I just got back from sunny Santiago! In 2018, I met a woman at one of my workshops who I had so much in common with, who was from Chile. We were both on paths of self-discovery and healing, and creating our businesses from our passions. She was visiting from Chile, and for the next few months we became close until she returned home.
My friend invited me to visit her and since I had never learned anything about this country, I was super intrigued. Intrigued by the landscape, traditions and people. Since it's in the southern hemisphere, I decided to visit in February in their summer season to escape the winter in New England where I live.
When I was researching the best plant-based restaurants in Santiago, I was surprised to see how many there were! I loved sampling their variety of plant-based options for dining and I think you will too.
It's recommended to tip 10% for good service at restaurants in Chile, and most of these spots on the list take cards and the Chilean peso currency. In terms of transportation, Uber isn't legal yet, though it's still functioning, you just sit up front with the driver.
Otherwise, they can get in trouble with the taxi drivers or police. I took Uber when I wasn't walking to these spots. The Santiago metro system is one of the best in the world, so that's another option! The taxis are much more expensive and kind of scammy, unfortunately I made this mistake at the airport - so try Uber or a bus transfer instead!
The Chileans eat dinner later, so you might find that restaurants are closed from 5-7:30 PM and lunch doesn't start until 12:30 PM.
I recommend staying in the Providencia neighborhood or Las Condes. My Airbnb was in Providencia and my friends home is in Las Condes, which is clean and modern, filled with businesses and residences.
Though not a lot of people speak English, I only know common words and phrases in Spanish and I still got by. The Chileans have their own dialect where they talk fast and cut off parts of words. It was fun to learn their slang words, and all of these places below spoke enough English to get by!
My favorite part about traveling is getting to know the people, and I really recommend you do when you visit. There's so much innovation, and the people are so kind and passionate. I actually learned so much about the Chilean culture that was eye-opening, I might write a whole other post just on that.
Due to the recent political protesting, much of Santiago proper was not in the best condition, so we only did a drive through tour. I do recommend visiting these beautiful parks which remain untouched:
Cerro Santa Lucia
Cerro San Cristobal
I took a weekend trip with my friend on the coast to Valparaiso, Vina del Mar, Zapellar and Maitencillo beaches. I highly recommend this, especially Valparaiso which might have been my favorite spot filled with unique street art. However, I found that most of the plant-based options were only in Santiago. In those coastal towns, I enjoyed the fresh seafood, like ceviche and seafood-filled empanadas.
Here are 7 plant-based restaurants to try on your visit to the colorful city of Santiago, Chile!
Sapiens might be my favorite. I went here on my last day and I wished I had found it sooner! Sapiens is located in Barrio Italia, a cute neighborhood, and inside a building with a few other artistic stores. I loved the variety of options, the atmosphere, and focus on the plant-based philosophy.
There's quotes from spiritual teachers like Wayne Dyer on the tables, and I love that they give you a quote to take home at the end of your meal. They have self-development and plant-based lifestyle books all around, and everything on the menu is plant-based.
Sapiens has a brunch option, smoothies and bowls, wraps, salads, pizzas, kombucha, desserts, and a selection of fresh daily juices.
I had the burrito, shown above, that came with this chipotle plant-based sauce to add on top. I also had the acai smoothie as a bowl with granola and a banana, and the fresh cantaloupe juice. YUM. Also, there's free wifi, and the people that work there are super nice.
El Arbol was a nice lunch spot (it closes at 6:45 PM) close to my Airbnb, so I ended up going a few times! One day, I was so hungry because I was in a coaching workshop all day, so I sampled three dishes, shown above. I tried the veggie and tofu gyoza, El Arbol tofu, and passion fruit sorbet. So satisfying.
The second time I visited I tried the stir-fry bowl with rice noodles and that was nice too.
Not all of the dishes are plant-based, and there's a mix of vegetarian dishes, all clearly marked.
