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 March 28, 2013
    Gabriel O’Rorke answered the question: Gabriel O’Rorke

    What are the best souvenirs to buy in Santiago?

    Luckily - especially since souvenir shopping often becomes a last minute rush - some of Santiago's best souvenirs are found in one place: Pueblito de los Dominicos. With arts and crafts from hundreds of different artisans from all over the country, you can find ceramics, paintings, jewelry, wooden crafts and knitwear.

    As always, when buying souvenirs you need to be on the alert for products imported from China, or mass-produced in a factory. Ask the storekeeper about the products and have a good look yourself. You will find some lovely Chilean ceramics, as well as carved wood and knitted hats. The island of Chiloe has a particularly strong tradition when it comes to knitwear, and the stalls at Pueblito de los Dominicos have some great finds.

    Metro: Los Dominicos
    Address: Apoquindo 9085, Las Condes, Santiago Metropolitan Region, Chile
    Phone: +56 2 201 9749
    Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday 10am-8pm
  • On March 28, 2013
    Gabriel O’Rorke answered the question: Gabriel O’Rorke

    Where is the best nightlife in Santiago?

    The best nightlife is found either in Bellavista, Lastarria or Providencia. Bellavista is a buzzy student area with lots of Happy Hour offers, whilst Lastarria is more like Palermo in Buenos Aires. Whilst Providencia is a good bet if you're looking a nice Pisco Sour along with tapas or a platter to share.

    One name that always comes up when nightlife is mentioned is La Piojera. This bar in Downtown near the famous fish market, Mercado Central, is popular with city boys and tramps alike. Its name translates as 'lice ridden place' and the entranceway looks a little like a dungeon - albeit brightly colored with yellow and red walls. Tempted? The thing is it is good fun, and this is mainly thanks to the famous Piojera drink called Terremoto, or earthquake.

    Served in plastic cups with straws (and recommended with a plate of greasy chips to help you remain upright) this lethal concoction consists of sweet white wine and pineapple ice cream. Sounds delicious? I can promise you it's not, but after a few sips it grows on you. One terremoto is enough to floor some, two gets most people, and three means almost guaranteed memory loss.

    But remember, if the meer sound of a terremoto makes you tremble in your boots, there are always the wine bars of Lastarria and Providencia.
  • On March 28, 2013
    Gabriel O’Rorke answered the question: Gabriel O’Rorke

    What is Santiago’s dining scene like?

    Sukalde In terms of gastronomy, Santiago is sprouting like a carrot in a rain shower. New restaurants are popping up all the time, especially in Barrio Lastarria. Here you can wander up and down the leafy streets, taking your pick from wine bars, cevicherias (restaurants specializing in ceviche) and, of course, Peruvian restaurants. 

    As is happening across the globe, Peruvian restaurants are growing both in quantity and quality and Santiago has the big guns like Astrid & Gaston, as well as lesser known restaurants like Aji Seco and Olan.

    There are also plenty of Mexican restaurants, and French flavors have made their way into fusion menus like at Providencia's Jardin de Epicuro. Arabic food can be found down in Bellas Artes or Bellavista, like at Antojo de Gauguin in Patio Bellavista.

    For haute cuisine, it's all about a street in Vitacura called Nueva Costanera. Both sides of this long street (which runs through the affluent, residential neighborhood of Vitacura) are lined with high-end restaurants. There's Sukalde which is run by Mexican-Chilean chef, Matías Palomo Reyes, and has an inventive tasting menu. Or for Peruvian head to La Mar
  • On March 28, 2013
    Gabriel O’Rorke answered the question: Gabriel O’Rorke

    What is Santiago’s dining scene like?

    Sukalde In terms of gastronomy, Santiago is sprouting like a carrot in a rain shower. New restaurants are popping up all the time, especially in Barrio Lastarria. Here you can wander up and down the leafy streets, taking your pick from wine bars, cevicherias (restaurants specializing in ceviche), seafood, meat and, of course, Peruvian. 

