Santiago is all too often overshadowed by Buenos Aires. The first time I visited the Chilean capital was as a student backpacker, and I remember viewing it as an as-brief-as-possible stopover on my way between Atacama and Bariloche.
Now, I am lucky enough to have spent a solid amount of time in Santiago and I can’t gush enough about the city surrounded by the Andes Mountains.
One factor that shows just how varied, developed and international Santiago is has to be the restaurant scene. Providencia is full of restaurants, and one of my favourites is the French-owned Jardin de Epicuro on Orrego Luco (a street full of restaurants and home to the boutique hotel, La Reve). Here you sit on wooden decking sipping Pisco Sours or French fizz as passing musicians play a song or two. The bar inside has a deli-feel to it, with brick walls and wooden tables. As for food, there are delicious platters to share, whilst main courses are French-influenced with duck confit and foie gras ravioli.
Another great area for food and a buzzy atmosphere is Lastarria. One of my favourites here is Casa Lastarria, a restaurant with an unrivalled roof terrace. Dishes are generous and the view stretches all the way over to San Cristobal Hill. When I say generous, I mean generous. We shared the ceviche starter which was delicious, but definitely big enough to be a main. The fillet of fish is especially good, as is the steak and chips, and if you want to balance things out the salad sides are, of course, of very generous proportions. For pudding, the chocolate ice cream is rich and unbelievably moreish.
Over in Vitacura, the streets are quieter and more sophisticated but Nueva Costanera Street full of top notch eateries. One of the best is Sukalde, where you will have a supper you won’t forget in a hurry. The Mexican-Chilean chef and owner, Matías Palomo, has concocted a tasting menu which surprises, challenges and indulges your tastebuds. Like works of art the dishes range from scallops to prawns and pork, finishing with a pannacotta pudding inspired by, and in the shape, of boiled and scrambled eggs. One of the highlights comes right at the beginning in the form of the aperitif of three shot glasses containing three different types of Pisco Sour - merken, rica rica and calafate.
Gabriel O'Rorke, Travel Journalist.