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 May 24, 2013
    Gabriel O’Rorke answered the question: Gabriel O’Rorke

    What are the best vineyards nears Santiago?

    One of Santiago's many attractions is its proximity to the wine region. With vineyards reaching from the coast to the Andes, Chile is the fifth largest exporter of wines in the world, and the ninth largest producer. In 1995 there were just 12 wineries, but now there are more than 70. This means you need to be clued up before you visit to ensure you experience the best of the bunch. Some of the best vineyards within easy reach of Santiago are as follows:

    Clos Apalta Owned by the Gran Marnier family, this is the best of France and Chile with a new age winery set across 6 levels, delicious food and four lodges for those who want to stay over. http://en.lapostolle.com

    Vik A hotel is due to open at Vik in 2014, but for the moment this is a day-trippers destination. One of the most picturesque settings, Vik is away from the main roads, a haven of vines which you can explore on horseback. www.vik.cl

    Matetic Another modern winery, Matetic sits in the San Antonio Valley, and is known for hand-picking its grapes (rather than using machinery). Tastings here include Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah. www.matetic.cl


  • On May 23, 2013
    Gabriel O’Rorke answered the question: Gabriel O’Rorke

    What are the best Peruvian restaurants in Santiago?

    Peruvian food is on the up all over the world, and Santiago is no exception. There's no shortage of Peruvian restuarants in the Chilean capital, but you have to be carfeful where you go or you may end up with acidic ceviche and eggy Pisco Sours. The following three restaurants are very good bets, easily among the best...

    Osaka
    Located in the hip, hot and happening W Hotel, Osaka serves "Peruvian Oriental" food. The atmosphere is buzzy, and the tables are filled by Santiago's beautiful and trendy set. Worth coming for the cocktails alone, they do a great Lychini and Cinnamon Chilcano (pisco drink made with ginger ale). From typical Peruvian dishes like causa (mashed potato with different seafood toppings) to sushi, sashimi and ceviche, the menu is varied and the dishes are beautifully presented. The puddings are also delicious and include fresh sorbets, and the Osaka Volcano which is a chocolate souffle with green tea and melting chocolate "lava". Delicious. www.osaka.com.pe; Isidora Goyenechea 3000; Las Condes

    Astrid & Gaston
    Probably the most famous Peruvian restaurant in the world, Astrid & Gaston chose Santiago as the city of choice to open its second branch after Lima. Chef Piero Vargas runs the glass-windowed kitchen in a shipshape fashion, and well-heeled Santiagueños fill the tables in this neighborhood restaurant. Full, no matter what day of the week, Astrid & Gaston has a slightly older clientele than Osaka, and as though to match the clientele, the food is more traditional also. Starters include a selection of different types of potato causa, or a trio of ceviche. Main courses are generously sized and the tuna and salmon dishes are especially good. The dish of dreams, however, is the chocolate pudding trio, especially the melting chocolate bomb (pictured above). www.astridygaston.cl, Antonio Bellet 201, Providencia

    Cevichela 
    The moto at Cevichela is "ceviches, cerveza y amigos" (ceviche, beer and friends) and that's exactly what's on offer. New to Santiago in September 2012, this is real Peruvian food unaltered for Chilean tastes (as a general rule, Chileans don't like garlic or too much spice). Chef Christian Salvo Machizzga is from Lima, and his aim with Cevichela was to open a typical, informal Peruvian eatery. Corn takes the place of bread before meals (Peruvians don't traditionally eat bread at meals) and there's a surprisingly delicious aperitif of Leche de Tigre with Pisco which comes in a shot glass. There are 40 types of beer on the menu, so it's clear what you're meant to order next! Dishes have fun names, like Mariscos Endiablados (Devil's Mariscos) which is flaming squid, prawns and scallops. A definite highlight is the salmon ceviche with passionfruit. http://cevichela.cl, Manquehue Norte 1732, Vitacura




  • On May 20, 2013
    Gabriel O’Rorke answered the question: Gabriel O’Rorke

    What are the best bookstores in Santiago?

