Much like Uruguay and Argentina, eating and drining in Santiago de Chile is expensive if consuming meals at restaurants. The ‘budget friendly’ suggestions are, perhaps, less than other places, but sometimes still not in line with our budget. We sought out the local options of what to eat in Santiago, Chile as those places were sure to be our best budget options. However, we quickly learned that wasn’t always the case.
What to eat in Santiago, Chile: Local, ‘budget’ recommendations
Letting myself fall into the trap of restaurant reviews, I was drooling over a Lomito Completo sandwich. According to such reviews – the Lomito served at Fuente Alemana was a local favorite and was not to be missed in Santiago. This long-time Santiago institution is a basic diner, with only women working at the joint. Meat (sliced pork, in the case of the lomito) is cooked in plain sight on the side grill, then topping it with a gag-reflex-inducing amount of dripping mayonnaise, guacamole, tomatoes, sauerkraut and other toppings.
The Lomito Completo is enormous, so we ordered one to share and nixed the mayo. It was good, but didn’t live up to the hype – perhaps our decision on no mayo was a mistake. In any event, the cost for one sandwich was $11, which might not be ‘expensive,’ but it certainly isn’t ‘cheap,’ as advertised.
We fell into the same trap while consuming alcoholic beverages at bars. The drinks were not necessarily expensive, just not cheap – and we were just drinking draught beer. In the places we went, a small, local beer costs about $4 USD. And, when we ordered a 500cc Belgium beer at a side-street bar in Bellavista it set us back $10 per beer.
We are on a budget. We are in South America. And, quite frankly, we thought seeking out local places would fit into our budget, but it didn’t seem to be the case.
What to eat in Santiago, Chile: The true budget options
Thank goodness we had a viable Plan B: empanadas and wine at home. Empanadas are available almost anywhere, but Zunino’s has these warm little pockets of deliciousness perfected. For less than $2, one of these – either cheese or meat/onion/hardboiled egg/olive mixture – dough-filled pastries is enough to call lunch. Add in the grocery store bought wine for less than $3 and we are right back on budget.
We want to know: If deciding what to eat in Santiago, Chile, would you go for the Lomito or the empanadas?