La Huella, a must
You could say this is THE restaurant of José Ignacio, almost impossible to dine without a reservation unless you want to spend 2 hours waiting for a table under the summer sun. It first started as a beach parador and it grew to become one of the best 50 restaurants of Latin America according to The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. With a simple, yet complete menu and a relaxed beach atmosphere, La Huella is a must for those visiting José Ignacio. The catch of the day is very recommended because the fish is really fresh as the grilled octopus, I’m not a fish fan so my recommendation would be the mouthwatering “Milanesa” (breaded meat) with French fries. Tip: many restaurants close after summer season but La Huella is open all weekends throughout the year.
Il Faro, Italian cuisine by the sea
As it name states, this picturesque restaurant is located in front of the lighthouse (Faro in Spanish and Italian) so dinning in its terrace is to be granted by an amazing view by day or night. By the entrance a sign that says: “Friendship has to be fed and taken care of” invites us to enter a world of flavors and tables with people having a good time. For starters we chose artichoke hearts with lemon and a duo that never fail burrata and prosciutto di Parma. The stuffed pasta is to die for, is the chef suggestion without a doubt. Add a nice cocktail or a good wine and… a mangiare tutti!
Popei, Fran and Nello´s favorite
To have a real boat on the entrance and a drawing board inside is all it takes to have my kids as fans. The atmosphere is relaxed and familiar, the menu is really complete but yet simple and from the tables located at the terrace you have an amazing view of the sea. For starters we always order fried calamari, Nello loves his pizza and I like the salads because they are complete and abundant. If you go for an early lunch or dinner it’s no necessary to make a reservation but otherwise I recommend to make it. Tip: Popei lemonade with watermelon is really fresh and tasty. If you’re ordering milanesa a la napolitana (breaded meat with tomato sauce and cheese), make sure to share it because it’s huge!
Mostrador Santa Teresita
From the well-known Argentinian chef, Fernando Trocca, this is mainly a lunch option because by night is open just one night a week. Located a few blocks from the sea in José Ignacio town, this restaurant offers one or two dishes of the day and as an alternative the food located in the counter (hence its name, counter in Spanish is mostrador): pies, salads y croquettes among other simple but high cuisine options. The desserts are also displayed in the counter and it’s difficult to just pick one, they all look (and taste) amazing. Something I liked: the kitchen is in plain sight so you can watch all the process to the kitchen to the table.
Hided by the end of a dark road in Arenas de José Ignacio is this restaurant that make us travel to southeast asia bacause of its wooden and bamboo structure, tenuos lighting and a big fire pit as the main character of the scene. Most of the tables are in open air, so you’ll have dinner with the sounds of crickets and fire sizzle, making a perfect tune with the relaxed music of the place. The menú offers sushi, meats and fish with an oriental touch. Tip: If the night is a bit cold, you can ask for wool ponchos and then enjoy a cozy dinner under the stars.
Marismo, dine with your toes in the sand
Also located in Arenas de José Ignacio, this restaurant offers the experience to dine in the woods, under the stars and with your feet in the sand. As we enter through a natural hallway with dense vegetation, we start to hear live music and to see all the fire pits. I’ve tasted exquisite meats and a mouthwatering pizza cooked in a wood oven. An amazing experience for all the senses.
Nestled in “la mansa” (the quiet beach) of José Ignacio, La Susana also give us the possibility of eating with our feet in the sand. Open by day and night, it’s ideal to have lunch and then enjoy the day at the beach or have dinner near the sea as well. With a complete menu offering sushi, different kind of meats and fish this is another must go of the area.
Bodega Garzón. José Ignacio is quickly becoming an important wine area and this awarded vineyard that takes us to Tuscany for a while is worth visiting. It has a high cuisine restaurant with a menu created by Francis Mallmann and a bar with more relaxed options. The wines? Simply amazing.
El Botero. This Little restaurant located in the terrace of Anastasio Hotel, is a quiet option, with a short but tasty menu. I discover it by chance and it’s ideal for having dinner in a warm summer night.
Solara, tapas and wine. Located a few meters of the entrance to José Ignacio, this tapas bar is a feast of tortilla, broken eggs, croquettes, meatballs and more accompanied by a great variety of wines which you can also buy to go because it’s also a winery.