Oh Lá Lá... Café Bistrot
This stylish bistrot-style venue brings some Gallic panache to the fried food and carb-heavy diet of Cartagena's most traditional barrio, Getsemaní.
Owners, Carolina Velez and Gilles Dupart, are both on a mission to expand the healthy eating options in Cartagena and resurect long-forgotton regional dishes with a modern, French flourish.
Oh! La La... Cafe Bistrot, is manna from heaven for those looking for a sugar rush free start to the day or a light lunch that won't send you straight for a hammock.
Bringing the Franco-Colombian couple back to the same Getsemani street in which they started their adventure into the Cartagena culinary scene eight years ago, Oh! La La...Cafe Bistrot, is big on organic ingredients and low on sugar and the other dietary bad guys.
The tightly formed menu includes plenty of health-conscious options starting with a strong salad lineup - a Greek one, Quinoa ratatouille and fabulous blue cheese and tomate de arbol number, soaked in a french mustard and honey dressing. Seriously, any locals who diss the taste merits of tomate de arbol simply have to try this salad out for size.
Tasty soups include a traditional Mote de Queso made with local costeño cheese, a carrot soup with a delightful touch of orange and a fish bouillabaisse with delicious hints of a tropical Paris.
The mains concentrate on the city's fresh fish supplies including a lip-smacking snail stew, a Moules Mariniere and grilled prawns with rock salt and alioli.
There are sturdy meat options as well, the ox-tail, soaked in beer is a delightful dressed down dish of the traditional red wine version, but still manages to pack in loads of fresh flavours.
Don't assume Cartagena breakfasts is just about Arepa de Huevo, sugary juice drinks and watery coffee. This place is on an ambitious mission to bring back long forgotton healthy classics such as Bollo de Mazorca (corn rolls) and Cabeza de Gato (plantains, onions, tomatoes and garlic).
You´ve also got a delicious mix of traditional 'brunch style' dishes to get stuck into. Get your day off to a healthy start with breakfasts that include porridge with freshly made jams, free-range eggs served up on homemade bread (without the local sugar quote) fruit salads with natural yoghurt hecho en casa, completely natural fruit juices and organic coffee.
The restaurant's decor is steeped in the history of one of the most historic houses of Getsemaní, with evocative photos of the first black governor of Bolivar, Francisco Vargas, meeting US president Franklin Roosevelt, hanging from the walls. To find the place look for the photogenic tropical graffiti by Andrés Molina on the wall opposite.
THIS IS WHAT WE LOVE
* Finding a healthy haven in the midst of the street food joys of Getsemaní. After two days of fried food your body will thanks for visiting this place.
* Bread that doesn't come laced with sugar like the local variety.
* Homemade yoghurt and completely natural fruit juices.
* Some great French classics that work well with more local culinary traditions.
* Airy interiors steeped in the history of one of the city's most interesting families.
*The menu falls in sync with the seasons, so check out the specials board for the latest offering.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
* Oh! La La... Bistrot is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
* The restaurant is located next to another pioneer in local cuisine, La Cocina de Pepina.
* Reservations for groups of 10 or more are recommended.