Jally’s Cafe @ Camden

We love that the cafe has a bit of history to it. In its previous days it was a garage owned by a chemist in the 1970’s. The cafe is opposite what once was a theatre, you’ll see reflections of Camden’s historic past on photographs on the wall. This is brilliant, considering Camden is one of Australia’s oldest towns.

This was turned into a cafe in early 2017 and it looks like a rustic garage with indoor and outdoor seating (made of light wood) and there’s also a backyard garden area.

Its vision is to serve wholesome food and great coffee. Open early, you can pop in for your morning coffee rush. They have plenty of varieties of milk if you have certain health requirements.

Food wise, the kitchen is open 7am – 3pm.

Whether it be smashed avo, bacon and egg rolls, pancakes or a brekkie bowl, we’re sure you’ll find something up your alley. It’s predominately a healthy menu. They’re pretty popular for their range of Acai bowls too.

We went for the brekkie bowl with quinoa , kale, mushrooms, roast pumpkin, avocado and 2 Holbrook eggs with almond dukkah . They were kind enough to replace the avo with feta for me, and add chicken. A super healthy dish and it was quite big, so I took a bit home.

We also had a gluten free dish – the zucchini, lemon and feta fritters, served with roast pumpkin and tomato, beetroot hummus, rocket and poached Holbrook egg. We both thought the pumpkin on both dishes was super flavoursome.

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Plenty of options are vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free etc, so you will definitely find something for you.

There’s a heap of health based bars and sweets in the front counter, as well as pre made salads for those on the run.

Jallys also have a whole foods store in Whitemans arcade. It’s stumps me why it’s not next to the shop, but it’s worth a look. Selling grains, nuts and environmentally caring products, we purchased a few things. They give a card for a free coffee which is a bonus.

Jally’s Cafe

10 Larkin Pl, Camden NSW 2570, Australia

https://www.jallys.com.au

Jally's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

XS Espresso @ Prestons

The new XS Espresso store is in a large space in a shopping complex featuring a new Woolworths off the Camden Valley Way.

It is styled similarly to the other stores and an open coffee window for people ordering take aways.

The young girl front of house was lovely and took us to a table. It it was extremely busy and buzzing with diners so took a while to get our order taken and served. However the manager was extremely helpful and generous. On our visit, it was only a few weeks old so they’re understandably busy and learning the ropes.

The menu is pretty much the same as the other stores, known for their freak shakes, over the top sweet dishes like pancakes and waffles, and a number of burgers. Don’t come here if you’re worried about your waistline. It is certainly a place to indulge.

We shared three dishes between us: The New York, New York – normally 250 g sirloin, but they had run out so we got the lamb – with roasted chat potatoes, asparagus, tomato and sweet potatoes with chimichurri. A super big serving and all components were very tasty.

I’m always keen for a healthy dish and there was only a handful of this category, so we ordered one of them. The “Happy Bowl” was bright and colourful and filled with nourishing goodies like quinoa, mashed sweet potato, kale, beetroot hummus, boiled egg, tomatoes, cucumber, avocado and radish. We added some chicken to it for the protein and polished this meal off quickly between us.

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The other members of my party wanted a sweet option, and so opted for the absolutely beautiful ricotta hotcake. Extremely light and fluffy, it’s one of the better ones we’ve had. Topped with summer fruits and vanilla cream – we’d thoroughly recommend this.

They have Campos coffee, which we enjoyed, as well as smoothies and shakes. We tried the lovely banana smoothie and it was presented so nicely too.

You can’t visit XS Espresso without a freakshake. We opted for the XS Surprise / a Nutella and crunchie base, topped with fairy floss and a waffle cone, complete with a kinder surprise and covered with honeycomb and hundreds and thousands. Your family will go crazy for this! (And afterwards 😉

When you’re keen to indulge, pay XS Espresso a visit – it’s in a convenient location and very spacious. Enjoy!

