Contemporary Chilean with a natural focus
Roasted flowers à la Van Gogh and mushrooms cooked in a seaweed bladder
Av. San José María Escrivá de Balaguer 5970, Santiago
+(56 2) 29538893
What makes it special: Santiago’s Boragó deals in ‘territory rather than technique’, according to chef Rodolfo Guzmán. He and his energetic team source native Chilean products used by the Mapuche indigenous people to create Endémica, a menu starring diverse preparations that can change during the course of an evening according to produce supply, paired with natural and biodynamic wine or juices. Guzmán’s environmentally minded ethos earned Boragó the inaugural Sustainable Restaurant Award in 2018.
How many endemic Chilean species will I eat? Nine years into Boragó and Guzmán’s understanding and timing with respect to when products flourish in particular micro seasons – and how to use them – is greater than ever. Take uvas de montaña, wild grapes (not actually grapes) from the conifer family available for just five weeks a year; they form part of a wild leaf and lamb salad. Loyo, for example, is a giant mushroom with a tiny four-week harvesting window. Besides serving ingredients that many customers have never heard of, Guzmán has also expanded his repertoire. In his own words: “Seven years ago, one ingredient meant one possibility. Today it means 300.”
The space: After nearly a decade in its original location, Boragó relocated in early 2019 to a new home with sweeping views of Cerro Manquehue, the highest peak in Santiago and a perfect backdrop to Guzmán's seasonal and produce-driven cuisine. The new space sits 54 people per service, and it features a culinary centre where Conectáz (see below) and other research magic takes place.
Other projects: In 2017, Guzmán published his first book, Boragó: Coming from the South, a 100-recipe tome. He is also working on Conectáz, Chile’s first encyclopedia categorising and cataloguing Chilean products, at Test Kitchen and Lab Kitchen at Santiago’s Catholic University, where one fascinating discovery is turning vegetables into protein. Guzmán also co-founded the Ngelemen symposium that discusses the world’s endemic pantry, and pops up around the world with the Gelinaz chefs collective.