Although El Poblado is one of the most popular areas in Medellín for dining out, it’s also one of the most expensive. The selection of restaurants certainly appeals to the masses of tourists hoping to taste the local cuisine or treat themselves to a fancy meal after a long day of exploring. However, for travelers and residents on a tighter budget, Poblado is not an accommodating place. With that said, the recent influx of tourism has resulted in a number of more affordable spots opening up. If you want to tuck into delicious food without breaking the bank, here are eight cheap places to eat in Poblado:
Centro Comercial Monterrey Local 234, Carrera 48 #10-45
Combining traditional Colombian menu del día with Asian cuisine, MATI is a vegetarian haven. Located on the second floor of Monterrey mall, the food-court restaurant is not only hidden but very unassuming. Rather than sit at a table and wait to be served, hungry customers have to approach the counter and choose from a buffet selection, then pay before eating. That said, don’t be fooled, the $10,000 COP lunch includes a fresh juice drink, and a number of options including noodles, falafel, beans, fried vegetables, and rice. Even if you’re not vegetarian, the food here is hearty and flavorsome and guarantees you’ll leave feeling full.
For a no-frills, bargain meal, MATI is simple and fantastic value for money.
Calle 9 #43B-115
Nestled off a side street by Parque Poblado, Señor Itto is a Japanese restaurant that serves up a tasty lunchtime set menu. For only $15,000 COP, guests are given soup, an entrée, rice and/or vegetable salad, plus a glass of wine. The offers run 12 pm – 2 pm on weekdays, and the portions are very generous, while the service is always friendly. Señor Itto is a top pick for tourists who need a quick refuel as they wander up Calle 10 (the main road that runs through El Poblado). It feels more like dining out than MATI but won’t leave you feeling guilty for spending half of your daily budget on a meal.
8A-80, Carrera 35 #8A-16
A quaint Greek restaurant tucked away down the leafy green Poblado streets, Subula looks right at home among the other trendy cafes and bars. Boasting an impressive selection of gyros, salads, fries, falafels, and snacks, Subula caters to vegetarians, vegans, and carnivores alike. Admittedly, the prices here aren’t as low as the other options on this list, however, every Tuesday there’s a 2-for-1 offer on veggie gyros for $14,9000 COP. The wraps are delicious and substantial – order them with a glass a water and you’ve got a recipe for saving the pennies!
Calle 10 #37-18
Finding good Indian food in Medellín is a challenge, and even more so if you want to spend a reasonable amount. Luckily, Masala is a traditional curry house with a very fair price tag. The owner grows many of the ingredients on his farm in Pereira, so the dishes have a distinct freshness to them. The menú del día here is the best value for money, costing $15,000 COP and including a drink, curry (meat or veg) daal, naan, and rice. The curry can be suited to your spice preferences, but if you’ve got the stomach for some serious chilli, be prepared to sweat while chowing down on the food here.
Dharma Vegan Resto
Carrera 43B #8-31
Surprisingly, many of the cheapest spots in Poblado are vegan or vegetarian. Dharma is another Poblado gem that sees a steady crowd of patrons come for lunch. The menú del día is $13,000 COP for a drink, soup, and a main course normally made-up of seasoned rice, a salad, and a main item like falafel or tofu. There’s also a wholegrain bakery and a health shop in Dharma for those who are really committed to a healthy lifestyle.
The restaurant itself is small but has a friendly vibe, quick service, is decorated with artwork of animals, and has a patio area to eat in the sunshine with friends.
German Street Food
Carrera 43B #9-07
A choice for the evening – probably after a few drinks – German Street Food is exactly what you’d expect it to be. With burgers, hot dogs, wraps, fries, and lots of salty treats, this little vendor is a dash of European gluttony. Sausage with fries and a beer will set you back $18,000 COP, while the kebab and Dürüm (a Turkish wrap) lunch combo with fries and a drink is only $14,900 COP. It’s worth noting that the staff only accepts cash, but the location is right at Parque Poblado, so there are ATMs nearby if you need.
Calle 10 #43C-33
Located near the corner liquor store on one corner of Parque Poblado. The “taxi driver” has a great selection at great prices. These guys have the advantage of offering carne desmechada (shredded beef) as one of their cuts of meat. The dish here costs $8,500 COP ($2.87), and $500 pesos more for carne desmechada. A tasty quick meal, consisting of liver, chicken, beef, pork, or even fish.
La Sazón de María
Carrera 43D #9-40
The first floor of a modest apartment building, this small restaurant has a very “grandma is cooking” feel to it. Mrs. Maria has been running the restaurant for more than 12 years now. The full course meal usually comes with bean or yuca soup, a very well-seasoned chicken breast, a nice cut of beef or pork rinds. Alongside this, there’s a nice helping of fries, carrot salad, rice, a boiled egg and something sweet like auyama (pumpkin). A refillable juice is included too – flavors range from strawberry and guarapo to maracuya.
The cost? Only $8,500 COP ($2.87). Beware though, the location is hard to find. Coming down Calle 10, after Parque Poblado turn left at the corner tech shop, the restaurant is next to Sastreria Horacio.