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For a long time, Santiago lurked in its metaphorical shell when it came to establishing a world-class culinary scene.  Despite sharing Peru’s pacific coast, it was making mere ripples while Lima’s gastronomic tidal wave took the crown of culinary capital of Latin America.  But times are changing: Driven by a bubbling sense of enterprise and creativity following the 2010 earthquakes, Chile’s creative young chefs are pinching ideas from across the borders and using them to experiment with Chile’s abundance of interesting, local ingredients- did we hear someone say King Crab?  And while Santiago does boast a selection of Peru’s most successful exports (notably Astrid y Gaston, Hanzo and La Mar Cebicheria), for Dehouche’s top 5 places to eat in Santiago, we went Chilean all the way.

1.CasaMar- One of Chile’s top contemporary restaurants serving innovative seafood dishes, Chef Tomas Oliveira Leiva has set up a ‘cocina de autor’, which he describes as ‘pure, honest and with a touch of nostalgia’. Sample signature dishes such as Congor with abalone out on the terrace, or tuck into a 6 course tasting menu around the chef’s table after a few punchy rounds of the CasaMar Pisco sour (which includes a dash of brandy) at the long, laid-back bar. Av. Padre Hurtado 1480, Santiago

2.Borago- In some respects a Chilean version of Noma, Borago is micro-biotic cooking that takes sourcing local produce very seriously. From rare mushrooms from the most remote of forests to seafood from the iciest waters of southern Patagonia, Borago’s menu encapsulates Chile’s wildest corners.  The tasting menu covers 8 courses, often with original dishes crafted from the freshest seasonal produce, which keeps locals coming back for more. Avenida Nueva Costanera 3467, Vitacura

3.Coquinaria- Santiago’s first gourmet market, Coquinaria sells a wide selection of home-made bread, pasta and chocolate, all of which make an appearance in the daily changing menu of Coquinaria’s restaurant. We are particular fans of their brunch:  gourmet options include Eggs Benedict with parma ham, and a very indulgent croque monsieur. Isidora Goyenechea 3000, local S-101, Subsuelo, Las Condes / Santiago

4. Zinnia- As long time fans of sophisticated dining at the refined Puerto Fey, our interest was sparked when head chef Giancarlo Mazzarelli struck out on his own and opened Zinnia. The menu aims to showcase the fresh local seafood (the rock oysters are a real treat), with influences that skip from the Med to South East Asia with attractive prices that draw Santiago’s well-healed younger crowd. Av Nueva Costanera 3664, Vitacura

5.Liguria- A long time favourite among the locals for its bohemian atmosphere, bow-tied waiters and competitive prices, Liguria is a buzzing restaurant and bar that serves quintessential Chilean dishes and is equally as good for a long lunch as it is for late night drinks and philosophizing with the regulars. 19 Avenida Luis Thayer Ojeda, Santiago, Chile

Contact Dehouche to plan the hippest city break to Santiago.

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