There's a reason Gatto Pardo (which means 'black cat') is one of the most popular and best restaurants in Tarija and it's not just because it happens to be located right on the city's central plaza.
This Tarija restaurant is a favorite among tourists and locals alike. Of course it helps that it's located right on the central plaza. However, we think it's popular because at Gatto Pardo the service is very good and everyone is very friendly. Despite serving hundreds of people a day, many of them tourists, by the third time we'd been there (we ate here a lot) the wait staff knew us by name, knew what we liked and greeted us with pens and paper at the ready for my artist-wannabe son. We were greeted by them both in the restaurant and later on the street. They really make you feel at home.
Gatto Pardo opens early and closes late. We had breakfast here numerous times (we got addicted to their organic hot chocolate made with water not milk) and their egg omelets are spectacular. This restaurant serves all types of food including typical Bolivian foods and international foods such as pastas, fish, chicken and meat, vegetables, great salads, soups, desserts, and really good coffee and tea. You can order any kind of fresh squeezed juice with seasonal fruits and you don't need to be shy about asking them to adjust recipes to your liking.
The restaurant occupies the entire corner of Sucre and La Madrid streets and is very large. As you enter you can either occupy the booths and tables straight ahead (which also leads to a great wine cellar with just one private table for private parties) or you can turn to your right and find a table in the large salon overlooking the streets and plaza. The restaurant is filled with historical artifacts and antiques and it's worth taking a walk around inside just to see them. Your third option is to eat outside as they place a row of tables with umbrellas right on the sidewalk overlooking the plaza.
The owner's wife is very very nice and also owns Mi Gatto, which is a wonderful bakery just around the corner on Sucre, right behind the restaurant. Be sure to stop in around tea time for absolutely delicious delicacies and great crusty breads.
We tried Gatto Pardo for breakfasts (many), lunch and dinner but loved it most in the morning when it was just opening, it was sort still cold outside, and the food, hot chocolate, and friendly service were just the right thing to warm us up. Or maybe it was because my six-year old insisted on visiting our friendly waitstaff every morning even if we didn't eat there. We noticed that numerous other tourists ate their repeatedly too. You'll like this Tarija restaurant. No matter how busy they are you'll never feel rushed or unwelcome at Gatto Pardo. For more restaurants in Tarija click on the 'Food' link below.