In the riverfront Mercado Central, bounded by the Costanera, Chacabuco, Yungay, and Libertad, several marisquerías serve fish and shellfish at bargain prices. Just north of the Pedro de Valdivia bridge, the floating Camino de Luna (Prat s/n, tel. 063/213788) is a more formal seafood venue.
Near the bus terminal, Shanghai (Anwandter 898, tel. 063/212577) offers Chinese food. Guacamole (Esmeralda 693, tel. 063/250714) serves huge portions of Tex-Mex dishes such as burritos, while the nearby Jamón Jamón (Beauchef 644, tel. 063/214940) is a promising Spanish tapas bar. It’s arguable whether New Orleans (Esmeralda 682, tel. 063/218771) has true Creole and Cajun food, but the local versions add some variety and the portions are abundant.
La Última Frontera (Pérez Rosales 787, tel. 063/235363) is a casual café in a historic district house that also has an outdoor deck for a variety of afternoon and evening sandwiches (mornings are usually a little cool and damp for sitting outside).
Dino’s (Maipú 191, tel. 063/213061) is a franchise operation but will do in a pinch for breakfast or sandwiches. The reasonably priced La Protectora (Janequeo 491, tel. 063/212715) is a popular beef and seafood locale that belongs to the railroad workers’ union.
Overlooking the Plaza de la República, the traditional Club de la Unión (Camilo Henríquez 540, tel. 063/213377) serves fixed-price meals at lunch and more elaborate dishes for dinner. Like its counterparts in other Chilean cities, the fire department’s Bar La Bomba (Caupolicán 594, tel. 063/213317) also has good fixed-price meals.
In a German colonial-style house dating from the 1890s, La Calesa (Yungay 735, tel. 063/225467) serves Peruvian specialties (such as a surprisingly spicy aji de gallina) and an inventive chupe de corvina in the US$10 range. With side orders and drinks, the bill can really add up, but it’s Valdivia’s best splurge; for sunny days, there’s a riverside deck.
Entrelagos (Pérez Rosales 640, tel. 063/218333) is the best choice for tasty desserts, onces, and ice cream; its next door branch, Chocolatería Entrelagos (Pérez Rosales 622, tel. 063/212047) offers takeaway items. Café Haussmann (O’Higgins 394, tel. 063/213878) is also worth a try. On Isla Teja, near the entrance to Parque Saval, the Universidad Austral dairy offers ice cream, yogurt, and cheese.