XS Espresso

Shop 5/1975 Camden Valley Way, Prestons NSW 2170, Australia

XS Espresso Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Where cafe meets craft

The Press Shop is locates inside a Bespoke letterpress shop in the stunning town of Bowral in the Southern Highlands.

 

Locally owned, they source and prepare quality food and focus on using small farmers, producers and local supplies in order to best highlight what the Southern Highlands region has to offer. With fruits and vegetables from Moonacres farm, Piccolo Farm, Highlands organics, Brillig Farm, Living Earth Farm to name a few. There’s truffles from Robertson truffles, olive oil from white chapel grove, mushrooms from Li-Sun, meats from maugers and Robertson village butchery, eggs from Taulca Park, honey from the Honey Collector, this café really shows respect to their local area.

Head chef Nathan West has put together a delightful menu using these fine ingredients, and the meals tasted so fresh and were absolutely beautifully presented on the plate.

Lunch is served from 12 – 3pm. As we were in a group, we were able to sample a few of the menu items. We would describe this as simple food, done in a very elegant way, showcasing the skills and vision of an inspired chef.

The Waffles were served at a nice lunch size, not overbearing like many cafés these days. Topped with a refreshing coconut sorbet, peaches, mint and a white chocolate crumble. This dish is vegan and dairy free.

The local greens frittata was laid beautifully on the plate atop a goats curd and decorated with herbs and lovely thin slices of potato crisp.

 

 

The potato gnocchi was incredible. Served with new season tomatoes, roast onion puree, vino cotto and herbs, this dish is perfect for everyone, including vegetarian and vegan diners.

 

Something more filling and very approachable is the Taluca Pork free range Cuban Sandwich with pickles. Fresh bread, great meat and served cut in half with cheese and a side of cucumber and herbs.

 

There’s also a roasted carrot dish, zucchini salad, beef brisket sandwich, eggs benedict and even a kiddies menu. I’m presuming this menu would change seasonally.

Drinks wise, the coffee was great too. Speciality coffee, using beans from Cultivar, who source these from Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Costa Rica. You can have a regular milk based coffee, filter coffee, or a flavoured one like turmeric, matcha, velvet (beetroot) or a hot choc. Organic teas, wild-grown herbal teas, house made iced tea, kobmucha and milkshakes are also on the menu.

 

 

At the back of the café is a beautiful letter press shop selling handcrafted papers, cards and other lovely gifts. You can also see the letterpress machines and can understand the work that goes into making products of this quality in the old fashioned way. It’s lovely to see them preserving this century old art form.

 

Come for a few meals, coffee and leave with a satisfied belly and a few handicraft purchases.

 

The Press Shop

www.thepressshop.com.au/

391-397 Bong Bong Stret Bowral, The Southern Highlands, 2576 NSW

678 Korean BBQ Sydney

We love a good BBQ – whether it be in our own backyard with a sausage & a few prawns or at a restaurant, we’ll be there. So, of course we were keen to visit 678 Korean BBQ in the Sydney CBD for a feed.

Attending with a group of foodie pals, we were able to try a range of dishes amongst us, beginning with the ban Chan (appetisers).

The meat cuts arrived ready for us to cook to our liking. There’s oyster blade, beef rib, beef tongue, brisket to name a few.

The wait staff brought out a bucket of hot coals to cook the meat on the grill. We tried a number of beef cuts, and also some pork.

Although it doesn’t require to be on BBQ, the beef tartare was a great dish too, served with an egg yolk and a Korean marinade. We also were served a number of the usual Korean favourites kimchi, omelettes, rice and noodles.

The new menu item, the seafood pancake was also a winner for our dining party.

Other substantials including Bibimbab a Korean classic rice dish served in a heavy stone bowl topped with egg yolk, meat, nori and mixed vegetables. Be sure to get to the end and you will be suprised with the crispy rice at the bottom of the bowl.

678 is great for socialising in a group or an individual booking to enjoy a tasty Korean meal. Another positive, you know the chef will be awesome because it’s you.