    There are some great bookstores in Santiago, but sadly books in Chile cost their weight in gold. The reason for this is the 19% VAT on books. There are various campaigns to scrap this tax, so hopefully things will improve because there are some lovely bookstores waiting to be explored. 

    Like the old saying with buses, in Santiago you won't see a bookstore for ages then suddenly you'll come across a bunch all together. This is the case on Avenida Providencia, especially in Galería Drugstore on the corner of Andrés de Fuenzalida.

    Enter this mini-mall (named the Drugstore because the building used to be a pharmacy) and every second shop is a bookstore. There's Takk Libros, Donoso LibreriaNueva AltamirFeria Chilena del Libro and Ulises Libreria. Well stocked and great for browsing, you can find hardback coffee table books, novels, children's books, guide books, maps, calendars and gift cards. 

    Funnily, the mall is also full of ice cream shops (one of the best is Emporio de la Rosa where the chocolate ice cream is to die for) so you can stop for a few scoops between bookstores.
  • On May 7, 2013
    Gabriel O’Rorke answered the question: Gabriel O’Rorke

    What are the best unusual restaurants in Santiago?

    Zully Restaurant If you're looking for the ultimate quirky, unusual, unexpected dining experience, two restaurants stick out in Santiago. The first comes in the form of comfort food at La Jardín; and the second is haute cuisine at Zully, a 1912 mansion so romantic you expect to see Romeo and Juliet at the next table.

    La Jardín
    Inside, it's like a garden shed crossed with a Wendy House, and outside the large garden resembles a scrap yard or antiques shop. There's nothing quite like this in Santiago, and you might be thinking you know why, but La Jardín has tapped into something and it works.
    New in June 2012, the restaurant took six weeks to put together, and is run by two Chilean brothers and an English artist. The trio started by making "pop up" restaurants in Buenos Aires, London and Berlin - a concept where you find an unused location, collect whatever furniture you can find (or buy on the cheap) and open a restaurant for about a month.
    The difference with La Jardín is that it is permanent, and the reason it works so well may come down to the creative eye of one of the owners, London born artist Tony Hornecker. Not everyone could stitch together some old shirts to make a canopy, suspend it over bare mattresses and make it look appealing. But the attention to detail here is mind-boggling and everywhere you look you spot something new: be it a coffee pot and crutches hanging overhead, multiple chimneys sprouting from the roof or a hot water bottle undergoing a reincarnation as a lamp. 
    "Lots of people come, I'm wondering why!" said Chilean co-owner Cristóbal, "I think it's because the place is living - the plants are alive, everything moves and I'm always repairing things and building more. Everything is very organic."
    As for the food, Chilean chef, José Ignacio Puentes, derives his recipes from typical Chilean dishes. Highlights include Pan de Campo, a loaf of bread filled with cheese fondue, tortilla espanola, coffee mousse and the bar menu which has delicious, imaginative drinks like the frozen mint, mango and whisky cocktail.
    This is creativity in the rawest sense and the experience is somewhat like stepping into a Tim Burton movie.
    www.lajardin.cl; (562) 2223 0667Bilbao 497, Barrio Italia

