Opened in mid-2014, MANO Calamita didn’t come to my attention until a few months later, when my friend Lily recommended it. Her brother was working as a chef there, further piquing my curiosity. We made plans to grab dinner one Thursday night so I could learn more about it.
MANO Calamita is located on Carrera 36, a block from Carmen. It’s a medium-sized restaurant with a few outdoor tables and a warm, comfortable interior.
Everything about the restaurant, from its sign and decor to its menu design and food, is focused on transporting the customer from Colombia to another country.
A bookcase is decorated with Buddha figurines, a maneki-neko (Japanese lucky cat) and model ship; the place mats at the tables are world maps.
And they run theme nights every other Thursday featuring live music: flamenco from Spain, jazz from the United States, and as luck would have it, tango from Argentina the night we visited.
Lily and I each ordered a glass of white sangria and began to peruse the menu, which as it was last October, offered a mix of dishes inspired by various world cuisines.
There were three appetizers available, including bruschetta with roast beef and polenta with fish of the day. All were priced between 11,900 to 13,900 pesos ($4.65 to $5.45). I opted to skip an appetizer to leave room for dessert.
For my main course, I chose the mushroom risotto with braised beef and crispy potatoes for 25,900 pesos ($10). It was the first time I’d had meat mixed with a mushroom risotto. Thankfully it tasted good though I found the crispy potatoes to be an unnecessary garnish.
Lily ordered an Argentine-style steak with chimichurri sauce, a more photogenic dish.
Last, but not least, was dessert. I opted for the warm chocolate chip cookie, filled with melted chocolate and served alongside a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I liked that it was a different take on the typical chocolate volcano cake.
Overall, I had a wonderful dinner, and while I recommend MANO Calamito any day of the week, it shines every other Thursday with the addition of live music.