How many times have you heard people in Medellín complain that there are no healthy food options available in the city? Next time someone says this to you, point them in the direction of Florez Food Garden: a green haven in the heart of El Poblado proving that healthy and nutritious food can be fun and affordable.
Lina Florez, the twenty-four-year-old owner, moved from the Colombian coast to study law in Medellín eight years ago. But, after qualifying and landing a great job, she realized that she was more passionate about food and decided to pursue that instead. Despite her family’s fears that she was giving up a profitable career in law, Lina’s heart was set on waking up every day and doing what she loves. So, in July 2017, she opened Florez Food Garden and made that dream a reality.
The concept for Florez is quite simple really: it’s about having something for everyone. The menu is honest and transparent, with international cuisine created from local ingredients native to South America. Each diner can have the type of food they want, with no compromise.
Lina created the menu with the help of her head chef, keeping her clients firmly in mind. Together, they created an indulgent list of options that are at once fun, indulgent and nutritious.
The dishes on the menu are marked according to where they sit in the categorizations that Lina has devised to fit with her “something for everyone” mantra. ‘Consciente’ dishes are healthy, wholesome and nutritious; ‘full plomo’ plates are for customers who want something a little more indulgent and, dare we say it, naughty; and ‘80/20’ options are a perfect balance of the two. There are also plenty of vegan and vegetarian options available, so there’s something for everyone’s personal taste. The menu is available in English too, in case you haven’t mastered the language well enough to know your burrata from your bacon purée en Español.
On our visit I chose the ensalada cavernícola, a ‘full plomo’ offering consisting of sirloin steak, quinoa, bacon, mushrooms and pearl tomatoes on a bed of pumpkin and bacon purée with a dressed mezclum leaf salad. The dish was 32,900 COP ($11.66) and was a perfectly balanced flavor combination of sweet, smoky and vibrant. The beef was tender and perfectly cooked, and the portion was generous and filling.
My friend went for the sin culpa dish, which is a grilled salmon burger with roasted asparagus, salad, orange segments and macadamia sauce, all contained in fresh whole-wheat beetroot bread. The salmon was deliciously succulent and the roasted asparagus complemented the sweetness of the fish perfectly. The side of wedges were well cooked and tasty and were included in the 32,900 COP ($11.66) price.
Other popular options on the menu include the bowl tigre marañón, consisting of prawns and brown rice bursting with Asian flavors for 37,900 COP ($13.44); taco Xochimilco, with stewed orange pork and grilled pineapple for 18,900 COP ($6.70); and the vegan-friendly bowl Thai with quinoa and veggies for 24,900 COP ($8.82). There is also a selection of sharing platters starting from 23,900 COP ($8.47), and plenty of soups and starters with prices as low as 17,900 COP ($6.35).
The dessert menu features four decadent options, including banana bread with a strawberry and banana garnish for 13,900 COP ($4.93) and a vegan chocolate tart for 16,900 COP ($5.99). We definitely recommend that you save room for dessert; they’re the perfect sweet end to a delicious meal.
The drinks list is as impressive as the food menu, and the creative cocktail list was devised in conjunction with a local award-winning mixologist. There’s also a wide array of beers, wines and spirits available, as well as a selection of soft drinks.
The ambience is cool and relaxed, and Lina’s specially chosen electronic playlist is the perfect background to your meal. She invites local DJ’s to play at the weekends too, making their patio an awesome setting for dinner or drinks (or both).
Florez isn’t only for evening diners, and their daytime offerings should be more than enough to tempt you during daylight hours. If you’re craving a new take on the classic menú del día (there’s only so much chicharron that one person can eat, trust me), Florez’ lunches are refreshingly interesting and innovative. For just 22,000 COP ($7.80), their stunning three-course menus contain flavorful and nutritious dishes such as topped toasts and rich soups to start, tacos and salads for the main course, and ice creams and exotic fruit salads for dessert.
Speaking of daytime offerings, Lina is also working hard to cater to the city’s workers and digital nomads. The Wi-Fi is great, the coffee is fresh, the power points are plentiful, and it’s so easy to focus in the calm, green environment at Florez.
Lina’s attention to detail is the reason that her customers come back time and time again, and her passion for the concept behind Florez is evident in every last detail. She’s always learning about food and healthy eating and is passionate about sharing this love with the people of Medellín. If you’re looking for gorgeous, Instagrammable food at surprisingly low prices, Florez Food Garden should be your next stop.
Hours and Location
Carrera 34 #7-95, El Poblado
Open Sunday – Thursday 12pm – 10pm and Friday and Saturday 12pm – 1am
All photos courtesy of Florez Food Garden except where noted.
This post was written in collaboration with Florez Food Garden.
Sophie is a freelance writer from the north of England. She has been traveling and working in South America since August 2017, and currently lives in Medellín. She runs the blog Table for One, where she writes about what it’s really like to travel as a solo woman.