    Zully
    As for Zully, again theatrical comparisons spring to mind as you enter this 1912 medieval-style mansion in the mini neighborhood of Concha y Toro. Sitting with pride of place on the plaza - a small picture-perfect square with a fountain in the middle - the restaurant was originally a family house. As the years rolled by, the walls have witnessed many a historic event, including becoming the home of Chilean poet Vicente Huidobro (1893 – 1948).
    The latest owner, however, is Joseph Westrate, an American from Michigan who bought the crumbling mansion in 2002. With an eye for architecture and a degree in civil engineering, Westrate painstakingly restored the building, transforming it into a restaurant and naming it Zully after his mother.
    Open for 9 years, Zully is standing the test of time and, as the only gourmet restaurant in Concha y Toro, it really is in a league of its own. Niche, high-end and highly romantic, an evening in this Downtown restaurant, is escapism in its truest form.
    The restaurant has five different dining rooms, all with original parquet floors, wooden shutters and ornate cornices, but each with very different decoration on the walls. From large, stylized 1920s-esque paintings, to blown-up sports photos taken by Westrate, or an intimate dining room just for two, the size and style in each dining room is very different. Then there's the downstairs wine cellar, and a rooftop area for events with the most incredible outside balcony complete with original Italian-style arches along one edge.
    Chilean chef, Ronald Colhuinca, whisks up traditional dishes with a creative twist. The trio of tartare, with locos (Chilean specialty, similar to abalones), ceviche and tuna is one of the best starters in Santiago, especially the ceviche. Meanwhile, the salmon with polenta is crispy and well seasoned, and the steak in plantain risotto hits the spot if you're crazy about banana, but is a little intense otherwise.
    Joseph lives in the mansion, and is currently transforming the first floor into a seven-room boutique hotel. Watch this space...
    www.zully.cl; (562) 2696 1378; Concha y Toro 34, Santiago Centro

  • On May 7, 2013
    Gabriel O’Rorke answered the question: Gabriel O’Rorke

    What are the best unusual restaurants in Santiago?

    Zully Restaurant If you're looking for the ultimate quirky, unusual, unexpected dining experience, two restaurants stick out in Santiago. The first comes in the form of comfort food in what looks like an antiques-shop-cum-junk-yard at La Jardín; and the second is haute cuisine at Zully, a 1912 mansion so romantic you expect to see Romeo and Juliet at the next table.

    La Jardín
    Inside, it's like a garden shed crossed with a Wendy House, and outside the large garden resembles a scrap yard or antiques shop. There's nothing quite like this in Santiago, and you might be thinking you know why, but La Jardín has tapped into something and it works.
    New in June 2012, the restaurant took six weeks to put together, and is run by two Chilean brothers and an English artist. The trio started by making "pop up" restaurants in Buenos Aires, London and Berlin - a concept where you find an unused location, collect whatever furniture you can find (or buy on the cheap) and open a restaurant for about a month.
    The difference with La Jardín is that it is permanent, and the reason it works so well may come down to the creative eye of one of the owners, London born artist Tony Hornecker. Not everyone could stitch together some old shirts to make a canopy, suspend it over bare mattresses and make it look appealing. But the attention to detail here is mind-boggling and everywhere you look you spot something new: be it a coffee pot and crutches hanging overhead, multiple chimneys sprouting from the roof or a hot water bottle undergoing a reincarnation as a lamp. 
    "Lots of people come, I'm wondering why!" said Chilean co-owner Cristóbal, "I think it's because the place is living - the plants are alive, everything moves and I'm always repairing things and building more. Everything is very organic."
    As for the food, Chilean chef, José Ignacio Puentes, derives his recipes from typical Chilean dishes. Highlights include Pan de Campo, a loaf of bread filled with cheese fondue, tortilla espanola, coffee mousse and the bar menu which has delicious, imaginative drinks like the frozen mint, mango and whisky cocktail.
    This is creativity in the rawest sense and the experience is somewhat like stepping into a Tim Burton movie.
    www.lajardin.cl; (562) 2223 0667Bilbao 497, Barrio Italia