Most of the dishes actually come with a plant-based option. I like the selection of options, that cover all types of cuisine types like Asian, Indian, and Italian, with their mushroom risotto and pizzas.
There's also a mini market inside, where I bought some plant-based free-trade chocolate!
El Huerto is a plant-based and vegetarian restaurant in the Providencia area of Santiago, with plenty of healthy options. There's a little patio outside and beautiful art work of the Buddha and chakras inside. I got the Namaste Plate, shown above, which was plant-based Tika Masala, Masoor Dal, and spiced rice. It was super flavorful and filling. Vegan options are clearly marked on the menu.
They offer non-alcoholic beverages like juice and beer which I tried, and also serve alcohol. I liked the selection of salads and cuisine types, they had a stir-fry dish, falafel plate, and creative appetizers like a plant-based algae ceviche! El Huerto has a selection of desserts with plant-based options, and a fresh fruit option.
Adhana is in the Providencia neighborhood and was just a few blocks from my Airbnb. At first glance, I loved the decor right away. There's a tropical vibe with Frida Kahlo quotes, Tibet flags, and cute neon lights. Love!
The menu is completely plant-based. I thought this was a great lunch, breakfast or coffee shop with free wifi. They have a lot of selection for breakfast, like avocado or hummus toast, different combos, and granola with cashew yogurt.
The lunch includes buddha bowls, burgers, salads, burritos, wraps, pasta, plus desserts. Adhana even has a wider variety of gluten-free pastries than regular pastries! Just some include raw snickers pie, passionfruit cheesecake, cookie dough truffles, and a delicious looking molasses crackle cookie.
I got the Taco bowl salad, shown below. It has spicy breaded seitan over greens with avocado, cashew nacho cheese, tortilla chips, fresh salsa, and black beans. It was so yummy, though maybe not the healthiest because of the seitan which doesn't make it all whole foods. Either way, I love the creativity of all the dishes here.
Since it was summer in Santiago, ice cream was on my list to cool down! Nice Cream is unique in that they make molecular ice cream using liquid nitrogen, and everything on their menu is completely plant-based. They offer a lot of toppings and sauces to make your own creations, including adding a waffle to your ice cream.
I believe I got the berry sorbet (the owner spoke a little English!) in a cone, shown at the top of this post. It was so delicious! They have a nice variety of unique flavors like Peanut Butter or Ferrero Rocher, and also coffee or a sandwich if ice-cream isn't your thing.
This lovely coffee spot in the Ñuñoa neighborhood was another one of my favorite spots I visited during my time in Santiago. Not only because I like to support local businesses, but because they're doing it right!
First, the interior is beautiful and modern as you can see above. They have a whole other section that's light-filled and a large outdoor terrace, where they play music and sometimes have live music. It's so relaxing out there. I hosted my essential oils workshop here, shown above, and they host a lot of similar workshops in yoga, leadership and spirituality.
Second, due to these workshops there's truly a sense of community that the owners of The Walking Coffee have created, and I ended up becoming friends with them through my mutual friend that I was visiting.
Third, they have eco-friendly options like wooden spoons and steel straws, and they offer a wide variety of pastries, sandwiches, and coffee drinks. There's free herbal water served with glasses, and they now have a happy hour. I don't drink and I really appreciated that they had a non-alcoholic beer that tasted good! They also have different flavors of kombucha - I had the blueberry kombucha. They have a plant-based ice cream option and pastry options, I tried a piece of plant-based banana chocolate cake. It was super rich and tasty.
Another spot that was on my list was Indian Box, a completely plant-based Indian restaurant. When I went at 9:30 PM (prime dinner time in Santiago) on Valentine's Day, it was an hour and a half wait, so I definitely recommend reservations if you go here. It looks like the Taj Mahal and all of the dishes honestly looked delicious.
There's so much history and creativity in Santiago, take the time to visit and get to know the people and culture! Enjoy your plant-based adventures