A Restaurant for Carnivores, 40 Short Minutes From Bogota
Fancy settling down for a quiet meal with a loved one in Colombia? Never! Feast on prime cuts, down potent cocktails and rumba the night away Colombian style in Chia. The steak was grotesque in its thickness, this restaurant – Andres Carne de Res – is nothing less than a carnivore’s paradise. All about us patrons gorged on cuts of Argentinean beef grilled to perfection while washing it down with knockout cocktails. Decadence – hardly, gluttony – possibly, a treat to be enjoyed once in a while – certainly.Located some 40 minutes drive from Bogota, Andres carne de Res, literally meaning “Andres Beef” is an institution and an establishment that succeeds in exactly what it sets out to do…serve a hearty and flavoursome meal and then evolve as the evening progresses into an all out old fashioned knees up.
At first glance this is a palace of antiquities but on closer inspection you can see that everything that adorns the walls of this enormous saloon is recycled. Bottle caps fill otherwise barren wall space, a mannequin’s legs adorn another, lit candles throw an ambient glow from ancient chandeliers, there is even an old road sign for the Avenida Caracas. Everything on these walls is Colombian; nothing has been brought in from overseas as so often is the case in places of this nature filled with curiosities. Each table has a heart shaped light hanging overhead with a number and name, tables range from “Lightening” to “Adobe” or “King”.
The big man himself – Andres Jaramillo – like an artist in residence, is normally in attendance watching over the proceedings in his creation. With crazed hair that would not look out of place in a caricature of Einstein, he keeps to his corner and watches the harassed staff perform their duties with startling efficiency. Sparing a few moments for a brief interview prior to the peak hours on a Saturday night, Andres let it be known that he is in the market for investors for another branch of Andres Carne de Res, but until that time he cannot possibly dedicate himself to another establishment.
As mentioned before, this is a grill joint, and it is incredible. Highly recommended are the Bife de Chorizo (Porterhouse) and the Churrasco Argentino (filet steak). Unless you have been fasting for several days you would do well to avoid the temptation of any starters.
As the night progresses and the cocktails kick in then every available space, not least the dance-floor becomes jammed with bodies like cigarettes factory packed into their boxes. This is Colombia and here they know how to dance and what’s more, they love it, it fuels their identity. Bodies gyrate locked between tables, next to the bar, in the line for the bathrooms, in short, everywhere. The music begins as a mix of everything, international hits and then moves to a more Latin beat, Vallenato, Merengue, Salsa, Cumbia and all the goods that Colombia has to offer on this front.
Who to expect here:
Everyone of all shapes and sizes, colours and creeds. Politicians rub elbows with soap opera stars and singers. In a nutshell, the rich, the famous and the jaw droppingly beautiful.
Unless you have a private car, have contracted a driver, have friends with a car or have made a deal with a taxi driver then your options are going to be limited. Chia is 40 minutes outside of the capital and transport becomes scarce in the early hours when revellers are ejected from Andres Carne de Res. If any of the above are available to you then head out of Bogota on the Autopista Norte and follow the signs to Chia, directions to Andres Carne de Res will become apparent.
Given the successful nature and daunting task of running this restaurant it is no wonder that it is only open from Thursday to Sunday from lunch until roughly 5am. Do not pass up the opportunity if you have the time.