For those with sensitive stomachs, travelling can lose some of its spontaneity if dietary requirements aren’t easily met. Thankfully for those in Chile, Santiago is a lot better equipped than most cities in South America, with a number of gluten-free options including the ever-present local favourite quinoa. If you’re gluten-free, here’s everything you need to know.
Most of the large supermarkets (Lider, Totus and Santa Lucia) have a gluten-free section, although it doesn’t usually expand much further than gluten-free biscuits, pasta and rice cakes. However, take a trip to Jumbo (the one in the Costanera Centre is the most central (metro Tobalaba)), and you’ll find an aisle laden with goods from gluten-free baguettes, to alternative flours, sweet treats and much more. Next door to which, you will also find alternative milk and other dietetic food and drinks. Alternatively try Granero del Goloso on Calle San Antonio 449 in Santiago Centro, which also has a great variety of products including freshly baked goods.
If you’re after a carb fix, stop in at Zöliakie Kaffe – although it doesn’t look particularly glamourous, don’t be put off by its outward appearance as it offers a great collection of GF cakes, sopapillas (fried pastries) and empanadas, including a delicious camarones y queso (cheese and prawns) version. Excepto Gluten also has both cooked and imported gluten-free products, including sopapillas, breads and empanadas.
Zöliakie Kaffe – Providencia 2546 (near Tobalaba), Santiago de Chile, Chile, +56 9 4401 6645
Excepto Gluten – Avenida Grecia #3234 Ñuñoa, Santiago de Chile, Chile, +56 9 9915 2135
Eating out can be a challenge, of course, though as a general rule the more international and top restaurants (and therefore, the more expensive) are well aware of gluten-free needs and thus can cater for you. Both PF Chang’s and Tea Connection have a menu with gluten-free options clearly labeled. Bar Italia is the first and only 100% gluten-free restaurant to have graced Santiago, while La Chakra is a vegan restaurant that has a number of gluten-free options that include hamburgers, pastel del choclo (a beef casserole with corn mash) and lasagna as well as GF desserts and cupcakes.
The following restaurants aren’t specifically gluten-free, but rather focus on natural and healthy food and therefore are less gluten orientated; Aldea Nativa has a range of fresh juices and salads as does El Naturista, which is found in the centre. Both El Árbol and El Huerto are vegetarian and vegan, with gluten-free dishes clearly marked to avoid confusion.
Bar Italia – Avenida Italia 1423, Providencia, Región Metropolitana, Santiago de Chile, Chile, +56 2 2503 2870
La Chakra – Av. Mariano Sánchez Fontecilla 534, Las Condes, Santiago de Chile, Chile, +56 2 2234 2138
Aldea Nativa – Tobalaba 1799, Providencia, Región Metropolitana, Santiago de Chile, Chile, +56 2 2502 4709
El Naturista – either Moneda 846, Santiago Centro, Santiago de Chile, Chile, +56 2 2380 0704 or Huérfanos 1046, Santiago Centro, Santiago de Chile, Chile, +56 2 2696 1668
El Árbol – Huelén 74, Providencia, Santiago de Chile, Chile, +562 2235 0822
El Huerto – Orrego Luco 054, Providencia, Santiago de Chile, Chile,+56 2 2231 4443
Save yourself the hassle of trundling around Santiago, and instead visit the Zero Gluten website, which has a wide range of options from breads, pastas, cereals and grains to health food, dairy-free and vegan products. You can easily place an order online and have it delivered to your door. For sweet treats, Dulce Cariño has a number of options as well as gluten-free breads – some products are both GF and lactose free as well. They also have a store on Alférez Real 1069 (edificio Real), Providencia, Santiago de Chile, Chile, +56 9 6281 9823. Finally, Panaderia El Pueblo have everything from pizza bases, alfajores, empanadas and gluten-free flours. They also have a number of branches, although it’s more likely they’ll have the products online than in store.