Thanks to Danny from Qtix(online restaurant booking system) for the invitation to dine and for the great company during the meal.

We loved the Korean BBQ experience at 678 and thank them for the great food and hospitality.

Level 1, 396 Pitt corner Goulburn Street, Sydney NSW 2000

02 9281 8997

http://678sydney.com.au/sydney-cbd/

678 Korean BBQ Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

International Eats – Best of 2018

This year, we were fortunate enough to have a few months off travelling the world. Whilst we primarily tried to do this on budget, we feel that travel is also about the whole experience, tasting local cuisine and restaurants. Thus we budgeted and kept some money aside for some top dining memories. We’ve arranged our highlights below in their respective countries.

Peru

Lima

The top of our dining experiences to date (ever) comes from none other than Centrale Restaurant, one of the top 10 restaurants in the world. It is a Gastronomy standout in South America, offering a 12 or 17 course dining experience. This place amazingly reflects Peru’s altitudes and microclimates on a plate. The entire menu was creative and flawless.

Astrid y Gaston made the list for the World’s Top 50 restaurants. Offering a tasting menu and ala carte menu, we chose the latter. We loved all the dishes, in particular, the chocolate dessert ball. A thin tempered chocolate ball, which, when cracked reveals a dessert full of beer ice cream, caramel and more surprises. You must pay this place a visit if in Peru.

Ollantaytambo

The highlight of our visit to Ollantaytambo was our visit to El Albergue and experiencing the Pacahamanca lunch. This was a farm to table experience, learning from the ground up, cooking the meats underground under heated rocks, producing a simple yet exquisite meal. Served with potatoes, salad and breads and we ate in the surrounds of the Andean snow covered mountains, it was fabulous all round.

Argentina

Buenos Aires

Argentina is known for a few things: futball, wine, steak and Dulce De Leche. We certainly experienced these things in spades.

La Cabrera is a steakhouse with a range of amazing meats at superb quality. Massive servings at inexpensive prices kept us going back for more. Accompanied by plenty of sides and red wine, it was easily one of our favourite places in Argentina.

Don Julio is another winner on the steak front. An upmarket steakhouse with the best steak we had in South America, maybe ever. The beef ribs were a tasty option, but the rib eye was out of this world. We could eat here everyday.

You absolutely have to visit the cafe Pani for their phenomenal dulce de leche desserts. The dulce de Leche cheesecake with Oreos is an absolute winner.

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USA

New York

New York probably has some of the best restaurants and cafes going around. However, since we were only there for 2 nights, it’s a bit hard to see much at all. Milk bar is always a must visit for their birthday cake ice cream, but their alcoholic shakes (found at the Brooklyn store) are superb, in particular the “Russian” – cereal milk ice cream and vodka.

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Dominique Ansel is also high on our list. A patisserie where people line our the doors all morning for their Cronuts, we preferred their frozen s’mores on a stick and chocolate chip cookie shot with milk.

You also can’t visit NYC without getting a Reuben sandwich on rye at Katz deli – loaded and filled to the brim. You’ll struggle to eat it size wise, but you will because it’s so damn tasty.

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Ecuador

Galápagos Islands

Whilst you might not visit the Galápagos Islands for food, but being on the water, good food, in particular, the seafood is in abundance. On San Cristóbal, the Kioskito puerto lobo is a great local joint set up in a small hut and here you can try some tasty seafood including lobster. The langosta (lobster) is well priced between $15 and $20, for a whole lobster, depending on the flavours and toppings of the dish. The Langosta del marisco, which is lobster served in its shell with a seafood sauce containg fish, octopus and prawns is delicious.

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Chile

Santiago

99 Restaurante – “I got 99 problems but this restaurant ain’t one”, especially if you’re dining here for lunch. Their three course lunch, which will set you back roughly AUD $25 is extraordinarily good value. The lunch menu consists of 6 items, you have the 6 item tasting menu or a half serve. We had the three dishes; a potato and yam foam, served with an egg yolk and crisps as well as the beef tongue and cheese sandwich/slider. For the main, we both opted for the papada de Cerdo y lentejas. This was essentially Jamon and lentils. The desserts were a standout including the peanut butter brownie nicely presented with a chocolate mouse and a sorbet and the Bavaroise frambuesa y marscapjone.

