Beyond setting the benchmark for luxury hotels in Cartagena, the Sofitel Legend Santa Clara's restaurant, 1621, has played its part in raising the gourmet stakes for the city's blossoming culinary scene.
Executive chef Daniel Padró has added a Catalan touch to an already accomplished tasting menu in 2015, ensuring the culinary delights of this iconic restaurant set in the architectural splendour of the Santa Clara's luscious 17th century colonial patio more than match up to the restaurant's stunning backdrop.
With all things French running though the corporate DNA of the luxury hotel chain, 1621 weaves cordon bleu techniques and gallic ingredients - foie gras, truffle oil, chateaubriand and other luxury staples - into an opulent menu with some very special seafood options.
The Catalan executive chef earned his stripes in some of Europe's top restaurants passing through the three Michelin stars kitchens of Martin Berasategui and Michel Bras on his way to Cartagena.
Padró re-worked 1621's menu to introduce some sweet and savoury surprises for the most demanding of worldly-wise palates.
The new menu includes a plethora of complex taste combinations that harness Colombia's wealth of fresh fruits and fish. Start with a foie gras terrine with mango chutney, a fresh fish tartar prepared with the catch of the day or the octopus carpaccio for lovers of seafood.
For a truly Colombian main try the grilled king prawns with crispy yucca fries and 'tomate de arbol' or the seafood 'cazuela' stew served with a creamy coconut risotto. Delicious!
THIS IS WHAT WE LOVE
* Indulging yourself with luxurious culinary options. For home-from-home treats that you won't find elsewhere in Cartagena, try the eggplant, goats cheese and caviar ravioli or the Angus chateaubriand with béarnaise sauce.
* A sophisticated tasting menu that changes every month to keep locals and visitors coming back for more.
* Dining in a 17th century colonial patio with one of Botero's monumental sculptures peaking at you through the lush greenery.
* Maximalist chandeliers and blood red Baccarat glasses that go hand-in-hand with the opulence on the menu.
* Working your way through one of the best-stocked wine cellars in Cartagena.
* Amuse bouche that will cheer up any palate.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
* The restaurant is only open for dinner so book ahead to ensure you reserve one of the 82 hottest seats in town.
* In September, the hotel and its emblematic restaurant hosts wine week, a sophisticated celebration that's worth booking your flight for.
* The restaurant has an entrance on Calle del Curato but you can also enter through the hotel's main entry.
* There are great cocktails and live music in the hotel's El Coro Lounge Bar, a great place to get warmed up for the main event.
* Dress smart, not shorts allowed in the main dinning room.