Though on first thought, fish did not come to our minds when coming to San Gil but it was on a big river and there seemed to be no shortage of restaurants selling it. We had a good experience with trout in the El Cocuy area which was all mountains so why not give it a try here? Back we went to Maxi Pollo to find that chicken was not all they were “famous” for. This was an evening meal and we found out the cavernous chicken outlet was even more boisterous than during their already busy lunchtime trade.
Favorite Dish: We both chose the mojara as it was noted for the area and was cheap as well. Unfortunately, broiled is not an option at a “fried” kind of place like Max Pollo and out they came, fried pretty much to perfection. They were not particularly greasy but mojara is an oily fish much like catfish so it's not really necessary to fry it. That said, it was very tasty if a bit rich, especially since you get a whole fish each. It came with fries and a couple of mozzarella sticks, as if you needed more fried items! There was a slice of tomato and a few pickled onions for good effect. I had two beers and D nursed a coke as her tummy was still less than perfect, though obviously good enough to finish off her fish. Though she enjoyed the mojara, it is a bonier fish than she likes. I'm used to catfish so it's fairly similar and I thoroughly enjoyed the flavor.
We enjoyed our fish meal at Max Pollo so much we decided to go for another one the next day before leaving town but opted for trying the ones at Chicken Krunch. They had Trucha (or trout) advertised outside and Doreen was not overly fond of the bony mojara fish we had the night before. Chicken Krunch is a long and fairly large neon-lit restaurant full of locals, even in the middle of the afternoon. You order your food at the counter and they bring it out to you. It's not exactly romantic candle-lit affair but very much an authentic South American fast food type of place.
Favorite Dish: I went for the mojara again as it was very tasty the night before and seemed to be a specialty of the town. It is also a bit cheaper. Doreen had the trucha or trout and was very happy with the fish that resembled salmon in its orange coloring and was not bony in the least. The meals were very large, featuring not only fries but mozzarella sticks and fried plantains, along with what seemed ubiquitous in Tunja, pickled onions. We had a large coke and I'm sure I had a beer or two. The bill came to 25,000 COP ($12.50).
While we had enjoyed both our lunch and dinner the previous day, we were looking for something a littler healthier and down to earth the next morning for breakfast. Not that either Chicken Krunch or Maxi Pollo were not very typical South American affairs, but to be honest they are more the fast food approximations of the continent than the family style hole-in-the-walls we crave. So, we were very happy to find El Maizal also on our street, right on the corner. It had been closed the previous evening and so it seemed more of a breakfast/lunch place.
Favorite Dish: This very small place, with only three tables fills up quickly and we could see why when they brought out a steaming bowl of caldo de papas as a starter. This non-meat version of the Colombian standard breakfast soup was very tasty, laced with cilantro. D loved it and I was pretty happy too. It was followed up with huevos pericos (scrambled eggs with onions and tomatoes), with some sliced rolls and some of the very nicest homemade/fresh arepas we had on the whole trip. It also came with a hot chocolate. A very sizable meal for the two of us came to 11,000 COP ($5.50). Needless to say we went back the next day for breakfast!
We noticed another chicken place on the same street as the one we had lunch at and this one had a more extensive meat menu so we decided to give Chicken Krunch a shot. Much to our delight, it was an equally tasty meal and we were glad we did not play it safe by going back to the same place. It was a similarly long and large place, bustling with lots of people enjoying their tasty food.
Favorite Dish: Since we had had a time time finding pork on this Colombian trip, we both opted for the Lomo de Cerdo (8,500 COP)which came with only fries, but a couple baked potatoes, a pair of mozzarella sticks, and a few pickled onions! The pork was juicy and very nicely marinated. The two meals with one beer (2,200 COP) and one coke (1,300 COP) came to 20,500 COP ($10). Very good quality and very ample.
The town was not overly ambitious in the food realm and the few interesting places listed in our guidebook had gone by the wayside so we played it safe and went for rotisserie chicken for our first meal in San Gil. Maxi Pollo hit the spot nicely and our second foray into the world of chicken in Colombia was not disappointing. It was a long and quite cavernous place full of locals chowing down on their plump birds.
Favorite Dish: Since the chickens are so plump and large in South America, we ordered just half a bird with fries, a beer, and a coke for the reasonable price of 11,000 COP ($5.50). It was one of the tastiest skins we've ever had on a rotisserie chicken and the meat was done perfectly.
The market is situated on block from Parque La Libertad and here you can buy most things that usually are sold at a market. And in San Gil they sell freshly made fruit juices and fruit salads, which is absolutely worth coming for.
I bought a big fruit salad here and as it was made while I was looking I could tell if there was a fruit I didn’t want to have in it (like pineapple). I also said no thank you to the cheese and sweet milky sauce they always want to put on the fruit salads in Colombia. I got a big fresh fruit salad and it was only 2000 pesos (August 2008).
One evening we were some people from the hostel who were going out together to have dinner. We ended up at a pizzeria where they had a big variety of pizzas, and pizzas in different sizes. We had four big pizzas to share among us and beer or soft drinks to drink. We then split the bill and I paid 13 000 pesos (August 2008).
It was busy and we had to wait quite long for the pizzas, but they were good.
There are several restaurants around Calle 10, but not all were open when I first looked for a place to eat after my arrival to San Gil. On Calle 10 I found a fast food place selling chicken dishes and it looked very popular. It was full at the tables and many people came in to buy take away.
I ordered a plate with grilled chicken, French fries, rice and salad, and a beer to drink. It all tasted very good and the food was warm. I came back the next day to eat the same, but unfortunately they didn’t have grilled chicken at the moment (for that I had to wait another hour), but only fried chicken.
The plate with grilled chicken was 5500 pesos and the beer 1200 pesos (August 2008).
The natural surroundings of Gallineral Park make eating in this restaurant an unforgettable experience.
Favorite Dish: Definitely the best dish is goat with pepitoria(typical rice in Santander made with goat's visceras). This dish is served with fried yucca. It's absolutely delicious!!
Another local dish is "dry meat".