After our successful foray into La Macarena’s outer limits, Seth and I wanted to return to the neighborhood’s center for a proper dinner. We initially had our hearts set on Tapas Macarena, a cozy and intimate restaurant at the southernmost point of the bohemian strip. We made the mistake of not reserving a table, for we underestimated just how tiny the restaurant was. (The dining area literally consisted of one hundred square feet and six tightly-squeezed tables.) The head waiter kindly told us he was full for the night and recommended another tapas joint just two blocks down the twinkle light-adorned street. We were convinced that he had just sent us spiraling into a gringo tourist trap, but our open minds and empty bellies decided to check it out anyway. We were glad we did!
La Tapería did attract a few foreigners, but the crowd was largely Colombian. The restaurant’s host, who doubled as a waiter, led us to a corner table. We promptly ordered an Argentine Malbec and began perusing the tapas menu. After a few minutes of debate, we settled on a cured meat and cheese platter, which included jamón serrano, chorizo Ibérico, queso azul (blue cheese), brie, and aceitunas (olives). As we selected our tapas calientes, we sipped our wine and munched on some complimentary bread and aged balsamic vinegar. We eventually settled on lomo con salsa de queso azul (beef tenderloin cubes with a blue cheese sauce), gambas al ajillo (shrimp with garlic), and pulpo La Tapería (octopus with olive oil and herbs). Our waiter brought the dishes out one at a time, each with a plate of fresh bread, so we were really able to savor the meats and their accompanying sauces. We also appreciated the effects each plate had on the tasting notes of our wine. With the cured meats and cheeses, for example, our wine took on a bitter, dark chocolate flavor; with our tenderloin, which was cooked a perfect medium rare, the wine became slightly smoky; and with the octopus, which was served with house-prepared chips and a mild olive oil and tomato sauce blend, it seemed a little spicy. What La Tapería’s offerings lacked in innovation, they made up for in authenticity and presentation. (Our tapas were nearly identical to those we enjoyed in Barcelona.) The service was impeccable, possibly the finest Seth and I have experienced in Bogotá thus far, and the prices were reasonable (COP$20.000 or US$10 per plate, on average).
We hope to eventually return to the neighborhood to fulfill our original intent: to visit Tapas Macarena. Until then, we are thoroughly satisfied with our experience at La Tapería.
[La Tapería: Carrera 4A # 26-12, Bogotá-Colombia]
[photo courtesy of Revista Don Juan]