Discovering exceptional restaurants is a passion of mine, so finding Mi Chola La Paz was a special highlight.
One of my favorite pastimes is enjoying a nice meal out to eat while sipping on delicious wine. Living in Amsterdam, I explored the local restaurants at least twice if not more in a week. Now that we are on the road and live on a tighter budget, our dining out experiences are fewer and further between. But, when we dine out the experiences are usually pretty spectacular especially if it is for dinner (we mostly eat out at lunch if we do eat out at all).
While perusing my dining options to entertain myself while Eddie was climbing Huayna Potosi, I stumbled upon Mi Chola in La Paz. Intrigued, I told Eddie about the five-course meal in La Paz based on authentic Bolivian cuisine for less than $20 USD per person. Have you ever heard of a cheaper tasting menu EVER? I was planning to treat myself while Eddie hiked Huayna Potosi for three days. We ultimately decided a meal like this is better shared, so we waited until Eddie returned to have a special date night. I’m glad we did, as it was the best meal in La Paz (and the cheapest meal in La Paz for what it was worth).
Mi Chola La Paz
Mi Chola which opened only in 2018 is a hidden gem. A six-table venue in the wealthy Sopochachi district of La Paz, it is something not be missed as you eat your way through Bolivia. Upon arrival, the one waiter serving us throughout the night warmly greeted us. He informed us that we had the option of a three or five-course meal. We quickly selected the five-course tasting menu, and it did not disappoint.
We have outlined the menu below to give you an idea of what is to come. The menu, however, is a tasting menu meaning it is highly unlikely that your courses will be the same as ours. Nevertheless, we can assure you that it will be a meal to remember in Bolivia.
Amuse Bouches are one of my favorite parts of the dining experience at nicer restaurants. A tasty little morsel before your meal which is a total surprise. Mi Chola La Paz served us two separate amuse bouches before the entrée arrived. The first was a delectable lemon alcoholic concoction. Just the ticket to cleanse your palate before you embark on a sensational meal.
The second amuse bouche was the Bolivian version of the Dutch croquette. Made of maize and fried to perfection, this little morsel was divine. By the time we were done, we were salivating as we waited for the true meal to begin.
The entrée, not to be confused with the main meal if you hail from the US, was the healthiest option for the night. The entrée centered around cooked barley with cheese curds. The barley was topped with a puree of pepper and sprinkled with baked parsley adding a nice crunchy flavor.
Main course (s)
As we selected the five-course meal, we had the pleasure of having not one but two main courses. Given a choice of four different options, we naturally selected to have one of each allowing us to sample the entire menu available for the night. To our dismay, however, the fish option was sold out leaving us with two of one main.
The first main course served was by far the best meat I have eaten in South America (although we have not made it to Argentina for the world-renowned steaks). Skirt steak cooked slightly between rare and medium served over roasted red potatoes, crumbled queso fresco (the local cheese), baked parsley flakes and topped with a homemade rice waffle. The tenderness of the meat surpassed my expectation and the potato and cheese accompaniment left you begging for more. Needless to say, it was divine. We secretly were thankful the fish was sold out as we did not want to have to share this dish with the other person.
For the second main dish, we each had a different selection. I had the coq-au-vin while Eddie had llama de chicharron. Although not near as enticing as the previous main course, each was a treat in themselves especially the llama.
The llama is a particularly tough meat similar to that of venison (deer). Mi Chola La Paz took the classic chicharron which is pork ribs seasoned with garlic, oregano and lemon boiled then cooked in its own fat and applied it to the llama. It combined two of Bolivia’s staples into one exquisite meal. Mi Chola served the llama with choclo, a corn variety grown in the Andes Mountains.
Keeping in tradition, we each ordered one of the two desserts available that night. The first dessert was a quinoa flan with crumbled chocolate cookies drizzled in condensed milk. You wouldn’t have guessed that it was made with quinoa. It was baked to perfection.
The second dessert was by far our favorite. A perfectly scoped ice cream surrounded by crumbled Oreos and strawberries and drizzled with condensed milk. We were in heaven. It was the perfect ending to the tasting menu.
We paired our meal with a wine from the local wine region in Bolivia, Tarija. Tarija is becoming known throughout the world as an up and coming wine region. While it is small in comparison with its neighboring counterparts of Argentina and Chile, it is making headway amongst wine connoisseurs. We ordered the Terruño from Aranjuez which is the table wine from the region.
I hope you enjoyed reading along about our experience on the cheapest and best meal in Bolivia. We left feeling satisfied, enjoying ever bit(e) of the meal. Do yourself a favor and book a table at Mi Chola La Paz, you won’t be sorry! I hope you enjoy this meal as much as we did. Let us know if you did (and I guess if you didn’t)!
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