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chile chilean sea bassSeafood is king in Santiago. Sample the delicious Chilean sea bass (known as corvina), the locally farmed salmon, or the Chilean specialty congrio, conger eel, which is actually a kind of fish. Patagonian lamb is also delicious. You'll also notice that Chileans love bread; look for the marraqueta, a flat roll served almost everywhere. Fine Chilean wines add to the dining pleasure. Also keep your eye out for the national drink of Chile, the Pisco sour. Though it originated in neighboring Peru, this drink is now served almost everywhere in Chile. The ingredients are Pisco brandy (made with the skin of white grapes), lemon juice, sugar and ice. Sometimes egg whites are added for extra froth.

How to Find the Best Restaurants on the Road

Central Market is a lunch tradition in Santiago, as popular with locals as with tourists. The market, a vast bustling emporium with a soaring roof, has been a fixture since 1872. It is filled with vendors selling every kind of fish you ever dreamed of -- and some you never imagined. Hawkers will try to lure you into one of the many cafes in the market, but the place to go is Donde Augusto, where you may be dining beneath a photo of Bill Clinton or another familiar celebrity. Check out the set meals, which include a Pisco sour, soup, generous main course and dessert. The strolling musicians come free.

Young chef Giancarlo Mazzarelli has established himself at Puerto Fuy as one of Latin America's stars with his original dishes and artistic presentations in a chic setting. His Chilean sea bass may be the best you'll ever taste.

Astrid & Gaston, another innovative gourmet choice, has a colorful ambience, an open kitchen and a selection of delicious dishes from Peru as well as local specialties. It's a great spot to enjoy a little Latin flavor.

If you're not expecting to find New York-style Italian cuisine all the way down in Santiago, Nolita will be a delightful surprise. Delicious fresh pastas, garlicky shrimp and classic New York cheesecake are among the offerings at this attractively designed spot.

Join the locals at the reasonably priced Liguria, where specialties include Chilean stuffed pork, blood sausage with spicy mashed potatoes and octopus in white wine sauce. There are several locations around the Providencia neighborhood.

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