As the capital city of one of South America’s most developed countries, I expected Santiago wouldn’t do too badly on the food front. Between the free (and decent) breakfasts and local riots severely restricting our freedom of movement, we didn’t quite work our way through the list of places I’d scoped out. We did make it to a few however – literally all of which I recommend. They’re all based around the Universidad Catolica and Baquedano metro stops and our hostel was in the middle.
Le Fournil: our first meal in Chile, Le Fournil gave us exactly what we were looking for. We were straight off the plane (12.5 hours and not an ounce of sleep) and looking for a big mid afternoon meal that would keep us going until we could get to bed.
It had a pretty fancy looking Italian based menu. We kept it simple with the menu del dia (ie. a three course set menu with a drink for a fixed price) so enjoyed vegetable soup, lasagne and a raspberry sponge cake for dessert. It was well priced, the service was exceptional and the interior was funky.
A slight faux pas had me learning the embarrassing way the tipping protocol in Chile. Wages are pretty low and it’s standard to tip 10 percent. It’s always included in the bill as an optional charge though, and so far everywhere has asked if we want to pay it – it’s definitely not expected. On this first occasion I thought she was asking me if I wanted to keep my receipt, so I politely answered ‘no thanks’. I won’t make that mistake again!
Wonderland Cafe: a cosy cafe slightly off the Main Street, Wonderland Cafe specialises in cakes and sweets but also served up some yummy brunch options and sandwiches as well. It is Alice in Wonderland themed and has a cute courtyard which one could easily pass time by.
We ordered the eggs Benedict brunch option (which came with cranberry porridge, juice and coffee) as well as the hummus, capsicum and eggplant bagel. It was a very fulling meal and good value for what we got.
New Horizon: I had been talking up an Indian restaurant in the Providencia area that we were suddenly unable to visit with the riots, so we opted for somewhere a little closer to home instead. We’d found New Horizon on a list of cheap eats, and we weren’t disappointed.
We ordered two curries, rice and a naan each, costing us a grand total of $11 per person. The space was simple – zero interior design (if that’s even possible) as it was just a room with a few tables and chairs and nothing on the walls – it definitely felt cheap. We had to wait for a table but the curries came out relatively quick and were both delicious. It would be a local takeaway shop for me if I lived in the area, but probably less of a sit in dining experience.
Original Green Roasters: 600m from our hostel, this was our only excursion on the second day of the riots. We walked realllllly fast, and were almost certainly expecting that it would be closed – but to our relief it wasn’t and there were even a number of people inside. It had a rather inconspicuous entrance, perhaps the reason it could stay open amidst the chaos.
We grabbed a window seat so that we could keep an eye on any outside developments, spotted long blacks on the menu (so rare outside of NZ and Aus) and settled in for some good tucka. Andy had waffles with bacon and maple syrup – for once there was no holding back on the syrup, and I had scrambled eggs with bacon, potatoes and caramelised onion. Both our meals were delicious.
Our cue to leave was when the owner came and spoke to all the customers, warning us that they might shut shop and leave at any moment but if we needed shelter we would be welcome to stay. We were out of there pronto and missioned it home as fast as possible.
I’m not sure that I’ll ever take the chance to expand on my food experience in Santiago: but if I do ever go back and eat some yummy food, you’ll be the first to know!