Anyone looking to splash out on a ritzier meal during their stay in Santiago should check out Puerto Fuy in the upmarket neighborhood of Vitacura! (More information on Puerto Fuy after all the yummy pictures.)
Puerto Fuy and its chef, Giancarlo Mazzarelli, have been consistently ranked among the best restaurants and cooks in the city by El Mercurio and the Chilean Food Writers’ Circle, also garnering attention from major American magazine Travel + Leisure.
Influenced by years spent cooking in the Dominican Republic, France and England, Chef Mazzarelli’s creative seafood preparations, influenced by traditional Chilean cooking styles and inflected with modern techniques, made a splash when they first appeared on the plates of adventurous Santiaguinos.
Seven years after Puerto Fuy’s opening on the leafy uptown avenue of Nueva Costanera, the street has become the hub of a newly dynamic Santiaguino gastronomic world.
Puerto Fuy defines itself, amongst all the new competition, as the stylistic middle-man. “Our food is not very classic and it’s not very modern,” Mazzarelli says. “We’re right in the middle.”
A modern spin on the riches of Chile: Mazzarelli describes his cooking succinctly as ‘Modern French.’ A starter of scallops over spring pea puree with lemon sauce is decidedly continental, and a dish of Patagonian Hake over ratatouille and yellow tomato coulis is a pitch-perfect Niçoise classic. A froth of musky, vegetal nori foam on top glances toward the more precious traditions of nouvelle cuisine. The dish is both classic and modern, perfectly balanced at the nexus of two traditions.
In a country where traditional cuisine rarely strays far from grilled meats, fried fish and stewed shellfish, Mazzarelli’s approach is not obviously recognizable as Chilean. Yet there is no mistaking the chef’s serious commitment to his homeland’s bounty – Puerto Fuy is a veritable grocery list of the finest food and drink that Chile has to offer.
Warm, flavorful breads from local bakery Le Fournil are served with olive oil produced in the Colchagua Valley. Still water is bottled by Aonni from a 10,000-year-old aquifer near Punta Arenas. Fish and shellfish come from up and down the Chilean coast and the carefully curated wine list features almost exclusively Chilean makers.
In some dishes, like the starter “Textures of Abalone,” Mazzarelli uses a uniquely Chilean ingredient (abalone, known locally as locos) to play on traditional preparations. In this three-part dish, Mazzarelli offers his version of regional classics like ceviche and locos with mayonnaise, rendered as a buñuelo (or fritter) of abalone, mayonnaise and various herbs, and served with a sauce of cilantro, parsley, olive oil and capers. “We try to include some more traditional Chilean dishes,” Mazzarelli says, “but done in a different way.”