Tag Archives: Santiago

An A for Arrieros Colombianos

Isabel and I were looking for someplace different for lunch. We were up for “relaxed, low-key, good, and fun,” and we found it at Arrieros Colombianos, set in an old house in the “Brasil toward Yungay” barrio of Santiago Centro, on Av. General Bulnes, a block west of Cumming. We pushed through the narrow wooden and glass doors to find ourselves in a cheery yellow and peach-colored bar with natural plank-wood floors and a homey feel. Good start on the fun and low-key part.

Arrieros Colombianos: patacones, chicharrones, arepasWe started with a maracuyá (passion fruit) sour—very good and not too sweet, just as I asked—served icy cold—just as I like it—and a Club Colombia beer to accompany an abundant starter of arepas (thick Colombian cornmeal tortillas), patacones (diagonally cut, flattened fried plantains), and chicarrones (fried pork rinds). Conclusion: “this stuff just has to be bad for you because it just tastes way too good!”

We were going Colombian all the way, so quickly discarded the meat, fish, and Chilean sections of the menu and went straight to Colombian home style: Bandeja Paisa, Sancocho, Ajiaco, and others before Iz decided on a hearty (and huge) Cazuela de Frijoles that came with an enormous plateful of rice, arepas, patacones, and Colombian sausage, and I went for the main-dish Arepa topped with pulled chicken and beef in a tomatoey sauce that reminded us both of barbecue.

Arrieros Colombianos_CheckWe passed on the one by-the-glass wine option (Concha y Toro Exportación) and ordered one of the few half bottles on the list—a 2010 Santa Ema Cabernet, which was served impeccably. In fact, service all around was excellent.

Price–a bit of a splurge for lunch at $26,000, but considering we had way too much food and could actually order half the next time around, it was reasonable enough.

Bottom line question: Would we go back? Sí señor—not a doubt about it.

Av. General Bulnes 86, Santiago Centro, Chile
Tel.: 2-699-4196

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Elfos Restobar

Elfos Bar Santiago de ChileIt’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… Continue reading

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Chile’s Culinary Front: the Best of 2010

It’s that time of year again: Chile’s El Mercurio newspaper’s Wikén magazine has announced its favorite Chefs and Restaurants for 2010. Here’s the skinny–in English– along with a bonus track…

El Mercurio's Revista Wikén, Aug 27, 2010

Cover Revista Wikén, Aug 27, 2010

At our house we always read Wikén, the weekly food, wine & entertainment supplement that comes with El Mercurio every Friday, but there is one edition per year that we especially look forward to. And today was the day: the Annual Ranking of Chile’s best chefs and restaurants.

You can read the whole thing yourself in Spanish here: (El Wikén: Mejores Chefs y Restaurantes 2010), but I’ll give you the basics in English right here, complete with comments as a bonus track. All restaurant addresses and phone numbers are listed in alphabetical order at the bottom of the page.

Click to discover what the crew at El Mercurio (and I) think about the Best Chefs, Best Restaurants, and up-and-coming people, trends & foodie hangouts in Chile er, Santiago, er, kinda the same thing… ? What do YOU think?

Continue reading

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Coquinaria: The Jury’s Still Out

CoquinariaThis 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. Continue reading

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Jofré: shall we stay, or shall we go…?

Cool place; great food… service? Room for work…

Did you ever notice how some people are just not cut out for service? And how much a difference it makes in how you feel about a place?

Last night a group of friends decided on the spur of the moment to go get a drink and a bite. Someone suggested Jofré… Great place; I’ve been there several times over the course of its 6 or so years in business… Low-key Latina bistro type, set in a renovated cité with small dining rooms and a nice terraza. There’s cool artwork on the exposed adobe walls,  the kitchen’s open to view, and the wine list is printed in colored chalk on an enormous board on the wall…

Food wise it’s a keeper too. The menu usually offers 4–5 reasonably priced dishes determined in accordance with the daily market finds… (in fact, the menu is printed daily). But last night we were there for drinks and apps, so I didn’t even check out the main courses.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. First impressions first. Let’s start with one foot in the door… Continue reading

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Don Victorino Restaurant

This Lastarria bistro is a great place to catch up with an old friend over drinks and a bite…

By Margaret Snook, February 1, 2009

Here’s the panorama: movie and drinks with a friend I needed to catch up with. We caught a film at the Biógrafo (art house) on Lastarria (cool Santiago neighborhood on the eastern edge of downtown) and then looked for a place close by for drinks and picoteo (appetizers). The neighborhood is full of places to choose from, but Don Victorino was hopping, she’d never been, and I hadn’t been in a while, so… decision made.

