Thirty years ago the dictatorship in Chile was ending. When the country re-opened its doors, the economy exploded.
Hector Vergara, First Master Sommelier of Latin America and Figure in the Chilean wine industry, told me that at the beginning of the 1990s you couldn’t find any restaurants in the city. It was not something that Chilean were used to do: going out and eating outside.
Today, Santiago de Chile is a vibrant cosmopolitan capital that is becoming more and more of a foodie hot-spot displaying international and regional cuisine from ambitious and passionate Chefs.
The impressive and magnificent Andes Mountains, the wild and marvelous windy beaches of the Pacific Ocean plus the incredible vineyards located at only 1 or 2 hour(s) drive from downtown are some of the reasons why Santiago attracts not only thousands of tourists from all over the world every year but also new immigrants that understood that this country can offer them a great quality of life.
Even if most Chilean are not wine drinkers, Chile is a wine country with great potential for wine. Its winemakers now more than ever before make wine with a terroir mindset which is to unite a grape variety with senses of soil and place. If you love wine like me, Chilean wines won’t leave you indifferent.
1-Chilean, Molecular — BORAGO
Ranked fourth in Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2016, this is one of the best restaurants in town. I can tell without hesitation that the Chef, Rodolfo Guzmán, is « an artist ».
Get prepared for going surprise after surprise during your experience there. It’s a complete show. What you will find at Borago is not far from the molecular cuisine!
The most impressive thing is the kitchen, packed with 18 busy cooks working all together to craft cooking masterpieces for your own delight. They use pliers as if they were surgeons to make their pieces of art: your dish! You will enjoy your time there marveling at the creation of your meal before your eyes as the kitchen is opened to the dining room.
At Borago, they combine the knowledge carried by the natives with the possible future of the Chilean cuisine.
Rodolfo (the Chef) is on an ongoing quest of exploring the country in search of ingredients and indigenous plants, recreating ancient Patagonian ancestral techniques and recipes.
Two menus will be offered to you, Endémica and Raqko. The number of masterpieces makes the difference with them.
Smart and innovative: pair your own Menu with Juice. You can also do it with wine, of course!
Prices vary between 55 $USD and 85 $USD for the Menu. 37–47 $USD for the wine pairing. 14 – 20 $USD for the Juice pairing. Monday to Saturday, 7:30 pm to 11:15 pm
Boragó, Nueva Costanera 3467, Santiago, Chile, +56 2 2953 8893
2-Fine dining in en enchanting park — MESTIZO
This restaurant overlooking the beautiful Parque Bicentenario, Santiago’s “Central Park”, is well worth for a bite of ceviche and fine dining experience on a summer evening along with a refreshing glass of Sauvignon Blanc from Casa Marin Winery as the sun sets between the hills.
Parque Bicentenario is a marvelous park, take a relaxing stroll and enjoy the view before dining at Mestizo.
The restaurant’s design, with a roof supported on large boulders, makes the best of its setting.
You will be offered an international menu bringing together some of the best of Chilean and Peruvian cuisine. This restaurant focuses on fish, but if seafood is not your thing, don’t worry as they have also dishes with meat like the traditional Chilean plateada, a slow-cooked cut of beef on a bed of mashed potatoes and basil.
Be aware that temperatures drop at night even in summer so bring a light jacket!
Prices vary between 55 $USD and 85 $USD for the Menu.
Monday to Saturday, 1 pm to 11:30 pm
Av. Bicentenario 4050, Santiago, Santiago Metropolitan, 7630708, Chile +56 9 74 77 6093
3- Chilean, ancestral — PEUMAYEN
Going to « Peumayen » is a perfect introduction to the vast range of Chilean ingredients. This restaurant is dedicated to celebrating native cuisines. It’s the result of deep investigation about the Chilean gastronomical roots.
“The dedication to celebrating native cuisines makes Peumayen the perfect introduction to the vast array of Chilean ingredients.”
-The New York Times.
Products, techniques, and original preparations that the first inhabitant created and imagined before the Spanish settlers came to Chile, what they like to call the « ancestral way of cooking ». And, very often, this way of cooking is not replaceable by new technologies.
At Peumayen they use all of this in modern cuisine. The place is delightful and the service as well. You will have a great evening there, for sure!
Around 80–100 $USD including wine and drinks.
Tuesday to Saturday from 07 pm to 00 am — Sunday from 1 pm to 4 pm.
Constitución 136, Providencia Santiago — Chile, Barrio Bellavista — Metro Baquedano
4- The place to be if you’re a wine lover — BOCANARIZ
If there is just one place in Santiago where you must go to have a glass of wine, it’s the Bocanariz! You can’t miss this place! Book your table in advance, it’s always crazy packed.
You will have the opportunity to taste a unique collection of regional wines. This bar was designed to showcase Chilean wines with about 400 offered on the list.
It’s also possible to dine there.
Try their wine tasting formula. It’s a good way to discover the wines depending upon the grape variety, location, and type. You can also order by the bottle and the choice is much bigger. You will have a wonderful evening there, I guarantee it.
The owner, Jerome Reynes, French, an entrepreneur by heart, arrived in Chile at the end of the 1990s and since then, opened many restaurants of any kind in Santiago.
For instance, he’s the founder of the trendy Fournil chain (bakery/restaurant) that you will find in the city. He always has in mind to combine excellence with teaching. At Bocanariz, it’s accomplished: each of the waiters is a trained sommelier which means that they know about wine and will be able to provide a service of excellence around it!
About 45 $USD if you spend this evening there. Just for tasting 8–10 $USD.
Monday to Wednesday: 12 pm — 00 am -Thursday to Saturday: 12 pm — 00:30 am- Sunday: 7 pm — 11 pm
Bocanariz, Jose Victorino Lastarria 276, Santiago Historico, Santiago, Chile, +56 2 2638 9893
5- Rustic Chilean cuisine with a fancy vibe — SALAVADOR COCINA & CAFE
Rolando Ortega or Rolo’ is a passionate Chilean cook and a smart entrepreneur! His restaurant is open from Monday to Friday only for lunch service and it’s always packed!!
With Rolando, you can have a restaurant and a life! Be sure to make your reservation before going there.
Rolo’ decided to open this restaurant to re-create the food that he remembered having when he was a child: rustic and savory food! He’s very creative and wants to give each raw material the opportunity to express itself.
The goal is reached: his food is rustic, authentic, and tasty surrounded with a warm, welcoming team and place. Good Service ( I mean for Chile).
If you’re a meat eater, you will be amazed as he loves working with all the parts of the animal such as heart, tongue, tripes… For the vegans, no worries!! There is always a dish for you available on the Menu!
Coffee served there is dark and of very good quality, one of the best place in Santiago for the coffee amateurs!
Around 15–20 $USD for a full menu.
Monday — Friday: 8 am-7 pm
The place is downtown, so it’s ideal to go there when you’re visiting the « old Santiago » for example « el Mercado central », « la Vega », or the Museum of Pre-Colombian Art.
Bombero Ossa 1059 between Universidad de Chile and Plaza de Armas metro stations. Tiny closed street. +56 2 2673 0619.
Ideas for the budget traveler
You can always go to Tirso de Molina, near la Vega, take the stairs, you will find many little restaurants and some of them offer typical Chilean dishes. It’s good and local!
Tourism Information Center: The main office in Santiago is located at Av. Providencia 1550 (Metro Manuel Montt), Mon-Fri 9–6, Sat 9–2; Tel. +56 2 7318336.
Telephone Code: from abroad, dial 0056 then leave off the 0 at the start of the phone number.
Currency: Chilean Peso.