Colombia’s first family of food champions the country’s biodiversity


On the Pass

Leonor Espinosa and Laura Hernández Espinosa

What’s the concept? Celebrity chef Leonor Espinosa’s flagship restaurant showcases little-known Colombian ingredients and champions local communities and gastronomic traditions. Housed in the upmarket neighbourhood of Chapinero since June 2021, it features not one but two dining rooms under one roof: the first showcasing the creativity of renowned chef (and restaurant founder) Leonor Espinosa; the second overseen by her daughter and sommelier Laura Hernández Espinosa.

The menu: Leo’s menu comes in the form of a 13-course tasting that traverses the country’s biodiversity. Diners are treated to the flavours of the sea, with king crab, mussels and arapaima fish; the land, with ‘big-bottomed’ ants and pork with rice beans; and the soil, with palm hearts, purple yams and chontaduro (a sweet potato-like fruit native to Colombia).

And the space? An economist and artist by training, Leo’s love of anthropology, contemporary art and culture is evident in both her cooking and the restaurant itself: a bright, modern room adorned with bold lighting.

Bonus point: In 2008, Espinosa created the non-profit initiative FunLeo, which strives to safeguard the gastronomic traditions and heritage of marginalised Colombian communities.

La Sala de Laura: Hernández Espinosa’s upstairs space features a simpler menu and a greater focus on unusual wines and cocktails highlighting home-produced Colombian distillates, a line she named ‘Territorio’. In 2022, the bar featured for the first time on The World’s 50 Best Bars extended 51-100 list, ranking at No.70.