In a country as geographically vast and diverse as Chile, one would expect its food to reflect that as well. The average traveler, however, arrives in Santiago only to be greeted by a stoner’s culinary paradise: hot dogs drenched with mayo, oil-soaked empanadas and greasy french fries piled high with meat and eggs.
This is why I have been consistently disappointed with the quality of food produced in most restaurants.
There are only a few standouts in a city as cosmopolitan as Santiago.
One of these is Borago.
It is considered one of the world’s 50 Best Restaurants, and is certainly one of the standouts in Latin America. So when a friend of mine told us he had secured reservations there, I felt like I had won the gourmet equivalent of the Powerball.
Borago’s chef, Rodolfo Guzman, is a man renowned for his commitment to using 100% Chilean products - everything from the wooden chairs to the sheepskin rugs are sourced from within the country.
But we’re really here to talk about the food.
DINING EXPERIENCE AT BORAGO
Our evening begins with an appetizer of gelatinous parsley oil combined with green apple, sandwiching a mix of dried squid and crunchy Patagonian fruit. It was complemented by a pisco lettuce drink that can best be described as an adult green juice.
In the 15 dishes that follow, Guzman does gastronomically what O’Keeffe did visually, combining unexpected natural gems, like rose petal and succulents, with more conventional ingredients like shrimp, eel and barnacle.
This exceptional meal was a mix of theatre, pageantry and sensory overload. It was wonderfully exhausting, and I’m proud to say we closed out the place at 1:15am.
Our bellies were full, our words were (slightly) slurred, and I left with a renewed hope that Chilean gastronomy is moving in the right direction.