We were led to believe that the food in Puerto Varas was going to be of the absolute highest quality. German influences, lots of sea food, gorgeous beer and wine – yes please! Our food experience ended up being good, but not amazing. We were gutted that we didn’t get to eat at Mesa Tropera, a pizzeria on the waterfront serving esteemed craft beers. We tried multiple times to go there but the riots really put a dent in things: Mesa Tropera was either closed or closing each time we went.
The crowd favourite is Cafe Mawen. Specialising in carbs: sandwiches, pizzas and cakes, we enjoyed one of the best hot cheese sandwiches I’ve had in a really long time. It also has cool views of the lake and volcano and seems to be perpetually open, however its interior is all red and yellow, which grows tiresome after a while.
Much better decor but slightly less impressive on the food front was Cassis. If I’m perfectly honest we probably both ordered badly: Andy (the worlds biggest chicken burger fan) ordered a vege burger which was a measly substitute, and I ordered a coconut smoothie bowl which promised fresh mango (there was none) and delivered way too much on the chia pudding front. Note to self: avoid chia puddings when I know nothing about the quality of the place! Cassis is famed for sandwiches, pizzas and cakes (surprise surprise) so maybe we strayed too far from the beaten path.
We are aiming to eat out only once a day for budgeting purposes. We’ve also started eating vegetarian more often (hence the vege burger) and this is usually the nights that we cook for ourselves. We ate two dinners out, one at Patagonia Burgers and Beer and the other at Cafe Barista.
Patagonia Burgers and Beer was very Americanised. Music videos playing on the screens above the booths and massive portions. Thankfully our waitress told us that a pizza each would be way too much, even one pizza to share was huge. The burger options were all beef (so a no-go) but they looked very hearty and definitely shareable!
Cafe Barista was the most upmarket place we visited. They had a delicious tapas menu that was a bit pricey for us (but good value on the whole) and instead we ordered trout with vegetables and pesto noodles. The food was very yummy and the ambience was pleasant, but this one of our more pricey meals overall.
The protest interruptions meant we were caught out a few times: one of our meals at home comprised of only eggs, toast and asparagus – hey, I’m not complaining, but that was all we had to work with. It took us a few days to realise that the supermarkets and shops would shut sporadically and then eventually just not reopen as the ‘peaceful’ protesters marched the streets. Restaurants were unpredictable, but it had the effect of impacting our plans more than once.
There were loads of options in the township though, especially for those not on a budget. We have since been to the supermarket and stocked up on basic supplies which we’ll carry with us, so that we don’t find ourselves being forced to have no options again. Our track record so far in Chile is shaping up okay, so I hope it continues this way!