A must eat at restaurant for anyone visiting Bogotá
Michael: Sure there are restaurants offering food from around Colombia. But when it comes to Chigüiro no one does it better than Chigüire 53. There are other reasons to eat there besides the food. The area around is interesting, the restaurant has a charming atmosphere and the prices are a value.
Ok, for our gringo readers it is probably best that I explain what a Chigüiro is. It is the largest rodent in the world. They weigh anywhere between 75 pounds and 150 pounds. In Colombia these plant eating animals are found in the Los Llanos area of the country. Unlike Bogotá, which is mountainous, Los Llanos is flatland. People in other countries frequently refer to this rodent as a Capybara. The Chigüiro is not an endangered species and reproduces very rapidly. They like to roam in groups of 20 to 100. The meat is very fat free and has a soft yet distinctive flavor. And if cooked correctly it is a taste that will bring you back to Colombia.
Graciela: From the sidewalk you can see the restaurant cooking their food on a cone shaped metal grill with a wood fire in the middle. Sometimes an employee will be at the door offering samples to those passing.
Once inside the feeling is like that of an old hacienda. There are many rooms available to sit in. Pictures and old musical instruments decorate walls of beige, green and orange. Chairs made of wood with leather backs and seats surround wooden tables. Napkin holders in the shape of a Chigüiro sit on the tables.
Michael: Graciela and I have eaten lunch there many times. Never has it failed as we entered for someone to greet us with “Buenas tarde.” The servers are excellent answering all questions and making the meal enjoyable. Food is delivered in a timely manner. Of course they carry the Colombian beers that complements the meat very well.
Graciela: Most of the time they have live musicians roaming the rooms playing a good selection of Colombian boleros. For me this is fantastic and they even take requests. They play so well that a good tip is deserved.
Michael: For those not inclined to try the Chiguiro the restaurant also serves a selection of other meats as well as fish.
This is one of the best value restaurants in the city. You get excellent food, good service and live music. Graciela and I enjoy all of that for under $25 USD for the two of us, plus the meal is filling.
Graciela: The area around is interesting with many shops serving the needs of artisans. Christmas is the best time to walk the area. The stores are lit up and offering everything to decorate for the season. Michael and I like to get a little exercise walking both sides of the street and checking out the stores.
Michael: Located on Calle 53 just a couple blocks south of Avenida Caracas, the place is a short taxi ride from the major gringolandia areas of Bogotá. Just tell the taxi driver the exact address of Calle 53 #16-74 in the Teusaquillo barrio. You will enjoy a part of Colombia and have a dining experience that most gringos to the city often miss.