    Zully
    As for Zully, again theatrical comparisons spring to mind as you enter this 1912 medieval-style mansion in the mini neighborhood of Concha y Toro. Sitting with pride of place on the plaza - a small picture-perfect square with a fountain in the middle - the restaurant was originally a family house. As the years rolled by, the walls have witnessed many a historic event, including becoming the home of Chilean poet Vicente Huidobro (1893 – 1948).
    The latest owner, however, is Joseph Westrate, an American from Michigan who bought the crumbling mansion in 2002. With an eye for architecture and a degree in civil engineering, Westrate painstakingly restored the building, transforming it into a restaurant and naming it Zully after his mother.
    Open for 9 years, Zully is standing the test of time and, as the only gourmet restaurant in Concha y Toro, it really is in a league of its own. Niche, high-end and highly romantic, an evening in this Downtown restaurant, is escapism in its truest form.
    The restaurant has five different dining rooms, all with original parquet floors, wooden shutters and ornate cornices, but each with very different decoration on the walls. From large, stylized 1920s-esque paintings, to blown-up sports photos taken by Westrate, or an intimate dining room just for two, the size and style in each dining room is very different. Then there's the downstairs wine cellar, and a rooftop area for events with the most incredible outside balcony complete with original Italian-style arches along one edge.
    Chilean chef, Ronald Colhuinca, whisks up traditional dishes with a creative twist. The trio of tartare, with locos (Chilean specialty, similar to abalones), ceviche and tuna is one of the best starters in Santiago, especially the ceviche. Meanwhile, the salmon with polenta is crispy and well seasoned, and the steak in plantain risotto hits the spot if you're crazy about banana, but is a little intense otherwise.
    Joseph lives in the mansion, and is currently transforming the first floor into a seven-room boutique hotel. Watch this space...
    www.zully.cl; (562) 2696 1378; Concha y Toro 34, Santiago Centro

  • On May 7, 2013
    Gabriel O’Rorke answered the question: Gabriel O’Rorke

    What are the best unusual restaurants in Santiago?

    Zully Restaurant If you're looking for the ultimate quirky, unusual, unexpected dining experience, two restaurants stick out in Santiago. The first comes in the form of comfort food in what looks like an antiques-shop-cum-junk-yard at La Jardín; and the second is haute cuisine at Zully, a 1912 mansion so romantic you expect to see Romeo and Juliet at the next table.

    La Jardín
    Inside, it's like a garden shed crossed with a Wendy House, and outside the large garden resembles a scrap yard or antiques shop. There's nothing quite like this in Santiago, and you might be thinking you know why, but La Jardín has tapped into something and it works.
    New in June 2012, the restaurant took six weeks to put together, and is run by two Chilean brothers and an English artist. The trio started by making "pop up" restaurants in Buenos Aires, London and Berlin - a concept where you find an unused location, collect whatever furniture you can find (or buy on the cheap) and open a restaurant for about a month.
    The difference with La Jardín is that it is permanent, and the reason it works so well may come down to the creative eye of one of the owners, London born artist Tony Hornecker. Not everyone could stitch together some old shirts to make a canopy, suspend it over bare mattresses and make it look appealing. But the attention to detail here is mind-boggling and everywhere you look you spot something new: be it a coffee pot and crutches hanging overhead, multiple chimneys sprouting from the roof or a hot water bottle undergoing a reincarnation as a lamp. 
    "Lots of people come, I'm wondering why!" said Chilean co-owner Cristóbal, "I think it's because the place is living - the plants are alive, everything moves and I'm always repairing things and building more. Everything is very organic."
    As for the food, Chilean chef, José Ignacio Puentes, derives his recipes from typical Chilean dishes. Highlights include Pan de Campo, a loaf of bread filled with cheese fondue, tortilla espanola, coffee mousse and the bar menu which has delicious, imaginative drinks like the frozen mint, mango and whisky cocktail.
    This is creativity in the rawest sense and the experience is somewhat like stepping into a Tim Burton movie.
    www.lajardin.cl

