For some lucky expats, our time in Santiago is an indefinite discovery of Chilean culture and living. For others, our days are numbered, so we live by one rule: live it up.
Photo by Kendal Montgomery
We at the Revolver team have come and gone, but we'll always remember some of the few nooks and crannies that made this city our home. Don't leave Santiago without discovering the spots that stole our very hearts:
Ice Cream Heaven
Situated at the fork in the roads of Monjitas and Merced and a stone’s throw from Lastarria, Emporio de la Rosa could smugly boast
the best ice cream in Santiago. If you find yourself torn between such tantalizing flavors as frambuesa menta (raspberry mint) or chocolate avellana (hazelnut chocolate), don't fret too hard--a “simple” cone serves you two scoops, and a “doble” packs your cup with three rich flavors. With your ice cream cone in one hand and the hand of your sweetheart in the other, stroll to a shady spot on the patio or hop across the street to a quiet bench in Parque Forestal.
Seclusion in Lastarria
While the mellow Café Berri is already a classic Lastarria spot (321 Rosal), its gem lies in its secluded second floor open only on Fridays and Saturdays. The drinks are the same as downstairs and a little pricier, but the high French hunting room atmosphere in this beautifully restored building itself is worth the visit.
Live Music in Ñuñoa
From the outside La Batuta (Jorge Washington 52) right across from beautiful Plaza Ñuñoa looks like any other Santiago bar; but inside, the best emerging and recognized bands on the Chilean music scene strut their stuff for the small but lively audience. La Batuta is the prime location to get up close to both underground and top-record-selling bands.
Meat and Mayo
Located in Pedro de Valdivia (on the Providencia side) and in Plaza Italia, La Fuente Alemana
sandwich bars are famed among santiaguinos for their huge, sloppy lomitos, italianos, completos and chacareros, prepared and grilled in the middle of the bar by matron-types in aprons. Also worth a try is their signature Romano hamburger, with garlic and spices in the mince, downed with a Kunstmann beer on tap or many other brews on hand.
Trekking the Cerro
Though Cerro San Cristobal is better known for its Virgin-topped peak and cable car views of the city, the real beauty of this hill lies in its trails. Just minutes from rowdy Bella Vista wait quiet and clear vistas nestled above gentle foliage, and at times the trees which dot the beginning of the hill become dense enough to surround travelers. Whether you run, bike, or just meander up its woodsy paths, Cerro San Cristobal offers a sometimes sorely needed respite from the city--right in the dead center of it.
Wifi and Caffeine
If your lodging's dodgy internet connection is down yet again or you just want to bag yourself an intellectual, head to Cafe Literario (Providencia 410). Slap bang in the middle of leafy Parque Bustamante, this airy library-cafe offers comfy sofas, free wi-fi, computer terminals, newspapers, books and possibly the finest cappuccino in the city.
A Paper World
Those who like to settle into a new book to learn about--or even escape--the Santiago masses can find a little oasis in the folds of Mundo de Papel in Bellavista (Constitución 166). Soak up the sunshine on the back terrace with literature, coffee and a light lunch, and catch the book recommendations written up like specials on the board outside. On the terrace, the owner devoutly makes paper origami creatures for a diorama display, often foraging for berries and fallen twigs to provide them with scenery. Sip on your coffee, let this man muddle and turn the page to another lesson about your new home.
When you've got a thirst for the most authentic of local culture and ice cream floats of head-
splittingly cheap brandy, get down and dirty at the side street "fleahouse" near Mercado Central known as La Piojera. After the signature terremoto's boozy blend topped with pineapple ice cream knocks you senseless, anything goes: feel free to simply soak in the folk tunes, jabber with the locals or even leave your mark on the wall. (But limit to yourself to pens and Sharpies, please.)
The sleek, seductive bar of Bajo Llave off Lastarria only reveals itself to those who patiently put the effort into finding it (Nueva Rosal 344, Subterráneo). With tantalizing tablas and bountiful beverages, accompanied by relishable electronic music and decadent decor, it's an idyllic spot for only those worthy of discovering it.
Never Ending Happy Hours
At a cozy restobar near Bellas Artes called Navetierra, gringos freely chat up the locals,
the patrons are always cheery and happy hour never ends. Feast on the fajitas, the closest semblance of a burrito in Santiago, or indulge in Latin cocktails like a Chilean pisco sour, Cuban mojito or Brazilian caipirinha while enjoying the loud, happy atmosphere. Come early in the eve to claim one of the bar's few tables, whose fuzzy neon-green chairs fill up quickly at night.
Written by Kavita Bedford, Colette Bernasconi, Celina Carroll, Matt Dillinger, Jason C. Hickerson, Caitlin Lanier, Rebecca Novell, Elaine Ramirez, Silvia Viñas and Natasha Young