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Santiago

congrio

Seafood is king in Santiago. Sample the delicious corvina (a drum or croaker fish), the locally farmed salmon or the Chilean specialty congrio, a fish resembling a conger eel. 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.

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. The strolling musicians come free with your meal.

For a unique introduction to Chilean flavors and culture, adventurous eaters should head to Peumayen Ancestral Food in the Bellavista neighborhood. Here the chefs seek to highlight the traditional cuisine of Chile's native populations, including the Mapuche and the Aymara. Wait staff offer information about the various dishes, which include rabbit and horse meat.

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 traditional Chilean cuisine is on the menu -- plus excellent pisco sours. There are several locations around the Providencia neighborhood.

Sushi lovers won't want to miss Osaka, where Peruvian, Japanese and other Asian flavors meet. Located at the W Santiago, Osaka offers a sushi bar as well as dishes such as ceviche, teriyaki steak and Thai scallops.

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