Esco-Bar is a new and very lively restaurant and cocktail bar in the heart of Sitges, serving authentic, sumptuous Colombian dishes and great cocktails amidst a vibrant, unique decor – and where customers regularly get up to dance salsa or ‘merengue’ at any time of the day.
‘It’s the Colombian nature to get up and dance,’ says Milton Orozco, who came from the city of Cali in Colombia three years ago, bringing his wide range of culinary skills with him. He’d learned how to cook from his mother, and he briefly ran a small food outlet in Colombia that specialised in street food, where he made and sold a range of hand-crafted empanadas and his own special range of sauces.
Ambition and drive then saw him make the move to Spain, offering a better life and greater opportunities. After a year of running a kitchen in Sant Sadurni d’Anoia (Catalonia), the Covid pandemic hit – and the restaurant closed and never opened again. He had long wanted to open his own authentic Colombian bar and restaurant, and after moving to Sitges in October 2020 – still during the phases of lockdown – he eventually set about finding the right spot.
After several near misses and disappointments, he found the perfect location on Carrer de Sant Pere, close to the beach.
Following six weeks of renovations and planning to get it just as he envisaged, he was ready for the final touches. He commissioned the renowned local artist, Richard Hoffman, to paint what is believed to be the biggest single piece of art in Sitges.
The art at the entrance and opposite the bar area is very loud, colourful and visual, with the ultra-violet lighting making it punchy and eye-catching from outside, as well as inside the bar. The theme includes imagery of Inca artefacts and Colombian mythology, with masks, sculptures and a ‘chupacabre’ – a mythical creature that sucks the blood from animals, yet reportedly sighted in the Americas!
Inside the restaurant area, at the rear of Esco-Bar, is a large ‘cave painting’, also with ultra-violet lighting and based on cave paintings recently found in the Colombian Amazon. Uniquely, however, this one displays all the elements of Sitges and has a repeated main theme of freedom, sea and sun. The Sitges elements include images of nude sunbathers, the iconic church and castellers (human towers), as well as other local imagery. The painting changes at dusk and creates an unusual ambience in the restaurant.
As well as overseeing the kitchen as the executive chef, creating delicious meals and sauces, Milton is also usually to be found greeting customers and making sure they’re having the best experience possible. He has also created the cocktail Qué Chimba! – which imitates, not only the colours, but the proportion of the yellow, blue and red of the Colombian flag. The ingredients include vodka, aguardiente (schnapps), blue curaçao, grenadine and orange juice.
Classic and popular dishes include the ‘Bandeja Paisa’, a typical Colombian national dish with rice, kidney beans, chorizo, ground beef, bacon, avocado and fried egg – and ‘Tamal Tolimense’. They also offer a ‘lechona’ for 8-10 people, a traditional Colombian pork dish, but it needs to be booked three days in advance.
As well as making their own bread and chorizo, Esco-Bar also offers deliveries – and there’s even a private dining room downstairs that can also be booked for up to 20 people.
This authentic Colombian watering hole and eatery is always alive with Latino music and food – and awash with colour and life. With the music playing non-stop, you’re likely to see people getting up to dance salsa or ‘merengue’ whatever time you go along, even in the middle of the afternoon over coffee.
Esco-Bar is open every day except Tuesday, serving food from 1pm-11pm, and then bar snacks and cocktails until 3am. It first opened in September, and will have an official launch party before the end of the year.
ESCO-BAR is at: Carrer de Sant Pere 17, Sitges, 08870 (Barcelona). Tel: (+34) 93 832 4531. Email: email@example.com