Every region has its own specialty when it comes to the culinary scene. In Medellin, every restaurant has their own specialty! As you explore local eateries, you will most likely find “Menu del Dia” on the menu which is Spanish for “Menu of the Day”. Every restaurant offers their own which can make it difficult to make a decision on what to eat and where to eat. Keep reading to learn more about menu del dia and where to eat it in Medellin when you get a sudden craving!
What is in the Menu del Dia?
Basically, Menu del Dia is the restaurant’s best offer that day, not just price wise but also taste wise. The dish they serve is usually the restaurant’s best-seller, offered at a cheaper price than on a la carte. A Menu del Dia is sold from 7,500 COP to 25,000 COP (or around 2.2 USD to 7.3 USD), but most restaurants sell it for 15,000 COP (4.4 USD).
The main dish of a Menu del Dia can be anything from Colombian specialties like meat and beans to exotic options like fried rice or lasagna. However, it comes in a full course. Ordering a Menu del Dia will give you one main dish with an appetizer and drink, and some restaurants even provide a complimentary dessert! Now, let’s take a look at each course in a Menu del Dia.
Menu del Dia starts with a bowl of soup. You can choose one from two to three options the restaurant has, mixed vegetable soup and creamy pumpkin soup are usually on offer.
You will also have a choice of drink, mostly fruit juice like orange and guava. Water is also available as an option, but keep in mind that tap water is drinkable in most big cities in Colombia. So, instead of choosing water as your drink, you may just ask them for free tap water on the side.
The main dish
With so many options available, you will not get bored of eating Menu del Dia every day, even at the same restaurant! As mentioned before, the main dish can be anything ranging from a typical meal of meat and beans to the Italian favorite lasagna. Other typical options include roasted beef, chicken, to chicharron or deep-fried pork belly. A typical Menu del Dia main dish consists of coconut rice, fried or roasted protein, and salad. One thing these options have in common is that they come with sides such as salad or a big chunk of fresh avocado.
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While Western dishes usually come with salad or French fries, Menu del Dia has its own unique side dish: fried plantains. In Colombia, it is called patacon or patacones. Unlike fried banana or plantain, patacones have a crispier texture. This less-sweet version of banana works well with fresh avocado. They just complement each other and create a unique flavor that pops in your mouth!
Insider Tip: You can also order patacones as an appetizer at local restaurants.
Where to get the best Menu del Dia?
Now that you know what to expect from a Menu del Dia, all you have to do is to figure out which restaurant to choose. There are plenty of options available if you stay in the downtown areas of Medellin such as Laureles and Poblado.
I lived in Medellin for three months and here are my personal recommendations for the best Menu del Dias:
First and foremost, let’s reveal where those mouth-watering photos above were taken. That was the Menu del Dia of Cable a Tierra restaurant in Parque Arvi, a huge national park at the northernmost part of Medellin. The restaurant’s unique location provides a great outdoor ambiance. On top of that, they serve vegetarian options as well!
That day they served fried fish with coconut rice, avocado, bowl-shaped patacones, also a salad with pumpkin soup as an appetizer and passion fruit juice. The whole set is only 23,000 COP (around 6.7 USD).
Cable a Tierra
Address: Parque Arvi, Antioquia, Colombia
Price: 23,000 COP (6.7 USD)
Highlight: Organic ingredients and vegetarian options
Menu del Dia with a salad bar in Poblado, Medellin
While most Menu del Dias only come with coleslaw or tomato salad as the salad , this one offers a salad bar where you can build your own salad! And the choices are quite impressive: from pickled beets to crispy potato skins. The restaurant is called La Casa de Beto and it is located in Poblado, the touristy area of Medellin, Colombia.
Do visit this restaurant when they serve Mondongo, a Colombian traditional soup with chunks of meat (usually beef) and assorted veggies. So filling and yummy!
La Casa de Beto
Address: Cra. 42 ##9-33, Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia
Price: 14,000 COP (4.1 USD)
Highlight: Cheap, good food in a strategic location
A Western touch in Menu del Dia at Uno Mas Uno
While most restaurants serve comida tipica or typical food for their Menu del Dia, this restaurant offers something a little different. This is perfect for those who want something familiar yet still within budget. Uno Mas Uno offers options of protein with rice and salad which comes with soup as an appetizer and a juice drink. I went for Salmon and it did not disappoint.
Despite serving food for lunch, Uno Mas Uno offers a cafe-like ambiance. People do come here for a cup of tea or coffee in the afternoon while enjoying a board game with friends.
Uno Mas Uno
Address: Cq. 4 #71-3, Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia
Price: 20,000 COP (5.8 USD)
Highlight: A mix of local taste and Western style dishes
Plenty of options for both restaurants and dishes
These three restaurants are among many other great restaurants serving Menu del Dias in Medellin, Colombia. So, you won’t be short of options when it comes to deciding what to eat during your visit here. Keep in mind that Menu del Dia is usually served during lunchtime only, which is around 1 pm until 2 pm. If you happen to eat outside that window, try another Medellin specialty: Bandeja Paisa.
This dish will definitely satisfy your taste buds and your hunger. On one huge plate, you will get a mix of three proteins (usually local pork sausage or chorizo, fried pork belly or chicharron, and minced meat), sunny-side-up egg on top of coconut rice, salad, avocado, and of course, patacones. That’s more than a meal!
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