Cartagena de Indias, Day 1 with La Vitrola

February 28, 2011

Linda and I spent three days in Cartagena de Indias, on the Caribbean coast of Colombia, arriving on Tuesday, February, 8, 2011. We stayed at the Casa Pestagua, a small hotel near the Plaza Santo Domingo in the heart of the old town, the gateway to all of Spanish South America in the 17th and 18th centuries.

We dined the first night a short walk away at La Vitrola, frequently rated as Cartagena’s top restaurant. Its relaxing ambience is sort of mid-twentieth century Caribbean.

We ordered a bottle of 2009 Montes (Chile) Reserva Classic Chardonnay; it was okay, but a bit tart. A bread basket arrived. Linda’s first course was Ravioli langosta. The raviolis had been filled with tasty fresh lobster meat; the sauce was like a lobster bisque with a substantial flavor of sweet red peppers. Very good.

Mine was Ceviche de corvina.  The local white fish with onions and corn kernels was overwhelmed by the lime juice marinade.

Linda went on to Langostinos a Manera Del Chef.  The big shrimp had a good flavor enhanced by a surprising sauce with honey, dill and fresh pepper. A mound of coconut rice was served alongside.

My main course was Chupe de Mariscos. Half a small Caribbean lobster, squid, big and small shrimp were served in a broth with a shellfish reduction broth. Nice. Dessert was Flan de ariquipe con coco. The coconut and the caramel flavor of the dulce de leche went well together and it was not too sweet. Very good.

The meal was enjoyable. The service was friendly and efficient.

In the morning I had the tipoco Colombian breakfast in the lovely courtyard of our hotel. It started with mixed fruit, orange juice and coffee.

The main plate had an arepa, deep-fried corn dough with an egg inside, a puffed fritter of cassava flour filled with ground meat and white cheese. Sour cream and a mild salsa were served alongside.

The table with the place settings towards the lower right was where I had just finished breakfast.
We were enjoying our lovely, friendly hotel and our spacious, well-equipped room.

We walked around most of the old city in the morning. The street life is crowded and vibrant with many street vendors, open front shops and restaurants.

We stopped at the house of Rafael Núñez, an important late nineteenth-century Colombian President. Here is his kitchen being visited by one of the local parrots.

For lunch we went to Vinlico, not far from our hotel. We shared a special that included: sea snails, shrimp etc cooked in a garlic sauce, a platter of deep fried fish and seafood, a small plate of sliced limes, a plate of coconut rice with fried plantains and a salad. We enjoyed beers with it. The seafood wasn’t as fresh as we expected. The piece of deep-fried fish was quite good.



And so we retired to our lovely hotel to shelter from the mid-afternoon heat and humidity. 

Our hotel’s website:


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