Elite Traveler Spring 2021


La Mesa serves flavorful farm-to-table cuisine

La Mesa Owner and executive chef Álvaro Romero Evans fuses his classical French training with a deep enthusiasm for fresh and diverse Chilean ingredients. It’s not just the food that’s considered farm-to-table; Evans and his staff can often be found harvesting the garden. Dine on the expansive front terrace or rear brick patio amongst the trees and twinkling lights. Romero’s simple yet crisp tártaro de vegetales includes beetroot and roast pepper with miso mayo. His entrees shine, from the flat iron asada steak to the fish of the day with house salsa. But it’s the astoundingly flavorful side dishes that define La Mesa; don’t miss the roasted onions, garden carrots, celery potato millefeuille and mashed potatoes. restaurantlamesa.com Bocanáriz With a 300-bottle cellar and menu designed and executed to enhance the flavor profiles of Chilean wine, the first ‘vinobar’ in the capital city continues to be its greatest. A combination of the words for ‘mouth’ and ‘nose’ (what one uses to experience food and wine), Bocanáriz creates a road map of taste buds intended to navigate from iodized starters like a fresh Chilean oyster trilogy and herbaceous sweet and sour tapas, through its stewed empanadas and umami-forward mushroom carpaccio, to the punch trilogy dessert. Playful yet intentional, like its wall of bottle openers that range from antique to funky, Bocanáriz also doubles as a wine shop. bocanariz.cl Olam After the wild success of Restaurante 040 and the birth of haute cuisine in Chile, Spanish-born head chef Sergio Barroso opened Olam, a sister space that’s arguably more daring and less fussily focused on molecular gastronomy. Consider acorn-fed Iberian ham pepitos or roasted cauliflower with coconut cream, curry and green mustard. The emphasis here is on shared plates and tapas with a side of couture dining. “Patience is the secret to good food,” Barroso’s been known to say, and Olam proves his second restaurant was certainly worth the wait. olam.cl RESTAURANTS Wine and dine to your heart’s (and stomach’s) delight

Left and inset Cable car across Cerro San Cristóbal; the Virgin Mary statue Below ‘Salsoteca’ appeals to both experts and tourists

Spend days hiking through 1,700 acres, then imbibe with a pisco cocktail and dance the night away to the sounds of live Latin American music CAPITOL MUSTS It is not entirely obvious that the Andes Mountains dwarf Santiago until, sitting in the shadow of the Virgin Mary, one looks out across the metropolis from above. Cerro San Cristóbal rises nearly 3,000 ft above the city, a forested mountaintop accessible by foot or funicular. A mecca for bikers and hikers, the city’s largest natural space covers over 1,700 acres. Indulge in mote con huesillo , a drink of husked wheat and peach juice that’s readily available from green carts throughout the park. EXPERIENCE THE REINVENTION OF PISCO Chipe Libre: The Independent Republic of Pisco Although its true origins remain a mystery, Chile claimed Pisco as the national distillate. No longer limited to its namesake sour or piscola (pisco and Coke, the Chilean version of rum and coke), at Chipe Libre, the mission is to redefine the grape-based, aguardiente spirit. Inside the vast space — a repurposed mansion — the bar features more than 100 labels, an impressive list of signature cocktails and Pisco flights based on regionality, aging conditions or flavor profiles. Cocktails like ‘Pisco in the Air,’ made with lime juice, raspberry, papaya and basil, tease habitual boundaries — but fear not, there’s more than a handful of habitual sours for the more traditionally minded. chipe-libre.cl GET HIGH Cerro San Cristóbal

SALSA La Maestra Vida Since opening its red-walled space in 1988, La Maestra Vida has connected local bands with dance, most notably the rumba and salsa, and instruction. Playing a variety of Chilean and Latin American live music, the ‘salsoteca’ appeals to both the expert locals and tourists alike. Classes begin most nights at 9pm prior to opening at 11pm. For the true experience, stay well into the early morning; most Santiaguinos arrive after 1am, when the party really begins. maestravida.cl

Photos Pia Vergara

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