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Hong Kong

Michelin star restaurants are all over Hong Kong, and many of them are at next to nothing prices. Try Yat Lok for their famous roasted duck, Tsim Tai Chi for their wonton noodle soup and Lee Kum Kee for snake soup with duck liver sausage and rice.

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A Michelin star was also awarded to I love you dessert bar for their incredible Soufflé pancake. One of the most incredible pancakes we’ve ever had.

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Whilst our Hong Kong experience was mostly on the inexpensive side, we also tried the other end of the spectrum. Whilst Mizunara the library has cocktails that will set you back over $50 a glass and almost every whiskey under the sun at similar prices, it’s definitely worth a visit. Winner of the World Championship Cocktail competition at the all world Open Cup of 2015, this cocktail was super impressive and thus making our best of list.

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Hurricanes – waterfront venue @ Brighton Le Sands

Hurricanes is a bar and grill famous for their ribs and BBQ meat selection. The Hurricanes menu is that popular, they have a number of venues around Sydney, including the original venue in Bondi, and newer venues in Chatswood, Circular Quay and Darling Harbour. They also have a stores in Qld and a couple of express stores around Sydney.

We visited Hurricanes at their Brighton Le Sands location. Brighton Le Sands is one of the lesser known waterfront dining areas in Sydney. Hurricanes has a prime spot there, right on the waters edge, boasting views of our historical Botany Bay. It also has views of the airport and aeronautical enthusiasts can enjoy watching the planes taking off and landing over the bay.

Hurricanes Brighton Le Sands is spacious venue with floor to ceiling glass to take advantage of the views. It is extremely large with plenty of tables, 2 bars and open plan so you could easily host a large party. We were informed they were booked up with 350 people for New Years Eve.

We arrived right on noon and it was just opening. We were promptly taken to our table, right at the windows with a lovely outlook. We perused the menu and staff updated us with the daily specials.

Hurricanes are famous for their ribs and steaks and they use a unique basting sauce to provide a lovely flavour to their meats. Meat cuts are all halal certified from their suppliers and can have no sauce upon request. They may not be known first and foremost as a seafood restaurant, but there’s plenty of seafood options too.

Our visit to Hurricane’s saw us try some of these seafood options, beginning with the scallops. Perfectly cooked, the scallops were served in the open shell, atop sweet potato purée, resembling the look of roe. We thoroughly enjoyed this start to the meal.

Following on from this, we ordered one of the specials, the grilled whole barramundi. It was soft and flaky, with the flesh falling from the bone. We enjoyed this with lemon and a side salad.

We couldn’t go past ordering a steak, which Hurricanes are notorious for. There’s numerous meats and cuts to select from. Whether it be the rump, strip stirloin, fillet tenderloin or T bone, you will find your perfect match. Wagyu, dry aged or long fed beef, Hurricanes sure know their meats. We went for the dry aged beef, aged for 21 days, served as a strip loin on the bone (400g), the flavour was lovely and it was cooked spot on to our request. Meats come with your choice of fries, salad or baked potato and you can order a sauce to accompany it.

Hurricanes also serve other main menu items like beef cheeks, lamb cutlets, pork knuckle, grilled chicken, burgers and more. If you are super hungry or a couple wanting to share a meal Hurricanes have a number of combo deals like steak and ribs or meat or seafood platters. There’s desserts and cocktails to top off your dining experience. The menu is certainly extremely approachable so we imagine it would satisfy any dining party.

