The most traditional food in Valparaiso is the Chorrillana, a heaping mound of french fries topped with steak, onion, and fried eggs. You can eat this in several places, but the most famous one is the traditional restaurant, J Cruz. The city´s two most attractive hills, Cerro Alegre and Cerro Concepcion, have seen a great many new restaurants open in recent years, and most visitors tend to stick to these as they are a short, safe walk from hostals.
Fresh seafood is readily available in many small restaurants around the city, especially around the muelle (wharf) areas, and is considered a must for any seafood lover. Neighboring Viña del Mar features a much larger (and more expensive) variety of international cuisines, including Thai, Mexican, and Argentine.
There are also some restaurants which specialize in different seafood dishes near Mercado Puerto, which is near the last metro station. The more the customers dining inside the restaurants, the better the dishes you'll be likely to get.
Bakeries are located on nearly every block, and produce quite delicious breads that can be had warm and right out of the oven at almost any time throughout the day. They are best enjoyed smothered with palta, which are grown en masse in Chile (palta is the Chilean word for avocado, known in most other Spanish-speaking countries as aguacate). In addition to the many types of bread, another widely available snack to keep you settled as you walk the streets are empanadas, a flaky pastry, almost like a croissant, filled with meat or cheese.
On the second floor of the Mercado Cardonal (cnr Ave Brasil and Uruguay), there are a few excellent, cheap and midrange restaurants serving lunch.
- Allegretto, Pilcomayo 529, Cerro Concepcion (Opposite the Anglican church in Cerro Concepcion). A relaxed and good value pizza restaurant with gnocchi and risotto too. Great pizza, great draught beer, an old vinyl jukebox and a football table upstairs, ensure that Allegretto is always popular.
- Chile - Suecia, Calle Bellavista (Just off the square). Open even on Sundays. Good sandwiches, hot dogs and set menus.
- El Valenciano, Avenida Colon 3110, +56 32 225 1619. Delicious chicken, good sandwiches and good value meals.
- Estación Cielo Amierto, Ferrari 68 (Cerro Bellavista). A cute cafe on the Cerro Bellavista which has juices, smoothies, and sandwiches.
- Los Portenos II, (at the corner of Valdivia and Cochrane), 225 19 15. Delicious seafood dishes and many local people choose this restaurant at weekends.
- Cafe del Poeta, Plaza Anibal Pinto (Opposite the statue of A. Pinto). Good place for a sweet treat. Try truffa de chocolate.
- Bijoux (Bijoux Restobar), Abtao 561-A, Cerro Concepcion, 56 9 9548 2321 (firstname.lastname@example.org). Beautiful little Restaurant in the heart of Cerro Concepciòn. Instead of a menu card, the chef and owner comes to you and according to the daily market specialties and your wishes he creates an individual menu just for you. The food is always fresh, delicious and offers a unique experience in Chile.
- Le Filou Montpellier Almte Montt 382. Great French-run restaurant in Cerro Concepciòn.
- Epif Calle Dr. Grossi 268, Cerro Alegre. Tastey vegetarian food and drinks at reasonable prices. Cozy cafe environment with great music and service.
- Delicatessen Emporio, Urriola 383, C. Concepcion (Head north (and up) from the Armada main building - two blocks), +56-32-2339373. Beautiful food in a small, romantic setting. Carpaccio with oysters was exquisite, Garbanzo soup was flavorful (read: spicey), fresh and probably the best I've ever had.
- La Concepción Papudo 541, Cerro Concepción. Voted best restaurant in Valparaiso in many magazines and on TripAdvisor. They serve everything from daily fresh fish to classic Chilean dishes with a modern presentation.
Cafe Turri Paseo Gervasoni (by the ascensor conception) great views and good food.
On weekends, the time to go out for a drink (Chilean people call it "salir de carrete") starts no earlier than midnight, though somewhat earlier during the week. The pubs and clubs close at 5 AM on weekends, and 4 AM on weekdays.
Drinking alcohol in the streets is not allowed and 18 years is the minimum age for drinking alcohol, though enforcement of these rules is somewhat lax. If you are under 18, you may not be allowed entry into some pubs.
Chile is a major wine-producing country.
- La Terazza MIMI
- La Torre - offers inexpensive drinks, and is frequented by university students
- La Piedra Feliz - a more expensive and touristy club that often features salsa dancing, mostly for the older crowds
- Club El Cielo
- Club Stockolmo
- Club El Huevo - one of the largest dance clubs in Valparaiso which usually features a young crowd.
- Bar La Playa
- Pagano - very popular gay club. Has two floors and an eclectic mix of electronic, pop, indie-rock, etc. Also does shows.
- Mascara - caters to an artsy and gay/lesbian crowd
Many clubs and bars are also found in Viña del Mar. Public transportation and taxis continue to run throughout the night, making it entirely feasible to have accommodations in one city while going out for the night in the other.
- Puro Cafe, Calle Edwards, 301, Valparaiso, + 56 9 96380239. One of the very few places in Chile to have real espresso, not instant coffee. The cafe has beautiful and comfortable furniture, making probably the best place in Valparaiso for coffee.
- Café Sello Verde, Subida Ferrari 570, Cerro Bellavista, Valparaíso, +56 (9) 9 2133324. One block down from Pablo Neruda Museum in the Bellavista hill. Contemporary food, great coffee, fresh lunches, delicious cakes. Open views from the café balcony.
- Café Trabalengua, Artillería 67, Valparaiso, + 56 9 82292759. A dedicated community space, open Thursday through Sunday with live music, a concentration on arts, and delicious homemade food. They concentrate on non-espresso, non-drip forms of coffee.