Santiago is a pretty cool city. Since it is the Capital and transportation hub to the rest of the world, I flew in and out of the city. I stayed for one night in the beginning of my trip, and one night on my way out. I stayed at different hotels and the areas were also totally different. I was happy to see more than one side of the city. There is good food, vibrant people, and definitely worth a stop.
As stated, I did not spend a lot of time in Santiago. The time I did spend was mostly walking around, getting to see the neighbors and people. There are vendors selling things on most streets and you can walk at your leisure and enjoy.
I found this restaurant when doing research on the food in Santiago. This is a very local, very casual place where the sandwiches and beer are not to be missed. The place is a large circular counter where you can walk in and grab an empty chair. There are men and women cooking directly in the middle so you can watch it all happen. They are famous for their pork sandwich with a large helping of avocado, tomato and mayo. Order with a fresh beer on tap and you are in business. I sat next to a local who asked me, "How did you find this place!?" when he left, he gave me a kiss on each cheek and told me I found "THE PLACE" for this sandwich and was very happy that I did. Such a great time!
Mercado Central, San Antonio Lalita
Ok, I will be very honest about this place, I was skepital to eat anywhere in the market. The standards of clean food preperation are less than those in the US and I have a weak stomach. That being said, I strolled to a corner of the market and saw lots of locals eating at one place, only one place was busy- I had decided right then and there that I would try it. Everything is in Spanish but the owners son is there with a cell phone to show you pictures of everything on their menu. I saw what looked like amazing shrimp, pointed, and I was in buisness. The dish came out sizzling hot, the broth and shrimp, just off the stove. When I tell you that this is some of the best shrimp I have ever had, it is no exageration. If you are in the area, go there, and get the shrimp!
The W Hotel
This hotel is closer to the buisness district of Santiago. There are great restaurants lined up on the street below the hotel which makes things very convinent. The hotel itself is very nice, there are several restaurants to choose from, a great lounge area, great rooms, and of course a fantastic roof deck pool bar featured to the left.