Flying into Santiago for the first time is a breathtaking experience, literally: most passengers hold their breath as the plane descends slowly across the spectacular snow-covered Andes. More surprises await on the ground. While Chile’s capital may not have Buenos Aires’ faded grandeur or Rio’s beaches, Santiago’s buzzing neighbourhoods, lively markets and inviting restaurants offer plenty of reasons to linger.
There is nowhere quite like Boragó, the sleek restaurant showcasing Chile’s incredible indigenous ingredients. During a decade spent experimenting with little-known ingredients, chef Rodolfo Guzman has discovered delicious ways to use 32 types of mushroom and Patagonian pine nuts the size of Brazil nuts. Along with other natural foods, they are showcased in Guzman’s creative degustation menus.
America has diners; Chile has fuentes de soda, or soda fountains. These simple places usually offer simple food, but Fuente Las Cabras is a little different. Top chef Juan Pablo Mellado Arana serves up a sophisticated take on comfort food, with dishes such as apio palta, or celery and avocado salad, and charchas de chancho, slow-cooked pork cheeks that fall apart on your fork.
Fresh flavours and eye-catching plating are the hallmarks of chef Carolina Bazán, who is rapidly building an international reputation. Channelling the lessons she learnt at restaurants including Paris’s acclaimed Frenchie, she helms the charming Ambrosia, a market-driven bistro housed in a residential setting.