    As is happening across the globe, Peruvian restaurants are growing both in quantity and quality and Santiago has the big guns like Astrid & Gaston, as well as lesser known restaurants like Aji Seco and Olan.

    There are also plenty of Mexican restaurants, and French flavors have made their way into fusion menus like at Providencia's Jardin de Epicuro. Arabic food can be found down in Bellas Artes or Bellavista, like at Antojo de Gauguin in Patio Bellavista.

    For haute cuisine, it's all about a street in Vitacura called Nueva Costanera. Both sides of this long street (which runs through the affluent, residential neighborhood of Vitacura) are lined with high-end restaurants. There's Sukalde which is run by Mexican-Chilean chef, Matías Palomo Reyes, and has an inventive tasting menu. Or for Peruvian head to La Mar
  • On March 28, 2013
    Gabriel O’Rorke answered the question: Gabriel O’Rorke

    What is Santiago’s dining scene like?

    Sukalde In terms of gastronomy, Santiago is sprouting like a carrot in a rain shower. New restaurants are popping up all the time, especially in Barrio Lastarria. Here you can wander up and down the leafy streets, taking your pick from wine bars, cevicherias (restaurants specializing in ceviche), seafood, meat and, of course, Peruvian. 

    As is happening across the globe, Peruvian restaurants are growing both in quantity and quality and Santiago has the big guns like Astrid & Gaston, as well as lesser known restaurants like Aji Seco and Olan.

    There are also plenty of Mexican restaurants, and French flavors have made their way into fusion menus like at Providencia's Jardin de Epicuro. Arabic food can be found down in Bellas Artes or Bellavista, like at Antojo de Gauguin in Patio Bellavista.

    For haute cuisine, it's all about a street in Vitacura called Nueva Costanera. Both sides of this long street (which runs through the affluent, residential neighborhood of Vitacura) are lined with high-end restaurants. There's Sukalde which is run by Mexican-Chilean chef, Matías Palomo Reyes, and has an inventive tasting menu. Or for Peruvian head to La Mar
  • On March 26, 2013
    Gabriel O’Rorke answered the question: Gabriel O’Rorke

    What are the best wine bars in Santiago?

    Liguria Tobalaba Despite Chile's position as the world's fifth largest exporter, and the ninth largest producer of wine, the concept of 'wine by the glass' is still relatively new in Santiago. There are, however, a few fantastic wine bars in the city, here are three of the best:

    Baco: Tucked back a little from the main row of shops along this quiet Providencia street, it's easy to miss Baco (in fact I lived opposite for a month and didn't spot it until someone pointed it out). But once you've found this great spot it'll soon become a favorite. Much bigger than you expect, the wooden planked walls are lined with boxes from local Chilean wineries. There's seating inside and out, and wine by the glass comes with a little paper wrapped round the stem reminding you what you're drinking. It fills up in the evenings, so it's worth booking.
    Calle Nueva de Lyon 113, Providencia - Metro Los Leones

    Liguria: There are three Liguria Wine Bars in Santiago, two in Providencia and one up in Las Condes next to Tobalaba Metro. The eccentric menu has wine alongside the food it goes with so you may have to flick back and forth a few times before you make sense of it. There are so many bottles of wine behind the bar in the Tobalaba one, that there's a ladder to reach the ones at the top. Service is good, and it's a place with plenty of character.
    Manuel Montt; Pedro de Valdivia; Tobalaba 

    BocaNariz: BocaNariz is a small wine bar on a small street in Lastarria. There are a few tables on the pavement, and folding back doors so you never feel cooped up. It's always busy, so make sure you book if you want a table by the window (the back room doesn't have quite the same atmosphere). The best thing about BocaNariz is that you are given 'flights' which consist of three small glasses of wine selected by theme - think mountain, sea or valley. This is a great place for meeting friends, drinking wine and sharing tapas-style food.
    Jose Victorino Lastarria 276
  • On March 26, 2013
    Gabriel O’Rorke answered the question: Gabriel O’Rorke

    What are the best wine bars in Santiago?

