Gabriel O’Rorke

Correspondent

  • Santiago, Chile, South America

Gabriel O’Rorke is a correspondent based in Santiago who covers the city for Forbes Travel Guide. A multimedia journalist working in broadcast, print and online, O’Rorke started her career in TV and has worked for ABC News, BBC World Service, HARDtalk and Bloomberg TV. She treks across the globe but specializes in Latin American travel. You can find her articles in a range of publications, including the Financial Times, Daily Mail, Tatler, Conde Nast Traveller (UK), Wallpaper*, CNN Travel and Lonely Planet Traveller.

  • On July 25, 2013
    Gabriel O’Rorke answered the question: Gabriel O’Rorke

    What are the best Pilates studios in Santiago?

    Santiago is the place to do Pilates. There are several very well-kitted out studios... 
  • On July 25, 2013
    Gabriel O’Rorke answered the question: Gabriel O’Rorke

    What are the best neighborhood restaurants in Santiago?

    If you want something really local in Santiago, the sort of place that serves the kind of dish your grandmother would make (and indeed the sort of place your grandmother would go) you need to hunt out the "picadas".

    A "picada" is the term used for an informal restaurant that began as a dining room in a family home, but became so popular it eventually opened as a restaurant. Wander into one of these eateries, and you'll likely find one member of the family manning the kitchen, another working the till and others waiting tables. 

    As well as being dotted all over Providencia, one of the best "picadas" is Restaurant Alcobri on Loreto Street, no 100 in Barrio Recoleta. Known as "comida casera" (homecooking) this is the sort of place where you get a lovely big dish of fish stew, or typical Chilean dishes like pastel de jaiba (crab pie).

  • On July 25, 2013
    Gabriel O’Rorke answered the question: Gabriel O’Rorke

    What are the best Chilean restaurants in Santiago?

    When asked to name typical Chilean cuisine, many people think of empanadas or pastel de choclo, but there are plenty of delicious, inventive and surprising Chilean dishes waiting to be sampled. Here are some of Santiago's finest Chilean restaurants:

    Casa Mar
    Chef Tomás Olivera Leiva has over 17 years of cooking experience under his belt, his own restaurant and a new cookbook on the shelves. A true lover of cooking, his aim is to have fun with his dishes, and for his staff to have fun serving. The result is an upbeat, energetic and unexpected eating experience. To make the most of the food, opt for the menú degustación which starts with salmon tartar, followed by a fresh tomato and basil dish. Next come the fish courses, first hake with pea puree, then kingclip with oyster sauce and celery puree. Then "tomaticán" a typical Chilean stew, followed by pudding selection including flan de manjar (very typical Chilean pudding made from boiled condensed milk), tiramisu and last of all fried pastries called "sopaipillas". And, with the new cookbook, you can try and recreate this feast at home...

    Restaurant Estro 
    Hotel restaurants often get a bad rep, but Estro at the Santiago Ritz Carlton is a true exception to this rule. The menu is extensive and full of options, the service is top notch and the location is central and convenient (especially if you happen to be a guest). Meals get off to a slick start with multi-lingual waiters delivering bread (gluten free also available) and pouring virgin olive oil from test tubes onto slate plates. The cocktails are delicious, especially the passion fruit sour, and the main course of turbot with mushrooms is especially good, bringing out the best of Chile's delicious seafood. The kitchen is run by self-taught Mexican Chef Marco Rivas, who came to Estro when it re-launched in 2011.

    Infante 51
    A seafood restaurant in a 1920s townhouse turned restaurant, Infante 51 sits on a sleepy street in Providencia. Basque Chef Xabier Zabala has been in Chile for several decades, whipping up clean, fresh seafood dishes. The spacious restaurant has large modern art hanging on the wall and a central bar with a cubist feel to it. Among the specialties is konso fish from Easter Island, cojinova austral from Puerto Montt and breca from the Juan Fernandez islands. Look out for special wine and fish tasting evenings where you sample four different wines with four different fish dishes. Desserts include a rich hot chocolate pudding, as well as lighter options like blueberry or carrot and ginger sorbet.