We enjoyed our visit to Hurricanes Grill and would like to thank the restaurant and staff for their hospitality and Spooning Australia and Food Shot Sydney for the invitation to dine.

https://hurricanesgrill.com.au

95 The Grand Parade, Brighton-Le-Sands NSW 2216

Hurricane's Grill Brighton-Le-Sands Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
 

 

Healthy food and store @ Hills Organics

Hills Organics is a cafe inside an organic food store. As soon as you walk in you can’t help but go straight to the shelves and have a peek at all the various healthy products in the store. 

After we’d finished browsing the shelves, we sat down and had a look at the menu. Everything sounded so inviting. 

We decided to go for the Keto Breakfast Plate as we were quite interested to try the keto bread. This dish was (gf,df) and consisted of an in-house made macadamia keto bread (gf). avocado, kaleonaise sauce, organic mixed salad leaves, smoked salmon, cashew cheese and organic poached eggs. The bread and the cashew cheese was super tasty! 

The sunshine bowl was very refreshing and was served in a cute coconut bowl which made us feel like we had escaped to somewhere tropical for a bit. 

Staff were very friendly and looked like they enjoy working there which could be because it is operated like a family orientated business. Overall a good vibe and lots of wholesome goodness to enjoy. Although it is located in a business area, the atmosphere is so relaxed you don’t even realise that it is. 

Another thing to note is that if you’re into all things healthy and organic, you most likely won’t leave this place without a thing or two. We ended up getting some Kombucha and a few protein snacks for the road.

Hills Organics Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Regent Place

Regent Place, located right in the heart of the CBD, just off George St, offers a range of eateries and boutiques for you to enjoy.

We’ve been numerous times to try the different eateries, showcasing a multicultural flavour. On this occasion we visited to watch the Taiko performance, some brilliant drummers who were playing around the centre alongside a visit from Santa.

On the lowest level, level 9 you’ll find Assembly Bar and Restaurant, Daiso store, Nail art and more. We ate at Yakinuku Yokocho and had dessert from Fujimi Doriyaki and a pearl tea from Coco.

On level 10 you’ll find lots of dessert options such as Oh! Matcha by Chamona, Uncle Tetsu and Aqua S. But there’s also restaurants like the ever popular Chefs Gallery, Yakitori Yebisu, as well as some clothing stores too.

On level 11 is a medical level with a variety of practitioners to suits many needs.

As you can see, it’s really a one stop shop!

Below are some of our favourites!

Desserts

There’s plenty of places to enjoy some Asian inspired desserts. We enjoyed the Matcha ice cream with a mochi from Oh Matcha.

There’s also the famous sea salt ice cream at Aqua S! We have popped in just a few times. On this occasion we had the white chocolate macadamia and sea salt flavour. You can also get a range of exciting add ons like popping candy and fairy floss!

We also enjoyed some delicious Fujimi Doriyaki Japanese sweet pancakes that come with a variety of fillings; Nutella, red bean, peanut Nutella and many more, take your pick.

Coco Tea have arange of milk pearl based teas with heaps of flavours. We tried the Bubble ‘Gaga’. You can select your own amount of ice and sugar to your flavour preference. The flavour of it was passionfruit which was a nice change from a milk tea.

Restaurants

We love Chefs Gallery for dumplings! You can get sweet or savoury. We especially love the emoji custard dumplings! It’s always busy so you may need to line up, but it’s worth the wait.

Yakiniku Yokocho is a great little bbq place on the bottom level of Regent Place shopping centre. You may have to wait a little while for your table but you can browse the shops whilst you wait. It’s a touch screen order menu and with a good selection of meat and sides to cook yourself on the bbq grill in front of you. You receive an array of sauces to flavour your meat, though with such good quality meat, it isn’t really needed. We ordered a few sides and enjoyed the salad as well as some sashimi. You can order highball cocktails and also beers. A great little Japanese dinner location.

Yakitori Yebisu

When you’re in Japan, it’s a must to visit Izakaya to sample all the marvellous food it has to offer. It also gives you the opportunity to taste many different things when there are small plates to pick from. Yakitori Yebisu is a taste of Japan. Japanese memorabilia adorns the walls and it feels like you’re in Japan.

