“La Puerta Falsa” is a tiny little restaurant located in La Candelaria – Bogotá’s beautiful colonial sector. The building itself is around 400 years old but the restaurant opened its doors in 1816. Since then, the family run business has been serving traditional “santafereño” cuisine like tamales, hot chocolate, agua panela, and just a few other local specialties.
I had heard about this historical landmark and regional culinary hotspot for so long but never knew where it was located. It turns out that I had walked right by it on several occasions never even knowing it was there. The tiny, unassuming entrance just blends in with the centuries-old architecture.
The dish that makes “La Puerta Falsa” so famous is the tamal
. Within Colombia you’ll find that there are several varieties of tamal depending on what region you’re in. Some of the typical components include cooked yellow corn dough (as a base), and then add-ons such as rice, chicken, pork, vegetables, capers, eggs, and much more. All of this is then wrapped in a banana leaf, tied up with some twine, and steamed.
So about a month ago, after visiting one of the wonderful museums in the area, I finally had my first visit. I didn’t know exactly what or how to order so, on this occasion I took my dining partner’s lead – a tamal (of course) and hot chocolate – a very typical combination here in Bogotá.
What I didn’t realize was that the chocolate came accompanied by two slices of buttered bread, an almojabana, and a large slice of fresh cheese. I could have just had that for lunch and been fine but I still had a huge tamal coming too! It was all delicious and well worth it but next time I’ll know to order either one or the other – but not BOTH!
In my opinion, La Puerta Falsa is a must if you happen to be in La Candelaria. The food is really good, plentiful, inexpensive, and the location is an important part of Bogotá’s culinary heritage. Just don’t forget to keep your eyes open so you don’t miss it and make sure to bring a large appetite.
La Puerta Falsa
Calle 11 no. 6-50