Our list of the best restaurants and bars in Cali

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We’re continuing our series of “best places to eat” posts, which we began with our best places to eat in Bogotá and our best places to eat in Medellín. Today we’re offering you our picks for the best restaurants and bars in Cali!

In this post, you’ll find a selection of addresses recommended by our friends in Cali or tested by us. We’ll be adding more addresses as we discover them and receive advice from our readers!

Disclaimer: we apologize in advance for any grammatical or syntactic errors, as our native language is not English (we're a Colombian-French couple), so we hope you'll forgive us and still enjoy the information we share with you! Please note that all the information on our blog is based on our own experience, and is checked and updated regularly.

The best restaurants in Cali

Best places to eat IN CALI

Our list of the best restaurants and bars in Cali

Donde Basilia

Type of cuisine: pacific
Address: Mercado Alameda

Typical Pacific cuisine in a purely local atmosphere in the middle of Cali’s Alameda market. Not to be missed.

Zea Maiz

Type of cuisine: arepas
Address: Carrera 12 # 1-27 Oeste 7, San Antonio

Really different arepas, starting with their square shape. These arepas are homemade with 100% natural ingredients. You’ll find recipes to suit everyone. The establishment also offers special lunches on Sundays.

Arepas Cuadradas

Type of cuisine: arepas
Address: Cra. 12 # 2 Oeste-2 a 2 Oeste-86, San Antonio

Just 50 m from Zea Maiz are the Arepas Cuadradas, which according to our friend Victoria are… “the best in the world”! Try them both and make your choice!

Tierradentro

Type of cuisine: bistro, on the go, four o’clock.
Address: Carrera 12 # 2-81, San Antonio

Café/restaurant in San Antonio. A place where you can read a book, have a drink with friends, or enjoy a good meal… Garlands, a large terrace overlooking the city and a garden. A great place to relax. The staff are very friendly and the food is delicious.

Ioenta

Type of cuisine: Syrian, Italian
Address: Calle 1 #4-71, San Antonio, Cali

This is a little restaurant in the San Antonio district that we tried out during our visit to Cali, and really liked. A mix of Syrian and Italian cuisine that works very well. It’s very good and not too expensive. We recommend it!

Street food

In Colombia and in Cali, you can rely on street food. In Cali, you have to stop at a street stall to taste the local specialties:

  • Chontaduro con miel, a typical Cali fruit
  • Champús Valluno, la Lulada caleña, typical Cali drinks
  • Cholado Valluno, also a typical fruit salad.
  • And then there’s Pan de Bono, an Empanada Valluna, an Arepa rellena, or meat brochettes

Get curious, try some street food!

Comida tipica

Comida tipica is traditional cuisine. As you may have guessed, “valluno” means local, typical dishes from the Valle del Cauca region. Typical Valle del Cauca dishes to try in Cali include

  • Chuleta Valluna
  • Sancocho de Gallina
  • Arroz atollado..

The best bars to go out in Cali

Best places to have a drink IN CALI

Our list of the best restaurants and bars in Cali

El mas alla

Address: Calle 9 #3-02
More info: Instagram page

A place to listen to salsa, boleros and sometimes a variety of music, something traditional, offers food, close to the boulevard, if you want to come with your friends to spend a fun evening or with your partner.

La Colina

Address: Calle 1 # 4-83
More info: Instagram page

Open since the 1940s, La Colina was una tienda selling food products. After his father’s death, the son thought about what he could do with the place and decided to create a meeting place for painters, journalists, poets and scientists. A unique atmosphere for a drink!

Bar Cafe Macondo

Address: Carrera 4 # 9-59

A great place to take a break during the day. It offers a real coffee experience, with a “barista” approach that lets you taste different types of coffee served in different ways.