    Zully
    As for Zully, again theatrical comparisons spring to mind as you enter this 1912 medieval-style mansion in the mini neighborhood of Concha y Toro. Sitting with pride of place on the plaza - a small picture-perfect square with a fountain in the middle - the restaurant was originally a family house. As the years rolled by, the walls have witnessed many a historic event, including becoming the home of Chilean poet Vicente Huidobro (1893 – 1948).
    The latest owner, however, is Joseph Westrate, an American from Michigan who bought the crumbling mansion in 2002. With an eye for architecture and a degree in civil engineering, Westrate painstakingly restored the building, transforming it into a restaurant and naming it Zully after his mother.
    Open for 9 years, Zully is standing the test of time and, as the only gourmet restaurant in Concha y Toro, it really is in a league of its own. Niche, high-end and highly romantic, an evening in this Downtown restaurant, is escapism in its truest form.
    The restaurant has five different dining rooms, all with original parquet floors, wooden shutters and ornate cornices, but each with very different decoration on the walls. From large, stylized 1920s-esque paintings, to blown-up sports photos taken by Westrate, or an intimate dining room just for two, the size and style in each dining room is very different. Then there's the downstairs wine cellar, and a rooftop area for events with the most incredible outside balcony complete with original Italian-style arches along one edge.
    Chilean chef, Ronald Colhuinca, whisks up traditional dishes with a creative twist. The trio of tartare, with locos (Chilean specialty, similar to abalones), ceviche and tuna is one of the best starters in Santiago, especially the ceviche. Meanwhile, the salmon with polenta is crispy and well seasoned, and the steak in plantain risotto hits the spot if you're crazy about banana, but is a little intense otherwise.
    Joseph lives in the mansion, and is currently transforming the first floor into a seven-room boutique hotel. Watch this space...
    www.zully.cl

  • On May 6, 2013
    Gabriel O’Rorke answered the question: Gabriel O’Rorke

    What are the best parks in Santiago?

    Santiago has several great parks. Here are three of the best:

    Parque Forrestal
    The long, thin Parque Forrestal runs alongside the Mapocho River with two paths, one for cyclists and one for walkers or joggers. Highlights along the way include the Alemana Fountain near Salvador Metro, and the Museum of Bellas Artes near Baquedano.

    Parque Bicentenario
    A large green area up in affluent Vitacura, Parque Bicentario is home to a great many native plants. There are also two wetland areas, home to swans, herons, and - if you're lucky - flamingos. Paths weave their way through the parkland, and there's a great restaurant, Mestizo, where you can nestle in for a well-earnt meal.

    Parque Metropolitano
    The "Central Park" or "Hyde Park" of Santiago, however, has to be Parque Metropolitano. Walkers, cyclists and runners take on the challenge of ascending the path that curves around the hill right up to the statue of the Virgin at the top of Cerro San Cristobal. The city and Andean views are fantastic, and the path up goes past giant cacti and through areas of sweet-smelling pine trees. At the top, stalls sell the typical drink, mote con huesillo, and roasted peanuts. And, if you can't face the climb, there's a funicular for an easy ascent.


  • On April 26, 2013
    Gabriel O’Rorke answered the question: Gabriel O’Rorke

    What are the best luxurious day trips from Santiago?

    Hear the sound of a heli and you know you're in for a treat. One of the best luxury day trips from Santiago has to be the new helicopter wine tasting tour courtesy of Santiago Adventures.

    Covering two top Chilean wine regions, Casablanca Valley and San Antonio Valley, this tour starts with a pick-up from your hotel / B&B / house in Santiago. From there you head to Loma Larga Vineyard for a tour and tasting - the winery is famous for its cool-climate wines.

    This is when you'll hear that chopper landing. Driven by the son of the family which owns Loma Larga, the helicopter swoops down, picks up a maximum of three guests, and takes you on an aerial tour of the Casablanca vineyards.

    The journey to San Antonio is not far, and after about 20-minutes in the air, the captain touches down on the bright green lawn of Matetic Vineyard.

    This vineyard means business, and has a combination of state-of-the-art winemaking facilities alongside hands-on production techniques - ie hand-picking the grapes. After lunch in the Matetic Restaurant, you have a tour of the beautiful winery and, of course, the chance to sample the produce.

    As the sun starts to set, you will be driven back to the city. The main thing to note here is that you can't do wine tasting in quite this degree of style with anyone else - Santiago Adventures is the only tour operator to offer vineyard heli-hopping. 

