My wife and I were recently in Cartagena for a few days while visiting Colombia. After a terrible meal at a popular Bogotá restaurant which left us with gastro intestinal issues, we were hoping to have better luck in Cartagena. Based upon the reviews we read on TA, we were interested in trying this restaurant. Since our favorite restaurant in Cartagena, (Don Juan), was closed on Sunday the day of our arrival, we decided to try Carmen. We ordered the tempura pear salad and tiradito. Tempura was not soggy and was very good. The tiradito was superbe,(actually the best dish we tried), very light and flavorful. Smokey presentation was nice, but did not add too much to the flavor. Main dishes of confit of duck and the 12 hour pork were great. The sauce on the duck was a little heavy and cloying, but overall was nice. Cocktails included the lulo mojito and a caíparinha were very good. Too full for dessert. We ate inside due to the hot humid night. Was peaceful and the meal was served excellently by our waitress, Rosa. Price was OK ($125), and in light of the quality of the food it seemed worth it.
The meal and service was so good we decided to return the next night to try other dishes...foie gras was very different, soupy and difficult to eat, but very tasty. Again cocktails were the same. The pork and Black fish were ordered. The fish was nice, but not great. Taste was so-so, but appeared interesting. The dessert was the five home made ice creams. Suggest trying something else. Same server and table, but the result was less thrilling. Sat next to a large table of noisy Americans who incessantly talked loudly throughout the meal. Oh well, it was still a great experience. It was better to sit inside with air conditioning and better lighting. Will go here again when back in Cartagena.
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