This is a place we’ve had our eye on for quite a while. A new concept in Santiago, an upscale market offering gourmet products (Chilean and imported)—a foodie’s delight—and tables indoors and out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
We stopped by with friends the other night, originally on our way to someplace else, but stopped in to check it out and decided to stay.
The ambiance is delightful. Modern yet cozy, sophisticated yet friendly. My kinda place.
But I am sad to say that the dining side of the set-up still needs work.
Granted, it was the night before elections and they wanted to close up early… Maybe the chef had to travel out of town to vote the next day. Maybe the kitchen staff was on some campaign trail–or catering a night-before strategy meeting for one of the candidates… we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt… this time…
We sat at one of the outdoor tables; perfect on a warm summer night in Santiago.The waiter immediately suggested we order our drinks first because he could only serve alcohol until 9:00 (ok, fine, although the law says midnight before elections. But let’s not quibble there. They want to get outta there early tonight–like most of the other places around town).
As the waiter served my pisco sour and I stared at the funky orange color, he commented that it’s because they use brown sugar. It concentrated the fruit in such a way that instead of being crisp refreshing, it was more like nectar. I’m all for experimenting with pisco sours, but this is an innovation I could happily live without.
A number of the dishes on the short menu were unavailable, and the server was not able to correctly explain the ingredients in some that were… Someone in the group asked about the gnocchis topped with gremolata, upon which he explained that gremolata was a little potato, which, of course, it most definitely is not. For the record, it’s a topping made finely chopped parsley, garlic, and grated lemon zest…also for the record, in the final result the dish was overpowered by lemon (I suspect a whopping dose of lemon juice found its way into the sauce). Too bad, although one of the people who ordered it liked it quite a bit.
There’s a vegetarian in my favorite eating community, so we asked for 2 orders of bruschetta for starters that made absolutely no mention of meat in their description (I believe it was tomato and cheese), but what arrived was a beautifully prepared assortment of toasts topped with salmon, beef, and jamón Serrano… great for me, but not for the veggie guy. When we questioned it, the server shrugged and said, “this is what you asked for” (no points earned there).
My “freshly made” duck raviole with port sauce was hard around the edges (the pasta dried out before cooking) and the sauce a tad too sweet for my taste (it WAS made from port sauce, so I should’ve expected it, although I had hoped for a bit more balance.).
A few problems with the wine service—the kind of thing that you expect in a family-style restaurant but not in a place aiming for chic-cool.
Price? Pretty much in line with other places in the neighborhood, about $22,000 CLP per couple with wine, appetizers, and main course—no dessert, no coffee.
Will I go back?
Yes. I want to like this place. I really do. So I’ll give them another chance. I hear they do a nice Sunday brunch (don’t get enough of those in Santiago), and I bet their lunch menu is pretty tempting too.
I’d love to hear some other opinions, so if you’ve been to Coquinaria, please leave a message and let us know what you think!
Address: Isidora Goyenechea 3000, Las Condes, Santiago, Chile (downstairs in the new W Hotel Building, across from Plaza Perú)
Hours: Mon–Fri 7:30 AM–11:00 PM, Sat 9:30–11:00, Sun 9:30–9:30