First the positives:
We toured with 4 people who turned to be the main reason we had a great night.
They took us to 4 restaurants (3 restaurants and a gastro bar) I don't know if they always use the same:
The first one is located in a Relais&châteaux maison, Casa Pestagua. Lovely setting and service, good wine. We had ceviche (not the best I've ever had but very good) and a Sauv Blanc which was a good pair. According to many this is one of the best in town.
The second restaurant offered an Italian array of starters: burrata with cranberries sauce, asparagus with prosciutto and another cheese with pesto; all very good! Paired with a fusion drink made of vodka, very refreshing.
So far so good... the tour took a very disappointing turn when we we led to Tuc Tuc, the third restaurant. Temperature in the dining room was just warm, despite the A/C and fans; we were served octopus carinañola a fried fish bits with fried plantain, all finger (junk) food, very heavy and completely inadequate for a culinary tour, not to mention the service was completely off. We finally got off this street food place on to what was an even more disappointing place: the gastro bar. Sinko is just a bar that happens to offer food; this is where we were served something that nobody could identify as pork belly which was dry, overcooked and just plain awful, nobody ate it; paired with a very bad argentinian malbec. Dessert was also served at this place, either creme brûlée or a passion fruit pie; the creme brûlée was inedible, as in it seemed to have gone bad from the texture and consistency; the pie was so sweet, again nobody ate it. This choice was so off, the bar had live music and we had to scream to each other in order to have some conversation.
Our view is that at 110$ per person you are not getting your money's worth. For that money you can have a very good dinner at any of the finest restaurants in Cartagena. The first two restaurants (Amadeus and Vera) are among the finest, the other two there's no reason to include them in any culinary tour.
I feel deceived as well by Ivonne and Patricia, because I talked to them on the phone and in person and clearly stated my expectations to have a tour of fine dining, and they assured me that all restaurants were among the best. Also they stated there would be no local food and that they knew the chefs and all about the places we were touring. All of this turned out to be not completely true, for half of the tour was as expected, the other half they could have scrapped completely. Also they do require full payment upfront, only take cash and do not apologize for the disappointment. I did complain to them when they asked about the experience and all Ivonne said was their were doing their best.
Ivonne and Patricia are lovely and they do are trying to provide something interesting for tourists, but they need to either lower their prices or upgrade their partners; Tuc Tuc and Sinko are not acceptable choices for that kind of money, neither are worthy after such great places like Amadeus and Vera.
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