More Santiago

2009.Dec.28 Monday · 5 comments

in Life, Restaurants

Hey, really, I’m just getting started, all this has been only half the first day! So, on to the afternoon – much of which I actually spent napping, not having slept yet (our last dinner of the year ended around 1 a.m., we still had to clean up, I had to finish packing, and be at the airport by about 6:30 a.m.).

Along Av. Brasil

Once I had snoozed for a couple of hours ancd avoided some of that mid-afternoon solar power, it was back into the streets – more wandering, this time headed along Av. Brasil to the south.

Allende Museum

In that neighborhood, one of the things that was on my list to do, was check out the Allende Museum. Unfortunately, it was closed for installation of a new exhibition. The very friendly guard suggested I spend the rest of the afternoon in one of the local parks and then enjoy dinner somewhere. Not quite the same thing, but, I thanked him and wandered a bit more before heading back to the hostel to freshen up for dinner.

My other key source of recommendations for what to do, see and eat in Santiago is the Moon Guide, written by friend Wayne Bernhardson. He had singled out one particular place he thought I’d enjoy, not just for the food and ambiance, but, the owner is a fellow Michigander – though turns out when I contacted him that he’s back in Michigan right now with family, grew up in a different part of the state, though we did both go to U of M (at quite different times I suspect). So I headed for a spot on the map that is, both in Wayne’s book and local tourism maps, sort of left as a blank rectangle, labeled, Barrio Concha y Toro. This is one of several small “barrios historicos culturales” that the city has designated – more or less what we might call a historic preservation district. Of course, I didn’t know that at the time.

Barrio Concha y Toro

I entered what appeared to be another of those little cul-de-sacs that I kept finding…

Barrio Concha y Toro

Only to find that it continued in both directions, curving away…

Barrio Concha y Toro

It seems to be a sort of coiled in on itself street system, open at a couple of points to the surrounding neighborhood, but very self-contained. Most of these appear to have been rather elegant old homes, and in reading about it later, indeed, it was set up in the 1870s as a sort of European styled enclave for the wealthy.

Barrio Concha y Toro

In what I assume was more or less the center of the coiling streets, I stumbled upon a cobblestone plaza with fountain, surrounded by a couple of restaurants that have taken over some of the old homes.


One of those, #34, was my destination, Zully’s. You wouldn’t know it from the outside, but it turns out that this is a three story mansion on the inside with a rooftop terrace. Owner Joe W has left the layout more or less intact, turning the foyer into a bar, and then each room is decorated completely differently, from romantic to elegant to sports themed (all U of M, of course), to…

My dining room at Zully’s

…the room I was seated in after introducing myself to Joe’s right hand guy, Marcelo. I’m not sure what to call this one’s style. Joe’s wife (I think) was also there and came over and introduced herself.

Table setting and cocktail at Zully’s

You know, I forgot to ask, why “Zully’s”? Ah well. Quite elegant table setting, no? I ordered the house signature cocktail, Amor de Verano, Summer Love, which, I’ll admit, wasn’t my favorite – not badly made, just too many fruity things going on in there. Can I get away with saying, “it’s a girl drink”? I perused the menu, one of the coolest things I’ve seen in menu presentation, it’s made of two thin wooden drawers that fit together so that when you open them from each other you’ve got the appetizer menu on the right, inside one drawer, on one side, and you flip it over to see the main course menu. Very ingenious.

Zully’s - ostiones y jaiba

The food is, simply, exquisite. Sort of French styled Chilean cuisine. Given my pork-fest earlier in the day I’d decided on sticking to the seafood arena for dinner. Started with these beautifully presented bay scallops on crispy phyllo dough, with crab quenelles and an anise flavored butter sauce. Extraordinarily rich and delicious.

Zully’s - locos with pasta

I’m still not sure how I managed to even contemplate eating more food that evening after that lunch, but I gamely went ahead with a main course too. This, a mix of egg and squid ink pastas, topped with delicate slices of poached locos, Chilean abalones, which are not actually abalones but a type of snail. Amazingly good, with a very delicate tomato based sauce. Dessert was not on my list of possibilities, I couldn’t even finish this. Marcelo took me on a tour of the place, from top to bottom, truly a special spot – and amazingly, despite having rooms on three floors plus a rooftop area, the place only seats 85 or so people, because each room only has anywhere from 1 to 4 tables.

Oh, and the freight for this? 24,500 Chilean pesos – 185 Argentine pesos – $48. Definitely more expensive than a place of equal quality in BA, like, say, Maat, where for the same price I’d probably also have dessert and a glass of wine or two – but for Santiago and this level of service and food, a worthwhile splurge.


{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

pierre December 28, 2009 at 13:30

Hi Dan
I have browsed through your blog and find it very interesting ; I would like so much to go to Chile and Argentina these countries are attracting me a lot !
I ma always interested to the reports made in different restaurant in the world so thanks very much for the sharing !
I am Pierre and I have created a foodblog dedicated to french creative food ; I am an amateur but I have been cooking for a long time already ! SO if you want have a visit to my blog yoy are very welcom and door is always open !
Cheers from Paris (do you know already the city?!)

Frances December 28, 2009 at 19:29

The whole food scene in Santiago has changed a lot over the last fifteen years. I put it down to Chileans beginning to travel more and therefore getting more adventurous in their tastes, a better per capita income and people with a passion for food going into the restaurant kitchens. The variety now is quite impressive.

Wayne Bernhardson December 28, 2009 at 20:05

Dan, Zully’s midday fixed price lunch is a really good value, far better than the average menú ejecutivo.

dan December 28, 2009 at 21:55

That’s interesting, according to their posted hours, they’re only open for dinner….

Wayne Bernhardson December 29, 2009 at 13:19

Possibly at this time of year, especially between the holidays, they’re not open at midday. But I’ve had lunch there several times.

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