    Plus the price isn't as high as you might think. Maximum capacity is three travelers, and if you travel in a trio then the full day will set you back US $456.00 per person.
  • On April 26, 2013
    Gabriel O’Rorke answered the question: Gabriel O’Rorke

    What are the best indoor activities in Santiago?

    Sometimes it's too hot, sometimes it's too cold, sometimes you just don't feel like going outside. It's for days like these that you need a good stock of indoor activities. When it comes to Santiago, the best indoor activities fall into the following categories: food, shopping and culture.

    For food, the obvious indoor activity is restaurant or cafe hopping. This is a fun way to pass an afternoon with a friend and there's no shortage of options, especially in Providencia, Lastarria and Las Condes.

    As for shopping, if you really want to keep it indoors, then the Costanera Center is your place. This massive new mall has everything from food to clothes, technology and hardware. In fact, there's even a cinema so you can watch a movie after hitting the shops.

    Lastly, culture is a great one when it comes to indoor fun, and Santiago has plenty of options from Pablo Neruda's house, La Chascona, to an array of museums and galleries - the best of which I have handily outlined here.
  • On April 26, 2013
    Gabriel O’Rorke answered the question: Gabriel O’Rorke

    What is the one must-do activity in Santiago?

    If time were so tight that you could only do one activity in Santiago, then head to Lastarria, bunker in at a wine bar and watch the world go by. Chose BocaNariz wine bar and you will, in effect, be ticking off two activities as you can wine taste at the same time as people watching - after all, you can hardly come to Chile without sampling the world-famous wine. 

    The reason Lastarria is a good choice, is that it's an up-and-coming neighborhood where people come for drinks after work. But also, it's full of hidden boutiques, stalls selling everything from books to bednobs, and a plethora of cafes and bars.

    It can be argued that spending time sitting and watching a city go by gives you a better impression of what the place is really like - more so, perhaps, than plodding your way around a dozen museums (not that I'm saying you shouldn't do this too!). How people interact, what they eat and drink, who they meet and where they go - these are all things that make the people of Santiago who they are.

    And, if you're lucky, you may also find yourself "attending" an al-fresco concert - street buskers and entertainers are frequently found on the cobbled streets of Lastarria.


  • On April 26, 2013
    Gabriel O’Rorke answered the question: Gabriel O’Rorke

    What is the one must-do activity in Santiago?

    If time were so tight that you could only do one activity in Santiago, head to Lastarria, bunker in at a wine bar and watch the world go by. Chose BocaNariz wine bar and you will, in effect, be ticking off two activities as you can wine taste at the same time as people watching - after all, you can hardly come to Chile without sampling the world-famous wine. 

    The reason Lastarria is a good choice, is that it's an up-and-coming neighborhood where people come for drinks after work. But also, it's full of hidden boutiques, stalls selling everything from books to bednobs, and a plethora of cafes and bars.

    It can be argued that spending time sitting and watching a city go by gives you a better impression of what the place is really like - more so, perhaps, than plodding your way around a dozen museums (not that I'm saying you shouldn't do this too!). How people interact, what they eat and drink, who they meet and where they go - these are all things that make the people of Santiago who they are.

    And, if you're lucky, you may also find yourself "attending" an al-fresco concert - street buskers and entertainers are frequently found on the cobbled streets of Lastarria.


  • On April 26, 2013
    Gabriel O’Rorke answered the question: Gabriel O’Rorke

    What are the best farmers markets in Santiago?

    Farmers markets in Santiago are known as "vegas" and the largest one in the city is simply called "La Vega". Situated near Metro Patronato, this is a place to go for a real taste of local life, and to see piles of fresh fruit and vegetables - anything and everything that grows in Chile can be found here!

    Tourists are a rare sight in La Vega, so make sure you look after your valuables - having said that, I visited with a large Nikon camera and didn't feel at all threatened. Yet, if saftety is a concern, you don't speak Spanish or you'd like a bit more information when there, you can book a tour with Santiago Adventures who take tourists to La Vega on their Culinary Adventure excursion.

