Don’t let the name fool you, La Cafetiere de Anita offers fans of French food an intimate and elegant setting in which to enjoy their meal.
When Richard, a new friend, invited me to dinner recently, we agreed on La Cafetiere de Anita one Tuesday night in mid-July.
The restaurant is located a half-block off Avenida Poblado, along the Golden Mile that stretches from Calle 10 to the Santa Fe mall. It’s a convenient location, but like La Provincia, not one you’re likely to stumble across on your own.
Anita Botero, the Colombian proprietor and executive chef, studied the culinary arts at Le Cordon Bleu in London. Since returning to Colombia, she has cooked for some of the country’s most notable personalities, including Gabriel García Márquez, Fernando Botero and Juanes.
I arrived to see Richard waiting outside the front door, and the restaurant practically packed. I wasn’t expecting a crowd on a Tuesday night, and was thankful we were able to be seated right away.
We were given menus, and the first thing I noticed was that they lacked prices. This caught me off guard, as it’s something I’ve rarely seen.
I suspect the reason is so diners are forced to focus on the food options, and choose their courses based on what interests them, without pricing being a factor.
The second thing I noticed about the menu were the numerous dishes I wanted to try. Far too many for a single dinner.
Appetizers include foie gras with aromatic uchuva chutney, lobster ravioli with tarragon, escargot, hot brie with a tomato spread, prawn bisque, French onion soup, baby stone crabs with herb butter and crunchy squid with basil sauce.
I opted for the mushroom ravioli with white truffle oil (20,000 pesos, $10.50).
A small loaf of warm fresh bread was brought out while I waited for my appetizer. It was soft and moist enough so as not to require butter, but I added some anyways.
The presentation of the ravioli was meticulous, and the rich sauce of melted butter and truffle oil was exactly what I’ve come to expect of French cooking.
The list of main courses was heavy on the meats and fish, many of which were offered with a choice of sauces.
Braised leg of lamb (Moroccan style), veal chops with balsamic glaze, duck confit with uchuva sauce, fresh tuna with orange and ginger sauce and seabass with lemon and coconut sauce are just a few of the options that caught my eye.
I settled on the salmon with hollandaise sauce (46,000 pesos, $24), though in retrospect, it wasn’t the most inspired choice. It was served with sides of potatoes and broccoli.
As with all the dishes we’d enjoy, the presentation showed attention to detail and lit up my eyes as the plate was set in front of me.
The filet of fish was cooked well and the hollandaise sauce was good, though not as thick and creamy as I’m accustomed to.
Richard had ordered the rack of lamb with mint sauce, which was served with sides of potatoes and mixed vegetables (70,000 pesos, $37).
I didn’t try the lamb, but he said it was good.
Dessert is the highlight of any French meal, and if our dinner was to be complete, I’d need to satisfy my sweet tooth.
I didn’t even need to see the menu again to know what I was going to order. Chocolate mousse (12,700 pesos, $6.75).
It was presented in a small white bowl, topped with mint leaves which offered a touch of color. I was excited.
The silky smooth mousse was on par with what I’d experienced at Amoretti earlier in the year. In my mind, that ties it for best in the city.
Meanwhile, Richard was enjoying his rhubarb pie with vanilla ice cream (15,000 pesos, $8).
Other desserts options include chocolate passion cake, profiteroles with chocolate sauce, crème brûlée, apple and almond strudel and crêpes.
By the time the check arrived, I was stuffed (and I’d only been drinking water).
La Cafetiere de Anita lived up to its four-and-a-half star rating on TripAdvisor, and my expectations over the years it took me to finally eat there.