Gran Valparaíso – some good places to eat and drink in Viña del Mar

As I mentioned in the previous post, I found it quite difficult to eat well in Viña despite it being such a wealthy place. My dining experiences in 2011 were terrible but I did a bit better in 2018 thanks to more extensive research. Below are all the places I feel I can recommend to some extent. I’ve sectioned off all my negative reviews into a separate post which is here should you want to read them. In short, I’d avoid Enjoy del Mar, Cap Ducal and Divino Pecado even if they do get recommended by the guides. You’ll find everywhere mentioned on my map.

There are some good experiences to be had though…

Tierra de Fuego (Intermediate A), Playa Acapulco – 8 Nte. Nº 65, www.tierradefuego.cl

The best thing about this restaurant is its location on Playa Acapulco looking out to sea.

There’s lots of room inside but really you want to snag a table on the front row on the balcony.

My general advice for avoiding disappointment in Chile is to choose dishes that require the least cooking, so I kept things simple with a round of oysters (A) followed by some ceviche and crackers (!)(B) and a good bottle of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc.

I can’t vouch for the rest of the menu but the location is hard to beat.

For an everyday option, this place might be a good choice…

La Flor de Chile (Intermediate A), 8 norte 601, on the corner with 1 Pte, www.laflordechile.cl, streetview here

Writing up this neighbourhood tavern two years later, for some reason without any notes or photos (unlike me), I haven’t eaten here, however I do recall the warm, homey atmosphere from when I stopped in for a night cap, and the fact that it’s very popular with the locals. The location is four blocks away from the beach, which is the reason I discovered it late in my stay, but it’s worth the detour. Getting seated shouldn’t be a problem as there’s a bar area, two dining rooms and tables on the pavement outside.

And for a change…

Shitake (Intermediate C), 350 San Martín, www.shitake.cl

Having lived in Japan for a few years, sushi is my go to when I’m abroad and in need of a break from the local cuisine. The food here is Nikkei (second generation Japanese) and so features such un-Japanese ingredients as Philadephia cream cheese and avocado which personally I quite like although purists would sniff. Overall the experience is just okay (C) but I was just grateful to eat something relatively clean and nicely presented for a change.

Or if you’re on a budget, there’s this place just around the corner from Shitake…

Sibaritico (Elementary B?), 6 Pte. 372, actually on the side street 5 Norte.

This is a renowned hotdog emporium in a former garage selling the famous Completos; big Chilean hotdogs served with avocado, diced tomatoes and big dollops of mayo. I haven’t actually been as I was a bit put off by the look on Bourdain’s face when he was eating his, and his description of the sausage as ‘twelve inches of floppy clownshoe’ didn’t exactly win me over. So I left if for next time. Please go and tell me how it was. They’re open till 6am.

The main bar district seems to be located on the seamier south side of Viña, along Calle Valparaíso.

Spartako Producciones (Elementary B+), 90 Calle Valparaíso

I discovered by accident that this upstairs dive bar does a great Mango Pisco Sour when I stopped in for a nightcap. There are plenty of other bar options along the street should you find Spartako too grungy.

And that’s it for the drinking and dining scenes in Viña! My other post with the negative reviews is significantly longer! I’m happy to be told I’m wrong though. Do please share any useful tips in the comments below 🙂

Thankfully, wonderful Valpo is just a short train ride away, more of which soon…

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