Four of the best places to get coffee in Manila (El Poblado)
While I have been in Medellín and have now moved since I arrived, those who knew me when I first arrived here knew that I used to live in Barrio Manila, in Poblado. I moved at the end of June to a different neighborhood nearby, but I still love Manila. And I used to get grief about living in Poblado when I was teaching from my students and sometimes my coworkers, and I understand where they are coming from, Manila at this point in time, is an Estrato 4, middle-class neighborhood. You are probably reading this and wondering Amanda, what the heck are estratos and why is this significant?
Colombia has an estrato system, which determines how much you pay for utilities and other services depending on the estrato you live in. There are six estratos (1-6), Estrato 1, is the lowest and poorest estrato and Estrato 6 is the most wealthy estrato. Since our utilities in Colombia are public, if you live in a higher estrato you pay more for utilities, to subsidize the lower prices people who live in lower estratos pay. As one Colombian told me when I was looking for places to live, she suggested that I do not live in any Estrato below Estrato 4. Estrato 4 is a solidly middle or upper-middle-class neighborhood.
Manila is probably one of the neighborhoods in Poblado that is closest to the metro and the rest of Medellín. It is a family neighborhood, that is growing and becoming gentrified with lots of hotels and hostels. But a lot of artists and creative people live here too. Manila is where some of the best restaurants are in Poblado, given that we have the la Calle de la Buena Mesa (the Street of the Good Table) in Manila. It is in Manila, not Provenza, which is higher up in the hills of Poblado.
Where is Manila located?
This is a great question, the boundaries for Barrio Manila are Calle 10 to the south, before Parque Poblado, Calle 14 to the north, with Carrera 43A (Avenida Poblado) and the Avenida Regional. Manila is within close proximity to the Poblado and Industriales metro stations and Éxito Poblado on Calle 10. From my old apartment in Manila, I could easily walk la 10 and be in the Zona Rosa de Poblado within 15 minutes and at Parque Lleras in 20 minutes. And besides all of the hostels, there are not too many expats or high rises here.
When I lived here I only lived with Colombian people, and I saw gringos walking around for their hostels, but Manila feels distinctly Colombian, as opposed to say, Provenza, which is more expensive and filled with gringos and backpackers, due to its proximity to Parque Lleras. But Manila has some cool boutiques and galleries, and it is quieter than areas closer to the Zona Rosa.
Catfesito: Medellín’s first Cat Café
Catfesito is the first cat café in Medellín, it opened at the end of 2017 and is probably one of my favorite places, I mean the coffee and food are great, plus there are cats, what more could I want? Fun fact, all of the cats at Catfesito are adoptable and live here until they get adopted out and find forever homes. Catfesito partners with an animal rescue foundation which takes care of the cats, getting them spayed, neutered, immunized and beyond. The cats that are here stay here as long as it takes them to find a suitable forever home. For example, it took months for one cat named Orion to get adopted and finally, he was adopted sometime earlier in September 2018, which is not always the case for shelters.
Moreover, the coffee drinks and pastries are excellent, and they recently changed their menu, and they also serve alcoholic beverages here too. The affogato here is some of the best I have had in Medellín for the price and quality. And the staff here are kind and friendly.
When you arrive at Catfesito, there is an outdoor patio out front, and the food prep area are separate from the cats, so if you want to look at cats but not be with them, you can sit inside and look at the cat room with couches and tables and watch the cats through the big glass window. There is also an enclosed outdoor patio out back where you can be with the cats who have their own tunnels which allow them to go between the inside and outside as they please. One word of warning, be careful if you are eating near the cats, since if there is meat, some of them may try to take food off your plate.
