El Chiringuito was never meant to attract Chile’s elite. The seafood restaurant, attached to a small seafood market where local fishermen sell the day’s catch, sticks out on a rocky bluff on a once desolate cove where few summer vacationers ever ventured. Now, in town above the restaurant, there’s sushi delivery and shopping boutiques selling designer sunglasses. Ultramodern white mansions can cost as much as $2 million. It’s an exclusive atmosphere draped over the steep, cypress covered hillsides that culminates into a perfectly curved cove, one public beach that keeps most visitors out with a 1000 Chilean peso per hour parking fee.
Now called Marquito, even though it has the same owner and everyone still calls it El Chiringuito, the small restaurant and lively patio overlooking the fishing boats, sea birds, and occasional sea otter that passes by, has become one of the Chilean summer’s most desired tables. Seafood, fresh from the pristine sea, is the obvious menu choice. There are machas (razor clams) and ostiones (scallops) cooked al pil pil (with chili sauce and garlic). My recommendation: Pastel de Centolla (King Crab casserole) or Pastel de Jaiba (crab casserole).
Caleta de Zapallar s/n
Writer and photographer Nicholas Gill is the editor/publisher of New World Review. He lives in Lima, Peru and Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CondeNast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Afar, and Penthouse. Visit his personal website (nicholas-gill.com) for more information.