Set in a remodeled old house, the place has a nice, cozy, bistro feel to it in with colonial-red walls, plenty of refinished natural wood, and appropriately placed antique furnishings. Comfortable and inviting. There’s seating for about 60-70 people in four separate areas: on the street, in the bar, in a second-floor loft overlooking the bar, or in the interior combined patio-dining room. It was pretty full when we got there about 11:30, so we decided on a small table by the bar.

We weren’t very hungry, so we stuck to the appetizer menu… plenty of good choices: tortilla de papa, fried calamari, ceviche, among others, all ranging from about $2500 to $5000 ($5-10 USD approx). We ordered the breaded jumbo shrimp and salmon tiradito (both just under $5000) and a couple of caipirinhas, one of my all-time favorite mixed drinks.

A bread basket with two standard rolls and a little bowl of pinkish salsa appeared very quickly, even though we clearly were not having dinner. Neither looked interesting enough to waste the carbs on, so they went untouched.

The shrimp was fine, nothing out of this world, but done well enough-butterflied, breaded, fried til crisp, and served with an oddly carmine-colored sweet-n-spicy ketchupy kind of sauce that wouldn’t be my first choice, but I wouldn’t refuse it either.

The tiradito, a traditional Peruvian dish made with long thin strips of raw fish marinated in lemon or lime with Peruvian seasonings, was arranged on a plate, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with those yummy Peruvian crunchy corn kernels and garnished with ruffly red leaf lettuce. It was good, but perhaps a bit skimpy for the $4800 price tag-about 8 bucks.

The caipirinhas were good-in the end we shared a third-and if you’ve never tried one, you’ve got to fix that right now. Brazil’s national drink has got to be the best cocktail ever for beating the January heat (we ARE in the southern hemisphere here!)

The service was attentive and friendly, although a bit overly enthusiastic when it came time to clear the table. I felt like the waiters really wanted to get out of there. Points in their favor: We didn’t notice that the 10% tip was included on the check (yes, more places are doing that these days) and would have left another on top of it had the server not brought it to my attention.

Overall impression: Nice, relaxed, and inviting atmosphere. Good place for conversation. Good but not spectacular appetizers, but will wait for the main course before making a final decision.

Repeatable experience? Yes

Price Range: not outrageous, but bring a plastic backup.

Address:  José Victorino Lastarria 156, Santiago
Phone:  (562) 639-5263
Price:  Not cheap. $19.500 tip included

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World Delicatessen: World Class all around

By Margaret Snook, December 9, 2008

Giancarlo Mazzarelli, one of Chile’s top chefs has a new project. In addition to his top notch restaurant Puerto Fuy, he’s now the guy in the know behind the new shop-slash-restaurant “WD: World Delicatessen” in the fashionable Nueva Costanera sector of Vitacura.

Need a special gourmet gift for your favorite epicure? This is the place. Special spices and seasonings,  pastas, foie gras, oils, rices, caviar, truffles, quinoa, and the largest selection of salts I have ever seen in one place! And then there are the gifty items–you know the ones: those cool things that make great gifts but that you rarely buy for yourself. Pretty glass jars of paté, for example, or fancy bottles of culinary perfumes. Seriously. I had the chance to try a spritz of white truffle oil essence on beef and Grand Marnier essence on creme brulee. Interesting effect, and a good way to get just a hint of flavor without having to drizzle. Of course you could put the stuff in a spritzer and get the same effect, but I have to admit, the bottle is pretty classy!

But WD is more than a shop. It’s also a restaurant that’s open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, from 9:00 am til midnight or so. The menu changes every week, the prices are reasonable, and the atmosphere is modern and sophisticated yet inviting and comfortable, with outdoor tables in front and indoor seating in the back.

But that’s not all! It also has a great space for cooking classes, which will be offered by Giancarlo and friends–some of Santiago’s top chefs.

Nueva Costanera 6664, Vitacura, Santiago de Chile.   Phone: (56-2) 789-4047

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