What: Thick seafood cazuelas (stews) and various fish prepared gratinado (au gratin) are popular dishes among midrange Cartagena restaurants specializing in comida costeña. While we didn’t immediately recognize the genius of baking fish with béchamel sauce, garlic, and Parmesan cheese, one bite was all it took to convince us.

Where: Modern and cute, La Casa de Socorro (Calle Larga No. 8B-112; 57-5-664-4658), in Getsemaní, is perhaps the best place to sample this kind of seafood. You can walk from Cartagena’s Old Town if you have time, or spring for a five-minute cab ride.

When: Daily, 11:30am-11pm

Order: The delectably rich filete de robalo (sea bass; 28,000 COP), baked au gratin and served with sides of arroz con coco, patacones (fried plantains), and salad; cazuela de mariscos (pictured; 34,000 COP), a heavenly, hearty coconut milk-based stew of shrimp, calamari, snail, and octopus; picado caracoles (18,000 COP), a pile of big snails in a delicious coconut-tinged guisado sauce.

Good to know: Follow up your seafood feast with a cocktail and booty-shake at the wall-top La Casa de la Cerveza (Baluarte San Lorenzo del Reducto, map), a short walk away.