Eat List: Santiago, Chile
Where to rock your chochas off in the Chilean capital.
Gastronomically speaking, perhaps no South American city has found as much order in the disorder through the pandemic, not to mention several years of a tumultuous political situation prior, as Santiago, Chile. While sangucherías and no frills picadas and sandwich shops still deserve your attention, as do now classics like Boragó, there is a new wave of neighborhood bistros, seafood temples and culinary projects in every part of the city. Rather than latching on to a single trend at a time, as it often seemed in years past, the offerings are more diverse. Rather than trying to outdo one another, it feels more cohesive. More complete. Things that once felt forced, unusual ingredients that were being “discovered,” are now common flavors on menus around town, and not just fine dining wines, like the rica rica from the Atacama I noticed in a negroni and also a merengue.
Maybe it was being cut off from the world for a couple of years, a culinary quarantine way down there at the end of the earth, but Santiago’s cooks are no longer just imitating Europe or America with an ingredient from Patagonia here and there. They are creating their own style. Something with Chilean soul, which can be a bit punk rock, a bit quiet. A quirky, understated elegance. Santiago feels grown up.
After more than a dozen visits to this city over the years, these are my recommendations of where to eat and drink well.