on July 17, 2013
Los PomairinosWe were taken to this restaurant for lunch on a private tour of Valparaiso and Viña del Mar from Santiago and our driver/guide took us here. We may have managed to change this had we objected to this vehemently but we didn't and went along with their choice. We often ask our guides for recommendations for places to eat local food and it seemed to us that the company would select a restaurant that did offer decent local food as it would be in their interest for us to be happy with their choice.My reason for wanting to visit Valparaiso was that I was intrigued having read Isabel Allende's books, many of which are set in the city at least for part of the book.I have to admit that Viña del Mar was not on my list of places to see but the trip offered both so that is why we ended up there. The restaurant is in Viña del Mar, a typical seaside town with not a lot scenically or of any real interest unless you are wanting a seaside holiday .Los Pomairinos is right on the seafront and so you do get a great view of the sea from the restaurant. It doesn't look that great from outside and looks a bit like a temporary awning with large windows a bit like the extensions that are put up to cope with cooler weather in Europe and as it was quite cold maybe this was exactly what it was. Probably when it is hotter the plastic awning would be taken down and you would be sitting outside. I was happy to be inside as it was cold and to be truthful it was not that much warmer inside initially.The restaurant was quite busy and everyone except us was speaking Spanish. They might have been tourists but they were Chilean tourists and all seemed to be enjoying their food. I always like a busy restaurant as that usually means the food is good.Our guide introduced us to the waiter who would be taking care of us and because we were not driving we decided we would have a drink each. I had a Chilean white wine and my husband ordered a local beer. For our meals we both chose local fish and also ordered a salad to share as the fish didn't come with vegetables and I fancied something fresh. We did have a bit of a wait for our food and during that time we had a good look around at some of the other food being served. Some were cooked at the table, some arrived in steaming covered pots and one particularly expensive dish was a huge platter of seafood almost BBQed at the table which was very exciting for the rest of us diners to watch.Our meals were nicely presented, neat but not fussy. Both meals were nice and hot and the fish was delicious, beautifully cooked, no bones and so soft it almost melted in my mouth with a really tasty sauce. We shared the salad and still didn't mange to finish it but we finish the tasty bits of artichokes and avocados. Our waiter came to ask us if we had enjoyed the food and when we had finished he offered us the dessert menu . We asked for the bill and when it arrived we paid by credit card as it was quite a lot we thought, about £50 which is a lot more than we would normally pay for a lunch out while away but it was pretty good . There were many plants in the restaurant and also streamers of Chilean flags across the ceiling so that the whole effect was one of clutter and a bit too much stuff in my view. The tables were laid with fresh lined cloths of a pale orange colour and the napkins were cloth too. The cutlery was nice and modern looking and all that table presentation was a bit lost in all the fussy planting.The toilets were clean enough but far from luxurious. The waiting staff were rushing back and forth and I had to sort of dodge my way between them. I am not sure whether to say I would recommend this place or not. The food was good but not fussy or fancy and it was rather expensive . We also felt the ambiance was a bit 'local cafe' rather 'smart restaurant' despite the prices.
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