We begun with a wagyu hot pot, tender beef in a beautifully flavoured soup with vegetables and tofu. We also got some ramen to go with it. This was a great meal for a cold winters night. When you’re at an izakaya, you can’t go past yakitori – pork, seafood, chicken, your choice! We had some juicy chicken thigh, nicely seasoned.

There’s plenty more to eat, do and see – so be sure to check it out yourself

Regent Place

501 George St

Sydney NSW 2000

9am til late, 7 days a week

Radley’s in the Met Centre

Radley’s is a new bar and restaurant in the heart of the city, located in the Met Centre. It is a slick operation that is ready to cater to the masses. The set up is clean and modern, with an alfresco balcony and an outlook over the busy George St. Pop in for a coffee, they source their beans from coffee sensation Ona, the breakfast and lunch menu’s also look enticing. Visit at night to unwind after work, the menu is particularly geared for groups with some great value share platters.

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The warm weather and daylight savings made it the perfect spot to enjoy a few after work beverages, with happy hour running from 4pm-7pm daily. The cocktail list loaded with classics; Manhattan’s, Cosmopolitan’s mojito’s and more. The wine list lined with quality, all wines rated higher than 90 points, there are a few quality beers on tap including the Panhead XPA and a variety of bottles to choose from.

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A lot of thought has gone into this bar menu, it’s a very good drinking menu. There are plenty of great snacks to share including sweet potato fries, the finger lickin crispy Korean fried chicken, sweet potato fries, the haloumi fries are something special, as are the chips which they have perfected to a science.

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For something more substantial there is the mac n cheese topped fried chicken and chipotle mayo to finish. This is unreal!

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The sharing platters are great value $50 dollars to feed four, works out to $12.50 each. This platter includes the crazy good buttermilk fried chicken and Kim Chi sliders on a french milk bun, the prime rib tacos which are closer to burrito size, Radley’s perfectly cooked chips with chicken salt and nachos, loaded with cheese, guacamole, chuncky salsa and sour cream.

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Having tuned their bar and restaurant skills in Singapore, they’re now bringing that experience to Sydney. Add this joint to your list of bar eats. Radley’s provides the ideal venue for a casual bite to eat and a few cheeky beverages.

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Radley’s

273 George Street Shop MG 23, Sydney NSW 2000

Where to go if you have a day or two in Santiago, Chile

Where to stay

Providencia is a great place to stay if you’re starting your time in Chile. It is in the heart of Santiago and it is very close to the central business district and many attractions. There are a number of hotels and hostels in the area and it is pretty busy and we felt very safe. There are a number of restaurants, cafes and shops in a close vicinity to explore. We stayed at the Park Plaza, which we found on booking.com and selected it based on the price and it had a pool and gym.

Bellavista is another good option as it is the trendy, bohemian part of town. This is the area where you will find many of the happening bars and restaurants, as well as some institutions that are ingrained in the culture of the city. This notably has a distinct bar strip and a cool modern dining precinct “Bella Vista Patio” with handy craft/souvenir stores. That said, it’s probably more suited to a younger or party going crowd.

Santiago itself is not a cheap city, very comparable to Sydney although there are a few places to be found that offer great value for what you receive. At the top of the list is the 99 restaurant lunch menu, which will be described later.

Park Plaza

A quaint hotel in the CBD area of Providencia. Close to the shops and sky tour. The hotel looks like it’s old worldly with its cedar wood and furniture. Staff greeted us warmly and we were checked in easily. The hotel has an indoor pool, a gym and a sauna and a few business rooms. Rooms were quite big, complete with a desk, safe, mini bar and television. The room had beauty products and a hair dryer. The housekeeping was super nice and left us chocolates each day. We liked that we received a welcome drink and the concierge was extremely helpful.

The dinner buffet was excellent and had good value and variety, however it was hard to get served. There were enough staff but not managed well, they seemed to never be doing the necessary thing.

