements and ambient lighting contribute to a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Amidst the historical surroundings, El Arsenal radiates a timeless charm, providing a unique dining experience. As the name suggests, the Rum Box aspect adds a touch of Caribbean flavor, inviting patrons to savor not only the culinary delights but also an extensive selection of exquisite rums in a setting that resonates with Cartagena’s rich cultural heritage.

The menu offers a winning combination of a relaxing cocktail with some of the best Colombian rums along with high-quality organic chocolates.  This fusion of flavors promises to take diners to new heights of gustatory pleasure.

The restaurant offers a variety of dining options, including typical Colombian dishes, as well as being a bar and gastropub. 

It is also notable for being vegetarian-friendly, offering vegan and gluten-free options, giving diners with special diets the chance to enjoy a satisfying dining experience.

The exciting menu offerings and small plate items pair perfectly with the cocktails on offer. The flavours are bright, vibrant and unmistakable with house favourites like the calypso meatballs and plantain appetizers taking pride of place.

You can find something to satisfy even the most discerning appetite with suggestions that include fresh fish, spicy sausage, perfect pasta, mouthwatering grilled pork chops and much more.
Specialty desserts are supreme. There are insane tempting treats, relying heavily on decadent chocolate to pair perfectly with the sweet pique of good rum.

El Arsenal: The Rum Box promises to reward its guests with a unique culinary experience, superbly complemented by a selection of the finest Colombian liquors and rich gastronomic traditions.

Each dish is meticulously crafted using only the finest ingredients, ensuring a symphony of flavors that tantalize the taste buds.

Dress code:  Casual smart.
Reservations needed: Not necessary.


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