Stretching almost half the Pacific coast of South America, Chile is certainly distinctive when you see it on a map. As you might expect, this unusual shape and the geography that forms it (mountains in the east, ocean in the west) has created some incredible culture and cuisine to try… so it’s no surprise that Tony Bourdain visited during his many travels.
Anthony Bourdain visited Chile to film season 5 (episode 11, “Chile”) of No Reservations; it was his only visit to the South American country, but he packed a lot into the week he spent exploring the country… which means you can too, even if you’re only planning a short trip.
However long you have to spend in Chile, you’re going to want to eat well – which is thankfully easy to do, since there are loads of great dishes and restaurants everywhere from the major cities to wine country (of which there is lots). However, if you want to eat at the same places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Chile, you’ve come to the right place. This guide will help you plan your time, no matter where you’re visiting.
Santiago is Chile’s largest and capital city, so it’s unsurprising that Bourdain spends the most time here, and samples a wide range of Chilean food and flavors. All of the places Tony visited almost two decades ago are still open today, and you can find many of the dishes he ate at other restaurants/bars too. Here’s the list of spots he went:
Be sure to check my guide of places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Santiago for details about each one and what Tony ate there.
Valparaiso/Viña del Mar
Located out on the coast, Valparaiso is a common second city for visitors; Bourdain also spends time in this “Vale of Paradise” sampling flavors of the sea and traditional Chilean dishes too.
Don Vito e Zanoni
Tony’s first stop in Valparaiso is at Don Vito e Zanoni, where he tries machas con parmesano, classic razor clams with cheese. Next is conger eel lightly battered and fried. Finally, the mariscal, a heavenly seafood stew made of mussels, abalone, scallops, razor clams, and shrimp cooked in shellfish stock.
(Note that this restaurant is in neighboring Viña del Mar, about 15 minutes from Valparaiso. I don’t know if they moved since Tony’s visit, but I’ve included the restaurants from both cities in this section.)
Bar “La Playa”
In Valparaiso proper, it’s time for a drink – and of course, Bourdain knows a spot. Bar “La Playa” is a hundred-year-old sailor bar located a few blocks from the port that serves the famous pisco sour, a drink found all over Chile.
Pisco sour is prepared with Pisco, a type of brandy made from local grapes, lime juice, and simply syrup. (It’s an iconic drink that is disputed in origin – Peru also claims it, so you should be sure to try it in both countries!)
For his final spot on the coast, Tony decides to deviate from seafood for another Chilean classic. But not before he tries the completo, a staple of Chilean cuisine. Basically, it’s a 12-inches hotdog prepared with chucrut (sauerkraut), pickles, tomato, avocado, and mayonnaise… Are we really surprised that even here, Bourdain is able to find delicious street meats?
Other Places in Chile
Exploring south from Santiago, Bourdain and crew head to a few other towns and restaurants:
- The Cliffs Preserve Patagonia (Los Lagos) – Tony stops by The Cliffs Preserve, an Ecological park in Chile that has a restaurant as good as the lodge’s views. Here, he samples a steak a la poêle, sirloin beef, Chiloé potatoes, and quail eggs. Next, he enjoys conger eel and a Chilean version of polenta called chuchoca.
- Donde El “Gordito” (Puerto Varas) – It’s Tony’s last day in Chile, and he’s determined to shove as much seafood as possible down his throat. Here, Borudain tries corvina fish. They sauté the corvina in a super rich salpicón of king crab legs and then smothered it in a decadent crab and cognac cream sauce.
- Unnamed Stall at Rodeo (Valle de Curico) – In Chile’s main wine region, Tony tries the plateada picapa, little bit-sized cubes of braised that go perfectly with the wine. Then, he enjoys a dish of brisket beef ribs braised in local Carménère wine and charquicán, a variation of mashed potato that also incorporates pumpkin, celery, and spinach.
Have any other questions about the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Chile? Let me know in the comments below!