I was fortunate enough to travel to Santiago, Chile on business and was looking forward to trying some Indian food in a country so far away from India. Santiago has a very small Indian immigrant population so I was not quite sure what to expect in terms of Indian restaurants. I had no idea what to expect, will it be great, awful or just OK. When I got here, I realized that Santiago is a very metropolitan city and has a wonderful international selection of dining options. After a little digging around, I found a couple of restaurants in the Providencia area of the city. I decided to try Rishtedar, Comida India.
I went to the restaurant at around 8 PM, which is early by Santiago standards and found only 1 family having dinner. The restaurant has adequate dining space, with indoor seating, outdoor seating and a 2nd floor when they need more capacity. The decor of the restaurant is quite striking (as you can see in the pictures). It has a very Indian feel inside with pictures of elephants, Indian wall hangings and other Indian decor. The lamps that hang from the ceiling provide a wonderful effect across the entire restaurant. Bollywood music from the latest movies was playing softly in the background, without it being too annoying. Definitely would give them points for creating an Indian environment.
The menu was simple yet quite diverse. They had a good selection of options in appetizers, entrees for Chicken, Lamb, Fish and Shrimp. Each category had about 4-6 options, based on different sauces and varying degrees of spiciness which should meet the needs of a newbie as well as an expert. After glancing at the options, I decided to try the "Jheenga Kali Mirch" (Shrimp Black Pepper) which was in a red sauce. I also ordered a couple of Naan's to go with that.The food was delivered really quickly. I barely waited for 10 minutes to get my food. The Naan's were really fresh and appeared to be made in a real tandoor. They had the taste and softness that you would find in India. The shrimp curry was also tasty although I would have expected it to be a little more spicy. I later realized that they did not ask me for spice level. Perhaps, its a practice not followed at this restaurant. The sauce was flavorful and the shrimp were quite tasty making the meal quite pleasurable. They asked if I would like some dessert which comprised of either Kulfi or Gulab Jamun. I was quite stuff and I had to decline. The portions were adequate for 1-person with a good appetite and the prices were reasonable (most dishes were between 10 and 14 USD).
The service was good, they made sure I was comfortable and kept checking on me from time to time. As I was leaving the restaurant, the crowd started to pick up and it seemed like the evening was getting started. If you are visiting Santiago and living in the Los Condes or Providencia restaurant, I would certainly recommend this place. Would give it a strong 8/10 rating.
My most interesting part of the dinner was meeting with a Sikh family who was having dinner at the table next to me. You could easily tell they were Sikh from their turbans and their clothes. They were speaking fluent Spanish and so I thought they must have been immigrants from India, who may have been around for a couple of generations and thereby fully immersed in the Chilean culture. So far, during my trip, I had not seen or met anyone from India so I was intrigued to see this family. At the end of my dinner, I decided to say "Namaste" to them and tell them I was from India. They wished me and asked me where I came from. When I asked them about their origin, I was very surprised to hear that they are native Chileans who have adopted Sikhism. For those from India reading this article, will appreciate how rare this may be. I have met only 1 person in my life (an American) who had adopted Sikhism and never heard of others. Its quite amazing to meet a family in a country which is so far away from India (possibly the furthest) that had adopted a religion from India, that is not commonly adopted. Definitely, one of my highlights of this trip.
Address and contact details of Rishtedar Indian Restaurant