Restaurant Review: Bocanáriz, Santiago, Chile

No visit to Santiago is complete without visiting Bocanáriz where ‘wine’ is their first word in dining. They are the proud owners of ‘The Showcase of Chilean Wine', one of the longest wine menus in Chile (not to mention award-winning). For those of you who are already sold, click here to book your table.

For others that need a little more information, read on…

Bocanáriz, it self-proclaims, is “a place for tourists and local wine lovers to meet”. Minus the ‘local’, we ticked both of those boxes and by the end of our meal we certainly deemed ourselves lovers of the local wine!
With first impressions being ever so important, our English-speaking waiter was immediately on hand to talk us through the extensive menus. Typically, you’d expect the food menu to dwarf that of the wine, however, at Bocanáriz the wine menu was five-times the size! It hosts almost 400 different varieties making for happy reading indeed!
With literally hundreds of appealing wines to choose from (all of which surround you in the wine stores above your table), commitment to just one was a little overwhelming so we opted for a selection of three 50cl glasses per person. There were a number of combinations on offer, specialising in a range of flavours and telling different stories from across Chile. I opted for the Regional Trio (g) which presented wines from across Northern, Central and Southern areas of Chile whilst Mr A went for the Classic Trio (i), which focused upon stronger flavour combinations. It’s safe to say that once the third glass had been finished, we were both in a good place!
As you know by now, when it comes to food, Mr A and I go with the philosophy of  ‘the more dishes the merrier’. However, committing to a main when the menu hosts around 40 incredible options got us a little nervous of ‘food envy’. To avoid our usual trap of ordering the same dish to avoid the inevitable reach across the table trick, we decided to go with a little tapas style ordering. Cue four dishes to share…
"Patatas Bravas" Bocanáriz Style
Arriving looking like vol au vents, these little potato parcels packed a punch, particularly the pink ones which offered a surprisingly strong chilli kick! Literally the most delicious carb parcels to accompany the wine, Bocanáriz prides itself on the food bringing out the flavours of the wine (not the other way around). Imagine these are a posh take on loaded potato skins yet with oodles of flavour; I could have kept eating them for the entire meal.

Beef Empanadas
Having missed out on the opportunity to try these on the Peruvian coast in Copacobana, we were delighted at the chance here. A Chilean take on a Cornish pasty, this was de-lic-ious!! Really flavoursome beef seasoned with Merkén in a crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside pastry case – I’m pretty sure Paul Hollywood couldn’t have found fault! Combined with the patatas bravas and you’re in taste heaven.

Blue Cheese & Pear Salad
If you’ve read ‘Quito’s Tastiest Secret’ you know our stance on cheese… This is hands down the most incredible salad I have ever had! Pear, walnuts and blue cheese make the dreamiest of combinations. I tried to explain to Mr A that the sweet and savoury flavour combinations of pear and blue cheese mimics the flavours of Swedish Salad (a family recipe that takes a spin on Coronation chicken with apples and banana) which Mr A steadfastly refuses to even try a mouthful! Anyway, this truly was delightful. Fresh lettuce isn’t something I’ve come across hugely in South America so it was a really refreshing dish to tuck into (huge portion size too, I fear I can’t boast this was a ‘healthy’ salad!). It’s certainly something that I’ll be trying to replicate once I’m home.
Shrimp in Creamy Sauce.
If you’re a fan of fresh-from-the-sea prawns (complete with heads and tails), then this dish is for you! Presented in a curry-esque seafood sauce, its accompanied by Chaufu-style black rice and plantain to absorb all the flavours. Not one for playing with my food, I opted for the pre-peeled prawns mixed in with the sauce, whilst Mr A got his hands dirty with head-spinning and tail-pulling the fresh ones.

After devouring these platters, the waiter came back over to our table and offered us the cheeseboard… normally a guaranteed ‘yes’ from us. However, turning down the cheese was sure-fire confirmation that we were exceedingly full and happy to enjoy the remaining sips of our third glass of wine before sitting back in a slightly drunken food coma. Satisfaction indeed.


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