For a taste of Colombia right on your doorstep, head to Elephant & Castle and you’ll suddenly become a tourist in your own city. This area is the heart of the Colombian community in London, chosen by the first wave of migrants in the 1970s because of the small Spanish community that resided there at the time.
As the country’s internal armed conflict escalated in the ’90s, migration to the UK peaked and Elephant & Castle (along with other areas including Brixton and Seven Sisters) began to develop into a home far away from home. Nowadays Colombians are one of the biggest South American groups in London, and as well as famous faces (like Royal Ballet soloist Fernando Montaño, making us proud at Covent Garden since 2006), we have a plethora of cultural platforms such as newspapers, radio stations and restaurants that will turn into salsa clubs at any opportunity. Doreta Linakis Prada
Did you know? There is nothing worse than seeing the name of our country spelled with a ‘u’ instead of an ‘o’. Please remember: it’s Colombia, not Columbia!
Doreta’s favourite Colombian spots in London
Visit Maize Blaze in Camden Market for ace Latin American street food made by Colombian-British chef Ruth Christianson.
Get an authentic and ethically sourced caffeine fix at The Colombian Coffee Company in Borough Market.
See theatre from Colombia and beyond at the CASA Latin American Festival from now until October 28.
Discover the city’s best Colombian eateries on the monthly Colombian Food Tour in Elephant & Castle, in aid of Children Change Colombia: a charity that works with children and their families to overcome poverty and violence. The next one is on September 23.
The best of Colombian London, according to you
‘El Rancho de Lalo in Brixton: go with a big appetite and try the bandeja paisa and their empanadas.’ Maria O via Facebook
‘Cravings La Carreta, Peckham: a delicious mix of authentic Venezuelan, Colombian and Mexican food.’ Sami M via timeout.com
‘Sabor outside Tooting Bec station is a lovely, small, family-run restaurant. It’s like being back at home.’ Somto E via timeout.com
‘La Fonda de Maria in Stockwell and La Chatica at Elephant & Castle!’ Carolina V via Facebook