Santiago may make you think of comfort foods like stuffed full or big plates of peril, but the city’s food scene is in a unique state of change. There is more access to and appreciation of native ingredients that the Mapuche people have always used. There is a new way to combine modern techniques with traditional Chilean foods.
Santiago’s way of eating and cooking is changing in ways we’ve never seen before, whether it’s the bistronomy movement, a modernization-modernization and re-imagining of Chile’s beloved barbecue, or its sangucheras, which are traditional hubs of Chile’s lively sandwich culture. When you add restaurant openings by some of the most famous chefs in Latin America, like Gastón Acurio and Héctor Sols, it’s hard to imagine a more exciting food city in the Southern Hemisphere.
1. De Patio Restaurant
Chef Benjamin Nast is back in Santiago with De Patio. He worked in restaurants all over Europe for a while. With either an eight-course patio menu or a twelve-course festival menu, diners can expect beautifully presented bites inspired by the season. For example, the menu might include raw cuttlefish with apple, snails with shiitakes, or a salt-cured Covina. Nast has made sure that this space still works well a la carte with a rotating list of items meant to be shared. For the best a la carte experience, go to the bar with a friend or two and watch Nast’s beautiful dishes float out to the dining room.
2. Salvador Covina y Café
This small, hidden cafe in the middle of downtown Santiago will make you feel like you’re having lunch at a friend’s house, especially if that friend is Rolando Ortega, one of Santiago’s most famous chefs. At Salvador Covina y Café, Ortega can use whatever he wants to make a three-course lunch menu Del dia. Because he used to be a butcher and loves working with whole animals, you can expect the menu to have a lot of meat, like ossobuco or plateada al horno, but more sophisticated.
3. Restaurant 040
Many locals would say that 040 are sexy, fun, and crazy. 040 are tucked away on a side street downtown and is a great place for date nights, parties, and other events. The tasting menu is like a Willy Wonka tour of Chile, with dishes like straw-lined eggshells and small statues. And to keep the party going, there’s a secret speakeasy up a hidden elevator that serves excellent drinks while jazz music plays.
4. Sarita Colonia
Sarita Colonia is the patron saint of misfits, and this restaurant and bar are focused on a portrait of her. It’s all about bringing Chilean tastes to life in unusual ways. This Peruvian restaurant is known for its innovative dishes that combine flavors and techniques from the three continents:
- Peruvian pasta with Peruvian crab
- Asian oysters with fresh scallops
- American oysters with fresh scallop
When I have guests in town, I always take them to ChipeLibre. Chilean and Peruvian fusion cuisine is served at this “Chipea style” restaurant and the self-proclaimed “autonomous republic of pisco,” a popular brandy-like spirit from the region. There is a detailed explanation of why on the front inside flap of the menu.
Attracting an international population, the restaurant is located in the hip Lastarriá district and is a great place to spend the evening. They serve up some of the best pisco cocktails in all of Santiago, with a modern twist on some of the city’s most popular dishes.
6. Azotea Matilde
Barrio Bella vista used to be known as a rough bohemian neighborhood, but it has become one of Santiago’s most popular places to go out at night in recent years. This excellent rooftop bar looks out over a lively area and has a 360-degree view of the city and mountains. There are no reservations, so it can be hard to get a seat during busy times, but the effort is worth it when enjoying the sunset with pisco and a lamb empanada. On the drinks list, you can find house sangria, a few different kinds of mojitos, and a few drinks made by the bartenders.
7. Patagonia Schokoland
Patagonia Schokoland has all you need to satisfy your sweet taste! To introduce Chile’s southern traditions and recipes to the capital city of Santiago, a recently opened family-owned “chocolate house” has opened its doors. Patagonian-themed cafe Entrelagos was created by three sisters who are the children of a well-known Chilean chocolate shop in Valdivia. They take great pleasure in the wide range of origins and exceptional quality of their chocolate, which results in a mouthwatering taste sensation.
Osaka is known for its Nikkei food, a mix of Japanese and Peruvian flavors. This food is now famous all over the world. Osaka is a classy and attractive restaurant in Santiago that is always popular with locals. It may serve the best (and prettiest) ceviche and sushi in town. It can seat up to 145 people and is a favorite with groups because of its outstanding service and swanky atmosphere.
9. Restaurant Ox
Ox in Vitacura may be the best place in Santiago to eat your favorite cut of beef. From the luscious loom list (strip loin) to the bone-in tenderloin and a selection of premium wagyu, a wide variety of beef cuts are served at this restaurant, all cooked over wood flames in the traditional parrilla technique. Ask your waiter for the trio if you’re having trouble deciding between cuts. To get the whole parrilla experience, get some crispy mollejas (sweetbreads) and a bottle of carménère to begin your meal.
