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Our quest to understand Chile’s culinary diversity and unique specialties led us to Borago in Santiago. Borago restaurant is famous for cooking with indigenous Chilean ingredients.
If you are looking for the best restaurant in Santiago Chile, Borago should certainly be at the top of your list.
Here’s what to expect at Borago, Chile on your travels to Santiago.
About Borago Restaurant
Borago opened in 2006 and is owned by Chef Rodolfo Guzmán. In 2015, Guzman was chosen as the winner of the Chef’s Choice Award voted by his culinary peers.
Also in 2015, the restaurant was named #2 in Latin America on the World’s 50 Best by San Pellegrino. Borago Chile has remained listed on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants every year to date.
In 2021, Borago received the Flor de Caña World’s Most Sustainable Restaurant Award.
This is in recognition of its eco-friendly and waste reduction practices, use of locally sourced supplies, and community support.
Menu Concept – Endemic Chilean Cuisine
The Boragó menu uses ingredients that are endemic, or native, to Chile. Chef Guzman prioritizes the use of ingredients that were used by the Mapuches, the native population from Chile, for thousands of years.
With that knowledge as inspiration, he creates cuisine that revolves around those endemic ingredients, presented in a contemporary manner.
Rodolfo Guzmán works directly with about 200 foragers and small producers from all over the country. Even the water in the restaurant comes from the rain water of Patagonia.
The Boragó menu, which is named Endemica, is seasonal and continuously changing based on availability.
Menus are prepared daily and it is not unusual to have several hundred different dishes in just one season.
Where to Find the Borago Restaurant Santiago
Since 2019, Borago Restaurant has been located at Av. San Josémaría Escrivá de Balaguer 5970 in Vitacura – a suburb of Santiago.
Sitting at the foot of the city’s tallest mountain, Cerro Manquehue, the restaurant decor is simple and earthy with lots of wood and slate.
You immediately get the feeling of nature in a warm and welcoming space.
Borago Price and Dress Code
The Endemica tasting menu consists of 12-17 dishes and costs 126,000 CLP, or about $133 USD at the time of this writing.
Wine pairing with wines from all around the Chilean territory are carefully curated to match each dish.
Juices made with local Chilean fruits are also available and can be paired with the food. And, the water served is rain water from Patagonia noted for its purity.
The Borago dress code is smart casual.
As one of the top restaurants in the world, not surprisingly, the service is impeccable.
During our visit, the attentive staff provided guidance on how to eat the interesting and unusual Chilean dishes.
If you’d like to savor endemic Chilean cuisine at Boragó restaurant we recommend booking your reservations far in advance.
The Food at Borago
At Borago, every dish had a story to tell. Each time a server brought out a dish, there was a narrative that was shared.
An example is the marqui berry in the “Crudo of deer from Valdivia and Marqui from Patagonia” dish.
This berry is native to Chile and known for its high antioxidant properties. Apparently, the berry was eaten by the Mapuche Indians who harvested it near the Andes Mountains.
Tasting this ancient berry in a contemporary setting was a treat. On its own, it was slightly tart and flavorful.
When combined with the deer, the flavors were divine.
Nature and food blended together harmoniously. The integration of meals and dishes was unlike anything we had experienced before.
Each dish was presented on a plate with the original products. Raw elements such as the horns of a cow, or earth elements like rocks, trees or shrubs, were part of the dinner experience.
Chilean Wines Paired with Endemic Cuisine
We chose the wine pairing which was highly recommended for the menu. All the dishes were accompanied by red and white wines from Chile.
What was interesting about this pairing was the switching back and forth between red and white wines. There was no predefined sequence and yet, each glass was a perfect complement to the food.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: Get to know Chile wine regions and the best Chilean wines from the country We recommend this full-day wine-tasting tour of the Casablanca Valley from Santiago for exquisite white wines. For a more in-depth view of Chile wine regions see our guide Chilean Wine Regions: 15 Top Wineries You’ll Want To Visit
Our Menu Favorites
As we tasted the incredible menu, the following three dishes were culinary experiences of a different level.
While we enjoyed all of the food and the entire experience, these three stood our for their creativity and flavor.
One of the most creative dishes we enjoyed was part of the Rock Sequence and a tribute to Pablo Neruda.
He is the famous a Chilean poet-diplomat and politician who won the 1971 Nobel Prize in Literature.
This was rock puree and rock broth from Isla Negra, where Pablo Neruda resided.
