In a tiny shoebox restaurant down a side street in Envigado is a place I’ve started to come back to again and again.
A short walk from Parque Envigado, “Patatas a Cielo Abierto” (Potatoes in the open air) follows a simple and heavenly formula, serving up all manner of fried potatoes covered in an assortment of toppings.
There are two steps. First, you choose how you want your potatoes prepared- one of five ways from standard French fries or spiral cut (delgada y espiral) to home fries and Creole seasoned (rústico y criolla). For a couple thousand more pesos, you can try the gourmet, which is a baked/mashed potato au gratin (tipo pure y gratinada in the menu).
The potatoes themselves are cut in-house and are crispy and satisfying. They are the crux and key stone of the meal and perform their unheralded task superbly as conduit for the toppings laid on top, of which there are many to choose from.
My personal favorite, the Argentino, or Argentine, has the house sauce, which is an aioli, chimichurri, along with chopped pieces of beef. Some of my friends prefer the U.S. Barbacoa (boneless rib meat and BBQ sauce) or the España, which has manchego (a traditional Spanish cheese), Spanish sausage, and salsa encendida, which is a bit spicy, but not at all too much if you’re into that sort of thing.
The weather was warm and the streets were busy as the sun was shining. This little corner of Envigado is boasting more and more eateries, including the cities only Vietnamese restaurant across the street. Similarly sized restaurants stand sentry on either side, a pizza place to the left, and a stuffed arepa place on the right.
The beverages available are typical for Medellín. Soda pop, Pilsen, Aguila, Club Colombia, and juice with milk or water.
All the items have meat so I wouldn’t go here as a vegetarian unless I knew Spanish well enough to make a custom order. Pescetarians should know that there are no seafood items.
The restaurant is rather small and seating isn’t particularly abundant. There are a few seats in the small indoor space, and two round umbrellaed tables outside on the sidewalk, making it hard to bring many more than five people. It is a popular place so there can sometimes be a wait.
Everything is priced around 10,000 pesos, or under five American dollars. My Argentino con espiral, for example, was 9,500 pesos ($3.70). The menu is available in English.