    Liguria Tobalaba Despite Chile's position as the world's fifth largest exporter, and the ninth largest producer of wine, the concept of 'wine by the glass' is still relatively new in Santiago.

    There are, however, a few fantastic wine bars in the city, here are three of the best:

    Baco:
    Tucked back a little from the main row of shops along this quiet Providencia street, it's easy to miss Baco (in fact I lived opposite for a month and didn't spot it until someone pointed it out). But once you've found this great spot it'll soon become a favorite. Much bigger than you expect, the wooden planked walls are lined with boxes from local Chilean wineries. There's seating inside and out, and wine by the glass comes with a little paper wrapped round the stem reminding you what you're drinking. It fills up in the evenings, so it's worth booking.
    Calle Nueva de Lyon 113, Providencia - Metro Los Leones

    Liguria:
    There are three Liguria Wine Bars in Santiago, two in Providencia and one up in Las Condes next to Tobalaba Metro. The eccentric menu has wine alongside the food it goes with so you may have to flick back and forth a few times before you make sense of it. There are so many bottles of wine behind the bar in the Tobalaba one, that there's a ladder to reach the ones at the top. Service is good, and it's a place with plenty of character.
    Manuel Montt; Pedro de Valdivia; Tobalaba 

    BocaNariz:
    BocaNariz is a small wine bar on a small street in Lastarria. There are a few tables on the pavement, and folding back doors so you never feel cooped up. It's always busy, so make sure you book if you want a table by the window (the back room doesn't have quite the same atmosphere). The best thing about BocaNariz is that you are given 'flights' which consist of three small glasses of wine selected by theme - think mountain, sea or valley. This is a great place for meeting friends, drinking wine and sharing tapas-style food.
    Jose Victorino Lastarria 276



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

    What are the best wine bars in Santiago?

    Liguria Tobalaba Despite Chile's position as the world's fifth largest exporter, and the ninth largest producer of wine, the concept of 'wine by the glass' is still relatively new in Santiago.

    There are, however, a few fantastic wine bars in the city, here are three of the best:

    Baco:
    Tucked back a little from the main row of shops along this quiet Providencia street, it's easy to miss Baco (in fact I lived opposite for a month and didn't spot it until someone pointed it out). But once you've found this great spot it'll soon become a favorite. Much bigger than you expect, the wooden planked walls are lined with boxes from local Chilean wineries. There's seating inside and out, and wine by the glass comes with a little paper wrapped round the stem reminding you what you're drinking. It fills up in the evenings, so it's worth booking.
    Calle Nueva de Lyon 113, Providencia - Metro Los Leones

    Liguria:
    There are three Liguria Wine Bars in Santiago, two in Providencia and one up in Las Condes next to Tobalaba Metro. The eccentric menu has wine alongside the food it goes with so you may have to flick back and forth a few times before you make sense of it. There are so many bottles of wine behind the bar in the Tobalaba one, that there's a ladder to reach the ones at the top. Service is good, and it's a place with plenty of character.
    Manuel Montt; Pedro de Valdivia; Tobalaba 

    BocaNariz:
    BocaNariz is a small wine bar on a small street in Lastarria. There are a few tables on the pavement, and folding back doors so you never feel cooped up. It's always busy, so make sure you book if you want a table by the window (the back room doesn't have quite the same atmosphere). The best thing about BocaNariz is that you are given 'flights' which consist of three small glasses of wine selected by theme - think mountain, sea or valley. This is a great place for meeting friends, drinking wine and sharing tapas-style food.
    Jose Victorino Lastarria 276



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

    What are two of the best day trips from Santiago?

