Food & Drink

Typical meals in Chile consist mainly of lots of meat, especially beef and chicken, rice and potatoes, fresh fruit and vegetables from the fields of Central Chile. Even though seafood could be the common daily meal in Chile with its 5.000 km long coast, it is not. But you will surely find a fresh seafood selection on every menu.

Coffee and Cafés

The coffee culture in Chile has improved, but many simple restaurants and bars still serve Nescafé. Look for an espresso machine and then order “café café” or “café espress”.

In the center of Santiago you can find a true Chilean specialty: The Chileans call these dim places “café con piernas” (café with legs). Men in grey suits are served "espresso", "café con leche" or "cortado" by young women in miniskirts, bikinis or in their lingerie. These places are not recommended to women.

Natural food & Health-food shops

The offer of natural and organic food has improved noticeably over the last years. Meanwhile also the supermarkets have a tiny section of “productos orgánicos", and sometimes you can even find dark bread in between the endless selection of white buns. You can get wholewheat bread and fresh natural food at the following stores:

  • El Árbol, Huelén 74, Providencia. Vegetarian restaurant with organic shop. Bread, organic vegetables and fruits, natural cosmetics, etc.
  • Planta Maestra, Antonio Varas 1370, Providencia. Organic shop with vegetables and fruits, whole grain bread, natural cosmetics.
  • La Chakra, Sánchez Fontecilla 534, Las Condes. Vegetarian Café and organic products.

Preventive measures

Even though Chile is a country with high hygienical standards, you should give your stomach the time to get accustomed to the Chilean food and, at least during your first days, keep in mind the following advice:

  • The quality of the tap water is good, but its heavily chlorinated. Therefore, we recommend you avoid drinks which contain tap water or ice-cubes made from tap water. In case of doubt it is better to set aside green salads, berries, unpeeled tomatoes and herbs, because maybe they have been watered or washed with objectionable water.
  • It is better to eat cooked rather than raw vegetables.
  • Don't eat raw fish or shellfish.
  • Avoid eating at market stalls or street vendors.

Marea Roja: It's a sickness caused by poisonous microalgae, which might be concentrated in some shellfish during certain times of the year in southern Chile and Patagonia. In case of doubt don't eat raw shellfish!


In restaurants and cafés a tip of 10% is expected. It is not included in the bill. Usually people leave a tip on the table when they leave.