Where to eat

99 Restaurante

“I got 99 problems but this restaurant ain’t one”, especially if you’re dining here for lunch. Their three course lunch, which will set you back roughly AUD $25 is extraordinarily good value. Funnily enough, we were put onto this restaurant whilst dining out in Buenos Aires and the restaurant was referred to us by a Japanese guy who now calls Santiago home.

It is an alfresco dining space, on a relatively quiet street in the CBD. The setting is tranquil, a number of tables neatly aligned and a few groups entertaining a business lunch. The service is professional and swift, to accomodate those on a lunch break.

As we are much accustomed to in South America, we are provided with house made bread served with mushroom butter, provided on a cool rustic display, the butter served in a small piece of copper half pipe.

With a range of drinks to choose from, we opt for the red wine. A traditional and once common Chilean grape variety Paise that went out of vogue, and is apparently now coming back into trend like the three stripe adidas tracksuit. The wine is easy drinking and quite light with sweeter notes of blueberries. The wine is exclusive to this restaurant and supplied by Don Modesto.

The lunch menu consists of 6 items, you have the 6 item tasting menu or a half serve. The 3 course menu was perfectly suitable and worked out well considering our contrasting tastes. Plus, it was a generous serve and there’s no way we would have finished 6.

Half of the menu is vegetarian so it is suitable for many diners. The menu items are locally inspired. The first course options were both very tasty and very different. The Espuma d papa y yema curada was a potato and yam foam, with nice texture and very much soup like, served with an egg yolk and crisps. It aaa served in a beautiful ceramic bowl.

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Then there was also the Sandwich de lengua, which is a beef tongue and cheese sandwich/slider. Don’t be scared by the “tongue”, it is essentially their version of a typical local beef and cheese sandwich. The tongue was nicely stewed and they certainly did not skimp on the cheese. Served with some potato crisps and chilli mayo, it was a great starter.

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For the main meal, we both opted for the papada de Cerdo y lentejas. This was essentially Jamon and lentils. The Jamon was served crisp and melted in your mouth. This was sitting atop lentils, which were served with egg and pecorino cheese on top and it was a very flavoursome and hearty dish.

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The desserts were a standout. The Brownie, manzana y chocolate was a rich peanut butter brownie nicely presented with a chocolate mouse and a sorbet to cut through the richness, the pais also served this purpose nicely.

The lighter delicate option being Bavaroise frambuesa bey marscapjone, the texture of this dessert was dreamy. It was a block of strawberry flavoured mousse cake with a cookie crumb, sorbet and fruity sauce. This dessert was delightful and a perfect to end to a great meal.

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The staff were lovely and efficient. We thoroughly recommend this restaurant and it is outstanding value for money.

Bellavista

Bellavista isn’t a restaurant, it’s an area with streets full of restaurants, bars and clubs. There’s a patio where you’ll find plenty of cool restaurants. A good area for tourists because it’s central and safe.

We went to a restaurant in Bellavista, called Galindo. A typical casual Chilean resturant with huge portions of meat, fries and stews. The stew was incredible. Expect to put your name down and wait a little, but it is worth it.

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Cafe Cultura

Perfect if you want to find quality coffee in Santiago at this speciality coffee house and training school for roasting, latte art and barista work. Staff were very friendly and hospitanble. This cafe is located close to the Costanera centre.

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What to do

You can head to Bellavista and find the hiking trails and furnicular which can take you up San Cristobel Hill for a great view. There’s also a cable car there and a zoo.

The Museo de la Memoria (The Museum of Memory and Human Rights)

We visited The Museum of Memory and Human Rights in Santiago and its on the outskirts of the town (in the CBD) but ten minutes in the cab from the CBD. It is designed to commemorate the victims of human rights violations which took place during the military regime led by Augusto Pinochet. The museum is well designed and begins in a Hall outlining what human rights are, as well as examples from across the years. As you move upstairs, the information covers the military coup, civilian response, imposition of the constitution, military controls and media response. There’s also a sensitive area with information about imprisonments and crafts made by the inmates. This took place between 1973 and 1990. As you move upstairs the information is about the fight to gain peace. The museum is well organised and has a lot of information provided. The only issue is it isn’t in English. There are audio devices which are great, but do take 1.5 hours. There is no entrance fee.

