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Below are some of the most enjoyable food we had on our trip. It includes everything from expensive restaurants to street food.

     • North America           • Central America           • South America     


Food in South America

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Kiosko El Bony, Avenida 1, Bocagrande, Cartagena, [Colombia]

A local favorite on the beach at the end of Avenida San Martin. The restaurant is a casual seafood place that serves huge portions. We had a cazuela, which arrived with patacones (fried plantain). The soup had crab, mussels, clams, squid and caracol (snail). A much richer and flavorful version of the Boston clam chowder.

El Sombrero, Carrera 5, 18-42 (cross st Calle 19), Bogota, [Colombia]

When you see a place with lines out the door, its always a good indication; specially when the clientele is formally attired in business suits but the place is a hole in the wall. Add to that wonderful smells and you have a winning combination. This place has amazing comida corriente (fast but good local food). We started with an arracacha soup. The main dish was chuleta (pork chop) with patacones, rice, vegetable, beetroot and yucca. The curuva (a type of guava) juice was wonderful.

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Street food, [Colombia]

Like Mexico, Colombia has wonderful options for street food. In Cartagena, we enjoyed barbecued meat on sticks with potatoes and green pepper, pan de bono (a bread baked using fermented yucca), buñuelos de frijoles (fried balls made with what seemed like fermented bean paste). We enjoyed various kinds of arepas, fried with egg in Mompós, made with chicharon (pork skin) and lard in Santander and the slightly sweet, cheesy ones of Boyacá. The tamales of Tolima are served steamed in banana leaves and filled with chicharon and chicken. The pipián tamales are made with boiled eggs and peanut sauce. Street vendors in Mompós sell the Momposino cheese and you can find fried yucca, papas con carne (potato balls filled with minced meat) and various other fried goods sold on street carts. The bakeries are full of wonderful and interesting breads, pastries filled with chicken, guayabana (local fruit) and cheese.

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La boca del Lobo, Calama 284 y Reina Victoria, Quito [Ecuador]

La Boca del Lobo is a great destination just for the style. A hip bar located in the Mariscal district, the interior is just a promising as its exterior. Plush, multicolored cushions, chandeliers and a whimsy decor are combined with a non Ecuadorean, non touristy, imaginative menu which is quite good. Definitely worth a whirl.

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Ceviches Ruminaui, Quito [Ecuador]

This chain is what fast food places should be, you can get consistently good food, seafood, no less. Almost all dishes are very good, the soups, rice dishes with seafood as well as the seafood grill.

San Pedro de Yacachuya, Cafayate [Argentina]

This is not a restaurant but an experience. San Pedro de Yacachuya is one of the best wineries in the Cafayate region of Argentina, close to Salta. You have to make reservations in advance, and are then treated like a guest, with great appetizers, fabulous wine, engaging conversation. Food is rustic but the overall experience is exceptional.

Empanadas [Argentina]

Something to look forward to in Central/South America – empanadas. And no country that we visited makes them better than Argentina. Go anywhere, emapanadas are exceptional and a wonderful fast food. I have to admit, Bolivia’s Salteñas are better, but we didn’t visit Bolivia on this trip, the only ones I have had have been in the US so I am not including them.

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Bene da Flauta, Rua Sao Francisco de Assis 32, Ouro Preto [Brazil]

Yum…mineira food. Feijoada, Frango con cuiabo, Tutu mineira…this is what you can expect from the working people of Minas Gerais, tasty, down to earth food. Bene da Flauta is a french-mineiran restaurant, so they serve french food with a mineiran twist. The excellent Falken chopp (draft beer) served at the restaurant is part of the reason to go there.

Valparaiso, [Chile]

Our guidebook says that in Chile, when it comes to food, you will find nothing to write home about. I think they are roundly mistaken. We had some of the best food in Chile. Just like the United States, Chile boasts a local take on immigrant food. The great Chilean wines, specially the Carmenere, paired with the creations of Chilean chefs creates a great dining experience. And in Valparaiso, one can eat exceptionally well. In Cafe Vinilo, as well as Antaño in Cerro Concepción, the chef eagerly explained the subtleties of every dish on the menu. Rarely have I encountered such passion in US restaurants!

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Quetalmahue, Chiloé, [Chile]

Curanto is something anyone who likes seafood must try when in Chiloé. Various types of clams, mussels, longaniza, chicken, salmon are layered together with potatoes prepared in different ways (cooked, mixed with flour etc…) in a pit and buried under a bunch of Nalca leaves. It takes about 2 hours to cook and the clams and mussels literally melt in your mouth, the Nalca giving it an unreproduceable taste. At a restaurant in Quetalmahue, close to the Ancud, they make the curanto in their backyard, so you can see them making it.

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Café Haussmann, Valdivia, [Chile]

You know that Valdivia is a city of food based on their fish market, spice shops and chocolateria. Crudo, a speciality of Valdivia, is worth trying. And you have to try it at Café Haussmann, where the recipe has been passed down generations. It consists of raw beef, spread over plain sliced bread with raw onion, over which you squeeze half a lemon, add pickled chillies, mayonnaise mixed with cream and cilantro and maybe some mustard. It is delicious!

Malbec, A. Rojo y Cabo Garcia, El Chalten, [Argentina]

El Chalten is not a very typical Argentinian town. It has sprung up due to tourism, people come in droves to hike in the Los Glaciares National Park to see the famous Fitzroy. Malbec is one of the few good restaurants there that does not contend itself with serving the same boring pizza catering to the international trekkers. The food here is innovative, the meat well prepared and the wine list is well thought out.