Around Parque Poblado, you have many options for your menu del día – the traditional lunch time meal.
I was in the mood for something Colombian and my best friend in Medellín had recommended that we try El Pilon Guaraceño for our regular Wednesday get together.
Brought up by a Colombian Father and Welsh Mother in Spain, she knows a thing or two about Colombian food.
I have always been impressed with how she can devour a bandeja paisa while I am left floundering in a sea of chicharron and frijoles, so I trusted her recommendation.
The restaurant is located a stone’s throw away from the corner of the park and has a small terraced area, with four tables, where you can watch workers trekking up and down the busy street or gaze at other diners feasting at the restaurants next door.
Inside, the restaurant has lots of pictures of Jesus and the Virgin Mary alongside various paintings by Colombian artists. The restaurant is lively and has a relatively quick turnover of people on their lunch break.
No doubt the very reasonable priced, especially for the area, 9,000 peso menu del día has something to do with it.
For your 9,000 pesos, you get soup to start, rice, salad, choice of meat, drink, and either eggs, frijoles or fries.
My friend had described the food as homely and recommended the very reasonably priced cazuela de frijoles. For your cazuela, you can go grande for 12,500 pesos ($5) or small for 9,000 pesos ($3.60). I am a growing boy, so I went big.
There are a multitude of other Colombian specialties on offer such as bandeja paisa and ajiaco, plus a couple of daily specials, which when I visited were a chicken Caesar salad and grilled chicken plate.
The food arrived fairly quickly and we weren’t disappointed. The portions were sizeable and came with a delicious cold and refreshing guarapo (sugar cane drink).
A cazuela is a generic Spanish name that comes from the type of pot you cook it in; the dish usually has a mild kind of stock with a mixture of vegetables and meat.
My cazuela de frijoles contained plantain, chicharron (pork belly), chorizo, frijoles (beans), sweet corn and thin chips, served in a rich broth.
It was smooth and crunchy, sweet and delicious. The flavors mixed incredibly well, and each bite brought something a bit different.
Along with the cazuela, you get a side plate of avocado, rice, salad, and egg, which you can either choose to dip or eat on its own. I usually just go wild and throw most of it into the mix. The more, the merrier.
The larger portion is filling and hearty. If you are in need of some stodge, then it is recommended.
The customer service is responsive but due to the speed at which people come and go, it is not necessarily a place to have a long relaxing lunch.
All in all, though, I was very satisfied with the food and the experience. My bestie had done well.
If you are looking for something cheap, cheerful and Colombian in the Parque Poblado area then I highly recommend El Pilon Guaraceño and opt for the cazuela de frijoles, you’ll enjoy it.