‘Trawen’ means ‘meeting place’ in the local indigenous Mapuche language, and the owners of Trawen have made their restaurant just that. In a friendly, comfy environment, visitors can enjoy dishes made with real care using the best ingredients. While South America as a whole is not known for its breakfasts, Trawen is a great place to start the day, with a range of options from fresh fruit to sausages. Lunch and dinner dishes use local ingredients, and are all huge portions but nonetheless neatly served. There is also a good list of wines and other drinks; overall a great spot for some tasty local dishes.
Cassís is primarily a chocolatería, specialising in artisan chocolate and other sweet treats, including ice-cream and crêpes. A perfect place for breakfast or a snack, the menu also offers light lunches such as generously filled pitas or crispy pizzas. The atmosphere is homely, with wooden beams and rustic chairs and tables to match. Visitors can dine in the restaurant and then take their pick of treats to take away from Cassís’ speciality chocolate counter.
A hippie-style restaurant, École! is a must-visit for vegetarians, as one of the few restaurants in the area with a good variety of meat-free options. It is located inside an old-fashioned house, with the old room layout creating a number of different eating areas, including an outside patio. The rooms are decorated with painted flowers on the walls and quirky pictures, with rustic wooden furniture. All the desserts are homemade, as is the bread, and they also offer a good selection of vegetarian breakfasts. École restaurant is part of a hostel which goes by the same name, so is popular with backpackers and other young travellers.
Clearly with a traveller demographic in mind, Latitude 39º offers delicious American-style burgers as well as other popular Western dishes. The burger patties are homemade and very juicy, with a great variety of toppings such as blue cheese or turkey ham. The restaurant is usually filled with backpackers, longing for a taste of a good old hamburger, so it is also a buzzing environment for those hoping to socialise with fellow travellers. The beer selection is pretty good too.
If a night on the town is on the cards, El Bosque is a great bar conveniently located on Avenida O’Higgins, Pucón’s main stretch. While the prices are higher than average, the cocktails are good quality and the interior gives off quite a high-end vibe. The music is generally American or European techno music, so those hoping for some classic Latin pop will have to look somewhere else.
Le Lutin Panadería
For those who are really on a budget, this delightful Panadería offers a superb range of homemade artisan breads, perfect for a snack or light lunch. The bakery uses traditional fermentation methods in their production process, and utilises a range of grains including maize and buckwheat. As well as the basic French baguette, there are also the options of olive bread, parmesan bread, and also croissants and cakes, among others. A great place to grab something to go, at a reasonable price.
Mama’s and Tapas
Another bar in a central location on Avenida O’Higgins, Mama’s is probably open the latest of all the joints in Pucón. It opens in the evening as a bar, but, as it fills up and the music gets going, it provides much more of a club atmosphere. It is popular with travellers and young locals alike, and has a good social atmosphere. Generally the music is electronic but during the high tourism season, when it’s much busier, the music is more varied and features Latin pop, ever-popular with excitable young backpackers.
La Maga is the best place in town for a classic parrilla, a traditional Uruguayan and Argentinian barbecue. The owners hail from Punta del Este in Uruguay, so the style and flavours are completely authentic. Certainly not recommended for vegetarians, there is a range of different cuts of meat from which to choose or diners can just order a full parrilla for a taste of everything. The decor is sleek and sophisticated, and diners can see their food being cooked on the parrilla at the back of the restaurant.
La Fleur de Sel
This French restaurant is located about half an hour’s drive from Pucón, but is well-known in the area and attracts plenty of customers. A great spot for visitors tired of the busy and touristic atmosphere of Avendia O’Higgins, La Fleur de Sel boasts a sophisticated menu of dishes prepared by their Basque-French chef, all to an outstanding quality. The presentation of the dishes is exquisite, and can be enjoyed in a rustic interior or outside surrounded by the restaurant’s green and shady garden.
For a completely alternative dining experience, BierGarten is an authentic German restaurant, owned by a German family who travelled all over South America and decided to settle in Pucón. As well as being a popular restaurant for travellers passing through the town, the local Chileans also love this place. Being German, there are of course plenty of beers on offer, with around 15 different types imported from Germany as well as several of Chile’s own brews. The food menu also offers a number of typical German dishes, such as bratwurst and goulash.