By Patrick Hieger

School is back in session.  Vacations are basically over.  Fall is coming, and there’s nothing you can do to change any of that.  Don’t be sad, though, because it simply means that high season for restaurant dining is nigh, and the getting in Santiago has never been better.  Below, check out our list of a baker’s dozen worth of Santiago restaurants that are not to be missed.  Across the city and across cuisines, these are the restaurants that are making it happen right now.

Peruvian Ciro Watanabe brings his Nikkei touch to the W Hotel’s flagship restaurant.  With a combination of Peruvian flare and Japanese technique, you’ll be hard-pressed to believe that you’re in a hotel restaurant.  Oh, and did we mention that Osaka is currently ranked #48 on the list of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants?

Fuente Mardoqueo
Long live the German influence on Chile and the massive sandwiches and beer that we have to reap because of it.  Nestled into the heart of Santiago’s Barrio Brasil / Yungay, Fuente Mardoqueo is an antique-collecting, sandwich-eating fanatic’s dream.  Get the lomo with palta and a cold brew and you won’t need to eat for two days.  Salud!

As Bellavista tries to shake off its party all the time vibe and become a neighborhood for quality wining and dining, Peumayen brings a modern approach to ancestral Chilean food, and a dining room that is hard to be topped in the city.  The bread offering along–included in the meal–takes diners on a ride from the north to the far south of Chile, exploring all the ancient food customs the country has to offer.

The White Rabbit
Lovingly dubbed as the best place to get gringo food in Santiago, The White Rabbit fuses traditions of the U.S. with the best in meats and produce that Chile has to offer.  The Brooklyn vibe, the L.A. soundtrack, the Animal Fries that pay oh so much homage to In ‘N’ Out and the Wagyu burger that will have you saying ‘Amen!‘ all come together in what could be the new leader in fancy meets casual dining in Santiago.

Chicken Story
Korean fried chicken.  Jugo de pimentón.  Arugula salad with mango and red onion.  That’s all they serve and that’s all you need to worry about.  Long known for its ethnic cuisine, Barrio Recoleta just got a whole lot cooler with the opening of this happy little hole in the wall that has won the hearts and minds of fried chicken fanatics across the city.

Classic Santiago meets the din of a night out in New York City.  Easily the most well-known restaurant in Santiago, Liguria has been serving up classic fare on classy plates since the early 90’s.  With their fourth location planned for later this year, it’s safe to say that Liguria is a standard when it comes to Santiago dining.

Salvador Cocina y Café
Buried in downtown where a quick coffee and a plate of rice and meat are more readily found than a restaurant whose market-driven menu changes daily, Salvador is the answer to, “Where should we eat?” for downtown Santiago.

Expect the unexpected upon any visit to Boragó.  This world-class restaurant currently holding the #8 spot on the list of Lat Am’s 50 Best could earn itself a spot on this year’s World’s 50, if the gods will have it.  With a menu sourced more from the ground than the back of a truck, and a dining experience that relies on your hands more than your cutlery, Boragó is leading the modern culinary regime in Chile.

Luckily for visitors, some of Santiago’s best restaurants are located in hotels.  Estro, located at the Ritz, combines the freshest that the Chilean larder has to offer with a modern flare that leaves diners Tweeting “wow” on a daily basis.

In a country where the hot dog is considered to be a national food, why not go somewhere that’s taking that game to the next level.  Choose from beef, lamb, pork or turkey dogs, as well as an impressive array of toppings.  And the fresh lemonades are out of sight.

How can you make the already hip Lastarria neighborhood even better, tastier, and hipper?  Open a well-designed, kitschy location with the best wine list in the menu, tapas-style dining (including raw oysters!) and a street-level view of all the beautiful people.  It’s that simple.

Recently opened to a flood of fan fare, Naoki combines Japanese spirit with Chilean ingredients, for dishes that include cochayuyo (bull kelp) gyoza, hand rolls made with the best the Chilean coast can offer, and a dessert menu developed by local pastry chef Camila Fiol Stephens.  Could Nikkei have a run for its money?

HBH Cervecería
As much an institution in Santiago as Liguria, HBH is the go-to spot in Ñuñoa for cheap, house-made (and highly alcoholic) beers and pizza that, while not the best in town, is the best friend to the beers that go down all too easily.  Add to it a view of the brewery, a rambunctious crowd on the weekends, and a vibe that can only come from 20+ years of beer-drinking fun, and you’ve got yourself one of the best nights out in Santiago.

Ozaki (Re-opening soon)
There isn’t just one Nikkei game in town, and when Ozaki reopens in the two brand-new locations they have planned, there will, in fact, be three.  Ozaki is the mid-town answer to Osaka, serving up crispy quinoa and huancaina doused hand-rolls, lomo saltado, and a whole slew of other Peruvian-inspired Japanese dishes that aren’t to be missed.









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