    As well as the main market, there are lots of individual markets in the neighborhoods. One of the best is Mercado de Providencia which stretches the width of two streets, sitting between Santa Beatriz and Antonia Bellet.

    Founded in 1947, this indoor market has a fishmonger, butcher, florist, multiple fruit and vegetable stalls and an empanada stand. Many of the stall-holders have worked there for upwards of 20 years - these are family businesses.
  • On April 26, 2013
    Gabriel O’Rorke answered the question: Gabriel O’Rorke

    Should visitors rent a car in Santiago?

    For exploring Santiago itself, there's no need to rent a car. Plenty of car hire places exist - there's a Hertz branch in Providencia, for example - however making your way around the city via four wheels would bring more complications than rewards. Want a few examples? Think road rage, roads that change direction morning and afternoon, potential parking fines and having to navigate your own way around the city...

    Public transport is very good in Chile's capital, albeit crowded at rush hour. The metro gets you almost anywhere in the city (apart from Vitacura which isn't on the network), plus there are buses and lots of taxis which are cheap and reliable.

    Another way that many people make their way around the city is by bike, and there are a few places where you can hire two wheels for the day. With parkland running alongside the river, and a general consensus that it's fine to cycle on the pavement, you don't need to worry about traffic.

    The reason a car might come in handy is if you’re planning on making some day trips out of the city. In the summer this might be hiking or horseriding in the Andes, whilst in the winter months you can ski just over an hour outside the city.
  • On April 25, 2013
    Gabriel O’Rorke answered the question: Gabriel O’Rorke

    What are the best neighborhoods in Santiago?

    Santiago is a collection of very different neighborhoods. Just when you think you've discovered the best parts of the city, another smaller, more tucked away, but equally attractive part of town emerges. Chile's capital city is growing and new boutiqes, cafes and restaurants are popping up in districts that were once either run down or quiet and residential.

    The main, must-visit neighborhoods would have to be: Providencia, Lastarria and Vitacura.

    Providencia is busy, buzzy and loved by people of all walks of life. The main drag is Providencia Street, but little streets branch off this busy road and it's here that you find the real gems: be it Orrego Luco, a street lined with restaurants and bars, or the residential area around Colon Metro where coffee shops like Espresso line the leafy streets.

    Lastarria is slightly more boho than Providencia. There are more hidden areas, with cobbled squares surrounded by restaurants and quirky boutiques selling original pieces of clothing and jewelry. There are some great wine bars, a particular favorite is Boca Nariz where you are given three glasses of wine chosen by region rather than grape - i.e. mountain not syrah.

    Then there's Vitacura, a leafy, well to do, residential area with "restaurant row" Nueva Costanera as well as Santiago's Fifth Avenue, Alonso de Cordova. This is the place for fashionable dining and fashionable shopping. Plus it's home to the Noi Vitacura Hotel which has one of the best roof terraces for a pisco sour sundowner.


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

    What are the best food souvenirs to buy in Santiago?

    It's not strictly food, but Chile produces some of the world's best wine, so a few bottles of red are a great "food souvenir" to take home with you. Some great local labels, apart from the universally known Concha y Toro, are Loma Larga and Kingston Vineyards.

    Other favorites include merken, a native Mapuche spice which is great for seasoning cooking. You can buy some lovely bottles of olive oil with merken from Origen Chilean Gourmet. And they don't just do oil, you can also find honey, nuts, quinoa cereal and lots of native products all beautifully packaged either indivudually or in gift packs.  

    For high-end deli produce all under one roof, head to Coquinaria in Las Condes. Here you will find everything from caviar to chocolate and cashew nuts (best stop for a coffee or happen to plan your shopping trip on Sunday morning to coincide with their famous brunch). 

    There are also lots of independent, low-key organic shops around the small streets of Providencia where you can find organic quinoa, local honey and all sorts of teas you've never heard of.