Manila Food Market recently opened in the Manila barrio of El Poblado and is worth a visit.
Mercado del Río in the Ciudad del Río neighborhood has generated quite a buzz since its opening in late October 2016. However, sometimes the massive warehouse space with nearly 40 restaurants and 1,200-person capacity can feel overwhelming.
For a smaller and more intimate experience try the new Manila Food Market located at Carrera 43E # 11-38. This open restaurant concept opened on April 29. It’s located a short walking distance from the Poblado metro station.
Manila Food Market
The dream of four Colombian friends and investors from Bogotá, Medellín, Popayán and Pereira, Manila Food Market was first conceived four years ago. The partners saw the need for a boutique hostel and connected community meeting and eating space.
Several years ago they acquired land in Manila, a small neighborhood better known as Poblado’s quieter, more residential side. Yet, like all of Medellín, Manila is rapidly evolving. There are a growing number of boutiques, hostels (many unlicensed) and cafes.
They demolished two existing houses to build a five story building which required nearly two years to complete. This new building features seven restaurants on the main level, as well as 16 rooms (65 beds total), rooftop bar, herb garden, recreation room, classroom and open kitchen on the upper levels.
Located in a hidden block just off Calle 10A near the Poblado Metro station, the main level entrance is open to the street and has rustic wooden tables and a gorgeous wrought iron exterior. The design is firmly rooted in industrial chic.
Seating in Manila Food Market is available throughout the space, with the majority in the back. There are both covered and open options, at large communal tables or individual ones. Friday and Saturday nights live music is offered.
High-speed internet is provided throughout the market and the owners encourage digital nomads to consider coming here to work.
First of all, La Escalera is the inital location upon entering the space. This combination café and bar offers Casa Flora brand coffee, artisanal chocolates, house made pastries (the chocolate cake looked amazing), cocktails, wine, beer and sangria. In addition, there is a small selection of hot breakfast items starting at 8am.
Carbone E Pasta
Next in line is Carbone E Pasta that has other locations include Mercado del Río and Envigado. This restaurant offers appetizers like Criolla sausage, onion rings, burgers, Argentinean steaks and ribs. Prices range from 10,900 – 31,000 ($3.75 – $10.68).
Palta by Rocoto
Lovers of Peruvian cuisine should check out Palta by Rocoto, an outpost of the beloved Rocoto restaurant in Provenza. In a tiny kitchen about the size of a food truck, the cooks are producing traditional Peruvian dishes, focusing on seafood and ceviche. However, there are also meat options: Lomo or Chancho Saltado, plus Chicharones. Prices range from 15,700 – 42, 800 pesos ($5.41 – $14.75).
Sweet Bacon is the next choice that also has another location in Envigado. For lovers of pork, specifically chicharón, this is the spot. Basically, there are four options all based with chicharón: Cajita Bacon, Sweet Burger, Doggy or Wrap. Pick your base and add a sauce, then choose between three kinds of potatoes. The Cajita is priced at 14,900 pesos ($5.13), the other three are 20,500 ($7.06).
At Gin Rose, the focus is artisanal sausage and bread. Here there are three kinds of bread (three grain, parmesan, olive oil with herbs), four kinds of sausage (Mexican, kibbeh, chicken/seafood, smoked pork) and three kinds of cheese (grilled, mozzarella, quesito). Mix and match those ingredients or add veggies for 1,500 pesos extra. Prices range from 19,000 to 22,000 pesos ($6.55 – $7.60).
Visitors looking for lower priced items should consider the Arabic food at Tayin with another location in Mercado del Río. An order of falafel is only 2,800 ($.96), tabbule 5,500 ($1.90), hummus, 6,000 ($2.06), babaganoush, 7,700 ($2.65). Combination plates are available for 24,000 ($8.25) and Tayin also offers chicken, beef or veggie shawarma (usually meat grilled on a vertical spit) for 19,800 ($6.80).
The last stop is Soffio Bocanada that also has other location near Parque Poblado. With four kinds of pasta, two types of lasagna and six varieties of pizza, this is the place to come for classic Italian food. Plus, Soffio offers five choices of Bogota Beer Company beer. Prices range from 18,000 – 24,000 pesos ($6.20 – $8.25)
Los Patios Hostal Boutique
Finally, it is worth noting that the upper levels devoted to Los Patios Hostal Boutique are absolutely beautiful, full of gorgeous features not typically found in a hostel.
Each level is thematic and focuses on a different geographic region in Colombia through the use of color and graphics. The modern, industrial design is cohesive and clean – lots of concrete, pipe hooks, recycled pallets – but softened with traditional tiles, plants and murals.
Dorm rooms (48,000 pesos per night) have no more than 8 beds (all with privacy curtains, personal docking stations and reading lights). And most have private bath and balcony. Private rooms (150,000 pesos per night) are separated from dorm rooms and feature high-speed internet for the business or digital nomad traveler.
A rooftop herb garden is available for guest use and Friday nights are devoted to guest chef presentations in the open kitchen. Along with a dedicated classroom space and recreation room, Los Patios is attempting to redefine the hostel experience by creating spaces that invite community building and sharing.
Mercado del Río has more to offer gastronomically. But the new Manila Food Market and Los Patios Hostal Boutique are a nod toward the evolving Medellín, and the mark of a city with clearly much more still to offer.
Sonja is from Whidbey Island, WA. She has traveled to 46 countries but never wanted to settle down in any of them until she discovered Medellin. She is currently living here in Medellín temporarily until she figures out how to be a permanent resident.
Reminder: Join our Medellín Living June Meetup on June 8 at 7pm at Sport Wings located at Mayorca mall in Sabaneta. This meetup is a good way to meet other expats like Sonja living in Medellín as well as newcomers visiting or considering moving to the city.