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Sky Costanera at Constanera Center

Head to the Constanera Shopping centre for a huge amount of stores to get shopping done. There’s also plenty of eateries to keep you full. But don’t forget to head to the bottom floor, purchase your tickets and grab a lift to the top of the Sky Costanera tower for an incredible 360° view of Santiago. Seeing the whole city surrounded by the mountains is beautiful. This tower is the tallest building in South America. Visit on a clear day and you can head up until 9pm at night.

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Valparaíso and Viña Del Mar – Turis Tours

Note: this tour company is most suitable for older people and those who don’t like a lot of walking. It’s mostly a bus tour.

TurisTours runs a range of Tours from Santiago. These include some to the Andes, Farellones Snow Park, Valle Nevado, Cajon del Maipo and El Yeso Dam, Vina del Mar and Valparaiso as well as wine tours and a general city tour. We selected the Vina Del Mar and Valparaiso tour for $36 000 CHP. We were collected at 8am for a 9 am tour. We drove around to pick up other guests and reached a central location where we all swapped buses for the relevant tour. Our bus was a small mini bus but there were larger ones depending on the tour.

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Our tour Included a bilingual guide. Most people were Spanish so he primarily spoke Spanish and translated for us. On the drive down the bus driver commentated on what we were passing with a lot of detailed knowledge. Unfortunately due to the public holiday, the winery was closed and we couldn’t visit it.

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This tour included a trip to Vina del Mar, known for its green surroundings and gardens in an urban city. There’s a visit to the famous Flower Clock. Take a photo and get back on the bus. The same at a few other spots like a beach and to see some sea lions.

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We then drove through the city and were explained things. We would have liked a look around. We were taken to a restaurant and offered ala carte or the special “tour company” lunch. It was expensive so we chose to leave eat and at a cheaper excellent restaurant across the road at D’Lamari. We highly recommend doing this.

The bus travels along the pacific coast to Valparaiso, Chile’s main port. This city is also a heritage site selected by UNESCO. Here we stopped for some more photos. This was better as we did a 1 hour walk through the Multi-coloured neighbourhoods and caught the Furnicular down. We would have liked to look more here. There was the offer of a boat ride (which minimum 8 people needed to do) at an extra cost but our group weren’t keen. We had 30 minutes to look around and then headed back to the city and dropped at our hotel. Brochure said bus has wi fi, which it didn’t.

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We personally found this extremely expensive for what you get. We also found it pretty boring – it’s a bus tour. We would prefer to look around. So do your research to make sure it’s your thing. You can do this cheaper by catching a local bus, but we had limited time and felt like a tour was easiest for us. That said we wouldn’t book these sort of things again. The guide Martin was outstanding. Knowledgeable and funny.

Other

  • Fantastic views from Cerro San Cristobel. Just catch the funicular up from Bellavista. Note – there always seemed to be a massive line, so get there early.
  • A great spot for a viewpoint is Cerro Santa Lucia: a 15-20 min uphill walk for a 360 degree panoramic view of Santiago.
  • Plaza de armas (former city centre)
  • Catedral Metropoliatana de Santiago (Church)
  • Salsa dancing

If we had more time, we would have been keen to visit Easter Island or Southern Chile to Patagonia, but time did not allow it. Keen to revisit and do those things another time.

In Summation 

Unfortunately we only had a few days here, two of which fell on the public holidays (which meant practically everything was closed). We would say there’s a limited amount to do in Santiago, though we enjoyed the time there. We’d recommend 2 days, and a trip to Valparaiso and then head down to the Southern end of Chile.

The level of English in Chile is pretty good, it’s easy to get around with trains, buses and Uber.