La Matraca

Address: Carrera 11 #22-80, Barrio Obrero
Caution at night: get there and back only by cab

A true Viejoteca! Where old-timers come to dance to old-time records. La Matraca is one of Cali’s oldest bars, known as the temple of Cali tango! But you can also enjoy all the Latino sounds and more… An institution, especially on Sunday afternoons.

La Topa Tolondra

Address: Calle 5 # 13-7

This is probably the club that comes up most often, but it’s far from a tourist trap. La Topa Tolondra has become a cult venue for locals and tourists alike. La Topa Tolondra is a huge bar with walls filled with old salsa posters. The atmosphere is warm, and you can sit at a table and watch the dancers put on a show, but be prepared, you’re likely to be asked to dance! Dance classes are offered several times a week.

Malamaña

Address: Carrera 4 # 9-59
More info: facebook page
Caution at night: get there and back only by cab

Located between 5a and the center of town, Malamaña is a salsa club with a dance floor and tables where you can enjoy a good time with friends.

Espacio 10-60

Address: Cra. 10 #60 : Carrera 10 #60
Caution at night: get there and back only by cab

This is an ultra hip nightclub. It has a rooftop. The evenings are wild. You won’t find much salsa here. The atmosphere is more Reggeaton/ hiphop/ Electro. Many theme nights are also organized here.

Petronio Alvarez Festival

Further info: petronio.cali.gov.co

Not to be missed: the Petronio Festival of Pacific Music and Cultures. Every year, the festival showcases the African culture of the Pacific. The festival takes place over 3-4 days in August. Special mention for the festival remate at the home of Nidia Gongora (a great Colombian singer), where the “Arrulo en el barrio” takes place – a must!

Feria de Cali

More info: feriadecali.com.co

This is Cali’s best-known event, taking place in December between Christmas and New Year’s Day, and featuring Salsa music throughout the city.

Cultural and alternative venues

Best venues IN CALI

Our list of the best restaurants and bars in Cali
credit: La Linterna

The barrio San Antonio is one of Cali’s oldest neighborhoods, with a real identity, but also a place where many alternative projects are being developed by young people in Cali.

La Linterna

Address: Carrera 5 # 2-70
More info: Facebook page

Opened in the late 18th century, La Linterna was for many years the printing house responsible for producing posters for the concerts of the biggest rock bands passing through Cali. Today, it’s an incredible place, full of memories, with machines dating back to 1870. With the help of artists and designers, La Linterna has become a cultural and exhibition venue. In addition to the magnificent posters they make by hand, they also sell other products such as postcards, t-shirts, etc

La Milpa

More info : Facebook page

The San Antonio district is at the forefront of efforts to raise awareness of ecology, a complicated subject in Colombia. Numerous initiatives have been launched by the neighborhood’s social leaders. La Milpa is a good example, with its collective ecological vegetable garden project where residents learn to produce their own food and medicines, and to compost.

Casa Fractal

Address: Calle 4 # 4-42
More info: Facebook page

This multicultural venue , committed to social and ecological struggles, is located in the San Antonio district. Film screenings, theater, themed evenings, workshops, artistic performances… The idea is to work in groups, to move forward together, to exchange.

Lipsum

Address: Calle 2 # 4-114
More info: Instagram page

Boutique-Galerie for street culture enthusiasts. Here you’ll find notebooks, posters and stickers by graphic designers and graffiti artists, as well as t-shirts, stylized skateboards and painting materials. The space is also home to tattoo artists.

Guided tours of Cali in Spanish

Tour Cali Natalia (#20)

To contact directly Natalia, our local partner in Cali, you can use the form below. You won’t pay more, but it will let her know you’re from us.

IMPORTANT: If you don’t hear from our partner within 72 hours, please check your SPAMS first before contacting us.

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Authors

Angélica & Samuel

We are Angélica and Samuel, a French-Colombian couple, professional photographers and web editors specializing in travel to Colombia. We created this blog to change the image of the country, help you prepare your trip and inspire you to discover Colombia in a different way!

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