La Puerta Falsa (Calle 11 No 6-50), in Bogota’s historic La Candelaria District, is one of the oldest and most traditional restaurants in the city: it dates back to 1816, and, without wanting to make the place sound too old-fashioned, you can definitely tell! In spite of it’s position just off the Plaza Bolivar, in the main tourist hub of the city, La Puerta Falsa doesn’t feel overly touristy, and has a regular and loyal clientele who seem to come back time-and-again.
This, it seems to me, is for two principle reasons: the first is the excellent food. La Puerta Falsa is the place to go in Bogota for delicious, traditional Colombian food. What especially stands out are the ajiaco (a hearty soup of potatoes, chicken, cream and capers) and the tamales (which some claim are the best anywhere in the capital). It’s also the place to visit for an unusual Cundinamarca specialty: hot chocolate with cheese. Sounds weird, right!? However, in the hands of La Puerta Falsa, it’s a delight: rich, steamy chocolate combined with thick, gooey cheese makes for a heart-warming combo on a cold Bogota day.
The second reason is surely the old-world charm and atmosphere of the place. It seems especially popular with See Colombia’s team (possibly because we seem to be mostly comprised of flat-cap aficionados and therefore fit in pretty well with the wood-paneled walls and 1800s atmosphere), and is a lovely place to relax with some delicious food. It’s a little cramped, so don’t expect to be able to fit a large party in here, but as small restaurants go, it’s a real treat.
So, there you have it: there are other places in Bogota that are hipper, where the food is more contemporary, or where the staff are more glamorous. However, if given a choice, I will always take a lazy Sunday in la Puerta Falsa, a steaming bowl of ajiaco in front of me, and a mug of hot chocolate and cheese next to that.