    Puerto Fuy
    The one everyone always talks about, Puerto Fuy is a traditional Chilean restaurant up in Vitacura. A favorite for well-heeled, older Chileans the meal gets off to an impressive start when you are shown the salt selection which includes a range of five different types, one of which is from Pakistan and needs to be grated. The food is rich and buttery, best washed down with a glass of crisp white wine. Among the best starters are the Chilean clams with tomato, basil and cheese, and the glazed octopus served with Pinot Noir. For main course, once again fish dishes rule the menu and there's a strong national theme with the Chilean Seabass with artichoke and tomato coulis. For those trying to avoid carbs, the turbot comes with diced zucchini and pumpkin which resembles risotto, so you feel like you're eating grains not vegetables.
  • On July 25, 2013
    Gabriel O’Rorke answered the question: Gabriel O’Rorke

    What is the weather like right now in Santiago?

    Winter in Santiago can be chilly (yes, this is the source of many a joke) with temperatures frequently dipping down to zero at night. You need a good winter jacket, gloves and scarf when setting out in the early morning or evenings.

    However, as the sun rises each day - of course there are cloudy days, and the odd rainy day, but more often than not the sun comes out - the temperature climbs and you will find yourself shedding layers.

    A good way to sum up the climate is to say that year round - be it December or June - you can eat lunch outside in Santiago. In the winter, the Andes Mountains that tower over the city are covered in snow, but down in the city the temperatures are warm enough to wander around with a jumper in the middle of the day.

    This July, in fact, temperatures have reached 24 degrees centigrade, not very wintery for mid winter!
  • On July 25, 2013
    Gabriel O’Rorke answered the question: Gabriel O’Rorke

    What are the best spas in Santiago?

    Some of the best spas in Santiago are found in hotels. In fact, two of the city's best offerings when it comes to pampering are the following:

    AKO Wellness & Spa, Grand Hyatt Santiago:

    Located in its own building in the hotel grounds, the AKO spa is a refuge in the city. A newly refurbished sauna area opened July 2013, and there's also a large fitness area and exercise room for classes. Treatments range from massages - Swedish, Aromatherapy, Reflexology and Hot Stones - to facials and special Mapuche rituals. The latter begins with a herbal jacuzzi to warm you through before an hour-long massage. Relaxing, nourishing and hydrating, this is the perfect start or end to any trip. Also, watch this spot: a new mani-pedi parlour is opening which will be Chile's only parlour to use Yves Saint Laurent products...

    http://santiago.grand.hyatt.com/hyatt/pure/spas
    Avenida Kennedy #4601

    Nearest Metro: Escuela Militar
    Tel: +56 2 2950 1234

    Ritz-Carlton Boutique Spa:

    This mini spa has everything you need for some express pampering when staying in the city center. The therapists are sweet and welcoming, and the menu includes chocolate and grape wraps as well as a quirky Rapa Nui massage. However, the real winner here is the four-hand massage in which two therapists work their magic in sync, rubbing away any reminder of a long flight. A total treat for the body, mind and soul!

    http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/Santiago/Spa/Default.htm
    Calle El Alcalde No. 15
    Nearest Metro: El Golf
    Tel: +56 2 2470 8500
  • On June 25, 2013
    Gabriel O’Rorke answered the question: Gabriel O’Rorke

    What are the best Chilean restaurants in Santiago?

    When asked to name typical Chilean cuisine, many people think of empanadas or pastel de choclo, but there are plenty of delicious, inventive and surprising Chilean dishes waiting to be sampled. Here are some of Santiago's finest Chilean restaurants:

    Casa Mar
    Chef Tomás Olivera Leiva has over 17 years of cooking experience under his belt, his own restaurant and a new cookbook on the shelves. A true lover of cooking, his aim is to have fun with his dishes, and for his staff to have fun serving. The result is an upbeat, energetic and unexpected eating experience. To make the most of the food, opt for the menú degustación which starts with salmon tartar, followed by a fresh tomato and basil dish. Next come the fish courses, first hake with pea puree, then kingclip with oyster sauce and celery puree. Then "tomaticán" a typical Chilean stew, followed by pudding selection including flan de manjar (very typical Chilean pudding made from boiled condensed milk), tiramisu and last of all fried pastries called "sopaipillas". And, with the new cookbook, you can try and recreate this feast at home...

