Salento has a good variety of restaurants to choose from. Because it pulls in a lot of international travelers, there is plenty of international cuisine to be found as well as traditional Colombian food.
Sueño de Fresas
There are a couple places that are a must try in Salento. First is Sueño de Fresas. They are located to the left of the church and sell delicious strawberries in whipped cream, among other fruits and ice creams. It was a great treat. However, their hours are limited. They opened fairly late in the afternoon and were closed by 8pm.
Café Jesús Martín
Next is Café Jesús Martín. It is an upscale café selling locally grown coffee on the non-touristy end of Carrera 6, just off the plaza. They have the best coffee I’ve tried in Colombia and excellent cakes. We had the Cappuccino con arequipe (caramel) and an arequipe cake on our first visit. The next day, we had the Café Angela, which is a sweet espresso layered on top of condensed milk. On other visits, we were able to try more coffees and teas, and have taken a liking to the Maria Aleja (a cold coffee). The coffees with liquor are also worth a try.
Eating on the Plaza
On weekends, the plaza comes alive. The right end of the plaza facing the church has several craft booths. On the end directly in front of the church you will find fast food stands. Finally, on the opposite end stand many restaurants serving Salento’s signature dishes, including trout and patacones. Prices are pretty similar at all of the restaurants, topping out at around COP$20,000 for the trout and COP$12,000 for a patacón.
We ate at Aliria on a few of our visits. On our first visit, I had a patacón and Marisol had trucha con leche de coco (trout with coconut milk). Both were excellent and highly recommended. With fresh mango juice, our bill was a very reasonable COP$34,000.
Café Bernabé is a fusion restaurant that should be high on your list. Our group had eggplant parmigiana along with some pasta dishes and a stir fry. We all went back to our hotel happy.
Luciérnaga, near the cemetery, serves some good (and a few creative) international dishes. It doubles as a hostel and has a good backpacker crowd along with live music. Added bonus: they give you popcorn to munch on!
Other restaurant recommendations include Los Amigos and Donde Laurita for traditional Colombian food, Camino Real for a great atmosphere, and Piccola Italia for decent pasta dishes. Café Kaldi has hearty breakfasts.