Have you heard of the “secret” garden down in Envigado with relaxing tree-lined streets full of incredible restaurants? Okay, so it’s not actually secret, but Jardines is truly an incredible area, often overlooked by foreigners, since it’s tucked into side streets in Envigado.
Envigado is the town the borders Medellin to the south, what was once a remote and independent city, but now joined together by uninterrupted development along the main avenues.
If you head south from the bustling crowds of Poblado, you will cross the quebrada — stream — that marks La Frontera. Only four or five more blocks to go, and you’ll arrive in Jardines (turn onto Calle 30 Sur).
The streets and walkways are narrow and filled with thick trees that can sometimes hide the delicious places hidden behind them. You’ll find typical Colombian cuisine, Mexican, Spanish tapas, Peruvian food, Mexican, gourmet pizzas or hamburgers, Cuban food, pasta, and delicious breads and sweets in the bakeries.
Outside of Poblado or Laureles, it would be hard to find a greater concentration of truly great restaurants than here in Jardines, Envigado. It would be a great place to take a date in Medellin or just have a nice dinner out with friends or family — Jardines is also a great place to rent an apartment.
One thing I was immediately struck by is the relative peace and tranquility here. There is very little parking, and none of the streets are main thoroughfares and see little traffic, with the exception perhaps of Calle 31 Sur.
Considering the lack of parking, the easiest way to get here is by taxi, by public bus that runs along either Avenida Poblado or Las Vegas, or at the metro station Ayura (which is a short walk).
The area is concentrated around the corner of Carrera 44A and Calle 31 Sur, where you will find the iconic restaurant El Trifásico, which has been in business for more than three decades. Here you will find one of the best places for typical Colombian cuisine, like the bandeja Paisa, but you can also get some more interesting cuts of meat like cow tongue. Even the President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, eats here in El Trifásico. The portions are enormous, as well.
From that original restaurant, more and more began to move onto this street (Cra 44A). Next door to El Trifásico, you’ll find Lucio’s — the #1 restaurant in Envigado on TripAdvisor — which serves up some incredible steaks, right beside them you’ll find La Doctora for more great typical Colombian food.
There are so many amazing restaurants here, that it is often referred to as La Calle de la Buena Mesa (“the street of the good table”) in Spanish.
I’ve been to Jardines a few times, and I always try to explore a new restaurant. This last time we decided to visit La Doctora.
I got the full portion of a punta de anca steak, which comes with French fries and an arepa, for just 32.000 pesos ($11). The portion was as big as the plate and difficult to finish it all! You might want to go with the junior portion.
All along this street, and the side streets that radiate out from here, you will find something to suit your taste buds.
Along Calle 31 Sur, you’ll find El Barral, an incredible Spanish tapas restaurant that offers up a number of delectable small plates to enjoy with a bottle of wine or some sangria. I particularly loved the Spanish chorizo, which is different than the local Colombian chorizo.
Don’t miss out on a visit to Andrés Bakery where you will find a variety of freshly baked breads and sweet and savory treats. The goods here are not what you would find in a typical corner bakery here in Colombia, but rather a wider variety of artisan breads. It’s not just a bakery though, but you can also grab food from their restaurant, or grab and drink or coffee and hang out.
You could also hit up Cocolatte Cafe if you’re looking for a nice, low-key coffee shop.
Just feel like grabbing a dessert? Pop on over to Antonio’s Gelato for some of the creamiest gelato you’ve ever had in a wide-variety of flavors. I’ve always loved Straciatella.
With the popularity of all these places tucked into the quiet, tree-lined streets, it’s no wonder that a number of popular chain restaurants have also moved in. Around the neighborhood, you will find places like Milagro’s, a gourmet Mexican restaurants; Barbacoa Burgers and Beer, for gourmet hamburgers; Pizzeria Olivia, for artesanal pizzas; Federal Ribs, Southern USA inspired BBQ food; and so many others.
Really there are just so many options, your best bet is to take a walk through a few blocks and see what calls out to you.
There are a number of places located beyond the heart and center of Jardines that are also worth exploring or visiting.
Casa Museo Otraparte is located just a few blocks north along Avenida Poblado, and one of the must visit museums or cultural attractions in Medellin. The museum space is an idyllic little garden, and is worth exploring in and of itself, but around back you will find Cafe Otraparte, one of the best coffee shops in the city.
The museum and coffee shop also regularly host a number of cultural events from movies, music nights, or cultural discussions. It’s a really dynamic space. I went to a free coffee “cupping” where we learned all about the history of coffee, tasted different varietals, and learned what affects their flavor. I highly recommend the class!
Directly across from Jardines, passing over Avenida Poblado, you’ll find more awesome restaurants — too numerous to name. But Submarino Express is a really unique little place that specialized in seafood with shrimp or lobster hotdogs, or crab meat hamburgers. It’s quite delicious and totally unlike anything else you can find in Medellin.
There’s a little whole in the wall croissant shop called Le Rouge, that serves up a wide selection of different sweet and savory croissant, all freshly baked and delicious!
Another one worth mentioning is Lemoncillo, a Vietnamese restaurant, located along Avenida Poblado but heading south toward downtown Envigado. Yes, a Vietnamese restaurant in Medellin, that’s not something you see everyday.
All-in-all, Jardines, Envigado is a special little gem tucked into a relatively obscure part of town, but I hope that this article opened your eyes to some of the amazing places hidden in this “secret garden”. This article only glosses over the surfaces, there are many places unmentioned, that you’ll just have to discover for yourself.
Have you explored Jardines, Envigado? What is your favorite hidden gem in the neighborhood? Sound off in the comments below.
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