This week Chile’s Circle of Food and Wine Critics (Círculo de Cronistas Gastronómicos y del Vino de Chile –otherwise known as the Cronistas) announced their awards for the best of 2016’s restaurants, chefs, winemakers, culinary books and more. Keep reading to follow their picks.
These awards included: Restaurant of the year, chef revelation, winemaker of the year, excellence in service, the Rosita Robinovitch award (named after the Cronistas past president who played a lead role in founding the organization), culinary trajectory, winemaking trajectory, Chilean cuisine, regional restaurants, winery of the year, best price-quality relation, best publication, small batch wine production, best empanadas (announced last year).
They announce these awards once a year, and this year it took place in the BordeRio cluster of restaurants up Vitacura.
The “restaurant of the year”, one of Chile’s few establishments to be listed on the coveted (and hyped) Best 50 Restaurants of Latin America, was Restaurante 99, for its “consistency in its tasty proposal, attractive wine list, good service” and is the first restaurant to receive the award two years running.
The “chef revelation” was awarded to Jonathan Michel, of the wine centric La Misión restaurant, who was recognized as “a young cook, whose dishes have big personality and enchant with their mix of culinary influences, achieving dazzling new harmonies”. La Misión is the sister of Bocanariz, focusing on wines from throughout Latin America and located on Nuevo Costanera, an avenue in Vitacura which is home to some of the city’s more elegant dining and shopping options.
The winemaker of the year award went to Andrea León, of Casa Lapostolle, one of Chile’s most renowned vineyards, of Chilean and French foundation. She is responsible for its “Collection” line, which are “conceived precisely to demonstrate that in our country diversity is possible, and that from the same place wines can be obtained with a B side that is just as or more attractive than those already established”.
For excellence in service, an award which has been vacant for the last two years, Rubaiyat received the honor this year, as “to its stupendous culinary offer, it adds excellent quality service that receives, attends and bids farewell to the patrons with charm and hospitality”. The restaurant is also on Nuevo Costanera in Vitacura and features fine meat cuts, and also has locations in Mexico (the first), Brazil, Argentina and Spain.
Receiving the Rosita Robinovitch award was Eduardo Chadwick, president of the Errázuriz Vineyard. His namesake line Viñedo Chadwick was the first Chilean wine to receive 100 points (from James Suckling) for its 2014 vintage, a “a notable recognition to his own work and that of his winemaking team that works from the vineyard to the winery to make some of the most distinguished and renowned examples of (wine) in Chile”.
The“culinary trajectory” was awarded to Las Lanzas, a classic restaurant located in the Plaza Ñuñoa that “has survived two generations preparing simple dishes with fresh ingredients. The passing of time only adds more charm”.
The “winemaking trajectory” recognition went to Marcelo Retamal of Viña De Martino and Viñedos de Alcohuaz from Maipo Valley and Limari, respectively. Retamal was awarded for his “vast influence in the Chilean wine industry,” and has led the “identity of the wines of De Martino for more than 20 years, and the cutting edge changes implemented in the vineyard which have given new air to the country’s wines”. His personal project Viñedos de Alcohuaz was credited as “an extraordinary example of what can be achieved with vineyards planted in the high mountain”.
For its Chilean Cuisine, The Glass took that award, and was highlighted for “a very good offer of traditional Chilean dishes and flavors, but performed with a twist of modernity”. The Glass also has an incredible view (and open visible kitchen), perched on the top floor of the Hotel Cumbres Vitacura.
The awards included mentions for regional restaurants, including Rayú in Iquique (apparently so good they do not need a website), for its “good infrastructure, good cuisine and beautiful location”. La Fleur de Sel, in the Peumayén hot springs in Pucon for its “sophisticated cuisine based on a notable use of regional ingredients and warm service”, as well as The Singular Hotel in Patagonia, described as “an exceptional place in a dreamy setting with an inspired cuisine for the end of the world”.
The winery of the year award went to the Viña Santa Carolina and their team. This 140 year old winery has only had two owners, currently the powerful Larraín family, which have been credited for a “renovation and revalidation of its wines and also through a change in its classic offer of wines”.
The restaurant with the best price-quality relationship for 2016 was Le Bistro, a French restaurant in Providencia inspired in a classic neighborhood bistro, described as “a place that one wants to return to time again”.
For the publication of the year, “El pan en Chile” (bread in Chile), from Editorial Hueders was selected, because it “did not just get applause for its beautiful offer, great design and wonderful photos, but for the story that it tells us as a country shamelessly good at eating bread”.
Awarded as the top small batch wine project was Viña Cancha Alegre, sadly one of the vineyards which lost 100 year old vines in the recent fires. The winery was credited for its link to “ancestral producers” and its winemaker Sergio Amigo recognized for presenting Chile’s old, forgotten wines.
Finally, the best empanada award, which was selected just before the empanada frenzied days of Chile’s Independence Day on September 18th, was the Las Rosas Chicas bakery in Vitacura.
And worth pointing out that the “Chef of the Year” recognition was vacant this year.
Who are the Cronistas? Follow them on their gastronomic meanderings.