Today, I want to talk to you about my favorite area in Medellín for dining out, having a coffee, or grabbing a couple of beers. Without a doubt, it’s also the area where I would stay if I were to visit the city. I’m referring to the Manila District, a small sector in the lower part of El Poblado which, over time, has become a curious blend of the city’s past and present.

As a major tourist destination, many places in Medellín have transitioned from residential areas to commercial and entertainment hubs. This is the case for places like Provenza, Comuna 13, and other tourist spots.

What makes Manila special is that despite the influx of amazing restaurants, quaint cafes, and high-quality hotels and hostels, it still retains most of its traditional architecture, with large homes over 50 years old. It has preserved its ancient trees and, notably, its quiet streets, which add a touch of mystery.

Manila has been one of the historic districts where Medellín families settled several decades ago. Even today, you can still see older families taking a short stroll around the neighborhood, sharing the space with young people from around the world and other parts of the city, all drawn by the vibrant energy of the area.

In this post, I’ll share my favorite spots and everything you need to know to enjoy the place.

Location

The Manila district is situated right below Avenida El Poblado and above Avenida las Vegas. It’s also on the north side of Calle 10. It’s like a small island within El Poblado, secluded from the general hustle and bustle of the area.

How to get there

The best way to get to Manila is by Metro, as it’s just a 5-minute walk from the Poblado station. If you’re in other areas of El Poblado, you could also walk, though given its location surrounded by main avenues, it might not be the most pleasant walk. In this case, I’d recommend taking a taxi, Uber, or other ride-sharing apps.

Restaurants

Idílico

Idílico is a small eatery serving creatively reimagined traditional Colombian food. It’s the kind of restaurant where it’s worth ordering a variety and sharing, as each dish is a treat for the taste buds. If you’re dining with a partner, I’d suggest at least ordering 2 starters and 2 main courses, accompanied by one of their delicious sodas made with native fruits like Gulupa and Tamarind.

Recommended dishes

  • Corn Tentacles (starter)
  • Pork and Milhoja
  • White Fish

Halong Vietnamita / Saigon Fire

A slice of Vietnam in Medellín. This restaurant is among the city’s top-rated, thanks to its diverse menu inspired by Eastern cuisine. Additionally, it offers two atmospheres; one family-oriented (Halong) and a more lively one for evenings (Saigon Fire). Beyond its delicious and generous servings, its location in a small forest, adorned by the restaurant owners with traditional Vietnamese elements, stands out.

Recommended dishes

  • Any Ramen from the menu
  • Pork and Chicharrón Baos
  • Tapioca Dessert

Tal Cual / Mi Ceviche

Tal Cual is a signature cuisine restaurant with a rich tradition, founded in 2014. Initially, it served as both an art gallery and a restaurant. Even now, many years later, it maintains its bohemian flair, filled with iconic pieces in both the venue’s décor and the dishes themselves. Given its ambiance, it could be the perfect place for a date night.

Recommended dishes

  • Octopus Carpaccio (starter)
  • Sea and Land Trilogy
  • Pacific Fish

Criminal Taquería

If you’re in the mood for something laid-back, to enjoy some good beers in a lively environment, and grab a quick bite to kick off the evening, perhaps your best bet in Manila is Criminal. It’s a taco place with a distinctly urban vibe, from the music and ambiance to the flavor. Any taco on the menu is great, but we especially love the quesadilla and the stripped corn.

Creta

Creta is a Mediterranean cuisine restaurant, boasting unique décor. Stepping inside is like immersing yourself in a small Arabian palace. The fountains, music, furniture textures, and even the scents transport you to the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean regions. Of our recommendations, this may be the priciest option. But it’s truly worth it, especially if you’re celebrating a special occasion. I recommend going on Thursdays (for the Arabian dance show) or Saturdays (live music).

Recommended dishes

  • Hummus (starter)
  • Lamb Kebab

Hotels

Landmark Hotel Medellín

Price per night: $580,000 ($80 USD)

Rating: 4.6

Based on 2,178 reviews from Google Maps / Trip Advisor / Booking

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If you’re a discerning traveler, always seeking and expecting a bit more from your accommodation experiences, you’ll love Landmark. Beyond its boutique hotel design touches, my favorite aspect is its beautiful rooftop pool, a gym, and a designated work area in the rooms.

Landmark is located in the Manila district, which we’ve described in this blog as one of the best blends of cosmopolitan atmosphere, nightlife, and local Medellín experience.

The best part about staying in this area is its centrality to everything happening in El Poblado. While Manila itself is a great experience, if you wish to explore busier areas like El Lleras or Provenza, or if you’re looking to venture to tourist spots in other parts of the city, you’re just a few minutes’ walk away.

Viajero Medellin Hostel: the best hostel in Manila

Créditos: Viajero Medellin Hostel

Price per night: $194,367 ($40.03 USD)

Rating: 4.3

Based on 1,697 reviews from Google Maps / Trip Advisor / Booking

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Manila is a delightful district, boasting excellent accommodations, restaurants, and it’s much less congested than El Lleras or Provenza. The Viajero hostel chain chose this cool spot to set up its superb Medellín branch.

Its prime attraction is the terrace, which offers a privileged city view and features 2 jacuzzis and a bar, the perfect place to meet young folks from all over. Within its modern facilities, there are also other common areas like the lobby with a ping pong table and a kitchen/dining area.

Rooms can be private or shared (with a female-only option available). As is often the case with hostels, there’s a bit of a trade-off between privacy and creating an environment where travelers can have fun and interact.

Los Patios: the best hotel to meet people

Créditos: Los Patios Hostel

Credits: Los Patios Hostel

Price per night: $258,692 ($58.53 USD)

Rating: 4.6

Based on 8,603 reviews from Google Map

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Los Patios is another gem of the Manila neighborhood. Amidst wonderful restaurants, bars, and cafes, this hostel stands out, highly rated by online users due to its family-friendly atmosphere, excellent customer service, and facilities designed for socializing.

There’s always something to do here and share with others. Within their schedule, you can participate in all kinds of activities, from yoga and dance classes to city tours. Plus, you can chill out on their rooftop, which features a bar, pool, and has already gained a good reputation among tourists for its amazing parties.

Poblado Guest House: Apartamentos económicos

Créditos: Poblado Guest House

Price per night: $198,333 (40.85 USD)

Rating: 4.3

Based on 1,051 reviews from Google Maps / Trip Advisor / Booking

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The building is located in the Manila neighborhood, just 4 blocks from the Poblado Metro station and very close to the Éxito supermarket on 10th Street. This is the right choice if you’re looking for a restful stay in a cozy place with an excellent location.

Poblado Guest House has 4 apartments, offering a total of 19 private rooms, some with their own bathrooms and all spacious enough to accommodate 2 people at a very reasonable price.

Among its attractions are excellent customer service, breakfast for just $10,000 (unless it’s already included in the booking), a kitchen, and common areas to hang out. Being a family-oriented place, parties are prohibited, and they enforce strict hours in the communal areas.