I will be in Santiago in October. I have not found much current restaurant info, here or elsewhere. We will likely be staying in Bellavista area. Ok to travel for dining, but prefer within 10-15 minute taxi ride of that area. Price is not a big concern. Prefer upscale casual, hipper vibe over formal. No preference on type, although will want to try some good seafood. Excellent wine is an important part of every meal!
Research has produced the following list; first four sound particularly appealing and haven't got enough info on others to decide. Comments welcome, and thanks in advance!
- Pasta E Vino in Aubrey
- Del Cocinerio
- Efniko for sushi
- Tio Lucho in Mercado Central Fish Market
- El Caramano
I was just in Santiago. The best dinner I had was a La Mar on Nueva Costanera. They serve about 20 different kinds of pisco sours, the national drink of Chile. Also, they have about eight kinds of ceviche. My main dish was the albacora (sword fish), which came on a plate of very well seasoned garbanzo puree. The creme brulee dessert was also fabulous.
Another good restaurant was Akarana, which is owned by a New Zealander. The dishes are different, but I had an excellent salad with coconut, chicken, and cashews. My friend had the orange curried scallops, which were also excellent.
Since DRD will be there in October I don't think red tide will be a problem...
The best experiences I had in Santiago were definitely at the Mercado Central. Just go to whatever stall appears to be busy and you're guaranteed some amazing seafood.
I can't recall the particular vendor but I had the best clam dish of my life there; they were served cold with little more than some lemon juice, white onions, and cilantro.
Right now it's "the Time of the Red Tide" and none of the raw seafood (oysters, ceviche) is available OR SAFE.
Really good Italian restaurant is named "Tiramisu". I recommend highly. It's large and popular - Large selection of bruschetta, wonderful carpacio - and, of course, pizza.
Spent several days in Santiago 2 years ago--that's as current as I can get. We loved La Mar, Puerto Fuy and Astrid and Gaston. Lunch at Tio Lucho was fun but wasn't so impressed with the food. I would recommend hiring a driver or renting a car to visit wineries outside of Santiago. A few have places to eat lunch. Montes comes to mind but no restaurant there.
I've been to Santiago 20-something times, and haven't really done much in the "fine dining" department, but I'll give you a few pesos chilenos of thoughts:
Mercado Central - I did try Tio Lucho twice and thought it was "ok." My favorite place so far is the second-to-last local on the left side near the back. I've tried maybe a half dozen places in there, shying away from the Donde Augusto folks that take up much of the market.
Bellavista (generally) - a lot of cool and interesting restaurants, but most look better than they are. Several years ago I had a phenomenal meal at Il Siciliano, so good that I returned 3 times. It went from great, to good, to ok, to no reason to return. Azul Profundo (right next door) is a neat place, and the food was alright, but no better than that. There's another place close to across the street from there that was really awful, and I don't recall the name. I've had a few parrilladas, and went to a peruano place, and in a nutshell, my average Bellavista meal is alright, but nothing more. But it is a fun and convenient atmosphere.
My one "must have" meal each time is a lomito tomate palta at Lomit's on Av. Providencia. It is a short-order-cook sort of place, far from gourmet. Lomito in Chile is sliced pork loin (I get it with tomato and avocado) - but you can choose whatever you want on the sandwich. Note that Chilenos put more mayonnaise on their sandwiches than anywhere I've ever been (but you do order it specifically).
My overall experiences with fish have been good, but the simpler the preps, the better. In fact, that has been my experience with most food I've eaten in Chile.
I went to Chile last spring and loved it—I agree that it's largely simple food, rightly, because the seafood and produce are so good, they should be allowed to shine.
I loved the mercado—who are the Donde Augusto folks?
Especially became obsessed with chorrillana. I know the most famous place for it is in Valparaíso; are there equally beloved places in Santiago? (Had it in Bellavista a couple of times, but didn't look into what might be considered the best.)
Hey DRD...thanks for starting this thread! I'm heading to Chile and Argentina in less than 2 weeks and have been desperately searching the chowhound boards for help too. Buenos Aires seems to have lots of help but Chile indeed doesn't have too many recommendations...
We're staying all 3 of our nights in Santiago, in the Providencia area, but willing to taxi/subway to anywhere.
In addition to the restaurants DRD mentions, I would love to hear any advice on how to pick which 3 for dinner between Puerto Fuy, Sukalde, Europeo, Borago, Osadia, El Hoy, Divertimento Chileno, Aqui Esta Coco, and Bar Liguria...we're hoping maybe one more seafood/traditional Chilean and then two of the newer, exciting contemporary restaurants that have made Santiago such an important dining destination recently.
Also looking for a casual lunch place (Tio Luche?) and any must hit classic bars or cocktail lounges, specifically for essential pisco sours.
DRD, I hope somehow there are some Santiago chowexperts out there...having read the recent articles by the N.Y. Times about the city being its #1 destination for 2011, Santiago surely must have a lot of people visiting and dining there this year!