Photo: Mark Eilbeck
Saskatoon-born Bryan Dodd was at the end of a seven-month backpacking trip through South America when he found himself in Medellín, Colombia. Within a year, he made a permanent move, opening Café Revolución in the laid-back neighbourhood of Laureles. The café’s everybody-knows-your-name vibe suits the city, where, he says, “People are just so nice. If I look even slightly lost, someone will immediately stop and offer to give me directions.”
Photo: Alejandra Cifuentes
This city-centre café-bar surrounded by neoclassical buildings attracts hip Colombian students and, with mood lighting and live jazz on Mondays, it’s perfect for a date. There’s no entrance fee, but you have to order 15,000 pesos (about $6.50) worth of food or drinks – easy with the small, delicious sandwiches and pizzas they offer.
Calle 53 #43-81, 57-4-512-45-01, elacontista.com
Photo: Emma Hipshon
I go here every single weekend. It’s nothing special to look at, but they have the most tender chicken I’ve ever had. I also love the huge stack of BBQ pork ribs, for which you will definitely need the plastic gloves they give you. Everything comes with hand-cut fries, a small salad and chimichurri. Go early – there’s always a line. It’s so popular, they just added a second floor.
Cra. 70 #69-32, 57-4-260-83-21, dejameqtecuente.tumblr.com
Photo: Medellin Travel
One of my favourite areas is the park in the Ciudad del Rio neighbourhood, just behind the Museum of Modern Art, which has the perfect Medellín mix of people: office workers, dog walkers, hipsters, picnickers and skateboarders. Food trucks serve up Peruvian, Mexican and other snacks, and the open-air (and very colourful) Café Cariñito is nearby.
I’ve never been in a place that gets so hot – there’s condensation dripping from the ceiling. But at this steamy salsa club, the beers are cheap and the crowd loves to dance. It’s in a restaurant basement, so it is pretty grungy. There’s a super-tiny bar and the rest is just a dance floor with plastic tables scattered around the edge.
Cra. 70 #44B-01, 57-310-849-54-61, facebook.com/tibiri.bar