When hunger shows its ugly face during a trip to downtown Santiago, there are many culinary options that make foreigners and uninformed locals overpay for bland dishes that are meant to represent Chilean cuisine. Restaurant and Fuente de Soda Nuria is a most distant exception to this unfortunate rule.
Photo by Kendal Montgomery
This restaurant that many savvy locals call a classic of downtown Santiago first opened in Concepción in 1929 by a Spaniard named José Puyol. When the restaurant opened in Santiago, on the busy downtown street of Agustinas, it became an instant hit, with Chilean celebrities like soccer-player Ivan Zamorano eating there.
Today Nuria is as traditional as you can get in downtown Santiago for great prices and a lot of flavor. The service, decoration and menu aim to maintain the traditional feel of a Spanish/South American restaurant: waiters in their forties dressed with vests and bow ties politely take your order, after they’ve placed a basket of Chilean bread and pebre as the designated appetizer. The tables and chairs are plain but clean, and the menu has so many choices that you will probably need to return about thirty times to get a feel for everything they offer.
The overwhelming list of options includes traditional dishes like pastel de choclo, the Barros Luco sandwich (steak and cheese), or all types of meat prepared “a lo pobre” (covered by sautéed onions, fried eggs and French fries). But if you are in the mood for a less-Chilean dish you can find a great variety of pizzas, fish dishes, and steaks, cooked to your liking.
Nuria is an ideal place to go when you don’t know what you want to eat, but you are sure that you don’t want to spend your money on food that will leave your taste buds disappointed. Prices range from CP$1,000 to CP$6,000 per dish (US$2.00 to US$12.00), with meats being the most expensive and sandwiches the cheapest option.
The sandwiches are known for their massive portions, so sharing one is an idea you might want to contemplate if you want to save room for a sweet ending. The traditional steak and cheese sandwich Barros Luco, which might sound boring and bland, is actually the perfect combination of juicy thin cut stake and mozzarella cheese that is just salty enough to make the meat taste as if it had been marinating in a lavish steak sauce for hours. But don’t be fooled, the other dishes are also massive compared to Chilean and South American standards.
No matter what you order, when you receive the check you will feel like you are paying too little for all the food you’ve consumed. The variety of costumers confirms that Nuria’s prices fit any budget. At breakfast, lunch, dinner, or in-between meals you will find groups of executives, young couples with public display of affection issues, women on a girls’-night out, hungry university students, or families visiting downtown Santiago. No matter what category you fit into, Nuria’s prices and big portions will not let your wallet, or your stomach down.
Agustinas 705, corner with Mac-Iver. Huerfanos 964, corner Paseo Ahumada. Portal
Fernández Concha 918, Plaza de Armas
Metro Universidad de Chile
Mon-Sat, 07:00-00:00. Sun, 09:00-00:00