For truly cheap eats, there are the several cocinerías in the Mercado Central, bounded by 1 Norte, 1 Sur, 4 Oriente, and 5 Oriente. The chain Bavaria (1 Sur 1330, tel. 071/227088) has sandwich fare and some more elaborate dishes.
El Gobelino (1 Sur 770, tel. 071/233980) serves fixed-price Chilean lunches in the US$4 range—good enough, but unexceptional. Alongside the fire station, the Casino de Bomberos (2 Sur 1160, tel. 071/212903) is a reliable choice in almost every Chilean city.
The Casino Caja de Empleados Particulares (1 Oriente between 1 and 2 Norte) is another bargain lunch spot. Varoli (3 Oriente 1189, tel. 071/224097) serves passable pizza.
The Centro Español (3 Oriente 1109, tel. 071/224664) is a traditional and formal venue.
Vivace (Isidoro del Solar 50, tel. 071/238337) has upscale pastas and other dishes in the US$7–8 range, and doubles as a wine bar with a good by-the-glass selection. The kitchen, though, can be slow even when it’s not crowded.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Chile, 2nd edition