MANO Calamita: The World Traveler’s Restaurant

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Steak with chimichurri sauce
Steak with chimichurri sauce

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.

Risotto with beef
Risotto with beef

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.

Warm chocolate chip cookie
Warm chocolate chip cookie

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.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Frankly I thought it was over-priced of what you got. Food was ok but certainly not high end. Better food and value elsewhere.

    • I certainly don’t consider MANO Calamita high-end. I feel it’s moderately priced, and you pay as much for the atmosphere and novel concept as the food.

      High-end to me are restaurants like Carmen, Ocio, El Cielo, La Provincia and In Situ.