    Restaurant Estro 
    Hotel restaurants often get a bad rep, but Estro at the Santiago Ritz Carlton is a true exception to this rule. The menu is extensive and full of options, the service is top notch and the location is central and convenient (especially if you happen to be a guest). Meals get off to a slick start with multi-lingual waiters delivering bread (gluten free also available) and pouring virgin olive oil from test tubes onto slate plates. The cocktails are delicious, especially the passion fruit sour, and the main course of turbot with mushrooms is especially good, bringing out the best of Chile's delicious seafood. The kitchen is run by self-taught Mexican Chef Marco Rivas, who came to Estro when it re-launched in 2011.

    Infante 51
    A seafood restaurant in a 1920s townhouse turned restaurant, Infante 51 sits on a sleepy street in Providencia. Basque Chef Xabier Zabala has been in Chile for several decades, whipping up clean, fresh seafood dishes. The spacious restaurant has large modern art hanging on the wall and a central bar with a cubist feel to it. Among the specialties is konso fish from Easter Island, cojinova austral from Puerto Montt and breca from the Juan Fernandez islands. Look out for special wine and fish tasting evenings where you sample four different wines with four different fish dishes. Desserts include a rich hot chocolate pudding, as well as lighter options like blueberry or carrot and ginger sorbet.

    Puerto Fuy
    The one everyone always talks about, Puerto Fuy is a traditional Chilean restaurant up in Vitacura. A favorite for well-heeled, older Chileans the meal gets off to an impressive start when you are shown the salt selection which includes a range of five different types, one of which is from Pakistan and needs to be grated. The food is rich and buttery, best washed down with a glass of crisp white wine. Among the best starters are the Chilean clams with tomato, basil and cheese, and the glazed octopus served with Pinot Noir. For main course, once again fish dishes rule the menu and there's a strong national theme with the Chilean Seabass with artichoke and tomato coulis. For those trying to avoid carbs, the turbot comes with diced zucchini and pumpkin which resembles risotto, so you feel like you're eating grains not vegetables.
  • On June 25, 2013
    Gabriel O’Rorke answered the question: Gabriel O’Rorke

    What are the best Chilean restaurants in Santiago?

    When asked to name typical Chilean cuisine, many people think of empanadas or pastel de choclo, but there are plenty of delicious, inventive and surprising Chilean dishes waiting to be sampled. Here are some of Santiago's finest Chilean restaurants:

    Casa Mar
    Chef Tomás Olivera Leiva has over 17 years of cooking experience under his belt, his own restaurant and a new cookbook on the shelves. A true lover of cooking, his aim is to have fun with his dishes, and for his staff to have fun serving. The result is an upbeat, energetic and unexpected eating experience. To make the most of the food, opt for the menú degustación which starts with salmon tartar, followed by a fresh tomato and basil dish. Next come the fish courses, first hake with pea puree, then kingclip with oyster sauce and celery puree. Then "tomaticán" a typical Chilean stew, followed by pudding selection including flan de manjar (very typical Chilean pudding made from boiled condensed milk), Ttiramisu and last of all fried pastries called "sopaipillas". And, with the new cookbook, you can try and recreate this feast at home...

    Restaurant Estro 
    Hotel restaurants often get a bad rep, but Estro at the Santiago Ritz Carlton is a true exception to this rule. The menu is extensive and full of options, the service is top notch and the location is central and convenient (especially if you happen to be a guest). Meals get off to a slick start with multi-lingual waiters delivering bread (gluten free also available) and pouring virgin olive oil from test tubes onto slate plates. The cocktails are delicious, especially the passion fruit sour, and the main course of turbot with mushrooms is especially good, bringing out the best of Chile's delicious seafood. The kicthen is run by self-taught Mexican Chef Marco Rivas, who came to Estro when it relaunched in 2011.

    Infante 51
    A seafood restaurant in a 1920s townhouse turned restuarant, Infante 51 sits on a sleepy street in Providencia. Basque Chef Xabier Zabala has been in Chile for several decades, whipping up clean, fresh seafood dishes. The spacious restaurant has large modern art hanging on the wall and a central bar with a cubist feel to it. Among the specialties is konso fish from Easter Island, cojinova austral from Puerto Montt and breca from the Juan Fernandez islands. Look out for special wine and fish tasting evenings where you sample four different wines with four different fish dishes. Desserts include a rich hot chocolate pudding, as well as lighter options like blueberry or carrot and ginger sorbet.

