Dining is one of Santiago’s great pleasures, and one of its most affordable. The city has everything from fine restaurants to informal “picadas”, restaurants that specialize in typical Chilean food. New restaurants are opening every day in neighborhoods like Bellavista, where hip “Santiaguinos” gather to eat, drink and be merry. The excellent Borderío complex attracts an upscale crowd, as does the area along Avenida El Bosque Norte and Avenida Isidora Goyenechea in Las Condes. For upscale dining, the elegant Avenida Nueva Costanera and Avenida Alonso de Cordova is unquestionably the current hot spot in town.
WHAT TO ORDER
With the largest Pacific coastline in the world, Chile’s fish and seafood is obviously in abundance. The quality is also exceptional, and always fresh. Meat is also popular and of very high quality, especially Patagonian lamb. The empanada is great for a light meal or snack – a pastry parcel with several fillings available, although the chopped beef (pino), and cheese (queso) varieties are particularly tasty. Chilean vegetables and fruit are varied and of superb quality. Whatever you decide to eat, you will always find a good Chilean wine to accompany it, and what better way to whet your appetite than with a Pisco Sour cocktail!
TIMES, ATTIRE & MONEY MATTERS:
Chileans tend to eat fairly late, with 2.00pm a typical hour for lunch, and 8.00-9.00pm for dinner. People do dress smartly for dinner, but a coat and tie are rarely necessary. Prices are relatively low, and it is difficult to find an entrée that tops US$20. You will also be pleasantly surprised by extensive wine lists with good prices. American Express, MasterCard, Visa and Diners are widely accepted. The general rule for tipping is a flat 10-15% in restaurants, although you can leave more when you feel you have had good service.