Sunday, July 25, 2010

Peruvian Restaurants in Chile

Lots of Peruvians in Chile. And lots of Chilenos like to go to Peruvian restaurants. We have been to several, but two were remarkable. I recommend them.

1. Restaurante Barandiaran. Old school, very colorful, perfectly serviceable, and as cheap as comida peruana should be. Very close to the Manuel Montt metro stop in Providencia on the Red Line. They claimed to have cui (guinea pig) which of course I ordered, but they said they were "out." Not sure if they ever realy have it, but I certainly disgusted everyone at the table. Very good cebiche, big portions, good drinks (pisco sours big and well executed, not too expensive, nice cheap wines), and cheerful if somewhat spotty service. If you want a "real" Peruvian restuarant that is cheap and easy to get to, La Barandiaran is your place.

2. La Mar. One of the five best restaurant meals I have ever had, and I can't think immediately of what the other four are. Remarkable. Remarkably good service, remarkably good food, remarkably self-consciously trendy, and remarkably expensive. Each pisco sour is $8. They are good, but...yikes! Wine reasonable, but then it's Chile. A nice cortado after the meal will set you back another $7. That's a pisco sour and a coffee that EACH cost more than some of the entrees at Barandiaran. But, the food at La Mar is miraculous. They call themselves a cebicheria, and...yes. We got a sampler (diversa) of three kinds of cebiche, and (very unusual for Chile) they had actually used some SPICE, including aji or red chilis. Terrific fresh ingredients, beautiful. For dinner, the EYM had pulpos a la brasa con chimichurri parrillero, or grilled octopus with a green sauce. Astonishing. Saying it was the best octopus I have ever tasted is an understatement. It was better than any octopus that I could have imagined. I had shrimp, scallops, and fish in an almond sauce, which was tremendous. Dessert was fine, the bill was shocking, and it was well worth it.

UPDATE: I have to add that ANY of the "El Otro Sitio"s are extremely fine choices for comida peruana. Had a most extended and inebriated almuerzo there today, and...two thumbs up. The "diversa" sampler of cebiches was worth the price of lunch on its own. And excellent pulpo.