Surprisingly, the dish was a rock bowl with another rock inside it covered with a puree. A broth was poured over the rock which was absolutely delicious.
You had to scrape the puree off the rock and then soak it in the broth before eating it.
The presentation was gorgeous and the flavor outstanding.
Punta de Tralca – Invoking the Beach
For a taste of seafood, another unusual dish was Punta de Tralca by levels.
Named after a beautiful Chilean beach in Valparaiso, the name Tralca means thunder in the Mapuche language.
This is in reference to the sound created when the waves collide in the sea.
Different colors of chips were presented on a large slate plate. Underneath the chips was various seafood representing the progression of the sea, starting with the sandy beaches and going further into the deep, dark waters.
Our two favorites were the centolla or king crab and the locos or abalone, which are traditional Chilean fish and seafood dishes.
The unique presentation and the progression of colors and flavors made for a delicious sensorial experience.
The most viscerally engaging dish was one of the desserts called Frio Glacial. Inspired by the glaciers of the south, this dessert had to be eaten immediately.
We put the ball-shaped dessert into our mouth and were met with an explosion of gases that we did not expect. This dessert course was lots of fun and highly recommended.
Borago Behind The Scenes With Chef Rodolfo Guzmán
We were really excited to have the opportunity to meet with Rodolfo Guzmán and learn about the native Chilean cuisine.
Walking into the kitchen lab above the restaurant, we immediately felt that something special was going on.
The chalkboard walls had preparations and formulas written on them, resembling mathematical equations instead of expected cooking recipes.
The kitchen shelves were filled with experimental conserves of different oils and vinegars. The wine cooler was used to make cheese out of carrots.
It made for a creative atmosphere and it put us in the right mindset to meet with Rodolfo.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: In an attempt to share the story of Chilean ingredients, products and techniques, Rodolfo Guzmán released his first book. The book, Borago: Coming from the South showcases flavors and products often displaced, and points to the future horizon. Also included is a selection of 100 sweet and savory recipes exclusively from the Borago menu.
Exploring Endemic Chilean Cuisine at Borago Santiago
After being introduced to Chef Guzman, we drove to his farm about 30 minutes south in El Monte.
Rodolfo explained that he and his team have spent years learning about the ingredients that exist in Chile.
And also working with foragers and small producers to source the fresh, high quality, endemic ingredients that people have come to expect from Borago.
Guzman is also the founder of the CIB, the first food research center in Chile.
Visit to Farm For Chilean Native Ingredients For Borago Restaurant
Rodolfo’s farm was started in 2013 and is relatively small at about 1 hectare. The farm is used for cultivating plants, vegetables and grains that are used at the restaurant.
Rodolfo had us try several flowers and plants that he uses in meal preparation. It was quite an experience to taste the raw plants and flowers directly on the farm.
This is not a typical farm. Everything grows naturally and organically. No fertilizers are used and instead a variety of bees and insects pollinate and protect the plants.
At the time of our visit, there was one cow and a few chickens to produce milk and eggs. Some of the chickens were of the Mapuche species, recognized by their lack of tails and the amazing blue eggs that they lay.
The world-famous Borago was an essential part of our understanding of Chilean cuisine.
Prior to our visit, we had struggled to find the most popular and emblematic dishes of Chile and we finally understood why. The geographic and climatic diversity found from the north to south means there are numerous specialities based on region.
With the tasting menu dinner at Boragó, we enjoyed an amazing farm to table meal and wine pairing that taught us about endemic Chilean cuisine.
Chef Rodolfo Guzman is passionate, with a vision that extends beyond the restaurant and calls for a return to, and respect for, native ingredients.
What we took away was a call to arms for the respect of nature and use of locally available ingredients.
We share that message with you. As you make your restaurant choices, opt for the restaurants that celebrate local. Together let’s join for the preservation of what is endemic.
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Rosemary is the editor-in-chief and strategist at Authentic Food Quest.
Traveling slow since 2015 with her partner, Claire, she has explored the cuisine in 45 countries and more than 240+ culinary cities.
Her writing about local food specialties has been featured in Lonely Planet, Business Insider, Honest Cooking, Food Insider, and Huffington Post.
As a food and travel writer, Rosemary has co-authored three books, including one in collaboration with Costa Brava Tourism.
Rosemary is an avid runner when she’s not eating and exploring new destinations. She has run ten marathons and counting.
Before Authentic Food Quest, Rosemary held senior-level strategy positions in advertising.
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