View of the Santiago countryside

Where to eat in Santiago

Santiago is fast gaining ground on Latin America’s gastronomic super-capitals Lima, Mexico City and São Paulo. While big-hitter Boragó gets a lot of the global press, the scene is dynamic and foodies can indulge in fine dining and new fusions as well as heartier, more traditional fare right across the city

Plates of food on display in Senso restaurant at Mandarin Oriental, Santiago

For food fusion

Santiago’s gastronomy has a strong trans-Pacific theme running through it. Peruvian-born Juan Osaki, chef at Matsuri at Mandarin Oriental, Santiago heads a team that dishes up superlative nigri-sushi, maki-sushi and teppanyaki in sophisticated surrounds. The hotel’s Senso restaurant (pictured above), which combines Mediterranean techniques with sublime, locally netted seafood – specialities include steamed Magellan king crab from Chiloé Island with parsley aïoli and garlic – is also the place to explore the gamut of Chilean wines. The 2,400-bottle strong selection overseen by MO sommelier Sebastian Riquelme is probably the best cellar in the capital.

Artfully plated dishes at Borago restaurant, Santiago

For modern Chilean

At Boragó – relocated to a swanky post-industrial space in Vitacura – chef Rodolfo Guzmán melds El Bulli-grade techniques, minimalist presentation and a profound knowledge of Chile’s rich larder to create the most dashing New Chilean cuisine in the city. The 16-course tasting menu features seaweeds, rock plants and oft-overlooked fish such as Chilean anchovy, Pacific sardine and mackerel-like jurel, plus plenty of the funghi found across Chile’s many biomes. Delicate aged duck, sea urchin and wild radish complete the food sampling, with rocks used for platters and ash for pepper – in a nod to Chile’s volcanic Andean spine.

Artfully plated dish at Ambrosia restaurant, Santiago

For signature ceviche

France and Chile collude to stunning effect at Ambrosia, a favourite with local Santiaguinos. Located in a former family home, with diners seated in intimate spaces, the restaurant – helmed by Carolina Bazán – serves an à la carte menu where classy also means comfort. Try the buttery Patagonian toothfish with asparagus gazpacho and cucumber noodles. A citrus ceviche is a characteristically fresh, tangy twist on a local staple.

Pastel de choclo

For Chilean classics

Santiago hasn’t the carnivorous zeal of Buenos Aires, but meat is still a key ingredient in the local kitchen, especially for lunch. Named after a past president, the Barros Luco is a fillet steak sandwich served with melted cheese. Ask for a slice of avocado to be added and liven up with hot local relish ají chileno. The Fuente Alemana on Av. Libertador Bernardo O'Higgins is a classic sandwich bar perfect for a Barros Luco with fries. Another national icon is pastel de choclo (pictured above), or corn pie, akin to a shepherd’s pie but with sweet corn, ground beef, chicken, raisins, black olives, onions and/or slices of hard-boiled egg. Wood-lined retro-diner Galindo in Bellavista is always buzzing with pastel aficionados. For fish-filled empanadas – another Chilean staple – aim for El Galeon, a more sophisticated outlet known for its house specialty: fried empanadas filled with king crab from Chile's Drake Passage.

Milk being poured into a coffee

For coffee and cake

A few years ago, coffee in Santiago meant make-your-own instant at the table or else inky espressos at the city’s bizarre “cafés con piernas” – old-school coffee shops “with legs” aimed at ageing businessmen. But the new wave has very much arrived, with creative coffee shops such as Café Wonderland and 3841 Coffee Roasters, in hip, atmospheric Lastarria. Chile’s German connections mean cakes, or kuchen, are a major thing.

View over a Chilean vineyard

For a glass (or more) of wine

A century ago, when Santiago was much smaller, pioneering winemakers established estates close to the centre. Thankfully, they still lie inside the modern sprawl, meaning you can do day trips to legendary makers such as Concha y Toro, Cousiño Macul – opt for the bike tour if you want to work off the indulgence with some easy exercise – and Carmén, famed as the site of the rediscovery of carménère wine in the 1990s. Visit Senso to try and buy MO’s two signature wine blends including MO Carménère and MO Blanc, created by Executive Chef Germán Ghelfi and Franco-Chilean vineyard, Lapostolle. If you want a day trip out of town, head for the Casablanca Valley, known the world over for its crisp whites and spritely sparklings, concluding with a seafood supper in Valparaíso.

Mandarin Oriental Santiago
Come Stay with Us
Mandarin Oriental Santiago

Presidente Kennedy Avenue #4601 , Santiago 756 0994, Chile

+56 2 2950 3088

Bottles of MO Carménère and MO Blanc

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