Liguria (Av. Providencia 1373, tel. 02/2357914) is a hangout with plain but reliable Chilean meals at moderate prices (around US$5). Eladio (Av. 11 de Septiembre 2250, 5th floor, tel. 02/2314224) specializes in beef, but its varied menu will satisfy almost anyone, with moderately priced entrées (US$4–8) and good, cheap pisco sours (about US$1.50).
Within a surprisingly secluded cluster of bookstores and other specialty shops on an otherwise hectic avenue, the Phone Box Pub (Av. Providencia 1670, tel. 02/2359972) is a pub-grub kind of place with a shady grape arbor and lunches in the US$6–8 range, plus imported beers on tap and in the bottle.
El Huerto (Orrego Luco 054, tel. 02/2332690) is a landmark vegetarian restaurant, with dishes so appetizing that even dedicated carnivores don’t seem to notice the lack of meat. Its adjoining café, La Huerta, has a limited menu but lower prices—try the fresh fruit bowl with yogurt, granola, and honey (about US$4.50).
Across from La Huerta, De la Ostia (Orrego Luco 065, tel. 02/3351422, www.delaostia.cl ) is an intimate new tapas lounge with a faux adobe bar and richly finished woodwork; the lunches, in the US$6–8 range including a glass of wine, feature creative versions of items such as crab cakes.
In an old but spacious Providencia house, painted in exuberant primary colors, Barandiarán (Manuel Montt 315, tel. 02/2366854) prepares tangy appetizers and ceviches, spicy Peruvian entrées (US$10–12), and a diverse dessert menu. The corvina with mango sauce rates special mention, but the lamb dishes are too heavy on the cilantro.
It’s no longer a secret—go early for dinner or call ahead for reservations at Puerto Perú (Av. Condell 1298, tel. 02/3639886), a once-modest Peruvian place that put the neighborhood south of Avenida Providencia, near the border with Ñuñoa , on the gastronomic map. Prices have risen, but so has the quality.
Another fine Peruvian option is Alto Perú (Seminario 38, tel. 02/2230713, www.altoperu.cl ), which puts a twist on the traditional ají de gallina by substituting squid, shrimp, and octopus for chicken, thus turning it into ají de mariscos (US$12). The Peruvian-style pisco sours are first-rate.
Providencia still has several of the city’s best ice creameries, including Bravíssimo (Av. Providencia 1406, tel. 02/4217601) and Sebastián (Andrés de Fuenzalida 26, tel. 02/2319968).