If you're a Whole Foods-loving expatriate finding yourself on an organic food treasure hunt in Santiago, check out La Chakra.
Photo by Ana Topoleanu
It’s an independent, hybridized restaurant-store that offers a small-scale bounty of organic goods. You can feel even more satisfied by shopping here than in Whole Foods, since the fresh produce, home-cooked granola and all-natural cosmetics are locally produced--freeing the shop from the fossil-fueled catch-22 that strains bigger organic food chain stores.
Owner Francisco Santos De La Fuente holds the business philosophy that customers should try the food out in the restaurant before buying the ingredients from the store. From the hard-wooded porch of the restaurant, a customer can try the salad mix before purchasing. On the restaurant menu, La Chakra Salad, the least expensive and most popular dish (CP$3,590, or US$5.30), is a classic salad of abundant, fresh baby and Asian lettuce topped with slivered almonds, sesame and flax seeds, tomatoes, fresh cheese and avocados. The dressing, also available for purchase in the store, jazzes up the salad with a conglomeration of olive oil, chili pepper and merken (a Mapuche spice made of dried and smoked chili peppers, coriander, cumin and salt).
De La Fuente keeps close relations with the providers of his fresh greens, which are grown a half an hour outside of Santiago and delivered daily. These greens are then specially mixed into individual salad packets for purchase in the store.
Natural orange and passion fruit juices are another La Chakra signature. Freshly squeezed, pulpy, served at room temperature and available with or without sugar, a small cup costs CP$1,290.
For a sinfully delightful ending, the brownie dessert accompanied with fresh strawberries and subtly minty ice cream will aptly punctuate an otherwise healthy meal for CP$2,490.
There’s no need for expats to feel sad about missing out on Whole Foods’ autumnal specialties, like fall harvest couscous, when they can easily hop on the red line for epic whole-wheat basil, tomato and zucchini squash quiche or pumpkin ginger cream soup. Best of all, you can see the smiling faces of the people who hand-crafted your meal that very day from local Chilean produce.
Avenida Mariano Sanchez Fontecilla 534 (at Presidente Errazuriz)
Phone: 234 2138
Monday to Friday, 9 am to 11:30 pm
Saturday and Sunday, 10 am to 8 pm