When Rolando Ortega was named Chile’s chef of the year in 2015 many Santiaguinos were surprised; his restaurant, Salvador Cocina y Café, was a humble lunch spot in Santiago’s city centre. Two years later, expect to queue to try the chef’s market-inspired creations which change daily but typically include dishes such as pork and mussel stew or beef tongue sandwich. facebook.com/SalvadorCocinaYCafe
Don’t be fooled by the casual vibe and recycled furnishings at 99 Restaurante Chef Kurt Schmidt’s dishes are highly sophisticated, from carrot sorbet with coconut foam to ‘fungal textures’ – a playful dish of raw, cooked, puréed and pulverized mushrooms. Choose between a six or nine-course tasting menu at dinner, or three courses at lunch. 99restaurante.com
Missing your elevenses? Never fear: Chileans have la once (‘the eleven’), though theirs takes place in the late afternoon rather than the morning. Head to Café de la Candelaria after 5pm, order the set menu for two and watch as your table fills up with a pot of loose leaf tea, cherimoya juice, passion fruit cheesecake and a basket of warm breads with mashed avocado and local jams. cafedelacandelaria.cl
Deep-fried turnovers are ubiquitous elsewhere in Latin America but the oven-baked empanadas at La Punta really must be tried. As the line outside attests, this fast-food staple doesn’t get any better than this with a wide selection of imaginative stuffings, including artichokes, palm hearts and prawns. comidaslapunta.cl
Chef Rodolfo Guzmán is on a one-man mission to revive the dormant cuisines of Chile’s indigenous Mapuche people at his restaurant, Boragó. Order the 18-course endémica tasting menu and you’ll sample dishes made with an array of local produce, including tola (an edible moss) and merkén (a smoked chilli pepper). borago.cl
Head out with La Bicicleta Verde at 9:30am for a three-hour bicycle tour of Santiago’s best markets. The daily trips culminate with a stop at Mercado Central, a bustling seafood market. Look for stalls selling razor clams, salmon, sea urchins or octopus, and then try fresh ceviche. labicicletaverde.com
Macarena Sion had returned from a stint in London when she opened Faustina, a chic café that was desperately needed in this Nescafé-addicted city. Its rich and nutty artisanal roast has become a welcome find in Santiago for many a coffee-lover, while the croissants and alfajores keep visitors coming back for more. facebook.com/FaustinaCafe
Skip Santiago’s urban wineries and make a beeline for Bocanariz. At this wine bar you’ll find more than 400 Chilean wines from the valleys that encircle the capital; many of the best bottles are available by the glass. It’s a great way to sample Chile’s silky carménères and crisp sauvignon blancs. bocanariz.cl
Gourmet goods and free samples are two good reasons to stop off at La Despensa 1893, a compact food store selling high-end products from across the country, including craft beers from Patagonia, organic wines from the Central Valley and olive oils from the arid north. despensa1893.com
Tucked within the rooms of a traditional Santiago home, unassuming Silabario elevates the cuisines of the Chilean countryside to new heights. Order the veranito de San Juan, a stew of smoked ribs, Chilote potatoes and longaniza sausages. Follow it with a homemade digestif infused with the antioxidant-packed murta berry. cocinalocal.cl
HOW TO DO IT
Direct return flights from London to Santiago start from £749 (ba.com).
Double rooms at Hotel Magnolia cost from around £120, b&b (hotelmagnolia.cl).
More info: chile.travel/en/
Words by Mark Johanson
Photographs: Getty, Alamy