It’s spring here in Chile, and we’ve decided it’s high time we returned to our old habit of an evening stroll—which more often than not ends with us rewarding our healthy walking efforts with stopping somewhere for a bite and a sip. That’s pretty easy to do in our “neck of the hood” because we figure there must be at least 50—maybe double that—bars and restaurants within walking distance of our place.
So we meandered through what I call “Old Providencia” between Manuel Montt and Seminario, admiring the many beautiful homes that haven’t been torn town for high rises (yet), and eventually stumbled upon a place we’d never noticed before. Elfos, on Roman Díaz, about a block from Av. Providencia.
We were game. Or wait. Maybe we were IN a game…
A bearded elfy-looking guy at the door invited us in and showed us around. The entrance is done up with papery-stuff on the walls and ceiling to give it a foresty look (I’m wondering “hobbit hole”? No, this is elfin land…err, seriously?). A dark and narrow stairway leads to the 3 rooms upstairs—two lounges, one large bar—that can be reserved for private parties. Dark. The sofas look comfy enough for kicking back with friends who don’t have living rooms of their own, but the 1960s-style faux-wood paneling that screams “we ran out of money and maybe no one will notice” oversight that distracts from the fantasy feel they’re going for and bumping up the cheese factor.
We peeked briefly at the brightly lit main dining room on the first floor and decided to take advantage of the gorgeous evening and sit outside.
The waiter explained their Happy Hour policy—half price drinks until midnight—and left us to mull over the menuful of elf-inspired fare (I don’t remember the exact titles, but “elfwiches” and “elfburgers” come to mind—you get the idea).
A decent list of appetizers, sandwiches, and main courses (their Facebook page has a list of daily menu options). The waiter also offered a number of fish and beef specials that weren’t on the menu.
We just wanted a drink and algo para picar (an appetizer), and since one of us (you know it’s not me) is a vegetarian, our options were fairly limited. The fries looked good (regular, garlic, pepper, merkén) but the price ($4,900 pesos) indicated it was going to be a huge portion, so we opted for mushroom quesadillas ($5,900) and margaritas.
The waiter quickly reappeared with two empty margarita glasses and a shaker—good move! He served the glasses to the brim without spilling a drop. More places should follow suit—making waiters shuffle trays of too-full glasses through the obstacle course that most bars are just seems stressful and hardly practical!
Decent margaritas. Not too strong (note: if you’re looking for a binge, you’ll be disappointed; if you just want a drink that tastes good and has a kick—go for it).
The heaping plateful of quesadillas proved interesting. I’ve always thought of quesadillas as finger food—you know, pick them up in your hands and eat without making a mess—but not here. The bottoms were too soggy to eat by hand (one point down), but once I surrendered to knife-and-forking it, I discovered that while unconventional, the mushrooms were good and more plentiful than usual (and the reason for the sogginess) (one point up)…
Bottom line? Even though the food was fine, the drinks were good, and the service was great (three points up there!), we probably won’t go back. We’re just not elfy enough I guess. That’s the problem with theme bars, they run a major risk of feeling hokey to anyone who doesn’t identify with the theme. If you’re an elf–or looking for one–this could be your place, otherwise
Román Díaz 33
Elfos on Facebook
(BTW: their Facebook page has a very long and detailed description of what elves (elfos) are and are not)