The Best Santa Marta Restaurants at Every Budget

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Santa Marta restaurants are diverse and as delicious at the city itself.

The beautiful destination of Santa Marta is one of the most interesting places to visit in Colombia.

It is a wonderful combination of bustling commercial hub and stunning beach destination.

The city is a great base for water sports, with scuba diving and jet skiing among the activities to enjoy.

While those who enjoy history may want to visit the spot where legendary South American liberator Simon Bolivar died.

However, for those who enjoy culinary adventures, there is a great range of different tastes to enjoy in Santa Marta. 

Santa Marta is a nice reprieve from Taganga, only 15 minutes away the weather is a bit cooler and I feel safe from machete wielding robbers.

It also has a large number of restaurants catering to people on their way to the Lost City trek and as my hostel did not have a kitchen I often spent hours just checking out restaurants.

In the end I found two places worth recommending, although they couldn’t be more different.

 
Iconic fish soup at the market in Santa Marta Colombia
Delicious fish soup is sold at the market in Santa Marta

Local Specialties at Restaurants in Santa Marta

As you would expect from a coastal town, especially one with an active port such as Santa Marta, seafood plays a huge role in the local cuisine here.

Seafood cocktail and the seafood soups are particularly worth trying.

Another of the local dishes is cayeye, a breakfast dish that is made with green bananas that are mashed with tomato, onion and garlic.

It is often served with meat, a fried egg and achiote. The carimanola is a meat pie in a yuca dough.

It is stuffed with cheese and ground meat before being fried.

 
Downtown Santa Marta Colombia streets

Chic Restaurants in Santa Marta

If you are looking to splurge or celebrate a special occasion, then there are some nice places in Santa Marta which are ideal for such an event.

You can also expect a restaurant accepts credit cards and offers free wifi at most of these spots.

Here are a few places where you can try the best Colombian cuisine the town has to offer.

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Ouzo

This Mediterranean inspired restaurant is one that specializes in Greek and Italian classics. It also makes the most of the excellent seafood that can be caught in the waters surrounding Santa Marta.
 

 
The grilled octopus is particularly good, and you can also get authentic pizzas.

And for those looking to celebrate into the evening there is also a lively cocktail menu that helps this restaurant become a vibrant spot as the night goes on.

Read reviews of Ouzo.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Di Vino

This Italian restaurant took the place of local favorite ‘La Bodeguita’, and has quickly developed its own growing reputation.

It has a good wine list, serves alcohol and an excellent range of classic Italian dishes.

Seafood takes a leading role on the menu, with the red snapper being a well prepared dish. The bruschetta caprese is an excellent starter to the meal.

A nice dessert menu and a good range of aperitif drinks makes this a great place for a special meal.

Read reviews of Di Vino

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Rocoto

This beautiful small restaurant is one of the hidden gems of Santa Marta, and has a stylish ambiance and an excellent range of seafood dishes on the menu.
 

EASY RECIPESnow Crab Cakes

 
The seafood selection cooked in coconut rice is excellent. The Peruvian fusion cooking style means the menu draws inspiration from a variety of different influence.

The crab and the ceviche are also very good, while the restaurant is also known for its superb pisco sours. It is vegetarian friendly and gluten-free options are available.

Read reviews of Rocoto

 
Marta sells fish soup at a market in Santa Marta Colombia
Marta sells fish soup at a market in Santa Marta

Street Food in Santa Marta

While the restaurant scene in Santa Marta is thriving at the moment, you don’t even need to go to a restaurant to try great food. There are plenty of stalls and vendors around the city.

A warming seafood soup is available from many vendors. You will also see delicious stalls offering shrimp or seafood cocktails.

There are plenty of grilled chorizo-style spicy sausages and chuzos, a type of skewer based kebab with meat and a few vegetables and a potato on the end.

There are also so many fantastic exotic fruits stalls if you fancy something fresh.

