While its neighbour, Argentina, may have a more obvious calling for foodies, Chile shouldn’t be over-looked when it comes to gourmet cuisine. Its unique and diverse terrain means the country has all sorts of produce, much of which can’t be found anywhere else. Juicy grapes, plump avocados, golden corn, lamb, delicious fresh fish and the exotic King Crab are just a few from the list of their bounty; and did you know they grow over 286 varieties of potatoes? Chile has a big voice on the food scene and there’s no better place to sample the delights than in Santiago. So we’re taking you off the beaten path and shining the spot light on some of our favourite places to dine with the locals.
JUAN Y MEDIO
Whether you’ve been leafing through guides or discovering the city at leisure, you’ll soon realise that Santiago is stuffed full of delicious restaurants to lure you at every turn. After a few days here your stomach will probably feel fairly stuffed too – especially if you find yourself in Juan y Medio. An authentic Chilean restaurant, this is where you will find the locals hanging out each day. Leave any pretence behind and get ready to do some people spotting amid the chatter and buzz that makes up for the stripped back décor. There is nothing haute cuisine here; it is tasty, traditional grub (such as corn pie and Cazuelas), served in hefty portions. This is one local gem that will immerse you in Chilean life before you can finish your plate of Humitas.
CAFÉ DE LA CANDELARIA
Set in one of Santiago’s new coolest neighbourhoods, Barrio Italia, this little café is a hip place to see and be seen over a spot of afternoon tea. A light and airy courtyard scattered with greenery and a mish-mash of furniture, Café de la Candelaria is a lovely escape from the crowds and serves suitably delicious food to match. Think locally grown avocado on toast, artisan crepes and homemade cakes, and an extensive list of coffees and teas to suit every traveller’s wants and needs. This is the perfect city oasis to while away a couple of hours.
PELUQUERIA FRANCESA, SANTIAGO
One of the most unique restaurants you will find in the city, the translation for Pelunqueria Francesa is ‘French barbershop’ – which is what the building originally was. It dates back to 1868 and the proprietors have maintained a strong sense of history, while also serving modern local food that has a carefully considered French twist. Sit surrounded by a wonderful array of antiques, and the Chilean clientele (who reassuringly also love this place), and soak up the vibrant atmosphere of this utterly charming restaurant. And don’t forget to order some of the country’s signature Pisco Sours and Chilean wine to wash all the tasty food down.