Restaurante El Viejo John: Traditional Colombian Food in Sabaneta

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Restaurante El Viejo John in Sabaneta
Restaurante El Viejo John in Sabaneta

Restaurante El Viejo John is one of the most popular restaurants in Sabaneta and is a favorite with locals. The restaurant is one of the best places to experience the best of paisa/Antioquian cuisine, including bandeja paisa.

Portions are huge, and the prices are affordable. But make sure you are prepared to wait for up to 20 minutes for your table since it is teeming with loyal customers during busy times.

I have dined at El Viejo John many times since I live in Sabaneta, and can honestly say that all my meals have been delicious.

Most of the staff at El Viejo John are long-time employees who take great pride in their work. The décor of the restaurant is rustic and very consistent with paisa tradition.

Róbalo Valeska
Róbalo Valeska at El Viejo John

Our Recent Experience at El Viejo John

We had a couple of members of my wife’s family visiting, and we all decided to go to dinner at El Viejo John.

I was in the mood for fish, but the menu has many fish choices, so I asked for a recommendation. I had the Róbalo Valeska, which was highly recommended by the waiter.

This dish is baked with róbalo fish (Snook, which is a white fish) with shrimp, mushrooms and covered with cheese. It was excellent and exceeded my expectations. Cost was 33,000 pesos ($10.74).

The BBQ ribs
The BBQ ribs at El Viejo John

My wife and her two family members all wanted the BBQ ribs that is one of the dishes that El Viejo John is famous for. The ribs were perfectly cooked and tasty (I tried one).

The cost of the BBQ ribs was 29,000 pesos for the large order or 21,500 pesos for a smaller portion.

For the four of us for dinner, not including alcohol since we weren’t drinking alcohol, but including tip, the total was 140,000 pesos ($45.57).

Inside Restaurante El Viejo John
Inside Restaurante El Viejo John

The Menu at El Viejo John

Restaurante El Viejo John has an extensive menu with meats, chicken, fish, bandejas, sancochos, chuzos and many other types of typical Antioquian cuisine.

Most entrees are accompanied with French fries or beans and a small fresh salad.

Prices range from 14,000 pesos for a simple chuzo (meat on a stick) to over 30,000 pesos for the higher end beef and fish dishes.

Drinks range from 4,000 pesos for juices (about a dozen are available), 3,500 pesos for a beer, 54,000 pesos for a bottle of aguardiente and 140,000 pesos for a bottle of whiskey.

El Viejo John is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Parque Sabaneta near Restaurante El Viejo John
Parque Sabaneta near Restaurante El Viejo John

How to Get There

Restaurante El Viejo John is located in Sabaneta less than a block from the popular Parque Sabaenta and Iglesia de Santa Ana.

The easiest way to get to Parque Sabaneta is to take the Medellín metro south to the Sabaneta station. The park is located a 10-minute walk east from the metro station.

There are also frequent buses that run from the Sabaneta metro station to Parque Sabaneta, where the Restaurante El Viejo John is located. The cost is only about 1,700 pesos ($0.56).

Or you can ask any taxi driver in Medellín to take you to “Parque Sabaneta,” just about every taxi driver will know where it is.

It is relatively safe to walk from the metro station to Parque Sabaneta as there are many people on the streets during the day, or you can take the short bus ride.

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