Photo by kkmarais.
It’s a feeling most of us know, even world travelers. We’re in a new place, hearing a new language, trying to figure out the public transportation system between visits to the ATM, souvenir shopping, church peeping, and all we really want is a relaxing place to drink a cup of coffee and sit for a minute (and maybe enjoy some WiFi to catch up with what’s going on at home).
Santiago has Starbucks-a-plenty, downtown, in Providencia and at the malls. In in the corridor between Cerro Santa Lucía and The Moneda, (about ten blocks), there are three, and up in Providencia you’d go broke long before you drank a Frappuccino at each one.
But if you want to support more local businesses, and remember that you’re in Santiago, not Tokyo or New York or even Seattle, try out one of these cafés, both for the personalized service as well as the great coffee, all while minimizing your footprint by using reusable, not disposable cups.
Wonderful is a new café in the Lastarria neighborhood, steps from the Plaza Mulato Gil and Cerro Santa Lucía. They use organic, shade-grown coffee and have stellar sweets.
If you’re uptown, Wonderful has another location on Isidora Goyonochea, in El Golf. The same great sandwiches and macarrons (don’t say I didn’t warn you), but in a leafier location.
Plaza Santa Victoria is located on the fringe of Parque Bustamante, right at the exit of the (green line) Santa Isabel metro. They know how to make a dry cappuccino, and also have small-batch ice cream.
Café de La Ópera is a sleek-lined café in Bellas Artes near the foot of Cerro Santa Lucía, where they serve dark roasted full-bodied coffee, in regular and decaf, and serve some of the best ice cream in Santiago. They also have soups and sandwiches, but a large cup of coffee here, coupled with a scoop (or two) of their creamy ice cream will certainly hold you until dinner.
Café de La Barra, very close to the Bellas Artes Metro and Cerro Santa Lucía does brisk business at lunch and most times of the day. They know that coffee goes well with pastries, and offer two small croissants (filled or unfilled) with an espresso or cortado (like a small latte) on the menu. The antique tiled floor and assortment of furniture means you won’t be confused about whether you’re in a chain café. You most certainly are not.
After you enjoy your coffee and wifi, you can then resume your streetside wanderings, fully caffeinated.