What’s the story? Born and raised in Colombia, chef Álvaro Clavijo was drawn to the kitchen at a young age. He left South America to explore the US and Europe, working at Per Se, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon and Noma. Clavijo melds this globetrotting experience with the rich biodiversity of Colombia at El Chato, which he launched in 2017.
Colombian heritage: Just a single tasting menu is on the table here, ready to change at a moment’s notice to highlight the best produce available on each given day. Classic dishes such as chicken hearts with potato and suero costeño – a cheesy traditional Colombian sauce – are mainstays, though locals in the know will always request the renowned off-menu avocado soufflé.
Buy local, cook international: While championing Colombian ingredients, Clavijo uses the national pantry to elevate preparations and techniques from outside of the country’s borders. Dishes like grand oysters with clarified tamarind broth, pears and sea lettuce, and the crispy tapioca with pâté and wild blackberry, span multiple international cuisines, but are made entirely with produce from the restaurant’s immediate locality.
What’s in a name? ‘El Chato’ is a term of endearment used by Bogotá locals that Clavijo has borrowed as a homage to his hometown. The restaurant’s informal dining room welcomes all, with the dark and wooden interior offering diners a full view of the kitchen and renowned spice library.