Walking around downtown Envigado is an entirely different (and more pleasant) experience than Medellin’s El Centro. The center of Envigado still has a bit of that pueblo feel, with narrow streets, bustling sidewalks, and old timers hanging out in the central plaza sipping on tinto.
But it isn’t all just a throwback to the good old days, as Envigado has seen an ever-increasing number of new restaurants, cafes, and shops opening up along its northern edge, making it one of the most dynamic and interesting neighborhoods in the area.
Of course, Jardines is the epicenter of this change, full of great restaurants and places to explore — be sure to check out our full article on the Jardines neighborhood in Envigado — but just across the Avenida Poblado lies La Magnolia, a neighborhood not yet on the radar of most, unless they’ve already explored much of Envigado.
La Magnolia Neighborhood
La Magnolia lies just north of the downtown core of Envigado, stretching out to the east from Avenida Poblado and all the way up to the quebrada that runs along the eastern edge of the city.
The neighborhood features flat, quiet, orderly streets. The neighborhood is mostly residential, a perfect place to settle down away from the hustle and bustle and yet still be within walking distance to downtown Envigado, Jardines, or public transport.
There isn’t one core area of interest, but rather you’ll find a mix of coffee shops, unique restaurants, and more to explore in this area nestled among the houses and little tiendas on different streets.
The streets here are more conducive to a slow and meandering exploration as you look for hidden gyms in this blossoming neighborhood. But I’ll take you on a tour of some of the highlights so you can get your bearings.
Touring the Neighborhood
We’ll start our brief tour in the south, where Avenida Poblado splits into a “Y” and beside the Bodytech Gym and the cluster of bars and nightlife just across the street (and area also known as “La Bota”).
If you head northbound and turn right onto Transversal 33S, you will quickly come across Lemoncillo, a hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese restaurant serving up all manner of authentic dishes — something that’s incredibly rare here in Medellin.
Along this same street you’ll find Lentejas Express for your healthy vegetarian fare, or further up the way you’ll find Chez Alice Atelier Gourmet for delicious crepes or coffee.
If you turn north on Diagonal 39, you’ll find a quaint little Italian trattoria or Patatas A Cielo Abierto, a unique restaurant that specializes in potatoes (French fries, curly, rustic, etc) topped with hearty toppings from your favorite cuisine around the world (ie choose Mexican, German, French, Spanish, etc). Patatas A Cielo Abierto is one of the top rated restaurants in Envigado.
If you keep walking north on the Diagonal you will dead end at Transversal 32, where a few more interesting places await to your right. First you’ll come across Celestina Pizza on the corner, a tiny little pizzeria with half a dozen tables and high quality ingredients and cominations you don’t often see here in Medellin, like a prosciutto, arugula, balsamic vinaigrette pizza.
North End of La Magnolia
Across the street you will find the unique Sweet Bacon which specialized in pork products. Their specialty is the chicharron hamburger or hot dog, where rather than a patty of ground beef, they replace it with sweet and smoky pieces of chicharron, a delicious and unique meal.
If you turn north along Diagonal 32D (the street where Celestina and Sweet Bacon are located) you will encounter another cluster of great places along Transversal 31S, just one block away.
Among the handful of restaurants along this street, a few really stood out to me. Submarino Express specializes in seafood, but it’s not your ordinary seafood place. Here you’ll find shrimp hot dogs or crab hamburgers. Now, I love seafood, and I thought the combination sounded strange at first too, but the first bite of the crispy shrimp hot dog with maracuya salsa had me convinced — this is a great restaurant.
You’ll also find Le Rouge, a small bakery and coffee shop that specializes in croissants of both the sweet and savory variations, along with high quality coffee. The croissants are really delicious, but they also offer up brunch and other eats as well. Highly recommended if you’re looking for something a bit smaller.
Visit La Magnolia
That’s just a taste of what’s available in La Magnolia, one of Envigado’s most interesting neighborhoods, and one that I think will continue to see cool new places pop up regularly.
Just across Avenida Poblado and you’ll find the Jardines neighborhood, which is more compact and full of restaurants and places to go, but La Magnolia still has that under-the-radar, undiscovered feel, that I enjoy.
There’s a lot to explore here, and I’d encourage you to check it out and check back in with us in the comments below — what was your favorite place in La Magnolia, where do you recommend?
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