Lunch at Fuegos de Apalta, Santa Cruz

Call me ignorant, call me selfish, call me honest… I just can’t deal with the news right now. I’m tired of the ‘c’ word. I’m staying indoors, I’m staying safe, but I want something to look forward to and happier memories to hark back to. Memories like Fuegos de Apalta. 

In case, like me, you’re dreaming up a holiday for the distant future, let me tell you about a certain restaurant called Fuegos de Apalta in Santa Cruz, Chile.

The restaurant is headed by Francis Mallman and it’s become rather famous since the Netflix documentary, Chef’s Table. If you haven’t seen it, do check it out. 

However, that’s not the reason I’d come here. Fuegos de Apalta offers some of the best views in town… in the world, perhaps. Open to the elements, hovering in the shade of the Viña Montes vines, Fuegos de Apalta melts into the landscape.  

Santa Cruz wine region

Fuegos de Apalta, Chile

Fuegos de Apalta meets Montes Vina wine

First things first: wine! Viña Montes has some truly delicious wines. I was designated driver so had to restrain myself to a single Sauvignon Blanc. The sacrifices I make… 

Fuegos de Apalta at Vina Montes
enjoying Montes wine

The vibe

But of course we were here for the food. Francis Mallman is a celebrity known for his Patagonian flavours, cooking with fire and a lot of spirit.

A pit of fire beats within the heart of the restaurant, while a team of chefs float about in dedicated silence, nurturing the cinders like a mother attending to their child. 

Fuegos de Apalta asado
Fuegos de Apalta vibe

The menu

The menu focuses on hyper seasonal produce, plucked, foraged and grilled to perfection. A simple tomato salad with thyme was the tastiest thing I’ve tried this side of 2020. 

Fuegos de Apalta is all about the fire. It’s a hot spot for meat lovers, especially fans of steak… tomahawk, ribeye and all things asado. Mum and I went for a doorstop size chunk of fish with ratatouille roasted to a heavenly caramel  

Fuegos de Apalta menu

Fuegos de Apalta menu - tomatoes
Fuegos de Apalta menu - fish

Not just once in a lifetime

It was such a scorcher that we didn’t linger out of the shade for long after dessert. Even after all this coronavirus mayhem, I’ll be sad to leave Chile. I have so much still to discover, but Fuegos de Apalta is one place I’m determined to return to. 

Fuegos de Apalta vineyard

Fuegos de Apalta in Montes winery

Santa Cruz is a two-hour drive from Santiago.

Fuegos de Apalta, Valle de Apalta, Santa Cruz, Chile.

Open Monday – Sunday from 12.30 to 3.30pm.

Reservations: reservas@fuegosdeapalta.com / +56 722605190 / monteswines.com 

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