Our last night in town, we would have liked to eat at Comedor Costeno but unfortunately it's not open in the evening. Dely Bross was good but we wanted to try something different and there were many street vendors, especially at the corner of Calle 18 & Carrera 3. We were hungry so decided to split half a chicken at a local rotisserie place on Carrera 3 first. It was delicious and came with yucca, fries and the ubiquitous plantains. I had a Club beer and D had a coke. We could then go about our search for butifarras more leisurely.
Favorite Dish: For some reason, Mompos' street vendor scene seemed a bit more daunting than anywhere else in Colombia. I don't know if it was how dark the streets seemed once the sun went down or just the fact that there were no gringos around but it was not as inviting. That said, once we got up the nerve to get close enough, we did find our prey. Butifarras are smokey meatballs and we liked them enough though they could have been a bit warmer! We also had a couple empanadas and a fried dough-type snack. All were good and cheap enough at 3000 COP ($1.50) for the lot!
There is a restaurant and panaderia on the east side of Plaza de Bolivar under the arcades and that’s where I went shortly after arriving to Mompós. I didn’t order from the menu but asked for chicken and French fries and the meal I got was good. Soon I was joined by Simon from Germany who ordered a lemonade. They had added some red sweet juice in the lemonade so it was too sweet. When I later asked for a lemonade I asked for one without the red juice and got a fresh one.
Chicken French fries, coke and lemonade was 8500 pesos.
Breakfast with eggs, bread and coffee was 3000 pesos (July 2007).
On Calle Real del Medio, south of Plaza de Bolívar, there is a café where you can eat crepes, ice creams and cakes. They also sell big special made cakes for birthdays. There are many different crepes to chose from and I had one with a chicken filling. There was a little bit too much sauce and cheese on it for my taste.
The crepes was 7000 pesos and the lemon juice 2000 pesos (July 2007).
One thing that's good about traveling all night to get somewhere is you get to have breakfast as your first meal in a town and there's something really exciting about that for me. Hey, it's the first meal of the day and though one of the hardest to entirely screw up, not an easy one to make a lasting impression with either. We walked into town from the hostel and right in the main square were street vendors selling fried doughy looking things. We sauntered up trying to look non-obtrusive but as gringos in a town with a scarcity of them, it's not the easiest thing to do especially when one of you is also taller than half the population, have long blonde hair and blue eyes. The vendors were a bit indifferent at first but once we ordered more, they warmed up to our considerable appetites.
Favorite Dish: Despite not being all the close to an ocean, this was our first encounter with the famed coastal delicacy of arepas con huevos. No, this is not eggs with an arepa on the side but an arepa with an egg inside it. It's preparation is ingenious and this is about as perfect a place to watch the ritual as any. This is a woman who is truly a master of the art. After frying the arepa it has an air bubble that makes it a temporary corn meal balloon. She slits this open while still hot and before it flattens out and puts a raw egg inside it before returning it to the hot oil. It cooks a second time and comes out a perfectly crispy treat which tastes a bit like a fried egg with grits. These were by far the best ones we had on the whole trip and the cheapest as well at only 800 COP each (40 cents). We also had a pan de papas which was a fried potato fritter for 500 COP (25 cents). We had already had a couple fresh squeezed orange juices for 1200 (60 cents) each so did not try their tasty beverages until the next day. Obviously, we headed right back the next morning and were warmly welcomed and immediately given chairs. We had become instant regulars it seemed and ordered two huevos con arepa, an empanada, and two of what the locals were all drinking. This turned out to be avena, a slightly sweet, thick oatmeal drink that went perfectly with the fried delights. The whole lot was 4700 COP ($2.35) and was quite filling. This was one of favorite dining experiences in Colombia and was nearly enough to keep us in town an extra day. As it was, I debated with myself about going the next morning before the bus left town but decided it was too early for them to be open and too risky as well.
Comedor Costeno is a place we would have likely checked out even if not in our guidebook due to its scenic riverfront location but perhaps not as early in our stay. We were very glad we did go there for our first lunch as we returned each day not just for the view but also for the cheap tasty food. Right on the Rio Magdalena, this is one choice spot and not only for the views but for the precious breeze that is a rare commodity in this hot steamy town. That said, the view is not only of the river but of river life and that includes a great variety of birds. We even got great photos of a kingfisher while here. The service is very friendly if slightly slow as you might expect in a lazy town like Mompos.
Favorite Dish: We had a variety of meals here but fish is surely it's calling card which should come as no surprise with its river orientation. The first day we had bocachico which is akin to catfish and was fried similarly. It was a bit boney for my wife but she had to admit it was tasty. It came with fried plantains, yucca, and coconut rice. We had been particularly looking forward to the latter as it it noted on the Colombian coast. It was yummy and to be honest never as good anywhere that we found it (and it was harder than we had imagined) on the coast. The meals were quite big and came with a big bowl of tasty fish soup as well as free iced tea. We did not know this and ordered a beer and orange juice. Our bill came to 25000 COP ($12.50).
Our second experience was even better as we knew not to order beverages and found our supply of iced tea was endless, served in a big pitcher that they would replenish if needed. Doreen went for the pollo gallinas which was a tasty chicken meal, a bit sloppy to eat due to the bones (she couldn't escape them, eh?). I had the poncho which was a very tasty pulled pork that was much better than it looks in the photos. I would have had it again if I had another day to eat there. They again came with plantains, yucca and coconut rice. The fish soup starter was even better than the day before and the tea was about as refreshing as can be, much needed on this hot day.
