Skip to the bottom if you want my sushi recs for Santiago centro.
Okay, first of all, reports of my vegetarianism have been overstated. I am not a vegetarian. I often say, “I don’t eat meat,” by which I mean, I do not eat mammals or birds. I draw my foodie line at the ocean’s edge, in the case where (unlike in recent memory), the ocean stays where it belongs, you know, in the ocean. I suppose I could eat river fish, too, but you know? It kind of tastes like mud.
Anyway, fish. Here in Chile, we’ve got it. With an enviable coastline and cool waters, there’s a plentitude of fish to eat, as well as a few varieties of seafood that I bet you didn’t even think were edible. I give to you the piure (the red sea squirt) and the picoroco (the giant barnacle). Except I don’t give them to you because a) I don’t have them and b) how would I get them to you?
So with all this coastline sushi seems like a logical idea, what with all the fish. Now I don’t know the ins and outs of what fish can and cannot be eaten raw, but the only thing that seems to show up in sushi these days in most places in Chile is that crabstick thing, shrimp, salmon (oh! salmon, in all its various thinly-sliced forms) and eel. Some of the sushi we get is fair, big balls of rice with a sliver of something in the middle (sold at convenience stores and the like), and some of what we get is made by people who actually know a thing or two about sushi, including one of my favorites, which is Korean-owned, and you can spy on what the giant groups that get together on Friday (or is it Saturday?) nights get to eat, and if you talk to the waiter, they might bring you some, or you can even order it ahead of time. This is the food that’s not on the menu, that the owner makes special for his regalones (favorite customers).
But sushi. We have it. In spades. Since I arrived in 2004, sushi has taken the capital by storm. You can see it in the malls, at indie restaurants, at Peruvian-Japanese restaurants, at the Korean stores on Antonia Lopez de Bello and even at my local minimarket, which is called “Spin,” though I’ve never seen anyone spinning there, and in Spanish, that comes out sounding like “speen,” which just reminds me of a ball-peen hammer.
My favorites for sushi below Plaza Italia (which marks me as a center-dweller, a Plaza Italia pa’bajo ingrate who wouldn’t know good food if it bit me. Except a) that’s not true and b) I don’t eat picorocos, so I think I’m safe from getting bitten. These are probably in no particular order, though they might be.
Japón (Japanese-owned, open since 1978) Baron Pierre de Coubertin 39 (ex Marcoleta) near Baquedano, also has tasty soup. Tatami seating is available, though it’s kind of modern tatami, with a place for your feet.
Duri (Korean-owned, lots of specialty noodle and seared fish dishes Calle Agustinas 984. Happy hour discounts.
Kintaro (Japanese-owned), Monjitas 460 (Bellas Artes) Tasty sushi, also has rice bowls including one with fried seaweed that is pretty great. They give you little warmed washcloths to wipe your hands before you eat. Nice touch.
De Los Reyes (Peruvian-owned, Agustinas 984, has the most heavily-discounted sushi prices in the evening, not much ambience, but fits the characteristics bbb (bueno, bonito y barato, good, attractive and cheap).
Platipus (No idea who owns this place, but the sushi is pretty creative. It’s beside La Casa Roja hostel in Barrio Brasil)
Baires (Chilean-owned, big giant place with lots of nibbles, but sushi is surprisingly good. Attracts a slightly more upscale crowd, has craft beers, etc.)
Got any other sushi restos you really want me to know about below Plaza Italia? Don’t even talk to me about that one place on Moneda in the arcade/galería that shall remain nameless. If you think that’s good sushi, you are not my friend. Or at least not my food advisor.
For my pizza pics, dig around the archives (ugh, I just moved, and I don’t know where anything is), or read what I have to say on NileGuides here.
I’m not a sushi person at all. I find it small and not filling (says Mr Bife a lo Pobre).
Platipus is owned by the same Australian that runs the Casa Roja hostel, hence the name.
This post made me very hungry! I need to check out all these places except Duri which I think I’ve been to. I am the opposite of a sushi snob, though I can tell when it’s REALLY bad. Also, I feel very honored to be the only member of your blogroll 😉
Have you been to the place at Toesca c/ Carrera? I think it’s some kind of strange sushi/Peruvian fusion place. I’ve only had a couple bites, so I can’t comment on the quality of the sushi, but I do know it’s one of the only sushi places that will deliver to Estacion Central.
