In Santiago in general, downtown and Providencia seem to have the highest concentration of Upscape-approved cafés, though nearby Ñuñoa and Las Condes also have some noteworthy places to get a coffee, tea, or hot chocolate as a pick me up any time of day. In some cases, it’s the coffee that draws us in and at other times, it’s the ambience, whether artistic or nostalgic. In others still, it’s a sweet tooth that drives the day, via either the pastries served or choosing a rich cup of single origin hot cocoa, skipping over coffee altogether.
Here are some of our Upscape picks for neighborhood cafés, sweet and salty, modern and traditional.
Above all, Manuel chooses his pick for the quality of the coffee. It doesn’t hurt that the owner of Club Intenzzo— slightly south of downtown Santiago—is a childhood friend of his, but it’s the pursuit of the perfect cuppa that keeps him coming back. Manuel is an espresso drinker, as if adding milk to coffee would be an insult to all his friend’s hard work in roasting, grinding and brewing. The cafés Facebook avatar instructs us to “make coffee, not war.”
Roxana, Lala Leelu
Just a few blocks west of Upscape’s offices is the Korean-owned bakery-café Lala Leelu named for the owners’ first child’s nickname. The owner is always in his laboratory-kitchen, whipping up new tastes and textures for clients, and is often giving tastes of new creations. Fresh fruit, chocolate and matcha are popular flavors for his layered cakes, and while Roxana from Upscape likes coffee, she thinks you should come here for the sweets. Open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Daniel, Xoco Por Ti
Xoco Por Ti , pronounced “choco por ti” is a play on words, meaning “chocolate for you” and alluding to the saying in Spanish “crazy about you” (loco por ti) Daniel gives this French-owned chocolate bar an enthusiastic thumbs up for their rich hot chocolate, made from single origin chocolate and milk, nothing else. And if it’s too warm for a hot chocolate? He has no problem switching instead to one of several flavors of homemade chocolate ice cream. NB: we’ve spied other Upscapers here after lunch for a snack as well.
Cris, Café Palermo
Despite the fact that Café Palermo styles itself as a piece of Buenos Aires outside of Argentina, Cris’ top pick at this Providencia café is one of Chile’s favorite desserts, pie de limón. You may recognize it as an iteration of key lime pie (made with lemon custard), but to many Chileans, it’s as traditional as empanadas(link to food blog post). Cris likes the neighborhood the café is in, that he can easily lock up his bike outside, and usually orders an Americano or espresso to contrast with the sweetness of the pie.
Daniel P., Dolce y Salato
Daniel has another favorite, slightly farther afield, in the mostly residential neighborhood of El Bosque, in western Providencia. It’s called Dolce y Salato, (sweet and salty in Italian). Daniel bucks the trend of coffee, tea and hot chocolate, and goes for pizza, with a fresh-made juice. He likes that the ambience is modern, and it has views over the nearby park. He didn’t mention the ice cream, but we see it’s popular on warmer days.
Ann, Maisón Italia Hotel Café
Ann loves many things about working in Barrio Italia, and one of them is the café in the Hotel Maisón Italia. It has classic architecture that speaks to her, is in one of the oldest buildings in the neighborhood, and most importantly, it has “really good croissants.” We can’t help but notice that they have signature cocktails later in the evening, in case it’s past coffee-time by the time you arrive.
Gabby, Café Beppo
Gabby is another lover of old architecture, and her favorite café is near Tobalaba, also in Providencia, in a French-style mansion that dates to 1900, and has a mansard roof. It’s called Café Beppo, and Gabby says to her, it feels very European, with wraps, salads and great brownies, which she notes “arrive to the table warm.”
So there you have it. Coffee culture is having a boom here right now, but there’s a café for nearly every taste within easy walking distance of many popular sites in Santiago.