Calle 12 43E-25, Barrio Manila, Medellín, Antioquia, +57 (300) 717-5070
Sunday: 12 PM-6 PM
Monday: 12 PM-7 PM
Tuesday: 11 AM-7 PM
Wednesday: 11 AM-7 PM
Thursday: 11 AM-8 PM
Friday: 11 AM-8 PM
Saturday: 11 AM-9 PM
Cambria Café Resto
Cambria is one of my favorite places to go to do work, have brunch, and relax. The food here is excellent, they bake all their own bread, and pastries and my mouth is watering just thinking about their French toast. They also have great coffee, and they sell tea! Y’all probably do not know how hard it is to get tea in Colombia, that is not an aromática (herbal tea). When I have stayed with people visiting Medellín, my family and others, I have taken tea home to my apartment with me.
You must be wondering, Amanda, why? Well, buying tea here at the grocery store is expensive, and you do not get the same quantity of tea that you would get in the United States. And when I go home or have people come to Colombia from the United States, I tend to have them bring me hot sauce, tea, and maple syrup and some things I miss at Trader Joe’s (that magical grocery store). Sorry, David if you are reading for stealing your tea when I used to stay with you when you came to Medellín, I should have probably asked you to bring me tea instead of Tajín de Habanero, since I found something locally which is even better than Tajín. In other words, the fact that they have tea at Cambria is kinda a big deal.
And their French Toast, it’s amazing y’all, maybe some of the best French Toast I have ever had in my life, and I think they serve it with real Maple Syrup, which you cannot really get in Colombia. The staff here is friendly, and the food is consistently great every time that I have gone, and for this reason I have probably spent too much money here and at Catfesito because these places are that good.
Cambria offers menus in English and Spanish.
Carrera 43E #12-16, Barrio Manila, Medellín, Antioquia, +57 (034) 352-1970
Monday-Wednesday: 7:30 AM-8:30 PM
Thursday: 7:30 AM-9:30 PM
Friday: 7:30 AM-10:30 PM
Saturday: 8:00 AM-10:30 PM
Seré, Pan y Café
Seré is also another place which has great food, and they also have a lot of healthy options as well, like grain bowls and more. I came for the first time in March, right when I first arrived in Medellín, with my mentora, Kate. And it was great because, y’all they have outlets at every table under their covered patio, which makes this a great place to come and do work since they have Wifi and plentiful outlets. However since it is one street below Avenida Poblado (Carrera 43A), it can be a bit distracting here since there is a lot of traffic nearby. They also bake their own bread and pastries here, and the coffee here is excellent.
Carrera 43B #11-84, Medellin, Colombia, +57 (034) 589-8273
Monday-Friday: 8:00 AM-7:00 PM
Saturday: 8:00 AM-3:00 PM
Sunday: 8:00 AM-2:00 PM
Hija Mía Café & Coffee Roasters
And finally, there is Hija Mía, another place my mentora, Kate introduced me to. I tend to see Kate and have coffee with her a lot, so I have to credit her with helping me find a number of these places. Hija Mía was established by Shaun, a New Zealander who as the story goes could not get the coffee here that rivaled New Zealand’s standards so, in September 2015, he decided to open his own coffee shop and roast the beans on site. Yes, you read that correctly, Hija Mía’s gets green coffee beans and then roasts them on site in their special roasting machine which roast up to 12 KG of coffee beans per hour.
The coffee here is excellent, as is the food, they have many healthy options including granola and açaí cups. They also sell natural peanut butter here, since Shaun is a part of Mani Bros, which is co-owned by Dan Cardiff another New Zealander which creates natural peanut butter. While I have found natural Peanut Butter at the Mercado de Campesinos on Sunday mornings at Parque de la Presidenta this another place where you can get your peanut butter fix.
Calle 11a 43b -9, Barrio Manila, Medellín, Antioquia, +57 4 366 3788
Monday-Friday 8 AM – 7 PM | Saturday 8:30 AM – 3:30 PM | Sunday, closed
*Opinions expressed in this piece are all my own, if you think that I am missing somewhere that is great in Manila, let me know in the comments or send me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org. If you enjoyed this, please let me know and if you visit one of these places, tag @mividaenmedellin on Instagram.
**El Catfesito sometimes is rented out for private events so if you’re in doubt about whether or not they are open, send them a WhatsApp or call them at the number listed above.
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