Be sure to go for lunch as they are not open for dinner.
Dely Bross would have likely escaped our business if not in our guidebook. It looked a bit strait-laced from the outside and much more upscale than we normally go for. It did however had air-conditioning so possibly we might have given it a try! It was actually a nice quiet place and the service was quite good. It was also good to get out of the humid Mompos air for an hour. Seeing starched white tablecloths added a colonial flair.
Favorite Dish: I opted for the pricey sobrebarria momposino (12000 COP or $6). I had tried the non-Mompos version of flank steak in Tunja earlier in the trip and found it a bit dry but this version was well worth the second effort on my part. It was tender and juicy and smothered in a stewed tomato and onion sauce. Doreen had an equally tasty carne asado (9000 COP or $4.50) and the beef was tender and very nicely marinated. Both meals came with a very nice salad and kind of dry plantains that had us hankering for coconut rice. We washed it all down with a couple of freshly made limonadas at 2000 COP ($1) each. It was an excellent meal but would have been better with coconut rice.
In a town as hot as Mompos, it's important to keep properly hydrated and that proves no problem with many vendors selling juices. Next to the Costeno Comedor restaurant along the river was a nice little place that had very nice fresh squeezed juices served with a fantastic few, a very slight breeze, and played some cool African music. We had huge mango & maracuja juices which has us wishing we had brought a bottle of rum with us! The two ample beverages came to 6000 COP ($3).
Favorite Dish: Fresh squeezed orange juice goes for 1200 COP (60 cents a glass) from street vendors and we had perhaps the best fresh squeezed grapefruit juice of our lives for a fraction more at 1500 (75 cents) for a glass the vendor kept refilling until his pitcher was empty. We never found him again as he must move from spot to spot to be in the shade, and who can blame him in this heat!
There is a restaurant/café on Calle 18, opposite Colegio Pinillos, where you can have big yummy ice-creams.
There is a restaurant part where you can have cheap meals. I had a soup for 2000 pesos. The ice cream parlour is on the other side of the outdoor tables and here you can chose from many different flavours. A cup with three big scoops was 2000 pesos (July 2007).
Though this meal was technically not in Mompos, it will forever associated with it in our memories as it was most certainly en route to Mompos. We bypassed Bucamaranga for a number of reasons but to be honest it was mostly due to it being so far from the bus terminal. It was going to be a pricey taxi trip to and fro and aside from the colonial town of Giron, Buca as locals call it didn't sound all that imperative on the Colombian circuit. With quite a few colonial gems under our belt, we felt our best option at this point was to go right from San Gil to Mompos. Of course, there is not truly direct route for this trip so spending quite a few hours in the Bucamaranga bus terminal was now very much in our plan. One thing that helped mightily was the fact that we did not have to check out of our hotel room in San Gil to 2 PM which was a most welcome insanity and we took every second of it. This got us to Bucamaranga's terminal very late in the afternoon which was quite handy as the buses to El Banco (the next stop on the long arduous route to Mompos) around 11 PM. This still gave us a lot of time to kill but if there's a bus terminal in South America to kill time in, I guess Bucarmaranga's is better than most.
Favorite Dish: There are numerous cafeteria-style areas to eat and the nicest one was on the second floor. It was not the cheapest but it has outside seating and the evening was about as perfect for sitting out as you could imagine. Surprisingly, there were no mosquitoes, even at dusk! We were not starving but with such a long trip ahead of us and with lots of time on our hands, we ate none-the-less. I ordered a churassco which is a nice piece of grilled steak. It came with three different sauces and fries. It was not overly big but the meat quality was very good and the sauces tasty if small. Doreen got a grilled ham & cheese sandwich which was also very good if not overly big. We both had big juices to wash our meals down. You ordered and paid at the counter and the food was brought out to you. The bill came to 24,000 COP ($12) so not exactly cheap but the food was good and for a bus terminal the ambiance was about as good as you could hope for. In fact, it was perhaps the most enjoying six hours we ever spent at a bus terminal and were not totally exhausted by the time rolled around for the bus to El Banco.
This appeared to be the only restaurant in town with air conditioning and with the stifling Momposian heat, it was a WELCOME respite. And the food is good too! They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and offer Colombian classics at a reasonable price. We really enjoyed the chicken plates (I liked the fried chicken with honey) served with rice and vegetables. Service was friendly and prompt from the female servers though rather absent-minded with the male servers. But at least its nice and cool in there!
There is a little bakery and cafe on the southend of Plaza Bolivar where you can pick up some pastries to go or take a seat at one of the tables in the courtyard and have an inexpensive breakfast of eggs, bread, tinto and cafe con leche. Lovely! They were even open on Easter Sunday.
Ok so its not quite a steakhouse but a simple (asadero) restaurant held in an outdoor courtyard where you seat yourself and choose between chicken or beef, which is then grilled on the spot and served with onions and peppers on a cutting board. A couple beers to wash it back. And its all for a few bucks (6000 pesos). Only complaints was that the meat was REALLY chewy - if you like it rarer, let them know since the Latin American meat rule tends to be to overcook meat whenever possible. Not vegetarian friendly.