Occupying a sliver of coastline & the hillside beyond, all bar-lined beaches & rickety funiculars, ultracolorful Valparaiso reminded me a lot of the funkier villages along the Mediterranean coast of Italy—your Positanos, your Camoglis—only a little more urban & a little more rural at the same time, what with a downtown strip on the 1 hand &, on the other, a cacaphony of stray dogs barking & roosters crowing all the livelong day.
So the fact that one of the city’s best-loved restaurants, Pasta e Vino, happens to be Italian—but for the all-Chilean wine list, that is—seems fully well & good.
Minimalist as the tiny space is, constantly packed from the dining room
to the kitchen itself,
the vibrant, luscious food is anything but, starting with an excellent bread basket filled with herbed ciabatta & carta di musica–like flatbread
& an amuse of sesame-honey chorizo.
gorgeous salmon & reineta carpaccio with capers, cress & lemon juice
shrimp with merquén (smoked ground chiles) & crostini
fettuccine with smoked ham & lemon-Sauvignon Blanc cream
squid-ink pappardelle with frutti di mare in white wine
cooked until it was almost dry—more a heady spice mash than a sauce.
I was so stuffed I couldn’t see straight, & even so I kept lusting after all my group of 5 had neither table space nor gut room for: gnocchi with king crab, shrimp & caviar; fettuccine with mozzarella, roquefort & mushrooms; ravioli with parmesan, wedge clams & white wine…sigh. There’s my review: just sigh.