In the heart of the woods lies a beautiful wooden bungalow. Many who first approach the magnetic place linger, thinking, “This could be the house of Hansel and Gretel… or maybe Little Red Riding Hood?” The setting is that magical. The sight of the snug burning fire and the whiff of the homey kitchen fumes usually draw people closer, for them to then realize that it is in fact a fairytale-like restaurant under the name of La Tribu.
Photo by Rebecca Novell
Surrounded by vast hills, mountains and trees of the stunning Cascadas de las Animas Nature Sanctuary and overlooking the resplendent Rio Maipo makes anyone, who even catches just one glimpse of La Tribu, immediately intrigued by its sheer beauty. What waits inside overwhelms even more.
As you step inside you are greeted by a roaring fire and purring, fluffy fat cats. Candles dispersed across the tables light up the dark wooden mahogany walls and a dominating wall of glass allows guests to be mesmerized by the view of the rushing river – an idyllic ambience.
Specializing in authentic Chilean cuisine, one must try the ‘Salmon del Maipo’ (CP$6,000/US$11) as an entrada. Juicy strips of freshly-caught salmon marinated in olive oil, soya, lemon, onion, capers and dill make this one of the finest and fortifying carpaccios in the Metropolitan Area. As a main course a top choice is the house specialty ‘Cabrito al Horno,’ (CP$7,000/US$13) soft and subtle baked mountain goat full of unknown yet fulfilling flavors served with your choice of salad, rice or potatoes.
Other typical dishes include ‘Pastel de Choclo’ (CP$5,000/US$9.50) (minced meat, chicken and onion with a layer of creamed corn on top) and ‘Cazuela de Vacuno’ (CP$4,000/US$7.50) (a meat broth with pumpkin, potato, beef and rice).
If you want to steer clear of comida chilena, Head chef Carola Astorga also loves to experiment with various exotic dishes from Thailand, Nepal and India. Try the sumptuous ‘Salteado Thailandés,’ (CP$6,000/US$11) palatable prawns and succulent squid stir-fried with a julienne of vegetables, accompanied with Thai rice with creamy coconut milk and walnuts–mouth-watering and sweet-smelling.
La Tribu’s homemade pasta should be on everyone’s ‘To-do List Before I Die.’ The texture is rare and has the perfect bite to it. Choose pansotti stuffed with either spicy ricotta and spinach or ricotta and prawn with the choice of four different salsas. The pesto is a recommendation (CP$6,000/US$11) – rich and scrumptious.
If you have room, the deserts include the classic panqueque and kuchen cakes (CP$2,000-2500/US$3.50-4.50) as well as the customary warming ‘Leche Asada,’ (CP$2,000/US$3.50) Chile’s version of Crème Brulée.
To complete your dining experience, the wine list offers reds and whites of the usual big brands such as ‘Misiones de Rengo’ and ‘Mont Gras,’ however I recommend something more unusual for the taste buds. Try ‘Casa Silva, Reserva Carmenere,’ which offers complex aromas of blackberries, plums, toffee, chocolate with white pepper and spices – powerful yet elegant. This full-bodied wine balances French Oak and fruit superbly on the palate with a long and rich finish.
So treat yourself to a weekend break away from the city or even just a day trip by heading to Cajon de Maipo for a walk, and refuel after at the welcoming and never-failing La Tribu. Even if you do not fancy lunch pop in there to warm up with a real chocolate hot chocolate and slice of torta, whilst admiring the view.
Cascada de las Animas
Camino al Volcán N°31087, casilla 57
San Alfonso - Cajón del Maipo
56 2 861-1303 / 861-4019