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Thanks to being forever alone and lazy as hell, much of my time in Valparaíso, Chile was dedicated to finding some not-too-unaffordable lunch restaurants and cafés where it was acceptable to drink so much coffee it made my eyeballs vibrate.
However, the first few Valparaíso breakfast restaurants and coffee shops I tried were…less than impressive, so I turned to the all-knowing powers of the internet with vaguely desperate Google searches like ‘where to eat in Valparaíso, Chile’ (#plshelp) as well as crowdsourcing options for decent spots to get some work done and grab coffee in Valparaíso.
So, after much trying and testing over two weeks, plus a few recommendations from friends that I didn’t get chance to sample, here is a by-no-means exhaustive selection of the coolest, and somewhat affordable(ish), places to grab coffee, snacks and actual real-life meals in Valparaíso, Chile.
WHERE TO EAT + DRINK IN VALPARAÍSO, CHILE
CAFÉ ASTILLERO | Cumming 1, Centro
Hands down the best cup of coffee (and apple pie and ice cream) I tried in Chile as a whole, Café Astillero is super small—there are literally about five tables-for-two in the entire place—and therefore easy to miss. I walked straight past it the first time I went searching. However, it’s worth taking the time to find, because it made for a great place to read, work (hello, plug sockets at every table and reliable wifi!) and just drink a decent cup of coffee. Sure, Chile seems to have reached the consensus that coffees (especially lattes and cappuccinos) should be smaller than in the rest of the world, but even that didn’t bother me at Café Astillero.
CAFÉ DE IRIS | Paseo Atkinson 110, Cerro Alegre
Full disclosure: I did not visit Café de Iris, mainly because it doesn’t open ‘til 5pm and I wasn’t about to schlep from Playa Ancha over to Paseo Atkinson for a cup of coffee that would then keep me up all night (I’m an old lady). However, I have it on good authority that this café serves up great cakes and has a prime location on Cerro Alegre.
CAFÉ PEREGRINA | Concepción 281, Cerro Alegre
I found this café by accident when I went looking for a French-Chilean place that, despite what Google Maps says, did not exist. It was totally empty when I walked in, even though it had a cute (but tiny) outdoor seating area at the front and decent wifi. If you want somewhere to work in peace on Cerro Alegre, then I’d recommend Café Peregrina.
CAFÉ CON CUENTO | Almirante Montt 316, Cerro Alegre
I got my coffee to go from Café con Cuento, which is located on what appears to be the main restaurant hub street of Cerro Alegre, Almirante Montt. However, given that the walls are lined with books (some new, some second hand), all of which are available to buy, this seems like it could be a good place to pass an hour or so. I also spent heinous amounts of money buying all the postcards there too.
FOTOCAFÉ | Esmeralda 1111, Centro
Another café situated down in the plan (downtown Valparaíso), Fotocafé is a decent place to do some work, thanks to internet and available plug sockets. It’s also spacious and lofty enough that it has a kind of tranquil feel to it. Why is it called Fotocafé though? Well, one half is café, other half is Kodak store. Bizarre, yes.
As an aside, the set breakfast options aren’t awful either.
MELBOURNE CAFÉ | Sotomayor 33, Centro
If you need a café right off Plaza Sotomayor, Melbourne Café is a not-terrible option. After I visited, I described this place as ‘supremely average’ and…I stand by that. I thought it was slightly overpriced (then again, that’s probably down to the location) but, looking back, apart from a slightly waxy slice of avocado (it wasn’t ripe enough), the salmon and cream cheese bagel I had was actually pretty generous and tasty. The iced coffee, on the other hand, left a lot to be desired. (Like the addition of ice cubes.)
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CAFÉ REPÚBLICA | Playa Ancha 30, Playa Ancha
Located a bit out of the way, in Playa Ancha, the cerro where I was staying, Café República didn’t do it for me at first, although I gradually came round to the charm and old-fashioned stylings of the place. The sandwiches there are actually really decent, and it’s a good place to read a book thanks to the ambient background music. However, they have some strange ideas of what a cappuccino is (apparently it’s normal black coffee with some foam on top…not milk, just foam?!). Even so, the place is always full so it must be doing something right.
DIN_399 | Dinamarca 399, Cerro Panteón
Hands down one of the best restaurants in Valparaíso, Chile, if not the best Valparaíso lunch restaurant (in my opinion), Din_399 is a little out of the way on Cerro Panteón, but actually deceptively easy to reach on foot from the plan—just follow Calle Cumming all the way up and you’ll eventually stumble across it.
I went there twice for lunch and while it’s definitely a pricier option, I wouldn’t say it breaks the bank, and the food was delicious. If you know what’s good for you, order from their 6900 Chilean peso set menu (almuerzo ejecutivo) and get a starter, main and dessert plus coffee. I ordered soup and Americano both times, choosing a meat and mashed potato main on round one and a Brazilian pork and rice bowl on round two. Pudding first time round was an overly-sweet fruit mousse, but the second-time round I hit the jackpot with a wodge of tiramisu.
Oh, and if you’re wondering where to eat in Valparaíso, Chile with a view, the vista from DIN_399 is s good as the food, plus it’s also a sprawling co-working space (in case you’re planning a long-term work-related stay in Valpo).
