A fun part of any trip is all of the eating you get to do – and Santiago was a great place to grab some seriously good grub. We were lucky that one of our friends actually lived in Santiago and had heaps of recommendations for food and drinks (thanks Karen!).
Our dinners and lunches have been pretty consistent in terms of either getting Italian influenced food or Chilean (except for that one night when we just got Chinese…but hey, sometimes you just gotta grab some chinese food). Here’s the skinny on how we kept ourselves not-so-skinny on this trip.
Ciudadano was our first recommended dinner spot that we hit up in the middle of our first rainy night here. We indulged ourselves with a bottle of Carmenere, empanaditas (think empanada sliders), a huge salad and, of course, a pizza for Adam. We finished off the meal with a Santiago must: Pisco Sour.
Side note: Carmenere is a type of wine we had not encountered in the U.S. (or anywhere else for that matter). It was for this reason that we picked up a bottle during our stay in Valpo. Our B&B owner asked us how we liked Carmenere and we told him our thoughts and that we had never had it before. He shared a little story about this wine. Apparently Carmenere is a very old type of grape that used to be produced a ton back in the day in Europe – until a root louse wiped out the entire Carmenere breed of grape during the 19th century. Fast forward to the early 90’s and Chilean vineyards noticed their “Merlot” grapes were ripening much more quickly and looked a bit different from their other Merlot grapes…they pulled in the French wine experts to investigate and conduct DNA tests (insert super serious scientist face) and, lo and behold, the wine that was thought to be from Merlot grapes was actual the long lost Carmenere. Chile is now the only country in the world that grows Carmenere grapes.
So Argentina has her Malbec’s and Chile, apparently, has the world’s only Carmenere. Pretty awesome!
Another great recommendation was for Liguria – an ultra authentic Chilean experience where the menu is rather small but delicious. We started with a lentil soup and shared a dish of Lomo – super seasoned grilled meat that is then cubed and put into an ultra seasoned broth-type liquid. We chose to have some grilled vegetables as a side (though I bet having some arroz would be excellent and allow you to soak up all that delicious liquid at the bottom). Of course Carmenere was enjoyed, though we passed on the Pisco Sour (those things are sneaky. As in, make you want to be friends with all of the stray dogs sneaky).
Tiramisu was our last dinner in Santiago and is a thoroughly Italiano restaurant with a great ambience in the ritzy neighborhood of El Golf. Basically any pizza you can imagine, it’s here. Along with several variations of salad and fish dishes and very few pasta dishes (go figure). It was a wholesome meal, great for our last day.
Lunch spots were always dependent on when and where we ended up being hungry, however one recommendation for lunch we actually followed through on: Patio Bellevista. This is a cute area in the Barrio “Bellevista” and has a ton of restaurant (and helado! Chilean-Italian icecream) options with tons of outdoor seating. Yesterday was our first day of sun so we took advantage of it at L’Arca and enjoyed their menu del dia: a salad, guiso (Chilean risotto) with grilled chicken and fresh pressed pineapple juice – YUM!
We have most definitely eaten well this trip. Our final culinary experiences were had with a Terramoto from La Piojera (the original “dive” bar recommended by our friend, the drink is a concoction of white wine, liquor and pineapple ice cream. Yes it is as strong as it sounds). Unfortunately for us we also ordered food…and were served some form of meat that had been rolled up in fat before being grilled and sliced a la meatloaf with potato and pickles. Kind of like Chilean bbq (in all honesty, the seasoning and flavor were great, it was just the look of it that’s a bit gross). We washed it down with another local favorite (at least, we saw everyone eating them) Mote con Huesillo which is Tea with wheat and peaches. Actually pretty delicious and, as our last day here was also the warmest, a welcome and refreshing treat.