Caffé Lunatico's poised menu is absolute dynamite —blasting off to every corner of the earth and bursting with authentic Catalan dishes, tapas and Colombian delicacies wrapped in inventive panache.
Passion - especially in the dog-eat-dog restaurant business is everything. Lucky for us, Caffé Lunatico's seasoned owners, Maria Delgado and Felix Sanchez, aka, Cartagena's coolest power food couple hailing from Cartagena (her) and Catalunya (him) know how to play the game.
For starters, their combined CV is one hell of a globe-trotter. With spells in Diverxo (Madrid) , Libreji (Holland) and many other unpronounceable restaurant name-droppersthat have a Michelin star ring to them.
Mediocracy doesn't cut the dijon mustard here. The kitchen is open all day, and the open plan geography means it's very much integrated into the atmosphere. All eyes are on the prize and there is no room - or time - for error.
But these guys work wonderfully under pressure. Food is served fast (a godsend in the Caribbean) with lashing of TLC for everything that comes out of its kitchen straight to the mouths of hungry visitors, who've heard the local buzz and want to see if it's worth it (it is).
The lunch menu is an mazing deal for budget travellers looking for a fabulous lunch that doesn't cost the earth. For USD$5, you can have a soup or salad starter, main dish of the day with a juice, dessert or coffee.
The autumnal slow-cooked suckling pig that falls off the forks and slips down your throat in a silky sweep served with a summery strawberry salad deserves a star in its own right.
All ingredients are fresh, locally sourced and thoughtfully applied to dishes. The squidgy aurbegine sticks sweet, sticky crunch of panela sauce is a darling flirtation between Spanish and Colombian tastebuds.
Hamburgers are homemade, as is the bread. You might even see local providers stop by during your midday coffee stop (organically sourced from Minca in case you were wondering). If that's not the pinnacle of clean living, we don't know what is.
For a small place these guys think big, racking up an impressive amount of food miles with stopovers in Asia (curries, spring rolls and peanut based sauces), as well as Spain (succulent fideuás, tasty tapas and stellar wines) and South America (seafood and exotic fruits).
Europe takes care of the more unique alcoholic options. The organic Spanish wines match very nicely with the tapas tasting platter. The Spanish Estrella Damm cañas are a fantastic guilt-free boozy lunch option and the cava sangria pops and fizzles with a celebratory feel.
Of course in the end, much like these well-travelled chefs, theres’s no place like home. Colombia still basks a lot of the menu limelight - and rightly so. The Tribute to the Arepa is a triumph, the natural fruit juices are the ultimate thirst quenchers, the signature cocktail is a heady mix of coconut, rum and mango biche. Go figure.
Don't spend your whole meal with you head down in your food - look up. The starry ceiling mural by local street artist Andrés Molina glitters hovering over the evening crowd like plankton.
Special TIC Offer: Order any cocktail and receieve a FREE tapa when you show a screenshot of this page. Offer available all day/eve Monday-Friday.
THIS IS WHAT WE LOVE
* The intimate, homely atmosphere that lets the food do all the talking
* The promising new brunch menu and tapas selection that can be enjoyed all day long (tapas is served from 11-11pm)
* The lunch menu is one of the best in Cartagena. There is no where else you can eat so cheap and so well at lunchtime.
* Supporting a family run business who make you feel at home whether you pop in for a fresh cup of coffee or a big meal with friends
* Kick-starting a night on the town with a cheeky jug of sangria or fresh and fruity Caffé Lunático cocktail
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
* Caffé Lunático is closed on Sundays
* The restaurant seats 30 and gets busy on the weekends. We recommend reserving a table.
* They sometimes throw impromptu events, keep an eye on their facebook and instragam for more info