Subject: Chilean dining recommendations
Hello fellow travelers especially those bound for Chile,

Here are a couple of recommendations for those who'll be traveling through Santiago and Puerto Varas.

Santiago, Providencia neighborhood: A restaurant you might consider is De Cangrejo a Conejo (From Crab to Rabbit) at Avda. Italia 805, Providencia, tel. 634-4041. It's Chilean cuisine meets fusion. When you arrive at the simple unadorned building (with no sign) your first thoughts are this must be wrong. But ring the bell and the door is opened (not unlike a speakeasy during Prohibition) and you enter into a stylishly designed modern restaurant. We read about it in Conde Nast and had to try it.

In Puerto Varas I insist that you must seek out and dine at Merlin. This place has consistently won awards as the best restaurant in Chile (at least the best outside Santiago). It used to be part of a hotel in the center of town. But just before we visited it moved to a location just outside the center of town in a residential area on the lake. Do yourself a favor and search it out. You won't be disappointed. Also stop in at Cafe Mamusia for dessert. Mmmmm. Mmmmm. In addition to their great cakes and tortes they offer kuchen which you'll find on menus all throughout the Lake District. Lots of Germans settled in this area. And don't forget empanadas. They are the hamburger of the Andes. Available with a plethora of fillings and can be found in virtually any market. In Santiago there are little fast food chains specializing in them.

John in San Diego