I haven’t, and I’m not even really sure I knew it was there. I just recently moved to República, and haven’t explored food options much, except to eat a giant Peruvian sandwich at Cheverissimo (across from the Santa Isabel/Japimax complex at Almirante la Torre and Grajales. Thanks for the tip, I’ll have to check out what’s going on over there!
Nice tips, sushi in Santiago is more expensive than here in Temuco. If you ever want to eat some sushi and rolls in Temuco, I suggest you to try a restaurant called “Gohan”, they are bigger and tastier than any other roll or sushi I have ever tried in Concepción, Viña, Valparaiso or Santiago.
I have to say that I´m with Rob in this one, bife a lo pobre beats sushi any day for me xD
Hey Marmo, glad to see you found the new place. And I’m sure bife a lo pobre is great, but I don’t partake in cow, so there’s none for me! One day I will get to your lace in Temuco and give it a try! I actually don’t like big sushi rolls, too hard to eat, and too much rice!. Also, most of what we get in Chile is “inside out” (with the rice on the outside), and I actually really prefer the seaweed on the outside. Those rolls are always smaller, and I think they’re great. But then, I really like nori! (the seaweed). I used to toast the sheets and eat it as a snack.
Maybe you should tell us more about what to do and eat in Temuco (maybe on your blog?). Not a lot of travel advice coming out of there at the moment!
That seems like a good idea; it´s good to have some tips about a city, and Temuco has a lot of secrets in terms of food. Also, Marmotita and I were talking about doing some food critic, since we both love to go out and try new places all around central Chile 😀
Yum! But didn’t I hear that raw fish had been outlawed (at least temporarily) recently? That could explain your kanikama fake crab-only finding (though not the salmon, but maybe it’s farmed and therefore doesn’t count??)
Also thanks for the tips… the last 2 are new to me, although you did not supply addresses… making us work for our sushi are you?
There was definitely raw salmon the last time I went to eat sushi. It does seem like we’re getting more and more shrimp sushi, which of course, is cooked. I actually really miss oshinko, shizo and all the other flavors I associate with salmon more than I miss eating raw fish, in any case. I did find one place that has oshinko (pickled daikon) in their futomaki, but I would happily eat more of it. And there’s no replacement for shizo! or umeboshi. mmmm.
Oh, I. LOVE. sushi. I went to Japan solely for the purpose of eating sushi – and it was a thoroughly worthwhile visit. We get delivery from Akai sushi, not a great variety (and what’s with all the queso crema??) but it is nearby, generous portions and super fast. Will definitely try your list. Thank you kindly!
I did like Akai as well, I went to the one up in El Golf once. I hope Margaret will remind me of the place we went in Manuel Montt recently after the great late night shopping trip. Tasty! But I wanted to highlight the downtown stuff because well… de ahí somos!
We went to Maiko on Barros Borgoño, by the Manuel Montt Metro stop. It was pretty good that night, but I’ve since ordered take out (ok, it was delivery) and was a bit disappointed.
oh darn! It was pretty good when we had it there, from what I remember. Bummer! We’ll have to keep trying different places, but maybe not the one called “too much” because I object to the misuse of the words “too much” to mean “alot.” grrrr.
Uuu! Estoy demasiado de acuerdo! 😉
Oh, you’re welcome. Glad you like it. and did I already respond here, Akai is good, but yes, there is entirely too much cheese and avocado in the sushi in Chile. I miss my yellowtail with scallions in maki (not inside-out!).
ooh! I love sushi but it’s definitely hit or miss here in Santiago!! I went to Japon once and found it to be VERY expensive, especially because I went with my boyfriend who eats anything as long as he can eat a lot -I’ll have to try some of the other places as most of them are walking distance from my place! But I’ll definitely check out their menu before inviting my boyfriend! ha!
given your parameters, go to de los reyes for dinner. Best value for price, and he can eat a ton on their happy hour special or whatever they have there. Go! run! eat sushi! (and keep our future meetup in mind, I swear it’s going to happen!).
japon – cool enough place and i guess as “authentic” as santiago japanese gets but agree w/Alessandra that it’s really ridiculously expensive. also i’ve been twice and both times they had run out of some of different fish items that were proudly displayed on the menu. kintaro was OK, like so many other restaurants in Santiago. alas the city still leaves much to desire in terms of food outside of spanish, peruvian and, obviously, chilean cuisine (and i’m really not a fan of chilean cuisine). good thing you can find pretty much anything you want in the way of fresh fruits, veggies and fish- forces you to cook more at home!