In recent years, Chilean cuisine has become much more imaginative and intriguing. Chefs now take full advantage of the country’s exceptional fish and seafood, its superb lamb and the abundance of outstanding fresh fruits and vegetables.This transformation has occurred in tandem with the growing reputation of Chilean wines. Here are the restaurant highlights of our stay in Santiago.
Azul Profundo is located in the lively Bellavista neighborhood. As the name — “Deep Blue” — would lead you to suspect, the spe-cialty is seafood, a suspicion confirmed by the nautical décor. The menu features fish from Chile’s 3,000-mile coastline — swordfish, sea bass, salmon, hake and flounder, plus yellowfin tuna from Easter Island — and the best way to order them is a la plancha, which means grilled on a cast-iron skillet. Nothing else is required, except perhaps a turn of pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon. A good way to begin is with ceviche or the selection of ocean-fresh shellfish. The perfect accompaniment is a crisp Sauvignon Blanc — Chilean, of course.
Aqui Esta Coco has long been a popular restaurant in the smart Providencia neighborhood. Having arisen from a major fire in 2008, it re-mains one of the capital’s most fashionable places, thanks to the loyal following of the Pacheco Baquedano family. We started with shellfish-packed empanadas, which were just delicious, and continued with the signature "mai mai" conger eel (which looked and tasted rather like North Atlantic loup de mer) in a fresh cream sauce with shrimp, mushrooms and ham.
Astrid & Gaston is actually the Chilean branch of a well-known Peruvian establishment, but pedigree aside, it is probably the best restau-rant in town. (In 2008, it was awarded this accolade by Santiago’s Guía Culinaria.) Also in Providencia, it is tucked into a small pink building with a bustling dining room flanked by an open kitchen. We were seated on the very pleasant upstairs terrace, which for some reason known only to locals seems to be regarded as a social Siberia! Fortunately, the food was superb and beautifully presented. The starter of grilled octopus was a lovely composition, arranged in the shape of a star and set on a potato purée along with tangy dollops of olive foam and dabs of pepper coulis. A main course of grilled turbot came with potato gnocchi in a zesty tomato sauce. The service could not have been more gracious.
Free of advertising since its inception in June 1979, Hideaway Report is a private monthly publication for sophisticated travelers. The selection of hotels, resorts and restaurants for inclusion in this publication is made on a completely independent basis, with Andrew Harper, LLC paying full rate for all meals, lodging and related travel expenses. Andrew Harper and his editors travel incognito to write candid and unbiased travel reviews for a subscription service, which provides personalized travel-planning assistance, bespoke tours and valuable travel privileges to its subscribers. For questions regarding this article please contact email@example.com.