    Puerto Fuy
    The one everyone always talks about, Puerto Fuy is a traditional Chilean restaurant up in Vitacura. A favorite for well-heeled, older Chileans the meal gets off to an impressive start when you are shown the salt selection which includes a range of five different types, one of which is from Pakistan and needs to be grated. The food is rich and buttery, best washed down with a glass of crisp white wine. Among the best starters are the Chilean clams with tomato, basil and cheese, and the glazed octopus served with Pinot Noir. For main course, once again fish dishes rule the menu and there's a strong national theme with the Chilean Seabass with artichoke and tomato coulis. For those trying to avoid carbs, the turbot comes with diced zucchini and pumpkin which resembles risotto, so you feel like you're eating grains not vegetables.
  • On June 24, 2013
    Gabriel O’Rorke answered the question: Gabriel O’Rorke

    What are the best places to go dancing in Santiago?

    Like in all cities, there are many different places to go dancing. It all depends whether you prefer salsa, clubbing or fusion.

    For live musicians and a local vibe, Onaciu in Barrio Bellavista has different bands playing on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. A large club with several rooms, including an internal patio, this is somewhere you can dance the night away.

    Also in Bellavista, but a bit more upmarket, Boudoir is a new restaurant-cum-lounge-cum-bar with chandeliers and velvet chairs. Come midnight, one of the seating areas is cleared, a DJ turns up and the dancing begins.

    For those who want to try their moves to the salsa rhythm, Salsa Brava is a traditional dance club more popular with locals than tourists. Go early to catch Happy Hour - the Caribbean cocktails (from mojitos to daiquiris and margaritas) will put a good dose of Dutch courage through your limbs.

  • On June 24, 2013
    Gabriel O’Rorke answered the question: Gabriel O’Rorke

    What restaurants have the best wines in Santiago?

    Chile is famous across the globe for its wine, so one of the joys of eating out in Santiago is making the most of the wine list. Here are two restaurants where wine is the focus...

    Baco
    Baco is a wine restaurant on Nueva de Lyon, a quiet street in Providencia near Los Leones Metro. With wine boxes on the walls and a curved bar at the heart of the restaurant, the emphasis is very much on wine, and food is ordered to accompany your glass of the good stuff. Some less mainstream wineries are featured on the menu, including Matetic, and jugs of water keep diners hydrated (something that is not often found in Santiago). Food ranges from meat and cheese platters to beef bourguignon and filleted fish. The warm goats cheese with a glass of Carménère is an especially good combination. 

    BocaNariz
    This wine bar in Barrio Lastarria is unusual because rather than serving individual glasses of wine, you get three smaller glasses filled with three different wines. With an impressive wine list including 35 wines by the glass and over 300 wine labels (all Chilean), the wine trios are arranged by theme - like Andean for example - rather than type (merlot etc). The food is great for sharing and has great classics like patatas bravas as well as generously sized salads.

     
  • On June 24, 2013
    Gabriel O’Rorke answered the question: Gabriel O’Rorke

    What are the best historic hotels in Santiago?

    Santiago has some lovely 1920s mansions turned hotels. Two of the best are as follows:

    The Aubrey:
    Open since 2010, this 15-bedroom boutique hotel is made up of two 1920s mansions. A dark wooden paneled staircase runs through the main house, brightened up by Art Deco furniture on the landings. Bedrooms are split between the two mansions, and an outside block near the pool (ask to be in the house if you like more traditional decor and the pavillion rooms if you prefer space and a feeling of independence). A cobbled terrace joins the restaurant and piano bar, with outdoor seating next to an aqueduct-like set of arches, above which sits the swimming pool. The food is international with a Chilean twist, and the smoked rainbow trout with squid ink risotto is especially good (plus I could eat tubs of the pea puree). Don't miss the artisan ice creams for pudding, the chocolate and dulce de leche go down very well with an espresso.

    Lastarria:
    Another 1920s townhouse, Lastarria is also pretty new - it opened in 2011 and sits on a corner of a leafy street in the (you guessed it) Lastarria District. The 14 bedrooms are more traditional, with antique furniture reminding you of times gone past. Food is served in a cute cafe with seating in the internal terrace away from the hustle, bustle and cars. Lastarria is a great district to explore with bars, cafes, boutiques and street stalls aplenty.
  • On June 24, 2013
    Gabriel O’Rorke is now following the question:
  • On June 23, 2013
    Gabriel O’Rorke answered the question: Gabriel O’Rorke

    What are the best kids activities in Santiago?

