Last month my mum was in town. I swept her and the kids away to a magical place called Chiloe. Chiloe is Chile’s lake district, a verdant landscape of rolling hills, salty sea air and cosy wooden lodges. It’s also home to a little town called Castro, with a wonderful restaurant: El Mercadito de Chiloe.
El Mercadito, ‘the little market’, was recommended to me by many Expater friends. If you’re staying in Chiloe or anywhere within range of Castro, put this restaurant on your foodie list.
Unsurprisingly, El Mercadito is a great place for fish. Oysters washed down with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc, followed by catch of the day with a hearty dollop of creamy avocado and a wedge of crusty country bread. However, all my kids wanted were the famous multicoloured Chiloe potatoes fried to a crunch.
My kids were acting up big style that day. Thank goodness for wine. And wine with Chiloe bobble hats!
El Mercadito is a kooky place, with as much charm as great food. It’s a happy jumble of bright teapots, pastel blue tableware and clocks ticking the wrong time. Who’s clock watching, anyway? Service at Mercadito is slow, but it’s a fun spot. It’s a place for tourists and locals alike to indulge in leisurely lunches and balmy evenings, chin chinning glasses of wine to the backdrop of the ocean.
Most of my lunch was spent telling my kids to sit down, shut up and be quiet. But it was a fabulous day and one day, I really, really hope to make it back.
El Mercadito de Chiloe, open 12.30pm to 4.30pm and 7pm to 11pm, Monday to Saturday.
Av. Pedro Montt 210, Castro, Chiloe.