Thursday, February 5, 2015

Grido Helado (Valparaíso, Chile)

Plaza Sotomayor, Valparaíso, Chile

Grido Helado is a chain of ice cream parlors in Latin America, founded in Argentina, and currently with branches in Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay. Its ice cream can also be bought in shops.

To be honest, I forgot how much I paid for the two scoop cone, but I think it was around $3. One of the flavors was a kind of stracciatella, which was not bad, but lacked the creamy taste of real Italian gelato. The other was orange and looked quite artificial, but tasted quite good.

VERDICT: 83/100
Not bad, but certainly not “the best ice cream in Latin America”.

Dominó (Santiago, Chile)

35 Hernando de Aquirre, Providencia, Santiago, Chile

Dominó (La Fuente de Soda de Chile) is a chain of restaurants that is known for its sandwiches and fresh juices. It offers an almost endless combination of sandwiches, where you combine type of meat )beef, pork, chicken) with style of condiments (mostly tomato, avocado, and green beans).

I order the “Mechada Chacarero” (Ps 4.300 / ca. $7). The sandwich comes on a large soft white bun. It includes a fairly thick piece of boiled (?) pork, which has pieces of carrot in it, with tomato and green beans, (snijbonen). It is quite refreshing even if it tastes overall fairly bland. Good that there are 5 different kinds of mustard on the table to add some taste.

VERDICT: 78/100
I assume they are really good at what they do, but I am just not such a big fan of what they do.

California Cantina & Restaurant (Santiago, Chile)

Las Urbinas 44/56, Providencia, Santiago, Chile, T: 2-361-10-56

California Cantina & Restaurant seems to be Santiago’s favorite (American) sports bar according to both locals and tourists. It gets great reviews online, so I decided to go there to watch the college football National Championship game. As I arrive, half an hour before kick-off, the place is already buzzing outside and in (it is a beautiful summer evening). There are far more Chileans than Americans, which I hadn’t expected. The menu is classic Californian sports pub: flatbread pizzas, burgers, tacos, wings. Unfortunately, on this evening they are out of almost everything except of burgers and flatbreads… no nachos for me.

I start with “La Loca Caliente” (Ps 4900 / ca. $8), a shortbread pizza with ‘red sauce’, pepperoni, pineapple, jalapenos, and cilantro (I leave Mozzarella off). The
Thin crust is a bit dry, but the pizza is overall quite tasty (despite lacking cheese) and has a good kick.

I later order the 3 Mini Burgers (Ps 6000 / ca. $9.50), which allows you to choose whatever combination of the eight options. I get one Maverick’s Big Wave (bacon, jalapenos & BBQ sauce), one Surf City U.S.A. (pineapple & teriyaki), and one San Francisco (grilled mushrooms). All come on a (bit too) big fresh bun and taste good, if a bit alike (quite sweet). The fries are pretty good.

VERDICT: 83/100
Good foreign version of American sports bar.

Flannery’s Irish Geo Pub (Santiago, Chile)

Las Condes, Santiago, Chile, T: 2-233-6675

I would normally not be caught dead in an Irish pub, let alone eat there, but Flannery’s is opposite to my hotel and I want to catch the second half of the Broncos-Colts game (we won!), so Irish Pub it is. Although it isn’t very busy, it easily takes 15 minutes before a waiter comes over. It would take another 15 minutes before another one finally brings my soda. You can imagine how long I will have to wait for my food (seriously, easily 20 minutes, if not longer).

I’m getting a BBQ Burger (Ps 5.550 or ca. $9). When it finally arrives, it turns out to be so bulky that it would make a US burger feel insecure about its size. The thick and large burger (a bit too well done but crunchy on the sides) comes on a big bun with huge lettuce leaves, huge slices of tomato, and caramelized onions and BBQ sauce (I ask for no cheddar). The burger is tasty, if a bit too salty. The BBQ sauce is (too) sweet and underwhelming. The fries are very thick and most are not very soft inside.


VERDICT: 84/100

It’s an Irish bar, what else can you expect (well, much faster service, ok).