When I was living in San Francisco I made sure to benefit from the ultra-fine gastronomic offerings of that great city.  But I could afford to eat out maybe three times a month and mostly for special occasions.  In Medellin, well, three times a week is not unusual and the quality of the gastronomy here is first rate.  For example, and  for a great taste of home, there's a  Giant delicious juicy bacon double cheeseburger with fries and a coke. In Medellin that costs only $8000 COP.. That's Four dollars and ten cents. OR there's sea bass - robalo- , absolutely boneless large filet, grilled with a salad, smashed fried banana called a patacon, fish stock bowl, avocado, coconut rice and a sugar free lemonade freshly squeezed for $7 US.  Lime wedges and tartar sauce are served for the perfectly cooked fish.  And a free coffee. And there's everyone's favorite local soup, the ajiacco with chicken stock and three kinds of potatoes, two which dissolve and one which maintains its integrity with pulled chicken breast and capers and rice and cream on the side  to add to the soup, with a green salad and avocado wedges and a large soft drink for $13 US.  Marvelous.  Filling! Comfort food at its best.

And a wonderful feature here is that the dining is almost always al fresco because of the delightful weather day and night. No A/C blowing on you.  No heaters necessary al fresco.   The restaurants are spotless including the restrooms, always!  And there is always a bar associated with the restaurant with local liquors and fine international whiskeys and local rum and tropical cocktails and beers. Although some folks in California thought of me as a French and NapaValley wine snob, the Chilean wines commonly drunk here are very good.  The others are available here too. And adding to the experience, there's NO smoking, no bugs, the tap water is crystal cold from the Andes and... there's no tipping.

I will always leave a little something for the waiter, maybe 4000 pesos, $2 US.  But it is not expected. For cabs I round up. For example, if the cab fare is 7000 pesos I give the driver 10,000.  That is a mighty tip of $1.50.  It's a high percentage but...well my Colombian friends do not tip at all.  They hate to think I might be ruining a good thing.

A top end meal with wine at one of the great hotels in El Poblado or international class restaurants in the Zona Rosa or the Golden Mile might get as high as $20 per person...might, but rarely. 

With inexpensive cabs, restaurants at which you rarely need reservations, low prices and high quality and large portions, the dining experience in Medellin will reward you with variety and excellence at a price you can afford and convenience you will come to treasure.

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