When I come to a new city, whether it be for a weekend, a month or a year, I immediately look for a suitable "home away from home." This place inevitably ends up being a comfortable cafe where I can set up a mobile office, spend the better part of a day reading the Sunday paper or simply sit, with a long lunch, while watching the world go by.
Photo by Jeff Kennel
Whether it be in Sienna, Seattle or Santiago, finding this "home away from home" is a matter of survival. La Signoria Pasticceria and Caffe in Recoleta was exactly what I was seeking in Santiago.
With an airy, fresh and natural tone highlighted by high ceilings, dark wood floors and an all-white decor tastefully accented with leopard print seat cushions, La Signoria is like a small piece of Italian heaven that won't send your wallet to purgatory.
Sandwiches made with fresh homemade bread (CP$2,000 to CP$3,100, or US$3.15 to $4.85), tortas (CP$6,000 to CP$7,500) and salads (CP$3,200 to CP$3,400) are served daily. A dish of the day is featured Tuesday to Thursday, followed by a special pasta dish from Friday to Sunday.
With a real-life Italian chef and professional patissier in the kitchen, you can be assured a delectably satisfying meal. In both taste and presentation, the food here is serious.
However, the real magic is in the desserts (served by the slice, CP$1,400, or whole upon request), so you'd be wise to save some room if you're at lunch. The Torta del Nonno was one of the richest chocolate creme pies in my life. Most cafes will just grab a slice of pie and toss it on a plate. Here, in the case of the Nonno, pie is served with the pride of an artist--presented with dashes of a tamarind-like chocolate sauce and a drop of cream with candy caramel, then dusted with cocoa.
Paired with a chocolaty rich coffee (a mix of coffee, milk, pieces of chocolate and cocoa; small, CP$1,300, large CP$1,500), the experience was unbelievable, verging on criminal. Yeah, it was that good.
Not into coffee? The cafe also offers tea for CP$800 (US$1.25), or fruit frappes (fresh fruit smoothies) for CP$1,600 if you need a cool-down drink instead.
The warm and friendly La Signoria Pasticceria and Caffe is the perfect place to spend a day eating lunch with friends, have a few desserts with a date or bring your laptop (free wi-fi) and enjoy one of the various coffees while reading your favorite newspaper online.
Of course, no cafe is perfect. The only advice I'd give to La Signoria is to consider providing a large soft Italian leather sofa, where one can stretch out and take a nap between lunch and dessert.
Nearest Metro Stop: Bellas Artes
Walk to the Museum of Fine Arts and cross the Mapocho River at the Loreto bridge. Walk one more block, and La Signoria will be on your left.
La Signoria Pasticceria and Caffe
Phone: (02) 813-6591
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 11 am to 9 pm (Closed Mondays)