Santiago in Chile South America is a city full of surprises, and 99 Restaurante is one of Santiago’s best, but is also world class.
The single most important ingredient in a restaurant is passion, and 99 Restaurante in Santiago has it in spades thanks to the chef – driven attention to detail in every single dish, glass of wine and service.
On first appearances, the place itself seems quite low key and suburban but don’t be fooled. The intimate little spot sits on its own in a nondescript street, and the fit out is simple but the food will blow you away.
The food is a degustation menu, and each dish is more like a work of art. The quality of the produce is the best you will find in Santiago. The service is excellent and many of the Chilean wines are either organic or biodynamic and carefully matched with each dish.
99 Restaurante opened three years ago and is the passion project of Kurt Schmidt, a 35 year old Chilean who already has a three year internship at world renowned Noma to his name.
He brought everything he learnt there back to his native Santiago, and is passionately driving the food and service to be one of the best in the world. South America and Peru in particular has a global reputation for producing food on a whole new level – and now Santiago is following suit.
The wines in this part of the world have always been lauded, but the food across the board is on the way up.
Each dish is a deconstructed version of something you’ve eaten before, from seafood “burgers” where even the bun is made from seafood not bread to picked onion, where everything in the dish is constructed from an onion but tastes like a sweet and sour version of heaven.
Then there’s seabass and 3 vegetables where the vegetables melt in your mouth and the whole dish is a taste sensation, to a raspberry and meringue tart that looks like an art piece.
Schmidt spends his time scouring the country for the best quality produce and brings it to his restaurant to deliver it to his audience. He uses organic produce whenever he can, and everything is local. At least seventy percent of the food being served is organic.
“Each product here has a story,” he says. “I am building a tank to house my scallops which will be available shortly, and I continue to find the very best ingredients and then change the way people eat them.
“I don’t source wine from commercial wineries but I find wines with history that I like. Around 70% of the produce is organic. I try and get 100% but it is not always possible.”
His is a name predicted to become global fast. Schmidt has already been asked to do pop up restaurants in New York and other locations.
“I like to take the expectation of food and dishes and play with them, surprise people,” he says. “I love the creative process and to push boundaries. If you want to make money, you open a pizzeria, this is a project about creativity.”
It is open Monday to Friday and there is other a six or nine course option with or without wine.
You must book to eat at 99 Restaurante, and book in advance, just do not miss this: