Listing Shopping Malls in Bogota is a time-consuming business, so prevalent are these behemoths to neon-lit consumerism in the Colombian capital city. But, visiting Bogota does not mean by any means shirking a visit to the Hacienda Santa Barbara, el Centro Comercial Andino, El Retiro, Gran Estacion or Santa Ana, after all, the shopping’s good and there’s an interesting social element added to the prevalence of good eats available.
Colombia’s dark period of yesteryear is, happily behind us, and Bogotanos are clearly celebrating their new city with its vibrant cultural and historical elements. However, one thing from the past remains in play, the love of the shopping mall.
My only explanation for this love affair is that the shopping mall represents a secure modernity that in turn appeals to the Bogotano middle class, pushing away all memories of how dangerous their city used to be. Now, of course, things have changed, but the desire to use the shopping center as a social focal point remains. Herein lays the explanation for the proliferation of good restaurants in said shopping malls.
There is one shopping mall in particular that must be noted for housing two simply phenomenal restaurants, El Retiro.
Billed and hailed as one of Bogota’s most upper crust shopping centers, El Retiro wants to exude opulence and class, and to an extent it succeeds, however, it’s from Thursday nights through to the weekend that things really take off in El Techo restaurant and in the renowned Andres DC.
Located as the name suggests, on the rooftop of the El Retiro, El Techo is a stylish is deliciously kitsch Mexican eatery. Cocktails are killer and reservations must be made in advance or prepare to wait in long lines and then be disappointed. Views over this section of Bogota are unrivalled, and you are guaranteed a full belly and an aching head the day after your visit here.
Owner Andres Jaramillo once promised me that he would never open another Andres Carne de Res in addition to his perennially successful and popular venue in Chia, a couple of years after this statement Andres DC opened its doors. Spaced over three excessively decorated floors, Andres DC boasts the same food – read BBQ – and potent cocktails and can be called part restaurant part nightclub.