Santiago is not exactly known for having the cobbled streets of Europe, but venture into Barrio Concha y Toro deep in the city’s heart and that is precisely what you will find. This neighbourhood is a declared national monument with architecture dating back to the 1870’s. Picture small winding lanes and looming historical facades that peer out beneath a blanket of silence, and you will be pleasantly surprised by what you might encounter here. There isn’t much to do here except walk the few quiet streets while clutching your camera, but visit at night and this tiny sector takes on an eerily romantic quality that makes it perfect for couples looking to idly stroll hand in hand beside the picturesque fountain.
There is another reason to visit and that is Zully. Zully is a restaurant that takes romance and fine dining seriously – so seriously, in fact, that the experience begins the moment you walk up steps laden with rose petals. The restaurant is situated in the former home of famed Chilean poet, Vicente Huidobro, and dates back to 1912, and today it sprawls across five floors that have been lovingly restored. When we visit we are greeted immediately and presented with a series of seating options spread across various themed dining rooms, including the world cup, Pablo Neruda and old-school charm. We choose the most romantic one, containing an album of restoration photos and tables that are positively dripping with sophistication, style and a healthy splash of flowers.
The menu is not extensive nor is it jaw-droppingly expensive, and we are pleasantly surprised by this. The food is a mixture of international and Chilean cuisine overseen by executive chef Ronald Culihunca who uses ingredients as various as snails and jabali. We chat with our friendly waiter about the food choices and then settle in to wait by candlelight. We do not have to wait long. We choose a scrumptious starter of Ecuadorian Prawns that ticks all the boxes while leaving space for more, before our mains arrive with perfect timing. The ostrich is particularly delicious, a deconstructed plate served with smoked mushroom risotto and a raspberry sauce that there are not too many words to describe. The seafood canelloni is stuffed with octopus, prawns and Chile’s famous locos and comes looking like a bottomless plate of heaven. Dessert, however, knocks the ball right out of the park, a medley of caramel delights arranged thoughtfully on our plate with lashings of colour around the edges.
Throughout our meal, our waiter is attentive and punctual, even extending his excellent service right up until after we have finished eating, asked for the bill and then descended the petal-covered steps. I also have to draw attention to the lavish restrooms – certainly not a deal breaker when eating out but definitely a step in the right direction – proof that Zully knows what it’s doing and leaves no stone unturned.
Zully is a destination restaurant set right in the heart of Santiago’s most picturesque neighbourhood. It’s perfect for date nights and special occasions but also suits those moments when you want to step away from the daily grind and relax with a coffee amongst a touch of glamour. I highly recommend a descent into the cavernous wine cellar where there are tiny tables set up – perfect for those wanting to truly escape from it all in a uniquely intimate setting. Overall, Zully has found its niche in the market and is filling it well: its food is delicious and the service is outstanding. Book a table before the secret gets out.
Restaurant Zully is offering all members of the Discover Chile community a 30% discount off of their regular menu. All you have to do to is book with the promotional code, DiscoverChile, and enjoy one of Santiago’s best destination restaurants!
Address: Concha y Toro 34, Santiago Centro (metro Republica)
Phone: (56) 22 696 1378 // (56) 97 897 9608
Hours: Lunch from 12.00 (Monday-Saturday); Happy Hour from 19.00 (Monday to Saturday); Dinner from 19.00 (Monday to Saturday)
About the Author: Helen Cordery is a writer from New Zealand raising her family in Santiago. Follow her adventures exploring Chile and navigating motherhood on her blog: querida recoleta.wordpress.com
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