Andres Carne des Res – The Craziest Party In The World? Not quite, but still a good time.

Andres Carne des Res is a restaurant in the town of Chiá, Colombia that is most well-known for its crazy party atmosphere.  Chiá is about a 40 minute drive from Bogotá and makes an easy day (or evening) trip.  I visited earlier this year.  The food was really great and the restaurant was very fun, but it was not quite the party that I was expecting (maybe I didn’t drink enough).  Still a good time, and still highly recommended.

The Restaurant:   The restaurant is a jumble of several buildings, all with outdoor and indoor seating, and all with crazy, crazy décor!  With different themed rooms, it reminded me of everything from a German festival to a Moroccan souk.  Staff were dressed in theme (although not necessarily to match the room), there was a live band and a gentleman walking around giving all of the women free sunflowers (that wear about two feet tall).  We did not make a reservation and were seated immediately on a Sunday evening, and since the restaurant is so large, you probably only need a reservation in the busiest of times.  See below: there is also dancing on tables and a cigar bar.

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The Drinks.  The drinks are very fancy here, and very pricey compared to other Colombian establishments.  While pricey, they are also pretty strong and well prepared.  We enjoyed some sparkling wine as well as a cocktail!  The fun glasses are not yours to keep.

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The Food:  The food was superb!  I was expecting more atmosphere than food, but the food turned out to be excellent!  However, be prepared – the menu practically a book.  About 20 pages of delicious things to suit all tastes.  Per a recommendation, we started with arepa de chócolo.  Amazing.  This dish consisted of a sweet arepa stuffed with cheese with a special sauce for dipping.  We liked this so much that we went back to Andres Express (see below) for another serving!

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For mains, I went with the coconut shrimp.  Again, huge dish and delicious.  The shrimp were served with coconut rice and another lovely dipping sauce(!).

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Dan ordered the steak, which he seemed to enjoy.  It came with fried potatoes (not the best).  After the mains, we were stuffed so we couldn’t order dessert.  You can easily share food here.

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How To Get There:  There are very limited public transportation options in the Bogotá area in general.  They best way to get here is to take a car.  We hired a driver for the evening from Tours of Colombia, who also did our day trip to Villa de Leyva.  The cost was $49/person round trip ($98 total),  plus we tipped our driver.  Our driver picked us up at our hotel, waited as long as we wanted at Andres Carne des Res and then drove us back to the hotel.  While pricey, it was worth the piece of mind knowing that we had a ride to and from.  If you do not hire a driver, it is easy to get a car from Bogotá to Chiá, and, surprising to me, easy to find a car home.  See the below list of prices.  I do not recommend driving, as the drinks are strong and overindulging is encouraged.

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Can’t Make It To Chiá?  If you can’t make it all the way to Chiá, there is a Andre Carnes des Res in Bogotá in the Parque 93 neighborhood.  Note that this restaurant is neither as crazy nor as big, but it is in Bogotá proper.  In addition, an Andres Express – a fast food version of Andres Carne des Res –  is in the same area.

STEAL OUR DINNER

Andres Carne des Res: The original.  Calle 3 N° 11A – 56,  Chiá, Colombia. T: (571)8637880 | (571) 8612233 . Reservations typically not required.  More expensive than other Colombian establishments.  All Andres restaurants share the same website.

Andres Carne des Res: The location in Bogotá.  Calle 82 interior centro comercial el retiro #12-21, Bogotá, Colombia.  Claims to be open 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. everyday.  I would confirm before going too late.

Andres Express: The fast food version.  This is the location in Parque 93, although there are others in Bogotá.  11, Cl. 93 #12, Bogotá, Colombia.

Tour of Colombia: The tour company through which we organized our car.  $49/person round trip.  All organizing done via email.  The driver was prompt, polite and safe.  While this company is pricey, I cannot recommend them enough!

ON A BUDGET?

Andres Carne des Res is more expensive than most restaurants in the Bogotá area, but it is a destination in addition to a restaurant!  If you want to enjoy the food without the crazy atmosphere, check out Andres Express, which serves the same food at much more reasonable prices!

 

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Usaquen Market – A Shopper’s & Foodie’s Dream in Bogota!

One of my favorite days in Bogotá (and Colombia as a whole!) was the afternoon that I spent at the Usaquén street market a/k/a the Mercado de las Pulgas de Usaquén!  If you visit Bogotá and like to shop and eat, you absolutely must visit this market!

What Is the Usaquén Market?  The Usaquén Market is a street market and fair taking place every Sunday in the Usaquén neighborhood of Bogotá, Colombia.  Lot’s of vendors come out and sell quality handicrafts, as well as cheap trinkets. This is an excellent place to pick up Colombian souvenirs that are not touristy!

When Is The Usaquén Market?  The Usaquén Market takes place every Sunday from about 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (give or take a little).  The market is at its best in the afternoon!

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Should You Stay In Parque 93, Bogota, Colombia?

Parque 93 is a safe and upscale area of Bogotá, located just north of the Zona Rosa area and centered around a lovely park – Parque 93.  Dan and I stayed here for 5 days and found it to be a lovely neighborhood to base ourselves in Bogotá.  Since Bogotá is huge and traffic is horrendous, no matter where you decide to stay, you will want to ensure that there is something to do close to where you are staying.  While at least a 20 minute taxi from la Candaleria (more like 30 – 40 minutes), the Parque 93 aera has a lot to offer tourists in terms of things to do, and I highly recommend staying in this area.  Plus, its only a 20 minute walk from the popular Zona Rosa (shopping/restaurants/clubs) area.  We did the walk between Zona Rosa and Parque 93 during the day and it was very easy and safe.

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Paloquemao Market in Bogota, Colombia

As a lot of people say, one of the best ways to see a culture is through visiting a local market and trying the foods that the locals eat on a regular basis.  But that can be very difficult.  Especially in countries without an advanced tourism markets and/or those where you don’t speak the language, like me in Bogota, Colombia.

Bogota’s biggest and most important market is Paloquemao Market, located right in the center of Bogota in the Plaza de Mercado de Paloquemao.  The market is large and from afar and looks more like a big factory than a market.  It is also extremely busy, with very few tourists.

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What To Do In Bogota, Colombia!

Bogotá, Colombia.  The city doesn’t exactly evoke the excitement of other South American capitals, such as Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo or Santiago.  In contrast, and unfortunately, most people associate Bogotá with the drug trade that plagued Colombia for years and imagine the city to be terribly dangerous.  I visited Bogotá in February 2016 and I can tell you without hesitation that Bogotá is no longer an “unvisitable” city.  In fact, quite the opposite. I had a great time in Bogotá and found it safer than other large South American cities that I have visited, including Buenos Aires, Lima and Rio.  PUT IT ON YOUR TRAVEL LIST!  Plus, visiting Bogotá can be an easy add-on to a South American itinerary, as it has many direct connections to the U.S. and throughout South America.

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