Barrio Italia is a quirky, walkable neighbourhood that makes for a great day outing. In times of Covid your outdoor terrace options are endless for a delicious pasta, pizza or gelato. When we first moved here we found it a bit overwhelming with all the side streets, the rabbit warrens of shops and where oh where to park?! This is our family walking guide to Barrio Italia in Santiago.
First, where to park? We have found success on the side streets on Emilio Vaisse around Santa Isabel or Av. Condell. A bit quieter and shady we haven’t needed to circle endlessly.
A wander up and down Av Italia will lead to shops facing the street and as you enter you will invariably be surprised with an inner courtyard — usually with outside dining — more shops and sometimes an exit leading to the other parallel street. We ‘may’ have had to chase one of our children through a courtyard and then out on the other side!
Av Caupolicán has the antiques and furniture restorers at work. You can buy everything from dining room sets, a cozy reading chair or art deco bureaus. I love watching them work right on the sidewalk and peeking into their heaving bodegas that line the street.
I have always wanted to eat at Silvestre Bistro which is right by the antiques, but haven’t had a chance yet! We have eaten with kids at Santa Bohemia on the corner and it was a big hit. One of the first times we went we had a delicious breakfast at an inner courtyard (now I see they have outdoor street dining in 2021) at Café de la Candelaria. After a wander around the shops and antiques we usually head for chocolate at Óbolo on Av Italia. Their motto is from bean to bar and it is so delicious with so many flavours it’s always hard to choose! They have the nibs too that my friend likes on her oatmeal.
There are so many gelato places — I find we tend to go to a different one every time! The best part is wandering around til you find your perfect flavour. Pistachio anyone?
For lunch my absolute fave is In Pasta on Sta Isabel. They have expanded their outdoor tables with more seating. Their focaccia and olives are delicious. The last time we shared the burrata and I had a wonderful eggplant ravioli. The children’s portions are massive, but our kids had no problem polishing off the handmade pasta.
For cinnamon buns and sourdough we head over to La Panadera on Av. Condell — they also have squares, baguettes and rolls. For fine pastry I love Lala Leelu on Sta Isabel where my favourite is the chocolate peanut butter crunch, my husband likes the apricot square, my daughter the pain au chocolate and the boys the chocolate layered ganache squares. We also love to support a fellow Canadian and it’s so easy when his desserts and baguettes are so good!
Another favourite place to eat is Casa Luz, one of the first places we ate when we arrived to the city. Delicious food, great wine list and fun interior.
Barrio Italia is a nice place to get a little lost and see what you find — one time it was a trip to buy guitar strings and check out ukuleles, another time my husband bought custom made shoes, or a girlfriend outing to furnish a new house with a mix of old and new pieces. Where is your hidden Barrio Italia gem?