Most people that visit Medellin, rarely get out of the Poblado or downtown area. There are a couple of small cities in the Zona Sur (south part of the city that are worth a visit. Envigado, which is the next small communa south of Poblado has a rich history, a town square centered around a beautiful of church (which was quite common) and tons of great local inexpensive restaurants. Great place to sit, have coffee or a meal (many times for less than $5.00), people watch and drink in the ambiance of this small community.
Just south of Envigado is the community of Sabaneta. Just like Envigado, it’s town square is centered around a huge old church. Surrounding the square are row after row of restaurants, fondas, small bars, food vendors in the streets, a small amusement park with kiddie rides and people milling about enoying a Saturday night together with friends, family and loved ones.
There is an ambiance in Sabaneta that is kind of like being at an old country fair in small town USA. The aromas coming from the street vendor food stalls is almost overwhelming. If you weren’t hungry when you get there, you soon will be. Kids are running around playing in the park while watchful moms sit nearby keeping an eye out for their precious little ones. Dads are also nearby but may be in a bar watching a futbol game or chatting with friends. Young couples stroll by, hand in hand or arms around shoulders drinking in the various music emanating from the local bars. Bright lights everywhere give the area an amusement park type of atmosphere. A lot of people seem to know one another and greetings are a frequent sight.
Making a decision of where to eat becomes a bit overwhelming because of the variety and selection of foods available. Chicken, steak, Italian, Local Paisa food, Chinese, Burgers, food vendor delicacies and more. We finally settled on a medium sized fonda called El Heublito. It was probably as much the waiters standing out on the street beckoning us to enter as much as our hunger and thirst from smelling all the street vendors food being cooked.
We ordered a beer and pondered the menu. Medellin is well known for it’s Angus and Brangus beef so a nice filet mignon (especially at about $8.50 each) sounded pretty good to all three of us and we placed our orders.
What arrived more than exceeded our expectations. Not one, not two but three 6 oz. bacon wrapped filets smothered in a mushroom gravy were placed in front of us. Thinking that we had forgotten to order any side dishes was quickly dashed when a separate plate of french fries, salad, their local cole slaw (salad tradicional. Made like cole slaw but with a vinagarette dressing instead of mayonaise), an arepa and beet/carrot garnish.
None of us were able to finish. The steaks were cooked to each diners specific tastes, the service was incredible and the bill including 3 beers each with 10% tip was a whopping $15 each.
We felt very comfortable walking around Sabaneta, even though we stuck out as obvious foreigners. We were greeted with smiles, holas and one young man even shouted out, “welcome to Sabaneta” as we passed by him and his group of friends.
Will we go back? You betcha! There are a lot more places and restaurants to be explored in this small community. Lot’s more!