Deborah used to be fond of saying, “There are no tacos in South America“. And in a way, it is true, although you can purchase tortillas at almost any grocery store.
Colombian food is NOT Mexican. Yes, both include beans and rice. Yes, you are more likely to get fresh fruit in both cuisines. However, picante is more at home in Mexico (Colombia does have optional aji). Another difference? Tortillas in Mexico; Arepas in Colombia.
Mexican restaurants are popping up here and there in Bogota. On Pepe Sierra (Calle 116 con 19) there are quite a few to choose from, and closer to el Centro de Bogota you can find the Mariachi singers and players dressed up, for hire.
As with many imported (often imitated) international cuisines, the restaurants don’t get “authentic” quite right. Sometimes it is an accident; other times it’s on purpose. The theory is that if you try to give people something too different from what they are used to, they’ll think it is too strange. Sooo, you adapt the recipes to the country’s taste.
Another problem with imported goods is the price. If it isn’t readily available, it will probably cost you more. This is reflected in the prices of many Mexican restaurants. Once, I paid twice as much as I would for a Colombian lunch (soup, meat, salad, multiple starches, dessert & fruit juice) for one “Mexican” enchilada with NO sides or beverage.
Yesterday afternoon, Joel & I were out window shopping for 5 (!) hours. In the middle of our excursion, we came upon three restaurants in a row that looked promising: 1969 pizza, an Argentinian restaurant, and a Mexican restaurant. We decided to come back to the Argentinian place sometime when they have the live music (depending on the style)…or the next time we fly Deborah down.
After looking at the menu posted in the Mexican place’s window, we decided to just test the restaurant out by ordering two entradas (appetizers): a burrito al pastor and 2 tacos blandos (soft) one chicken and one beef. We enjoyed all three. The soft tacos needed the mild picante sauce, but the burrito was excellent by itself. The decor was alright and the music wasn’t terribly annoying (one song was the fry-i-i-ied ice cream song from the Chi-chi’s commercial). The total cost was 10.000 Colombian pesos.
So, next time you’re in Bogota, check out the Metropolis mall on Kr 68 close to Calle 80. It’s kinda across from Alcosto.