10. Peumayen Ancestral Food
Peumayen Ancestral Food will show you a wide range of Chilean ingredients through the lens of pre-colonial food. The 20 best places to eat in Santiago, Chile, without further ado. This restaurant is a real find in Santiago because it is a part of a long-running cultural project. Peumayen Ancestral Food looks into the roots of Chilean food by using unusual and rare ingredients and bringing back old ways of cooking.
Ambrosia is on a residential street in Vitacura, and the courtyard area has a very Zen, laid-back, and peaceful feeling. Chef-owner Carolina Bazán combines Chilean ingredients with a distinctly French twist to make simple and elegant dishes. The wine list is long and has good French and Italian wines.
12. La Vinoteca
The exceptional Vinoteca has two locations to serve its customers. The Vitacura location features a deli, an informal dining room with excellent tapas, and an upscale restaurant that serves contemporary takes on Chilean cuisine. There is no corkage fee for any of the wines sold in the wine shop that is located on-site.
Wine Spectator has repeatedly praised Bocanariz’s wine selection as one of the best in the world, with approximately 400 different varietals. Bocanariz, which aims to promote Chilean wine, entices us with a diverse range of regional varietals from well-known wineries and small, family-run wineries. All 40 meals on the menu can be paired with one of the numerous bottles in their cellar.
14. Castillo Forestal
Castillo Forestal is an old, romantic castle in the middle of Forestal Park and right next to the National Museum of Bellas Artes. When you eat here, you’ll remember it for a long time. The food is a mix of French and Chilean styles, and it’s simmered to bring out the best flavors. Dishes include their famous French pastries, sandwiches, and a variety of fish-based dishes, like crab ceviche.
15. Restaurant Peumayen
This restaurant is for those excited by the prospect of a complete dining experience, such as a historical tour through their taste buds. Their menu tells the story of the evolution of Chilean cuisine by blending traditional recipes and old cooking techniques.
Their “degustation”, or sampling platters, are the ideal way to experience the culinary roots of Chile. You may also select from a whole multicourse tasting menu!
16. Lolita Jones
This Mexican bar-taqueria was created by the husband-and-wife team of Nicolas Yankovic and Alexandra Inzunza. They had previously lived as expatriates in New York before returning to Santiago. Since launching a year ago, Lolita Jones has been a fashionable spot for a complete meal (with options such as carnitas, octopus, and steak with a marinade) and a margarita happy hour. The guacamole is cooked at the table, which is always a plus, and the service is generally favorable.
Dine al fresco at Mestizo, one of Santiago’s most incredible modern Chilean restaurants, located on the southern edge of the city’s most famous park, Bicentenario. The parilla-seared octopus atop a corn puree is one of the best dishes on the menu if you can get a reservation around sunset.
18. 99 Restaurant
Ninety-nine is on almost every list of the best restaurants in Santiago. Its casual, rustic setting and high-concept focus on Chilean ingredients have won fans. Stop by for lunch, which is simpler and cheaper than the six- or nine-course tasting dinner, to save a dollar. The menu features Chilean street food, small plates suitable for vegetarians, and a well-known house bread and mushroom butter.
19. La Picantería
Santiago is becoming one of South America’s most intriguing new dining cities; therefore, top chefs have opened flagship restaurants there. La Picanteria, by chef Héctor Sols, is the most anticipated. The Santiago site specializes in fresh seafood from Chile, Peru, and Japan and features a menu designed by Sols’ right-hand woman, Virginia Najarro. Choose from a chalkboard menu with fresh fish and crustaceans on ice. The best way to experience the excellence of La Picanteria is to order the whole fish in numerous forms, from the belly ceviche to the garlicky fried head. The best option available is Mestizo’s innovative dessert selection, which includes cheesecake Oreos, house-made Mascarpone ice cream, and Nutella-filled mini churros. A big pisco sour goes well with some of the best seafood in the city.
Europeo is a popular fine-dining spot that Chef Francisco Mandiola created. Critics have praised it. As the name suggests, the restaurant stays true to European style by using local flavors and ingredients to set it apart. Starters include abalone pie and the catch of the day served with urchin. Entrees include steak, slow-cooked pork belly, and homemade pasta stuffed with meat. There are wines from all over the world, including a few Sauvignon Blancs from the nearby coastal region of Leyda.