Once upon a time, Chapinero was one of Bogotá’s nicest areas. Wealthy families lived in what is now one of the city’s largest and oldest neighborhoods (after La Candelaria and Teusaquillo). Over the years, the area has become slightly run down and gritty, which has its charm and gives the neighborhood a distinct personality.
Given its history, Chapinero has seen a lot. People, restaurants and shop owners have come and gone, but for the last 110 years, Las Margaritas hasn’t stopped serving up traditional santafereño or bogotano fare. What kind of food is that? Well, to start it isn’t pretentious or fancy but definitely flavorful and filling.
For example, the well-known ajiaco – a Bogotá icon. This hearty soup is made with three kinds of potatoes – criolla, sabanera and pastusa – a native herb called guasca, and additions like chicken, corn on the cob, avocado, capers, cream and ají. At Las Margaritas you can go old school and order ajiaco with a whole chicken quarter on the side, or you can choose the easy route and order it with shredded chicken already in the soup, like me.
Another popular dish is the puchero bogotano. Only served on Thursdays, this stew gets its name from the clay pot in which it was originally cooked in Spain. When the conquistadors came to Colombia they brought their food with them and the rest is history. Some ingredients have changed here and there over the years, but the idea remains the same.
The meats and vegetables (beef, chicken, chorizo, plantain, yucca, arracacha, cabbage, potato and corn) are all cooked in the broth, but when it comes to serving time, the broth comes out first and the rest comes out afterwards smothered in hogao (onion and tomato mixture). It’s a feast to be sure and you definitely get your money’s worth.
Other popular dishes include sobrebarriga, lengua (beef tongue), and breakfast with the works (tamal, changua, hot chocolate, etc.).
For a bit of Bogotano history makes sure to stop at Las Margaritas (also a stop on the Bogotá Eats & Drinks Food Tours) and don’t even think of leaving without trying the empanadas. According to Julio Rios, the owner of Las Margaritas, they are the “ferrari of empanadas” and account for almost half of the restaurants earnings.
Calle 62 # 7-77
Tel: (+57 1) 249-9468 / 345-3156
Mon-Thurs 12:00-4:30 p.m.
Friday 12:00 – 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, Sunday and holidays 8:00a.m. – 6:30p.m.