While I’m not originally from Melbourne, I’d say my coffee addiction definitely comes from living in Melbourne. I’ll be honest: I’m in currently in full withdrawal for a soy latte. We’re talking headaches, sweating, grouchy, don’t-offer-me-nescafe-or-you-will-get-a-slap, desperate for coffee. It’s not just about the coffee of course, there’s something about the atmosphere of a good cafe in Melbourne that I crave. Could also be that I had friends to go to these cafes with at one point in my life. I now have a toddler to drag there. She’s definitely cute, but not such great conversation.
So we’ve been on a mission to find good cafes in Santiago since we’ve arrived. In the past few weeks I’ve tried 6 cafes, but so far only these two make the cut to be recommended – they whisk me back to Melbourne both in atmosphere and in taste. Of course, I haven’t found soy lattes, which is a big disappointment – but I’m trying to wean myself onto cow’s milk again. Yuck.
1. Sabores de Buenos Aires ( Republica de Cuba, Providencia)
Cute little cafe tucked away off the main drag. The coffee isn’t as strong as you’d get in Melbourne (I like that, Achim doesn’t), but they offer lots of options: cappuccino, latte, and several others I wont understand until I learn Spanish. You sit on the terrace under the trees, listening to chilled-out South American lounge music. They have lots of little sweet things to eat, sandwiches, etc. It seems pretty un-touristy – mostly locals, as it’s not so easy to find and not close to any major shopping area. Also it is very child friendly – every time we go there are a few kids, and nobody minds at all having a few little-ones running around. They also welcome dogs and put out a little drinking bowl for them. Love it. Furthermore, the staff are always friendly, and they have no hesitation to make a “baby-chino” for Em (who starts calling out for it when she sees a cafe, poor thing knows the drill). Seem to be the only cafe who can do just milk-foam, not a cup of hot milk for her. We go back often.
Prices: 1 croissant, 1 latte, 1 baby-chino = around $5
2. Cafe Wonderful (Lastarria, and also in El Golf)
This cafe is decorated just like a more modern Melbourne cafe – slate chalkboards, high ceilings, exposed walls, glass showcase displaying tasty desserts and sandwiches. The cafe on Lastarria is even home to an old arty theatre. It’s in the more touristy region of Santiago, but felt like the clientele was a mix of both locals and tourists with their guidebooks (yup, I fit into the tourist classification). The latte below was tasty – very smooth. A little higher milk to coffee ratio than I’m used to, so again it didn’t taste too strong (which I liked!). Poor Em; they didn’t really get the concept of the baby-chino (just milk-foam), but they did attempt and brought her some warm milk which was nice. Friendly smiley staff.
Coffee price: 1 latte = around $3
There are definitely more to come over the next few weeks as I drive around randomly hunting for my next shot of caffeine! Yes, in case you wondered, I do have time on my hands these days.