**Michael: “What I love is it is in a neighborhood no one would expect to find it,” said the person who invited us. I then asked Georgio how he found the place. “I like to look for these places that have a speakeasy feel to them.”
The restaurant seems out of place in an area dominated by mechanics, mini warehouse type stores and brothels. The location is even more unlikely from a business point of view. The local neighbors are not the type to visit a place serving fine Italian food and sporting a large wine list. There is no parking lot nearby. Vehicles park willy-nilly wherever they can making the street a maze to navigate. But when lunch time hits not a single table sits empty and a line occupies one wall, exits out the door and meanders down the stairs.
Even once you are in the neighborhood of 7 de agosto the restaurant is not easy to find. We had the address of Calle 66 #22-45 and wondered where it was. Outside the only thing seemingly out of place was a small red awning with the words, “Restaurante” on the side and “Buena Mesa Restaurante” on the front. On the street in front was a small opening that we soon found out was for valet parking.
Graciela: My recommendation is to take a taxi to the restaurant. Finding a place to park your car is almost impossible. Fortunately they do think of their patrons and offer valet parking.
Michael: Only once inside the door does the wall of the stairs landing announce that you are in the correct place. But even entering the restaurant the first time gives doubt. A wall of wood followed by an industrial metal rack greets the visitor and forms a hallway. There is no immediate sign it is a place where food is served.
The entire restaurant has eclectic decoration. I do not believe it to be purposeful decoration as much as maintaining a focus on the food and giving people a place to sit and eat. Tables and chairs do not match. Old wine bottles filter light through the large front window. Shelving hung on the wall holds a small part of the wine selection.
In fact the wine menu has range and depth. From the massive list one can find the perfect accompaniment. Countries represented include Italy, Spain, Chile and France. Prices for these choices, that are often not found at other restaurants, range from 60,000 pesos ($20 USD) to 960,000 pesos ($320 USD).
The multiple-page flip style menu contains many selections. Appetizers range from $10,000 pesos – 20,000 pesos. Pizzas are in the 15,000 pesos to 20,000 peso range. Meats,lasagnas, fish and canelones start and 20,000 pesos and go to 30,000 pesos.
We were a party of ten. Everyone ordered something different and we shared. Each dish brought a unique taste to the taste buds.
Despite a large crowd, servers were attentive and worked efficiently. One person at our table spilled a water. Clean-up happened more quickly than ever encountered at another restaurant.
I have been told by others that Trattoria de la Plaza is one of those gastronomical delights visited by many, including politicians and food critics.
Graciela: The restaurant shows that you do not have to have a prestigious address or whimsical theme to draw a crowd. Just offer good food and efficient service at reasonable prices. The people will come.
Michael: Normally we support that when in Colombia to try the large variety of Colombian food. But, we also promote visitors to experience the Bogotá that Bogotanos know. This restaurant is a little off the beaten gringolandia path. However, your palate will not be disappointed and you will experience far more than most tourists ever do enjoying lunch at Trattoria de la Plaza.