For breakfast, sandwiches, and desserts, the best choice is the informal El Desayunador (Almirante Montt 399, tel. 0322/755735). In the same neighborhood, lunchgoers pack the French-run Le Filou de Montpellier (Av. Pedro Montt 382, tel. 0322/224663, www.lefilou.8k.com) for well-prepared but inexpensive meals (about US$6–7).
For high-quality, moderately priced Italian standards—don’t miss the gnocchi—try Allegretto (Pilcomayo 529, tel. 0322/968839), a casual British-Chilean project that includes an early Space Age jukebox with an eclectic mix of 45 rpm singles ranging from Sandro (the Argentine Elvis) to The Clash. Down the block, Copa Rota (Abtao 576, tel. 098/3100111, reservascoparota [at] gmail [dot] com) is a new restobar with promise.
At Paseo Gervasoni’s east end, near the Ascensor Concepción exit, Café Turri (Templeman 147, tel. 0322/252091) is still one of Valparaíso’s top view restaurants, but the current consensus is that the food plays second fiddle to the panoramas from its terrace, and the service has declined.
Up the hill, though, one of Chile’s top restaurants is Pasta e Vino (Templeman 352, tel. 0322/496187, pastaevino [at] hotmail [dot] com). Offering exactly what it says—every entrée is made-to-order pasta in the US$10 and up range—it does serve nonpasta starters and has a superb wine list. During the week, it’s possible to make reservations in the morning for dinner that night, but for the weekend call no later than Monday; otherwise, the only option is dining at the bar. Its only drawback is conversational noise; the music volume is only moderate.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Chile, 2nd edition