If you’re brave there are even a few ceviche trolleys serving ceviche to go – just remember it’s traditionally not a dinner food so get it early in the day.

 

Budget Santa Marta Restaurants

While Wikitravel recommends a seafood soup man at the corner of 13th St and 4th Cr I could not find that man. However, I lucked out and found Marta selling seafood soup for only 50 cents.

It’s a popular spot so you have to elbow your way in but it’s worth the aggression.

After planting myself in front of the soup pot I brought my camera out to take a photo. Marta then asked if I wanted a photo of her and also insisted on a photo of the both of us.

She’s worth the trip just to chat as she’s so friendly.

Soup wise, my best advice is to take advantage of the lime and hot peppers they keep as condiments which give the soup a great kick.

Traveling on a budget doesn’t mean that you have to cut back on the new experiences, and in Santa Marta you will find a good selection of budget options to choose from as well.

Here are a few more that are worth checking out.

 

Mexican ceviche

Ceviche 911

There are few dishes that sum up South America as well as the ceviche.

And here the marinated fish takes centre stage in a menu that really highlights the flexibility and different tastes and variety of the dish.

MAKE IT AT HOME:
Easy Ceviche Recipe

They have some tables facing on to the quiet street for a nice cool spot to eat, while other dishes such as the octopus starter are also well worth a try.

Read Reviews of Ceviche 911

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Radio Burger

The name of the restaurant comes from the fact that this burger restaurant is actually located in the building which was home to the first ever radio station in the city.

And that fact is commemorated in the collection of vintage radios that decorate the restaurant.

This is a great option if you want a taste of American fast food, with large stack burgers that are tasty and affordable.

There are plenty of toppings that can accompany the burger, and all of the usual sauces too, along with a nice selection of drinks.

Read Reviews of Radio Burger

 

Map: Santa Marta Colombia Restaurants

Lead image (c) Oscar Ivan Esquivel Arteaga

Join the Conversation

  1. Seafood is my favourite.You’re making my mouth water!

  2. Tandem World says:

    “…tortilla deprived South America…”

    I do not understand why it is so hard to get good mexican food in South America. We found ourselves paying a (relative) fortune for a Burrito in BsAs because we had such bad cravings (interestingly, the burrito place was owned and operated by an expat from San Fran).

    How is it that Sushi, Italian and Chinese are prevalent EVERYWHERE but Mexican food can be so hard to find?

  3. Turkey's For Life says:

    We are always the budget types. And normally the seafood soup types. Think Marta would do a decent trade from us two!

  4. Your MessageLooks delicious. One of my favorite pass times when I’m on the road. I can never get enough or the local food.

  5. Jools Stone says:

    Hmm, Burritos, gnomm! That will be all!

  6. What a cutie

  7. turkeysforlife says:

    Why does budget food always look better than the restaurant food? That seafood soup looks divine! We looked for seafood soup in Istanbul – a recommendation – and the guy didn’t have any that day. Gutted! 🙂

  8. Looks delish! Eating the local food is hands down my favourite thing to do when I travel. Yummmmmmm!

  9. Aewsome. Thanks…I am headed to Santa Marta. Looking forward to the food.

    1. Here is another recommendation for Santa Marta Colombia.
      A new sushi restaurant, has been opened for more than 9 months now and they say it is one of the best sushi shops you could find in Colombia.
      As its flavours seem very conservative, you can find some new sushi rolls and the taste is always worth the try. The speak English as well.

      1. Ayngelina Author says:

        Thanks for the tip, sushi next to the ocean is usually a great choice.

  10. LeslieTravel says:

    I wasn’t very impressed by the food in Santa Marta… but its a great stopping point for Taganga and Ciudad Perdida. Looks like you found some yummy food options!

  11. I love the food in California – it’s so fresh and there’s just such a great commitment to eating locally.

  12. Always good to be away from those who might kill as they rob you.

  13. The seafood is delicious and a Big thank in letting me know where to get it .
    My next holiday is a travel plan.

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