Sleeping and Dining in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

September 27-29, 2015

San Pedro de Atacama

San Pedro de Atamaca’s reputation as being an expensive place to sleep and dine is well deserved. This also means that if you have been roughing it for a while you can take advantage of the nicer amenities. For that reason we choose the Hotel Kimal, a high-end option that is centrally located and easy walking distance to the town’s many restaurants.

San Pedro de Atacama - Hotel Kimal

Overall we liked the hotel’s casual upscale feel. Rooms are on the small side but have highs ceilings and are nicely decorated in warm colors and quiet. Everything worked well, but there were no safes or hair dryers in the room. Wifi is slow but connects well.

San Pedro de Atacama  - Hotel Kimal

The breakfast buffet is better than most and includes a good fruit salad, selection of breads, cheese, and cold cuts.  Eggs can also be ordered.  Best yet, they serve freshly brewed coffee rather than instant.

Dinner Options

Hotel Kimal

At 7:30PM the hotel restaurant was quite empty, only one other 2 top occupied. The upscale dining room has adobe walls, wood floors and rustic furniture.

The server announced that he was alone this evening and only the Chilean menu was available, which was still a fairly extensive list of items.

The complementary Pisco Sours were a pleasant beginning while we contemplated the Chilean options.

San Pedro de Atacama - Hotel Kimal

We started with the palta imperial – turkey stuffed avocado– lots of greens and light on the avocado.

San Pedro de Atacama - Hotel Kimal

Clams and mussels

For mains we both had fish soup. Don clams and mussels preparation was pretty good with nice big clams. On the negative side the broth was a little salty and all of the mussels remained closed. When we brought this to the attention of the server he suggested that we pry them open. Certainly not a good idea.

San Pedro de Atacama - Hotel Kimal

In contrast, the spicy Congrio Neruda soup with chunks of eel was one of the best dishes I’ve tasted in weeks.

Restaurant La Casona

This Lonely Planet top rated restaurant has high ceilings and dark wood furniture in a causal dining room. A wood fire adds a cozy ambiance on a cold night.  They also had live entertainment, musica folklorica, starting at 9PM.

San Pedro de Atacama  - Restaurant La Casona

piglet with mashed potatoes

The food, however, did not live up to the glowing recommendation. The piglet with mashed potatoes was 3 2-inch slabs of dry overcooked pork, certainly not the tender baby pig I was hoping for.

The chicken was nicely cooked and served with a picante mash.

La Estaka (According to their website they are currently closed for remodeling.)

This casual dining room has a more modern feel with large-scale monochromatic contemporary murals and generously spaced wood tables. The service is friendly and efficient.

San Pedro de Atacama - La Estaka

We started with salmon ceviche, nicely done and not overly picante.

For mains we tried the eggplant cannoli – a cheesy baked dish with other vegetables in a tomato béchamel. Good but not fabulous.

San Pedro de Atacama - La Estaka

Don’s chicken curry was presented in a coconut shell. The flavorful preparation was served over noodles and not very spicy.

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