Top Restaurants in Chile
Traditional Chilean dishes like pastel de choclo are still served everywhere, but expect culinary fireworks when you hit the cities. You’ll find bars devoted to video games and cafés carved out of churches, Thai food, as well as lots of wine and ice cream. Bring your appetite.
Arturo Prat 435, Santiago, San Bernardo, Región Metropolitana, Chile
Housed in what was once a church rectory, this eatery is named for the iconic enclosed amusement park right next door. The theme of the shabby-chic decor is functional recycling but with creative, amusing twists: School desks, century-old park benches, an assortment of mismatched chairs, a gigantic chandelier made from beer bottles, and a staircase fashioned of crutches are just some of the ways familiar objects have been given a second life here. Meet your cholesterol quota for the month with the amazing shared appetizer pan de campo, a large round loaf of bread hollowed out and filled with melted cheese.
Bandera 347, Santiago, Región Metropolitana, Chile
As the name suggests, you can shout your order from the sidewalk and by the time you get to the counter, they’ve already served up your empanadas. Try the time-tested caldo mayo, a house-specialty beef broth that’s a perfect hangover remedy, especially with spicy salsa de ají, or hot pepper salsa, on top. Members of the Chilean judiciary are often seen here having a tintito, a dainty glass of red wine, before beginning the day’s proceedings. El Rapido opened in the thirties and has been operating ever since—don’t miss this quaint and tasty bit of history.
Cirujano Guzmán 39, Santiago, Providencia 7500513, Región Metropolitana, Chile
No apologies for screen-staring while you eat or drink here: Insert Coin is all about ingesting entertainment from the multiple arcade games, PlayStations, and Nintendo systems while sipping a novelty drink like a Dive the Tower or a Kong Blast, or munching on the restaurant’s snacky menu. Use the on-table consoles for free as long as you are consuming. Fridays and Saturdays get so busy you might have to wait for a game-equipped table.
Las Hualtatas 5632, Vitacura, 7630000, Región Metropolitana, Chile
Glück is a genius combination of café and kids’ playroom. Parents pay for each child’s entry so that the kids, supervised by café staff, can amuse themselves with a full array of toys and games while the parents relax, have coffee, and wedge in some adult conversation. Tables come with electrical outlets so harried moms and dads can plug in and catch up with everything they should have done two days earlier. The menu features coffees and infusions, sandwiches, and pastries, all done nicely. Private babysitting is available at extra cost.
Club Hípico 476, Santiago, Región Metropolitana, Chile
Housed in an elegant old residence, Ana María features one of the most exotic menus in Chile. The Santiago landmark has been serving game—including wild boar, Cornish hen, goose, wild duck, rabbit, partridge, frog’s legs, ostrich, and deer—for 30 years, ever since owner Ana María Zúñiga arrived from the south, a region famed for its hunting traditions. The fish, seafood, and more traditional meats on offer are well worth your attention, too.
San Vicente 375, Santiago, Región Metropolitana, Chile
Chile has some of the tastiest pork anywhere, and this spot is a great place to order it: in stews, as a rack of ribs, or baked with puré picante (hot sauce–seasoned mashed potatoes). From its humble beginning in 1912 (the name El Hoyo means “The Hole”), the eatery has become one of the best places in the city for traditional Chilean cuisine, attracting everyone from presidents to famous out-of-town foodies. The aptly named Terremoto cocktail, made of pipeño wine and pineapple ice cream, was invented here (terremoto translates as “earthquake” in Spanish). The wine barrels that serve as tables in the front room are delightfully kitsch; a rear dining room has a more sober vibe.
This acclaimed ice cream parlor with more than 15 locations (most Santiago malls have one) dishes out every imaginable flavor. Regulars crave dulce de leche, lifted from the namesake caramel dessert. Or try the Chilean classic called café helado, a tall glass of strong, chilled coffee with a scoop of ice cream at the bottom and whipped cream on top. ¡Ay, yi, yi! A rare spot for decaf coffee, as well as sugar-free and gluten-free treats, La Rosa serves breakfast, lunch, and high tea.
Pdte. Julio A.Roca 875, Punta Arenas, Región de Magallanes y de la Antártica Chilena, Chile
There’s a reason this Punta Arenas picada (like pica, a term for venues where food is both good and inexpensive) is almost always teeming with locals. Since opening in 1932, the soda fountain has been serving up classics in ways residents and visitors agree is perfect. Patrons sing the praises of the banana milkshake and Roca’s choripanes, sandwiches with housemade sausage. The decor is far from fancy but then, so are the prices. (The entertaining banter between staff and customers about the latest soccer match is included free of charge.)
Natales, Región de Magallanes y de la Antártica Chilena, Chile
Genuine Magallanes fare such as open-flame, spit-roasted lamb is what you find on the menu at this bucolic oceanside estate on the Eberhard Fjord in Patagonia. Aperitifs in hand, visitors can watch how the flavor-packed food that just keeps coming is prepared, and the service is a paean to Patagonia’s renowned hospitality. Connoisseurs recommend ordering the matambre, an especially tasty cut of beef. Tables hold parties of six or more, and individual diners are seated with whatever group can accommodate them. Reserve on the restaurant’s website (and remember that mobile service can be intermittent in this corner of the planet). Open mid-September to late April.
José Victorino Lastarria 282, Santiago, Región Metropolitana, Chile
The beef goes back centuries, and will never be entirely resolved: what are the true origins of pisco, a grape-based, aguardiente distillate that became a national symbol of Chile…and Peru. To end the conflict, the people behind this bar and restaurant invented a new, independent republic dedicated to Pisco that is known as Chipe Libre. Inside a vast Lastarria mansion, this imaginary state unites lands in southern Peru and northern Chile, in obeisance to a sole monarch, pisco. The bar features a good 100 labels and cocktails like “Pisco’s in the Air,” made with lime juice, raspberry, papaya and basil; plus a full range of what are among Santiago’s best traditional sours. Standout food include the crunchy-seafood saltado (marinated and grilled beef strips), with mango, served on a sizzling grill; the joint’s star sandwich, El Presidente, is a solid slice of roast beef, fried egg, and shoestring potatoes. To avoid any sovereignty disputes, Chipe Libre flies its red-and-black, center-starred flag as the republic’s national colors.