Fusing indigenous foodways, cosmopolitan culture, and a largely sustainable ethos, Santiago de Chile has become one of South America’s most exciting culinary destinations. 

Advertisement
Santiago winter cityscape
Credit: Getty Images

No longer just a stopover on the way to Patagonia and the Chilean wine country, Santiago is a captivating, cosmopolitan city of 6 million set against the backdrop of the snow-capped Andes Mountains. Here, luxury high-rises and new-school eco hotels overlook colonial-era architecture, seafood markets, and bohemian enclaves.

On the culinary front, sustainability and indigenous foodways have come centerstage, with the self-proclaimed “zero-kilometer” restaurant Boragó earning serious acclaim (and a spot on our World's Best Restaurants list). Meanwhile, Chilean wine country has become a coveted destination in its own right, with many Santiago bars offering a taste of the terroir in glamorous settings. From time-honored local institutions pairing Chilean wine with cheese and charcuterie to the gastronomic gems pioneering what may be considered “new Chilean” cuisine using foraged ingredients, here are the best restaurants and bars in Santiago. 

99 Restaurante

99 has graced nearly all of the best-restaurant lists in Santiago, winning fans over with its marvelously casual rustic setting and high-concept focus on local Chilean ingredients. To save a buck, stop by for lunch which skews more casual and affordable than the six- or nine-course dinner tasting affair. The menu spotlights Chilean street favorites alongside vegetarian-friendly small plates and a lauded house bread and mushroom butter.

Azotea Matilde 

Once known as a gritty bohemian neighborhood, Barrio Bellavista has become one of Santiago’s popular nightlife districts in recent years. Overlooking the vibrant area is this fantastic rooftop bar offering panoramic views of the city and mountains beyond. It can be hard to score a seat during peak hours (there are no reservations available), but the effort is worth it once you’re soaking up the sunset, and some pisco, with a lamb empanada in hand. On the drinks list, find house sangría, a selection of mojitos, and several original creations.

Baco

A favorite among locals, Baco offers a wide array of global wines alongside pan-European dishes with Latin accents. On the menu, you’ll find hearty standards like boeuf Bourguignon and a house cassoulet, but folks also come here to enjoy a simple glass of wine with small plates like roast beef or beef tartare. The focus on wine is clear throughout: decor takes cues from the outdoor patios of Chilean wineries, while the wine list features hand-drawn pictures of bottles. If you’re just stopping by, check out the attached wine shop.

An edible "twig" at Borago
An edible “twig” is one of the many whimsical dishes on the tasting menu at Boragó in Santiago.
| Credit: Claudio Vera

Boragó

For the past 15 years, Boragó and its chef Rodolfo Guzmán have transformed Chile’s culinary landscape, The restaurant’s fantastic tasting menus spotlight global fine-dining movement towards local sourcing, terroir, and sustainability. In Chile—an extremely geographically diverse country of mountains, deserts, and glaciers—this means taking advantage of “micro-seasons” and the products that can be foraged or harvested during these fleeting periods, from wild mushrooms to fresh abalone and edible flowers.

Europeo 

Another critically-acclaimed fine-dining favorite, Europeo is the brainchild of chef Francisco Mandiola. As the name suggests, the Vitacura restaurant stays true to European technique, differentiating itself with local flavors and ingredients. Starters range from abalone pie to a catch of the day served with urchin, while entrees included steak, slow-cooked pork belly, and a stuffed homemade pasta. Wines span global and local varieties, including a few Sauvignon Blancs from the nearby coastal Leyda region.

Geber Alchemist Bar

At this dimly lit cocktail nerd’s paradise, you’ll find plenty of innovative mixology—and presentation. Cocktails here come in little birdcages adorned with edible flowers, served from a sumptuous, backlit bar. The bar snacks are likewise thoughtful, ranging from tartare and charcuterie to fried bites and gooey queso fundido.

Il Maestrale 

Inspired by childhood memories of ice cream shops in the Cinque Terre, Italian-born owner Donata Bergmann opened Il Maestrale in 2004 after moving to Chile. Ten years later, the shop is one of Santiago’s most renowned for all-natural ice creams and sorbets. It’s well worth a visit when visiting the popular Patio Bellavista, a hip late-night shopping area with plenty of outdoor seating for bars and restaurants.

Lolita Jones 

This Mexican bar-taqueria was opened by husband-wife duo Nicolas Yankovic and Alexandra Inunza, who returned to Santiago after living as expats in New York. Since opening last year, Lolita Jones has become a trendy destination for a full dinner—choose from carnitas, octopus, and marinated ribeye—as well as a margarita happy hour. Guacamole is prepared tableside, which is always nice, and service is generally a plus here.

Mestizo

Make the most of nice weather and good company with a dinner at Mestizo, one of Santiago’s absolute best modern Chilean restaurants sitting right at the south edge of the popular Bicentenario Park. Nab a reservation at sunset for a romantic experience, and then order a trio of ceviches, empanadas, and the standout parilla-seared octopus served on a corn puree. Save room for Mestizo’s playful sweets, from the simple cheesecake oreo to house-made mascarpone ice cream and a whimsical mini churros with dulce de leche and Nutella.

Osaka Santiago

Nikkei cuisine, an organic fusion of Japanese-Peruvian cuisines, has long been popular in nearby Peru, thanks in no small part to the South American mini-chain Osaka, which has locations in Argentina, Brazil, and beyond. Led by acclaimed Peruvian-born chef Ciro Watanabe, this elegant Santiago outpost turns out every manner of fresh fish, from sushi and nigiri to ceviches and tiraditos. Spring for the catch of the day when possible, as freshness is a selling point at Osaka.

Restaurant Bidasoa 

For a solid brunch, dinner, or even glass of wine, consider this modern, health-focused restaurant set in the Hotel Bidasoa, a progressive eco-boutique hotel in Santiago’s posh Vitacura neighborhood. The menu’s vegan-friendly entrees are divided into “High Vibrational” and “Healing” items: from the former, try flamed rice paper rolls stuffed with local cabbage, peppers, and carrots; and from the latter, seek out a hemp-seed dough pizza topped with dehydrated tomato sauce and yeast cheese. Sit outdoors in the covered garden, or sidle up to the bar for one of their 25 different glasses of Chilean wine.

Room 09

This speakeasy rooftop bar remains one of South America’s most iconic cocktail bars. Sitting above the acclaimed restaurant 040, Room 09 nods to certain aspects of its Prohibition-era blueprint with buttoned-up barmen and candlelit service, but the similarities end there. Glassware and presentation here are somewhat fantastical, with drinks served in vintage ceramic saucers, oversized smoking pipes, and animal-shaped glass sculptures. But it’s the overall experience, a furtive entry, seriously upgraded Chilean bar bites, and exceptional service that round out a night at this legendary bar.