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The top 5 local food chains that are worth trying in Bogotá

Traditional pork preparation
María Montes

María Montes

I'm a social anthropologist working in marketing and I'm passionate about food, traveling to big cities and dogs. I like being that person everyone comes for recommendations especially if it is in Bogotá, a city I love dearly and where I been living intermittently for over 12 years. Instagram: @mariaisaturtle

Forget about McDonald’s, Domino’s, or KFC. If you happen to be in a situation that requires eating at a food chain, why not at least trying something local? Here are some of the best Colombian food chains you should give a try while exploring Bogotá.

Very often when we travel, we end up stuck in the airport or having to go to a mall because we forgot to pack something essential, and most of these times always happen during meal time. Going to food courts can be a nightmare when you don’t know half of the restaurants you are looking at and we always end up going for the easy worldwide fast food chains like Burger King or Papa Johns. The reasoning behind it is very simple: we pick these places because we know the menu and we don’t want to look like fools taking too long to order somewhere else or we pick these places because we know what we are going to get and even though it is probably not the best food, we don’t want to risk ordering something we don’t like. Luckily for you, Bogotá has some of the best food chains in the world and here are my top 5 picks so you can explore new food and have interesting experiences.

El Corral

This fantastic restaurant is our take on burgers. If you ask anyone in Bogotá, they will proudly tell you that the burgers in El Corral are made with real meat, not like that “cardboard McDonald’s stuff.” El Corral has been around since 1983 and has 70 restaurants in Bogotá across free stands, food courts, and convenience stores. What makes El Corral so successful is the quality of its products and the diversity of its menu that goes from burgers, hot dogs, salads, wraps, milkshakes, breakfasts to even steak! If you are looking for a high-end burger experience, you should visit El Corral Gourmet; it shares the same quality philosophy of the regular El Corral, but with fancier ingredients, more variety, and a nicer atmosphere.

Hamburgers
© Photograph by Hamburguesas El Corral
  • Open hours: may vary depending on the store (some are 24/7)
  • Cost: the biggest burger in the menu with chips and milkshake costs $10 USD/$35,000 COP
  • Click here to find a restaurant closest to you.

My tip: ask for honey mustard and BBQ sauce.

Crepes & Waffles

Founded in 1980 by a group of university students who believed in offering dishes that combined high-quality ingredients with affordable prices, Crepes and Waffles menu has an option for any palate. With 28 branches across South America and Spain and over 90 just in Bogotá, this place is a go-to for those looking to have a proper sit-down while enjoying some amazing dishes, like the Gandi Crepe and the Valparaíso Salad, among a wide range of starters, such as soups, pitas, smoothies, crepes, and their famous panne cooks (rounded baguettes stuffed with all sorts of meats in a creamy cheese sauce).

Crepe Caprino in local chain restaurants
© Photograph by Crepes & Waffles / © Photograph by Crepes & Waffles

Make sure you save some space for dessert because their sweets menu is huge and incredibly tasty! Try the ice creams; they have loads of really tasty flavors! Keep in mind that this is not a fast food chain, therefore, you might be asked to wait a little bit for a table, but trust me, it is worth it.

  • Open hours: may vary depending on the store
  • Cost: a crepe with a smoothie and a dessert waffle costs around $11 USD/$37,000 COP
  • Click here to find a restaurant closest to you.

My tip: the restaurant also serves a really nice breakfast menu and offers a great brunch on the weekends.

Frisby

People say that the U.S. is the land of fried chicken, but I think Colombians managed to nail it pretty well and that’s the case of Frisby. Founded back in 1983, this place has over 200 restaurants in 24 cities across Colombia and has become a must when it comes to ordering fried chicken. Frisby doesn’t only make the classic fried chicken, they also specialize in providing healthy options like salads, grilled chicken, and even a kids menu.  Frisby is a people’s favorite due to the quality of the chicken and its presence everywhere; no matter where you go, you can find a Frisby close to you, it doesn’t get any better than that!

Frisby chain restauran in Bogotá
© Photograph by Frisby

My tip: here in Colombia, we eat the fried chicken with tons of honey on top. It might sound weird at the beginning, but once you try it, it will change your life.

El Carnal

This fast food Mexican restaurant has been feeding cheesy burritos and quesadillas to everyone in Bogotá for over 20 years. With almost 40 branches in the city, their main focus is on providing fast food with quality ingredients and big portions. If you are feeling very hungry, you should definitely try the sour burrito (made with beef, chicken, fried beans, vegetables, and sour cream) or the montañero burrito (which is a Colombian take on a burrito served with beef, chorizo, pork scratchings, hogao, guacamole, fried beans, and cheese). If you are not feeling that hungry, I recommend you order one of their quesadillas with one of their signature “Mexican aguas,” which is pretty much a juice made with tamarind or hibiscus.

  • Open hours: may vary depending on the store
  • Cost: a sour cream burrito and a juice costs around $7 USD/$23,000 COP
  • Click here to find a restaurant closest to you.

My tip: be extremely careful while eating your burrito. It is very hard to eat it without it getting messy, so you should probably be extra careful if you have a date or a meeting to attend afterward.

Archies

With just over 20 branches, this is the smallest chain of restaurants on the list, but over the past 25 years, they have become quite popular for making reasonably-priced thin-crust pizzas and other popular dishes on their menu. Some of their signature dishes are the “pizza huerto” (made with different types of mature cheeses, rocket salad, artichoke, mushrooms, ham, and caesar salad dressing with anchovies), the rustic pizza with pear, bleu cheese and mozzarella, and their fruit smoothies, like mango, tangerine, blackberry, and banana. Archies is also very famously known for its breakfasts, in particular, their wide selection of eggs and bread basket.

Chain resturant
© Photograph by Archies
  • Open hours: may vary depending on the store
  • Cost: a pizza huerto for one person (4 small slices) and a smoothie costs around $9 USD/$28,000 COP
  • Click here to find a restaurant closest to you.

My tip: there is always a happy hour from Thursdays to Sundays starting at 5:00 pm.

Did you like what you read? Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on social media for more and less touristy information about Bogotá. Share your thoughts with me and follow my articles on www.colture.com.  Are you a local business? Get in contact with us to be featured on our website!

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