In my previous post, New LAN VIP Lounge Bogota, Colombia, I talked about what makes Bogota different from other cities in Central America. The vibe across the metropolis of 8 million residents, is a seamless combination of European feel with the Latin American culture. While I have only scratched the surface of what to do, and where to go in the city, I have already found a favorite place to Eat, Drink and forget Work. Gigi’s Restaurant and Wine Bar.
Gigi’s has three locations, with the newest opening a couple of weeks ago. The original, which I first fell in love with on my earlier trips to Bogota, is located in Usaquen. This suburb of 450,000 lies north of the city and is one of the most populous residential districts in the entire metroplex. The second location in Quinta Camacho, opened mid July. On my trip last week, I made a point of trying the brand new Gigi’s in Zona T. This area of the city is known for its restaurants, bars, and nightclubs which are frequented by the young upper class of Bogota. The Sofitel Bogota Victoria Regia, a kick ass hotel in the city, is located just down the street. I will warn that the roads in Bogota are absolutely atrocious, even in the nice neighborhoods, so don’t travel across the city if you are starving.
It was about a 15 minute taxi ride from my hotel to the Zona T. We used Uber, which is fresh to Bogota, without a hitch, however earlier in the day, during Pico y Placa, they were out of cars. Taxi’s in Colombia are very cheap, and in fact a driver can be had for less than $100 a day. This is the way to go if you need to visit multiple locations or desire to sightsee at all on your trip.
After a very long day, I was so looking forward to self medicating on good food and strong drinks. I noticed right away that the cosmetics of the restaurant were very similar to that of the older location. They had employed the same local artists and designers to bring their second location to life with fun décor. Many of the pieces that tattoo the place with originality, are made from recycled scrap.
The cuisine, a blend of French-Italian-Spanish and American dishes, is a perfect reflection of it’s chef. Michel Barré, a French Chef who trained with both Italian and American counterparts, brings the melting pot of Bogota to your dinner plate. One of the must haves on his menu, and something that I have had on both visits, is the Octopus alla Diavola. This magical dish, features a large portion of grilled Octopus over a mound of seasoned mashed potatoes with a light Cajun sauce. It’s amazing. Whenever I am traveling in Latin America or the Caribbean, Ceviche is my go to dish. Growing up in Florida, seafood is a part of my soul, and nothing brings out the spirit more than fresh raw fish. Gigi’s version did not disappoint.
Of course, a meal is not complete without a cocktail. Gigi’s offers a wide selection of wines chosen by Colombia’s Sommelier of the year, José Rafael Arango. On my previous visit I had a wonderful bottle of red, but my mood took me in an entirely different direction this time around. It was Friday and the night was young. Colombia is not known for their rum in comparison to Guatemala, Nicaragua, Guyana and many of the other nations within the region, however I had get just a glass or two to judge for myself. Ron Viejo de Caldas on the rocks with a squeeze of lime was actually quite good and went well with my fish.
As the meal wrapped up, my business associate told me that this Gigi’s location had a night club around the back, with great music, beautiful people and more rum. I was game.
The club, called Silencio, is part of Gigi’s but with a separate entrance. It’s a large two story room with a VIP area upstairs and a DJ Booth suspended over the dance floor. The staff, both plentiful in numbers and talent, made it easy and enticing to order drinks. The music of the night, Reggaeton, has a tendency to seduce your body into moves not common to the average gringo.
The next day, as I sat on the runway in Bogota, I thought to myself, what a fantastic night. Dinner, Drinks, Music and a Cultural Experience all in one. Thank you Gigi’s for a wonderful date; let’s do it again real soon.