Leo, the first Colombian restaurant on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list

Leo Cocina 1.jpg

LEE ESTE POST EN ESPAÑOL.

The new list of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019, sponsored by S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna, has been announced, and for the first time ever, a Colombian restaurant has been included. Since opening her flagship restaurant, Leo, chef Leonor Espinosa has had a great influence on Colombian cuisine and in 2017 she won the title of Latin America’s Best Female Chef. A pioneer in the local movement to promote Colombian cuisine by showcasing its rarest and most unknown ingredients, Leo is the female equivalent of Peru’s Gaston Acurio.

Amasijo de sagú , or dough made of sago palm, paired with a sauce of  guasca,  begins the meal at Espinosa's flagship restaurant, Leo.

Amasijo de sagú, or dough made of sago palm, paired with a sauce of guasca, begins the meal at Espinosa's flagship restaurant, Leo.

Espinosa’s work spans over a decade of introducing unexpected elements like fermented coca, pirarucú (an Amazonian fish), crushed ants, and other savory surprises at her Bogotá restaurant, Leo. Her dishes evoke tradition while utterly redefining it, and this has granted her international status in addition to elevating Colombia’s gastronomy.

For the second appetizer, red pelagic crab, mandarin lemon, basket pepper, and coconut milk.

For the second appetizer, red pelagic crab, mandarin lemon, basket pepper, and coconut milk.

To follow, the first entree, an Amazonian fish with Amazonian nuts, "sour yucca," and "fish-eye chile."

To follow, the first entree, an Amazonian fish with Amazonian nuts, "sour yucca," and "fish-eye chile."

Tiny bites follow with a mini "taco" with  momposina  duck sauce and a  cariaco  corn tortilla.

Tiny bites follow with a mini "taco" with momposina duck sauce and a cariaco corn tortilla.

For her current menu at Leo is called Ciclo-Bioma, Espinosa and her daughter, Laura Hernández-Espinosa, examined the diverse Colombian ecosystems in search of potential species to incorporate into their cuisine.

Another view of the savory  momposina  taco.

Another view of the savory momposina taco.

Supported by biologists, producers and farmers, the result is an arrangement of local products that recall and honor ancestral flavors.

Ultimately, the goal at Leo is to support the well-being of small producers and their communities by introducing these flavors directly onto the palates of open-minded locals and curious tourists. restauranteleo.com