As we travel the world, our favorite things to stumble upon are stories. Stories of people who live differently, and stories of people who live well.
You may or may not know that Colombia—and Medellin in particular—is full of such stories.
After its dark history of narco-trafficking and after decades of being the world’s most violent city, we can now take a bite of Medellin’s fruit of resilience. Today, the city is nearly unrecognizable from its drug days of the 90’s and it’s all thanks to her people. The Paisas—Colombians born and raised in the northwest and Medellin in particular—are determined to live their lives to the fullest and turn their city into one of dreams realized.
Verdeo, a family-run vegetarian restaurant is one such dream-project. Now stationed in its brand new location in the Manila neighborhood on Calle 12, the restaurant is run by a father-daughter duo and prizes itself on its spectacular, homemade + organic vegetarian concoctions sprinkled with style.
If you’re lucky, owner Felipé Hernandez or his bright-star of a daughter, Isabela, will tell his tragic story of growing up in the Medellin of the past. The happy ending was the inspiration to open Verdeo, which has now become the city’s most talked-about vegetarian + vegan restaurant. The Hernandez’ story, like many Colombian histories, will shake you—and while it’s not our story to tell, know that it’s one that will leave you with a newfound appreciation for “bloodless” food from the Earth, family, and making the best of whatever cards we’re dealt.
Here’s what to expect as you climb the stairs to Verdeo:
You’ll emerge, and feel immediately welcomed by the open-air feel and immense ceilings—but know that Verdeo has nothing of ego. It is, instead, totally familial; a restaurant that from its core is so natural and so true to its roots that you have no choice but to show up the same. So climb up, smile your best smile, and take a seat.
Start first by opening your palate with a fresh drink. We recommend the homemade, vegan Chai Frio con Miel (sweetened with agave), or the Jugo de Lulo.
If you’re going for lunch, check out the Menu del Dia and opt for it if they have the Sopa Vietnamita. Vietnamese food is very unique for Colombia as the ingredients are difficult to come by. Having been in Vietnam, Verdeo does this vegetarian soup true to tradition—in a way that warms your stomach and your senses. Be sure to save room for dessert, which comes with your meal!
List of other must-order items:
- Albondigas al pomodoro — the meatball equivalent, which is very filling. Order it as your entree with the Ensalada de la Casa.
- Bowl de Garbanzos y Zataar
- Milanesas Verdeo — another incredible dish for those looking for something “meatier”
- La Mexicana Veggie burger
- Tapioka for dessert!
Artisanal, seasonal, and local — this is one Paisa-born dream you should surely find time to partake in during your time in Medellin.