Possibly the best lunch specials (around US$6.50) in town can be found at the creative Café Vinilo (Almirante Montt 448, tel. 0322/230665), which takes its name from the record-album decor covering the walls. The menu is eclectic, but the bread deserves special mention; the service is casual but attentive, the music good but unintrusive.
Reached by Ascensor El Peral, La Colombina (Pasaje Apolo 91, Paseo Yugoeslavo, tel. 0322/236254, www.lacolombina.cl) has fine food and an even finer panoramic dining room, open Tuesday to Saturday for lunch and dinner, Sunday for lunch only; it also has a pub open Thursday to Saturday. Immediately downhill, Apolo 77 (Pasaje Apolo 77, tel. 0322/734862) has an excellent reputation.
Though it has attractive ambience and fine service, Samsara (Almirante Montt 427, tel. 099/2513467, www.samsararestaurante.cl) falls short of the best Thai food; the surprisingly bland three-course dinners (US$15–21 pp) feature a single entrée only, but do include salad, rice and dessert.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Chile, 2nd edition