    A great way to explore Chile’s central region is to base yourself in Santiago and take day trips. Here are two of the best:

    Horse Riding in the Andes
    Just an hour from Santiago, the Maipo Valley is worlds away from the hustle and bustle of the capital. Firstly, thanks to the River Maipo, everything is green, and the road is surrounded by vineyards, mountains, trees and small roadside cafes selling clay-oven baked empanadas. In the village of San Alfonso you'll find Cascada de las Animas, an ecotour resort where you can do everything from camping and picnicing to rafting, kayaking and horse riding. The latter is a great way to see the countryside and Cascada de las Animas has a choice of 2-hour or full day rides. With 37 horses, there's no shortage of steeds and each day the guides take several different groups up into the Andes. The full day ride includes a BBQ lunch up in the mountains.  

    Touring the Wine Region by Bike
    Another great day trip is to Chile's wine region, and Santiago Adventures are the experts in this area with tours Monday to Saturday all year-round. Their Wine & Bike Casablanca tour starts with an 8am pick-up at your hotel, followed by an hour's drive into the Casablanca Valley. A fair amount of cycling is involved, so this is a great choice for anyone who loves exercise (as well as wine) and the route begins with a 14km ride to Kingston Family Vineyard. Here you have a private tour of the winery, followed by a tasting of three wines - for e.g. 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, 2009 Pinot Noir and 2008 Syrah. Next it's back on the bikes and off to Loma Larga, a small family-run vineyard with two labels: Loma Larga and Lomas del Valle. Make sure you try the Malbec - it's currently Chile’s only cool climate Malbec. The tour finishes with a delicious picnic lunch in the shade. 


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

    What’s the best restaurant with a rooftop terrace in Santiago?

    Restaurant Casa+Lastarria is one of the first buildings you come across as you walk to the Lastarria District from Santiago's Universidad Católica metro station. The castle-like building has an arched doorway and tables topped with flickering candles. The outdoor seating is some of the nicest in Lastarria because it's on a cobbled terrace away from the cars.

    But the best al-fresco seating at Casa+Lastarria is found on the upstairs terrace. With so many ground-floor tables you could easily miss it, but venture up the staircase and you will find one of the best restaurant rooftop terraces in the city.

    Overlooking the bustling, boho streets of Lastarria (Santiago's answer to Palermo in Buenos Aires) you can sit like a princess in a tower enjoying the view. There's a charming black-and-white harlequin floor and some of the best tables are in the little turret-like enclaves - try and get a seat by the balcony to make the most of people watching. 

    As for food and drinks, the Gran Ceviche goes down very well with a Ginger Pisco Sour. The ceviche comes in a large bowl and is great for sharing - there's salmon, pippin and squid in there. For main course, the salads are, again, generously proportioned and the steak is very tender. For pudding, the ice cream or pancakes go down very nicely with a good strong espresso.
  • On March 22, 2013
    Gabriel O’Rorke answered the question: Gabriel O’Rorke

    What are the best rooftop bars in Santiago?

    Some of the best rooftop bars in Santiago sit above some of the city's finest hotels. Three of my favourites are Noi Vitacura, The W and San Cristobal Tower.

    San Cristobal Tower is on the north side of the Mapocho River in Providencia. A popular pick with businessmen due to its proximity to the airport, TwentyOne Bar (yes, you guessed it, on the 21st floor) has incredible views across the city. Whilst the rooftop bars at Noi Vitacura and The W are al-fresco and within the city, there's something about seeing the city with a bit of perspective that really takes the biscuit. Try their honey Pisco Sour and watch the sun turn the mountains pink. This is one of the only places where the moon rise is as impressive as the sun set - try and go around full moon and you will see the moon slide up from the mountains and into the night sky. 

    One of the best things about the rooftops at Noi Vitacura and The W, on the other hand, is that they both have swimming pools. So, guests can go for a dip with a view across the city to the Andes. The W has an infinity pool so you literally feel like you're on the edge.

    And last but not least, if you want a rooftop bar with a view of the street for some good people watching then the terrace at Restaurant Casa+Lastarria in the Lastarria neighborhood is a great spot. Order some PIsco Sours and a ceviche to share - the portions are so generous you may find it's quite enough for both of you. 
  • On March 22, 2013
    Gabriel O’Rorke answered the question: Gabriel O’Rorke

    What is public transportation like in Santiago?

