New Horizon in Bellas Artes for Indian food and Kahue in Patronato for Turkish coffee and middle-eastern pastries.
Hits are self-explanatory. Misses are places I wouldn’t put at the top of my list. Adjectives describing hit and miss used at my discretion. Opinions are my own, and I paid for my meals.
MILD MISS: New Horizon, Indian Food. Merced 595 (closest metro: Bellas Artes).
Bellas Artes is contiguous to the touristy-but-quaint Lastarria district, and a stone’s throw from a park full of jugglers (mostly Sundays), a hill to climb (careful of the people making out, etc.), and a couple of museums.
I don’t hate New Horizon. It’s reasonably cheap (the special is 3500 CLP), plentiful, and a change from empanadas, sandwiches and salads, which are easy vegetarian finds in Chile. New Horizon serves meat and veggie meals, in compact storefront on Merced into which they have squeezed tables into some unlikely corners (looking at you under-the-stairs table). It’s also less than a third of the price of what you’d pay in most Indian restaurants in Santiago considering a main dish, chapati (which some Chileans insist on eating with a fork), rice (though theirs is long grain, not basmati) and curiously, a lettuce and tomato salad to start.
I have been there twice, and on both occasions, the veggie special was “vegetable jalfrezi,” a tomato paste-tasting veggie dish with copious amounts of peas. The first time I went, I had a cold, and thought, there must be more complexity to this dish, I just can’t taste it. But I went back to a second time, and… it still tasted mostly like slightly sweet spicy tomato paste with peas. But the place is packed every day, and people line up before it opens and all throughout the lunch hour.
I did some research, and it turns out that jalfrezi is one of Britain’s most favorite Indian takeaway dishes.So perhaps this jalfrezi is cooked with the British palate in mind, the same way that Chinese food morphs, depending on who it’s being prepared for. Someone British would have to go here and tell me if I’m holding this food to the wrong standard.
The food is filling and a little off-the-beaten menu (ha), at least for now. There is great gastronomical change afoot all over Santiago. Maybe this place will rise to the challenge.
HIT: Kahue, Middle Eastern Food in Patronato. Eusebio Lillo, 520, in Patronato (closest metro: Patronato).
I know why you are in Patronato. You’re out there looking for some new clothes, or some bling for the commercial shot you’re doing, or you’re looking for supplies for your next asian cooking feast (please invite me, spicy is ok). Anyway, those are some of the reasons I’d be there. I stopped into Kahue on a lark with a friend, seeing they had a coffee and pastry special.
Turkish coffee, served in an ornate (in that kind of look! hot glue gun! and beads! sort of way) copper, long-handled vessel to pour your coffee into your coffee cup. Turkish coffee, strong and thick (and don’t drink the last sip). Three bite-sized pastries, the phyllo-type ones neither cloying nor gummy, a real treat. The spongy almond ones good as well. Technically you get whatever they give you, but if you tell the waiter you’d like one pastry over another, they’ll usually hook you up. The food here smells amazing, but though I’ve been in a few times for coffee and pastry (less than 2,000 CLP), I have not yet tried the food. Not a super atmosphere, kind of cafeteria-feeling. You’ll probably be the only gringo, unless I’m there too.
Raison d’etre: I like food, like reviewing it, eat out a fair amount, photograph my food and drink shamelessly and often opine about what I like and don’t in the culinary ambit. And I sometimes get a little fed up with how much “happy-glad tourism writing” there is out there, so I decided to show both sides of the coin, and not just happy-glad my way around only places that have been hits for me. If you can figure out a way to go to only places that leave you satisfied and gleeful, please don’t share. I get the feeling the misses are going to be the most popular part.