    When visiting Santiago with kids, you need some activities that use up some of that energy, whilst allow a bit of downtime for the adults.

    San Cristobal Hill has to be one of the best places for family fun. There's a zoo, a viewpoint with cafes, and a Heritage Route so you can fit some culture into your day out. In the summer months, the open air swimming pool is a great spot for children too.

    Next, a trip to the fish market, Mercado Central, is a good option for a day out en famille. All ages love eyeing up the market stalls, displaying everything from seafood to filleted fish. This is also a goof spot to stop for lunch (order something simple for younger tastes).

    Santiago has plenty of parks and this makes it a great city for families. Hire bikes and ride up Parque Forrestal, or head to Vitacura where Parque Bicentenario in Barrio Vitacura has flamingos. 
  • On June 21, 2013
    Gabriel O’Rorke answered the question: Gabriel O’Rorke

    What are the best places to buy shoes in Santiago?

    There's no shortage of shoe shops in Santiago. Be it Argentine handmade leather shoes in Barrio Italia, international brands at the Costanera Center or designer shoes up in Vitacura where Alonso de Cordova is a street laden with high-end stores from Salvatore Ferragamo to Louis Vuiton and Hermes.

    As well as courtyards full of boutique shops selling original shoes, Barrio Italia also has a new Sunday market, Domingo Feria where individual designers sell their shoes. But the courtyards have the largest selection of footwear, ranging from boots to high heels, wedges and platforms. Much of which is imported from fashion-conscious Buenos Aires in neighboring Argentina.

    Meanwhile, up at the Costanera Center there are endless selections of shoes, not least in the larger shops like Falabella, as well as international chains like H&M and Nine West. Lastly, if you walk down Avenida Providencia, especially around Metro Los Liones, there are several shoe shops selling boots of all shapes, sizes and lengths.

    One thing is for sure, you won't be shoeless in Santiago! 
  • On June 21, 2013
    Gabriel O’Rorke answered the question: Gabriel O’Rorke

    What are the best hair salons in Santiago?

    Atelier Benoit Poirier d’Ambreville Getting your hair cut abroad can be a massive gamble. The main issue in Chile is being able to describe exactly what you want in Spanish! So, let's start with a few key words:

    Shot: corto
    Medium: mediano
    Lomg: largo 
    Hair stylist: peluquero 
    Scissors: tijeras 
    Layers: escalonado
    Straightened: alisado
    Dry hair: pelo seco
    Oily hair: pelo graso

    Now, as for where to book that cut, best head up to Providencia, Vitacura or Las Condes. Head to the lower floor of the Costanera Center and there are several salons to choose from including Glam & Co.

    But for somewhere that chic Chileans go to trim their locks, head to Be Cute hair salon in Vitacura where the services of Javier Fernandez come very highly recommended.

    Lastly, back down to Barrio Providencia where hair salon Andres Olmos takes the title of Chile's first organic hair salon. And it's not just about recycling shampoo bottles, you'll be lathered, highlighted and pampered with totally chemical free products. 
  • On June 21, 2013
    Gabriel O’Rorke answered the question: Gabriel O’Rorke

    What are the best family hotels in Santiago?

    When visiting Santiago on a family holiday, you want somewhere central, easy to get to and with plenty to do for restless youngsters and (perhaps less restless) parents.

    The big hotel chains, Ritz-Carlton and Grand Hyatt are good options. Or, if you prefer something smaller, then boutique hotel Le Reve may be just the place for you. The latter is on Orrego Luco, a road in Barrio Providencia which is lined with restaurants and bars.

    Whilst grown-up kids can go off for nachos or tapas, there are smart restaurants like El Jardin de Epicuro which has outdoor seating right across the road from Le Reve, where you can enjoy a delicious Pisco Sour.

    Another good family option is The Aubrey down in Barrio Bellavista. Right next to San Cristobal Hill, you can take young kids to the zoo before taking the funicular up for a panoramic view over the city. Bellavista also has plenty of restaurants and bars, and is in easy reach of Downtown, the historic center.