    There's a good network of public transport in Santiago, ranging from the metro to buses.

    The Metro happens to be South America's most extensive, and there are 5 lines to transport you across the city. The service is regular and clean. However, it can be pretty hot - only a few of the trains are air-conditioned. Also, when the crowds return to the city after the summer holidays (December and January) it can be very, very busy and is best avoided during rush hour. In the last census it was found that 2.3 million people ride the metro every day.

    There's also a comprehensive bus system known as Transantiago. Linking together local buses with the metro network, these blue buses whizz around the city. One thing worth noting is that there's an integrated fare system which means you can take the metro and bus for the price of just one ticket.

    It's also well worth getting a Bip! card. That way you don't have to pay for each ride separately. This is a plastic card (similar to London's Oyster) which you top up and use as you go. One thing it doesn't have yet is automatic top-up linked to your credit card.
  • On March 20, 2013
    Gabriel O’Rorke answered the question: Gabriel O’Rorke

    What are the best rooftop bars in Santiago?

    Some of the best rooftop bars in Santiago sit above some of the city's finest hotels. Three of my favourites are Noi Vitacura, The W and San Cristobal Tower.

    San Cristobal Tower is on the north side of the Mapocho River in Providencia. A popular pick with businessmen due to its proximity to the airport, TwentyOne Bar (yes, you guessed it, on the 21st floor) has incredible views across the city. Whilst the rooftop bars at Noi Vitacura and The W are al-fresco and within the city, there's something about seeing the city with a bit of perspective that really takes the biscuit. Try their honey Pisco Sour and watch the sun turn the mountains pink. This is one of the only places where the moon rise is as impressive as the sun set - try and go around full moon and you will see the moon slide up from the mountains and into the night sky. 

    One of the best things about the rooftops at Noi Vitacura and The W, on the other hand, is that they both have swimming pools. So, guests can go for a dip with a view across the city to the Andes. The W has an infinity pool so you literally feel like you're on the edge.


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

    What are the best rooftop bars in Santiago?

    Some of the best rooftop bars in Santiago sit above some of the city's finest hotels. Three of my favourites are Noi Vitacura, The W and San Cristobal Tower.

    San Cristobal Tower sits on the north side of the Mapocho River in Providencia. A popular pick with businessmen due to its proximity to the airport, TwentyOne Bar (yes, you guessed it, on the 21st floor) has incredible views across the city. Whilst the rooftop bars at Noi Vitacura and The W are al-fresco and within the city, there's something about seeing the city with a bit of perspective that really takes the biscuit. Try their honey Pisco Sour and watch the sun turn the mountains pink. This is one of the only places where the moon rise is as impressive as the sun set - try and go around full moon and you will see the moon slide up from the mountains and into the night sky. 

    One of the best things about the rooftops at Noi Vitacura and The W, on the other hand, is that they both have swimming pools. So, guests can go for a dip with a view across the city to the Andes. The W has an infinity pool so you literally feel like you're on the edge.


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

    What are the best art galleries in Santiago?

    There are around 70 art galleries in Santiago. Here's are three of the best:

    Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes
    With over 3,000 pieces of artwork, this is one of South America's best fine art collections. Worth visiting for the neoclassical and Art Nouveau architecture alone, the building was inaugurated in 1910 one hundred years after Chile gained independence.

    Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino
    Built at the turn of the 19th century as the Royal Customs House, this historic building is now home to the Museum of Pre-Colombian Art. Come here to see ceramics and textiles. 
    (NB closed until September 2013)

    Museo de Arte Contemporáneo
    Santiago's modern art museum has both permanent and temporary exhibitions, and houses a great collection of modern art (by both Chilean and international artists). It is also a great spot for seeing the work of young up-and-coming Chilean artists.