I realized I’ve written travelogues about my trips all over the rest of the world, but not where I’ve been living for the last four months. Here’s a list of some of my favorite places, including restaurants, bars and random places to hang out.
Santiago has some great restaurants, but you have to search to find them. Google doesn’t help (all the sites are flash, so google doesn’t read the content) and there’s no Yelp here. Here’s what I’ve uncovered in my time here:
Pad Thai – Manuel Montt. Great Thai restaurant with a good selection of beer and authentic Thai dishes. Their outdoor courtyard in the back is a great place for a meal. They let you order the dishes from 1-5 on the spicy scale and I got a 3. The waiter warned me that it was going to be super spicy and tried to get me to go down one level, but in the end I wished I had gotten a 4. Great food.
Cuidad Vieja – Bellavista. Amazing, interesting sandwiches and not too expensive. Lots of beer on tap and in bottles. Plus they have this smoked, spicy red sauce instead of ketchup made in Valdivia that in unreal.
Tiramisu – Las Condes/El Golf. Great thin crust pizza. A little on the expensive side, but a cool atmosphere and top notch food. It’s always packed, no matter when you go.
Fajita Express – Providencia/Pedro de Valdivia. For $5 I can get a big burrito and a coke. My goto cheap restaurant.
Machu Pichu – Providencia/Manuel Montt. Jesse and I were walking around near our hostel when we first came to Santiago and ate here our first night, as it was the first restaurant we walked by. We’ve been back a bunch of times. Every dish on the menu is good, but the ceviche mixto is amazing. It comes with a candied sweet potato, which is great.
El Naturista – Centro. Vegetarian restaurant with two locations close to my office. I love their pebre, which goes really well with all of their dishes. My favorite is huevos rancheros with tons of pebre.
La Piojera – Centro. I hesitate to include La Piojera, since I’ve only gone once, but it’s a great time. They have their famous terremotos, which are made of white wine, pineapple sorbet and some light liquor. They are good, but I loved the meat and the hot sauce at La Piojera. And it was cheap.
Barandiaran – Providencia/Manuel Montt. A little more expensive than Machu Pichu, but really good. They have a swimming pool and a beautiful terrace in their courtyard. They do a little more upscale peruvian.
El Huerto – Providencia/Orrego Luco. Vegetarian. The best salads in Santiago, hands down. Their homemade wholewheat bread and their very vegetabley pebre are great.
Domino – Everywhere. My other goto fast food restaurant. It’s how fast food should be. Good ingredients, lots of choices, not expensive. They have surprisingly good salads as well. Underrated: get the vegetarian sandwich (avocado, tomato, cheese) with a “pila” of eggs. It’s about $4 and really good.
Kintaro – Bellas Artes. There are a ton of sushi restaurants in Santiago, but this one has the fewest amount of rolls with cream cheese. If you go with a big group, they have a “sushi/sashimi boat” that comes with about 100 pieces for about $45. It’s a good place to go before going out. You can buy a bottle of pisco for $12, which is $2 more than in the liquor store. Every Santiago sushi spot has rolls made of avocado, which are my new favorite. I’m going to miss those back in the US.
Fuente Alemanda – Pedro de Valdivia and Plaza Italia. The best lomitos in Santiago. They come with lettuce, tomato, sauerkraut, avocado, mayo and I always add tons of spicy mustard. The bread makes the sandwich. They are huge though and you can split them between 2 people. Kind of touristy, but worth it.
El Chaguito – Providencia/Manuel Montt. Ok, so not a restaurant, but Jesse and I go here 2-3x per week to buy all of our fruits and veggies. It’s 50% off from the supermarket and waaay better quality. We can get a huge amount of fresh produce for about $10. They get their fresh deliveries on Mondays.
Orego Luco – Providencia. This is a small street just of Av. Providencia near Pedro de Valdivia that has about 8 bars with outdoor tables. It’s full every night, except Sundays. Almost every bar has 2×1 drinks until 12am.
Any outdoor bar on Pio Nono – Bellavista. This area is sort of like a seedy version of the terrace in Madison. There are tons of bars with plastic red tables and chairs. You can get a litre of beer for $2-3 and hang out with friends. You’ll see all sorts of characters walking by, but be wary of anyone who starts randomly talking to you in English right away. They are likely shady characters.
Most of the bars on Manuel Montt, just south of Av. Providencia. There are tons of bars and restaurants on Manuel Montt that compete for your business. The outdoor ones have the best settings, but the smaller ones have the best drink deals.
El Kika – Providencia/Pedro de Valdivia. Ok, so this is less than a 2 minute walk from my apartment, but it’s got good beer, cheap food and lots of outdoor seating. One of my friends asked me “how can you possibly live there, I’d be at elkika everyday!”
Cerro San Cristobal – Cerro San Cristobal dominates the northern skyline of the city. It’s a really nice walk up the hill and once you get to the top you get a great view of the city and the Andes to the east. There’s also an elevator type thing if you’re too lazy to walk. Entrance is at the end of pio nono, but I like to walk down Pedro de Valdivia to the other entrance and walk up from there.
Cerro Santa Lucia – A large hill in the middle of Santiago with a cool old castle/look out point on the top. Great views of the city and shorter walk up than Cerro San Cristobal.
Parque Metropolitano – Connected to Cerro San Cristobal, I love to walk up Pedro de Valdivia to the foot of Parque Metropolitano and sit in the shade. It’s a great place to get away from the noise of the city and get some work done. It’s also a great place for a bbq during the weekend.
Mercado Central – Very touristy, but if you avoid the guys trying to get you to eat at their restaurants, they have an amazing selection of fresh seafood for super cheap.
Parque Bustamante – This park runs for a few miles from the Salvador metro stop all the way down town, along the river. I love walking though the park on my way to or from work.
Plaza de Armas – The Santiago Cathedral looks like it was transplanted right out of Europe. Really cool architecture.
My rooftop – I love reading, working and hanging out on my rooftop and those of my friends. What a great feature for an apartment complex!
I have a little more than a month left in Santiago, so if I’m missing one of your favorite places, tell me! I’ll be sure to check it out before I go.
Looking for more high quality information about Chile? Check out my book Chile: The Expat’s Guide:
Thanks for the trip down memory lane! I studied in Santiago for all of 2005 and remember some of these places. The last month or so I was there, my roommate and I would hike all the way from our apartment by Tobalaba metro all the way down Pio Nono, up the Cerro San Cristobal and then down and back to the apartment. Good times! I remember El Kika, La Piojera (thinking of it makes me crave a terromoto!) and a few others too. I am involved with a company that’s applying for Startup Chile, so there is a chance I’ll be back there at some point soon!
Abrazos desde Beijing
Thanks for commenting! I’ve done close to that same route up cerro san cristobal, but from Pedro de Valdivia, great walk, especially now that it’s cooled down some. Did you end up making it into startup chile this time, or no?
Yes, our team made it in to the program and it’s very exciting. The only thing is that I haven’t been involved with the project before, and I’ve been busy with completely unrelated projects in a totally different country. Lots to think about!