CAPRI | Cochrane 664, Centro
This restaurant looks pretty shoddy from the outside, with a colourful mural coated in a decent layer of grime characteristic of downtown Valpo; however, Capri is apparently an award-winning spot, dishing up Chilean cuisine classics like pastel de choclo and chorrillana. I didn’t visit, but it might be worth giving it a go if you want some traditional Chilean food.
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EL INTERNADO | Pasaje Dimalow 167, Cerro Alegre
Again, El Internado is raved about, but I didn’t get the chance to go. What I can say is that the location looks very convenient and the food (burgers, et al) seem to be people pleasers, judging by online reviews.
ANTOJITOS MEXICANOS | Blanco 967, Centro
I wasn’t impressed by the actual *Mexicanness* of the food at Antojitos Mexicanos, but then again, I live in Mexico, so things rarely live up to the real deal, but this place wasn’t terrible either. I mean, they had La Familia Peluche playing on the TV.
For 4900 Chilean pesos, you get a drink (apparently it was agua de jamaica, but honestly, it tasted entirely different), starter (salad or soup), main (I chose chilaquiles) and pudding. The ‘very spicy’ level of spice was overwhelmingly mild, but then again, Chile doesn’t do spicy food. Even so, it was decently flavoursome and a nice break from sandwiches and empanadas. Head there only once you exhaust all other downtown Valparaíso restaurants.
Don’t order to takeaway though, because they don’t have containers for either the soup or drink, meaning you have to order salad and enjoy your drink while you wait.
EMPANADAS | Next door to Delicias Porteñas, Centro
About half a block to the right of Plaza Sotomayor, if you’re facing the blue and white palace, is a place simply called Empanadas. They sell juice.
JUST KIDDING. They sell empanadas, of course. I went there plenty while in Valpo, just because, well, it was super easy to get to and actually pretty delicious. I’d recommend ordering the prawn and cheese empanadas for 2000 Chilean pesos each, although if you plan on transporting it anywhere before tucking in, for the love of god, hold it flat. Otherwise, all the cheese comes leaking out the bottom. Even so, a great and filling snack in the plan.
DELICIAS EXPRESS | Urriola 358, Entre Cerros Alegre y Concepción
I didn’t get to go here, because every time I was nearby, I’d either run out of money or had just eaten. However, Delicias Express (or Empanadas Delicias, whatever you want to call it) was recommended to me as one of the best places to eat in Valparaíso, Chile more times than I can count, by both visitors and locals. Apparently, the range of options is immense, so it’s probably for the best my indecisive self didn’t make it there, in hindsight.
KIOSKO ROCA | Blanco 638, Centro
From what I gather, Kiosko Roca is a Chilean chain of actual fast food and all they serve are tiny chorizo sandwiches and banana milk. I legitimately thought that the banana milk was actually going to be fried plantain and condensed milk for the longest time before I actually got served a cup of pretty good banana milk instead. The sandwiches are served on hallulla bread (a flat English muffin like bread, but harder) and the chorizo is actually a…paste? It sounds gross but was OK if you just need a quick and, operative word, affordable snack. Each chorizo sandwich is just 800 Chilean pesos!
ALFAJORES ARTESANALES | Pasaje Bavestrello, Cerro Concepción
I’d read about this place before I visited on my Tours4Tips tour around Valpo and I definitely recommend knocking on this old Chilean man’s door to buy some artisanal alfajores from him. Not as crumbly and melt in your mouth as the ones I tried in Peru, these are a bit sturdier and completely coated in a film of chocolate. He sells each one for 200 Chilean pesos, individually wrapped in tinfoil and, if you ask nicely, he’ll fill up your water bottle for 500 Chilean pesos too.
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FAUNA | Paseo Dimalow 166, Cerro Alegre
Fauna is actually a restaurant, but I’ve heard that the food there is not great given what you’ll pay for it (it’s located right next to the Ascensor Reina Victoria); however, the view and patio area is admittedly impressive. So, buy a beer, eat elsewhere and enjoy the view.
CASA CERVECERA ALTAMIRA | Elías 126, Centro
Just to the right of the Reina Victoria Ascensor is Casa Cervecera Altamira, the craft ale pub of choice in Valparaíso. You can order flights containing anything from three to five mini tasters of the beers they have on tap that day, or just get a pint straight out the door. I went for the former, and taste tested three beers—of the ones I tried, I recommend the American Pale Ale.
CINZANO | Plaza Aníbal Pinto 1882, Centro
Right at the bottom of Calle Cumming, just off the Plaza Aníbal Pinto is one of the best bars in Valparaíso, Chile…supposedly. Honestly, Cinzano Bar looks kind of scruffy and shoddy from the outside and gives off the vibe that it’s just full of old men day-drinking. Buuut, as I mentioned, it has quite the reputation in Valpo and supposedly serves up a special fruity wine called borgoña.
CASINO SOCIAL J CRUZ | Condell 1466, Centro
Go for the chorrillana. I didn’t, but Casino Social J Cruz is supposedly the best place to try the traditional Valparaíso dish which consists of chips layered with meat, cheese and eggs. I was travelling alone, so I knew I’d never finish a chorrillana and therefore, didn’t try one. I’ve only heard good things though.
Have you been to Valparaíso? Do you agree with these recommendations for where to eat in Valparaíso, Chile? Let me know in the comments!