For inexpensive traditional Chilean food, including some of the country’s finest pastel de choclo in summer and outstanding pastel de papas (potato pie) at almost any time of year, the best bet is any of the several simple cocinerías in the Mercado Central, a rejuvenated landmark on Maipón between 5 de Abril and Isabel Riquelme. If the market’s closed, the Casino Cuerpo de Bomberos (El Roble and 18 de Septiembre) is a good alternative.
On the pedestrian mall south of the plaza, the Fuente Alemana (Arauco 661, tel. 042/212720) specializes in sandwiches and desserts, including decent ice cream.
Two restaurants with different menus occupy the same space at Rosas 392: the pizzería Ficus (tel. 042/212176) and the beef-oriented La Parrillada de Córdoba (tel. 042/233522).
There are only a handful of upscale restaurants, among them the traditionally elegant Centro Español (Arauco 555, tel. 042/216212) and Kuranepe (O’Higgins 0420, tel. 042/221409), north of the bus station.