For a relatively small sized town, Pucón is definitely not short of excellent restaurants and cafeterias. As soon as the sun pushes through the clouds, the sidewalks are adorned with attractive tables, locally made wooden backed chairs, and inviting armchairs just calling out to stop and take a rest. Almost all locations have a volcano view, some of the whole conical peak, while others afford just a glimpse of the omnipresent fumaroles. All offer something different so it is worth taking time to investigate.
So, where and what can you eat in Pucón?
The answer is almost everything. Here is our quick run-down.
Let’s start with the appetizers. Also generally available any time, day and night, empanadas are a stock snack in restaurants and are even on the street. Ranging from tiny fried pasties stuffed with cheese, prawns, seafood, ham and cheese or the infamous “pino” - mincemeat cooked with onions, herbs, an olive and half a hard-boiled egg (usually omitted from the tiny ones), - to huge hunger busting oven baked versions. No recommendations in particular, you simply have to eat one whenever you see them and then post where to find your favorites!
Despite being over an hour from the coast, fresh fish for ceviche - a mix of raw marinated white fish and/or salmon mixed with blanched onions, fresh coriander and other secret ingredients, (each chef has their own version), is easy to find. A delightful alternative is available at Latitude 39.
Onto the mains.
Meat cooked on an outdoor grill is a firm favorite in Chile, as in neighboring Argentina. It is actually a full time job and career to cook meat to perfection on the grill according to client requirements. If you are lucky you might get invited to a bbq, but most people will opt for a restaurant specializing in meat. La Maga is a firm favorite but be warned, it has long queues if you don’t reserve in advance.
Among the other options, topping the Trip Advisor listings for great places to eat in Pucón is El Castillo Campo Base, a wonderful castle shaped restaurant built from volcanic stone. Located on the road to the volcano 8km from Pucón, El Castillo offers a surprisingly wide range of mains from rabbit, venison and beef steaks, to homemade pastas, burgers and exquisite desserts.
There is fish at Viva Perú, huge pizzas designed for sharing at Pizza Cala, a bit if everything at Hestia & Bacco, Italian at Andiamo, certified organic ingredients in innovative dishes at Trawen (all downtown), and a wide range of French influenced dishes at La Fleur de Sel at Peumayen lodge and hot springs. As for sushi, the options are many. Once again, you will have to take a wander around town and give them all a try!
If you are looking for something more traditionally Chilean then you cannot beat the wonderful dishes at Marmonhi just heading out of Pucón towards Caburgua. Their plateada is a firm favourite among locals and visitors to town!
Moving onto the sweet stuff, Southern Chile is really quite good at desserts and can be summed up in one word. Kuchen. This central European tart comes in many different flavors, thicknesses and sizes. It is perfect after a large meal to give you that sweet kick when shared over coffee, and also, as a snack between meals with a hot chocolate - or a frappe on warmer days - with a volcano view from Pucón classics such as Cassis, La Suiza or Café de la P.
We cannot omit ice cream from this blog. Anytime it seems ice cream goes. Chileans have a particular connection with ice cream. Even during the winter months sales of the cold stuff do not drop as they do in other countries, therefore supporting the many well established ice cream parlors available downtown.
After hours you can find sushi, Mexican tacos, burgers and fries available almost everywhere. During the main summer season places stay open late, very late. You will not go hungry!
And of course, the morning after. Your perfectly designed, prepared and presented homemade breakfast at Lake Lodge will be just what you need after one too many Pisco Sours. The lake view combined with the peace and tranquility at the lodge will calm your aching head and will set you up for a day lazing in the gardens and enjoying a dip in the infinity pool. Life doesn’t get much better than the gift of this perfect day!
So, there you go, Even more reasons to visit Pucón this year. Ah! One more, for those of you looking for the perfect place to stay this summer, Lake Lodge has some great offers on all stays through February and March and is the most amazing location to soak in the panoramic lake views while you relax in peace and comfort.