This is probably my favourite cafe in Santiago. Chances are it’s yours too.
I held off writing about this place for sometime, because quite frankly everyone knows this place. But in case you’re new in town, or have been living down a rabbit hole, then allow me to enlighten you.
Quinoa is a charming, sun drenched oasis of calm in Vitacura. Conveniently nestled near the French school, gourmet delis, lux boutiques and independent kids’ stores, it’s a favourite with locals and expats alike.
The main draw to this place is that, well… you can’t really not like it. OK, I’m a fussy veganish type so I’m biased, but there’s something for everyone on the menu. I defy anyone not to like this place.
OK so it is vegetarian, but it doesn’t define itself by its vegetarianism. It’s way more chic than the average veggie cafe.
Of course there are plenty of vegan options. The vegan brunch is my go to.
Ask for the corn tortillas (tortillas de maiz): they aren’t printed on the menu, but taste even better than the flour versions. Another personal recommendation is the buddha bowl, a hearty salad brimming with vitamins. Oh, and the passion fruit sourbet – much more exciting than it sounds. And don’t get me started on the fresh juices.
While it’s certainly baby friendly (and yummy mummy friendly), it’s not a kids’ hang out. This is a space reserved for exhausted mums when the kids have been dropped off at school. It’s a little place where I like to go with friends, where we kick back over a (oat milk) latte in the light filled conservatory and say ‘ahhhhh’.
And here’s why I love this place so much:
It’s not the amazing service, it’s not the cute little bags that the bread buns come in, it’s not even the fresh flowers on every table.
It’s because it’s my cafe. It’s the first cafe I discovered (thank you Stephanie for the introduction!) and most likely it’s the last cafe I ate at too. It was the only place which didn’t set off my morning sickness and the first place I took my baby daughter. It’s where I come to escape the stresses of expat life and share a giggle among my friend tribe.
See you there soon!
Need to know:
Open Monday to Friday from 8am to 11pm and Saturday from 9am to 5pm. Yes, it’s damn annoying they’re closed on Sundays.
As mentioned, Quinoa is pretty baby friendly, but there’s not a lot of space for toddlers on the loose.
If you get there early (10am or earlier) you should be OK without a booking, otherwise for brunch in a large group or lunch it’s best to reserve.
I’ve been here with friends with allergies and special diets and staff have been helpful explaining ingredients and offering substitutions.
Parking is tricky. There are a few spaces in front of the cafe, but I’ve never seen a free spot. If you’ve got kids and fancy some cut price beautiful clothes, then The Loop is nearby and has plenty of spaces. If you’re in need of some great gourmet supplies, then Fork Chile is handy too.
I get by in rusty Spanish, but a lot of the staff speak excellent English.