A Taste of Italy at the Beach

Amongst the offshore battleships, lazy beach streets and the bustling ferias (markets) of Viña Del Mar, there is a tiny restaurant that fosters the mouth-watering tastes of Italy.

Photo by Julia Stepowska
Photo by Julia Stepowska

A portly Italian grandmother stands in an alleyway of market stalls and Chilean eateries, pointing towards Panzoni Ristorante. This cute Italian picada appropriately puts a capital B on its Bueno, Bonito y Barato (good, beautiful and cheap) style.

Panzoni offers uncomplicated Italian food, mostly fresh pastas with homemade sauces that are served quickly by friendly waiters. The simple deliciousness and unique homemade style of their food works perfectly in a country that tends to stay away from spicy and exotic flavors. It's not unusual to find a lunchtime queue of people waiting to eat inside the dainty space.

Photo by Julia Stepowska
Photo by Julia Stepowska

Italy is further evoked by its décor. Red and green antique chairs border perfectly square tables covered with the definitive checkered tablecloth. Retro wallpaper spreads across the walls which display various pieces of Italian memorabilia - antique posters of quintessential Italian landscapes, old advertisements, and plates of colorful peasant design.

The authentic ambiance welcomes the guest into an Italian grandmother’s home. In fact, as you walk to the bathroom, you walk into the owner’s townhouse, past the coat hooks piled with jackets along the wall and the stairs leading up to to the bedrooms.

Photo by Julia Stepowska
Photo by Julia Stepowska

Of course, the usual touches of Chile are present: pisco sour on the menu, pebre on the table. After lunch, walk off heavy bellies along the beach and watch the battleships sail off into the distance; a reminder that you are in Chile and not some provincial Italian town, although it seemed like it back at the ristorante.

Panzoni Ristorante
Viña del Mar
Pasaje Cousino 12, cross with Calle Valparaíso
Phone Number +56 (32) 271 41 34
CP$5000-CP$6000 (US$10-US$12) per person

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