Even though Puerto Natales is a small city it doesn’t lack of great restaurants and food variety. You will find places with good Italian food like pizza and pasta, but if you came all the way down to the end of the world you need to try some typical dishes and food from Patagonia. Are you staying for days you can continue on the food cruise and visit some different restaurants with their own specialties. I have picked 3 restaurant I really love to visit, but first I will introduce you to the cheapest handmade food you can find and the most typical food you need to try.
MENU DEL DIA – MENU OF THE DAY
The cheapest meals you can get is Menu del día which means menu of the day. Its typically a starter, a main dish and a desert. The price is around 4.000 CLP (6USD) not including beverages. Its homemade and very local. Its mainly where the locals go to get their lunch break and to enjoy their lunch with their co-workers between 12am and 3pm. My favourite place to eat menu del día is Club Deportivo Bories at street Manuel Bulnes. Is there a football match playing somewhere in Chile you can be sure the TV is on!
PATAGONIAN ASADO AL PALO
If you want to try something typical Patagonia you need to try lamb barbecue cooked in the typical Patagonian way, also known as Patagonian asado al palo or cordeo al palo (lamb on stick). The lamb is cut up open and crucified on a stick and then left cooking over the fire for approximate 3 hours. It looks a bit bizarre, almost like a old fashion torture tool but its actually just the very simple way of cooking meat among the local gauchos in Patagonia. Today we have fancy ovens and Weber grill but that was not an option back in the late 19th century when the first Europeans came to settle down here and start sheep farming as their livestock. You can get lamb barbecue many places in Puerto Natales, two of the very popular places are Restaurante-Parilla Don Jorge and La Picada de Carlitos.
If you want the whole experience you should go visit some of the many so-calles estancias that offers a half or full-day tour on their ranch where you will get to taste a typical Patagonian barbecue with lamb from their own farm. In combination with the visit you will have the opportunity to see the dog show where the dogs via few commandos from the gaucho, the Patagonian word for the local cowboy, manage a big group of sheep. Furthermore they will take you through the shearing process, teach you about sheep farming, the wool etc. If you want an authentic Patagonian experience this is something I recommend strongly.
Have you tried the lamb barbecue and ready to move on on the food cruise? Yes, perfectly. Let me introduce you to my three favorite restaurants in Puerto Natales:
VEGETARIAN HEALTHY FOOD
El Living is the only vegetarian restaurant in Puerto Natales and was as well the first one. Its a very cosy place with couches where you can relax with a book or just have a conversation with a friend over a tea or coffee. El Living also offers vegan, gluten- and lactose free dishes and Jeremy, the owner, says that only 15% of their clients are vegetarians. The food is healthy, colorful and delicious and you really get inspired to start experimenting with vegetarian food after trying some of their dishes. I also go there just to have a good coffee with a friend and maybe eat some of their delicious cakes. If the weather is good they have a backyard as well with some benches where you can enjoy your food.
ETHICAL, LOCAL AND CONSCIOUS FOOD
Artimaña is owned by two brothers, a musician and a chemist from Santiago. They started this small restaurant with the passion for good homemade food and with a mission: to support the small businesses and being an ethical restaurant. They therefore only serve non-commercial beverage meaning no Coca Cola or the more commercial Chilean beer Austral. Here you will only find local beers and fresh juice! Neither do they serve any dish with salmon. The salmon industry here in Chile has a bad reputation for their high use of antibiotics and many people don’t support it. Pasta, bread and the cakes are made from scratch in the kitchen and you will find great food for both meat eaters and vegetarians. The dishes are big and tasty – don’t worry about leaving the place hungry! The brothers are even in a process of brewing their own local beer. On certain days they have local bands playing music as well so even though they are not local natalinos they try to include the locals in both the food and the activities.
THE BEST PATAGONIAN SEA FOOD IN TOWN
If you are into good quality sea food Santolla is the place to go. Santolla has an interesting menu card and you need to try something with the famous king crap or scallops which are typical Patagonia and probably some of the most tasty you can find in the world! The design of the restaurant is interesting since its actually made of containers. The owner, Ferdinand, tells that the idea was to keep the sea food theme complete since fish and shellfish are stored and shipped in containers. The inside of the restaurant is cozy and the atmosphere is warm. The mission of the restaurant is that all products are from Patagonia, always of high quality and it’s where people go to eat good food. The high standard of quality means that there are no variety of the taste if you buy dish A one day and buy same dish another time in the future. The presentation of the food is almost art itself and adds up to the overall experience – it creates curiosity! I tried the octopus arm and not only does it look funny, but it was delicious. You can also order the specialty: a whole king crab! Perfect dish to share with a group of friends or family.
Can you recommend a place in Puerto Natales I will love to hear from you!
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