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Colombian Restaurants and Cuisine

The Washington, DC area is blessed with a wide range of ethnic restaurants and grocery stores. Many offer cuisine from Latin American countries, although only a few are specifically Colombian. You may find that your favorite Latin American restaurant actually has a Colombian chef who is willing to cook typical Colombian food “off-menu” for you. So, it never hurts to ask. Many local Hispanic/Latino groceries carry the ingredients for typical Colombian food.

There are a growing number of Latin American restaurants in this area, some of which have specifically Colombian cuisine. Other cities, particularly Miami and New York City, have bigger Colombian communities and therefore more opportunities to enjoy typical Colombian cuisine. Here are some local restaurants (please note, they change quickly so please call before you go!):

  • El Montserrate Restaurant: 85 N. Glebe Road in Arlington, VA. 703-528-2789 -- Primarily Colombian and Mexican. Ask for a Colombian favorite if you don’t see it on the menu. Next door is a market, El Encanta, which sells typical Colombian foods and has a large selection of Colombian music on CDs.
  • Café Salsa: 808 King Street in Alexandria, VA, 703-684-4100 -- Offers some Colombian cuisine.
  • Brasa Roja Restaurant: 9984 Main Street, Fairfax, VA, 703-385-8141 -- Pan-Latin with a selection of Colombian dishes, as well as Mexican, Peruvian, and Brazilian.
    Brasa Roja Resturant: 8215 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, MD, 301-495-0092 -- Another branch of the Fairfax restaurant.
  • Guarapos: 2039 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA, 202-263-7363 -- Pan-Latin cuisine with some Colombian selections.
  • Los Arrieros: 7926 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, MD, 301-495-9459 -- Also a nightclub, but with a wide variety of Colombian food.
  • Agua Ardiente: 1250 24th St. NW, Washington, DC, 202-833-8500 -- Serves a mix of South American food, including some Colombian dishes, owned by the same people as Guarapos.
  • La Caleña Bakery: 9120 Rothbury Drive, Gaithersburg, MD, 301-330-2801.

If you are interested in cooking your own, there are many wonderful Latin American cookbooks available through online sources such as www.amazon.com and local booksellers. Several titles include:

  • The Secrets of Colombian Cooking by Patricia McCausland-Gallo (Hippocrene Press, 2004). One of the few cookbooks in English that highlights Colombian cooking
  • The Latin American Cookbook by Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz (Ecco Press, 1994). A wide-ranging look at Latin American cuisine.
  • Bistro Latino: Home Cooking Fired Up With the Flavors of Latin America by Rafael Palomino, Julia Moskin (1997). Written by Colombian chef/authors, the book includes a user-friendly sampling of Nuevo Latino recipes with a number of Colombian classics.