Easter Island #3: Perfect Dining
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Ok, so maybe not all of it was perfect, but I certainly had some good food and beautiful views while I was there. If you’ll be visiting the island (vicariously or in person), here’s what I tried.
Perfect Atmosphere at La Kaleta — “the restaurant at the end of the pier”
(Sorry for the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe reference, I just couldn’t resist.) La Kaleta was one of the restaurants that was recommended in several trip reports as well as by my hotel host.
The empanadas place I had been thinking about the whole hike down from Rano Kau was closed for siesta, it was 4PM and I hadn’t eaten since 6AM. I wanted great food or a great view and in Kaleta I got both. They were open at 4, and understandably, and delightfully, completely empty.
The set up is amazing, you walk through a tiny building onto a covered deck that opened directly onto the beach and sea. I had my pick of seats and chose a table where I could watch the sun fading into the ocean and look at Tahai in the distance.
The waitress spoke English and they had both a spanish and english menu with prices in pesos or Euros. I went with the house special, the ceviche. It wasn’t cheap (~$30USD) but it tasted great and the portions were huge.
I also went with wine by the glass. It wasn’t a high end Savingnon Blanc and cost $10, but fortunately this was Chile and most wines would be as good as anything I’d get at DC bar for that price.
I was wanting something a little more than the ceviche so I splurged and ordered their crepes as well ($10) which came topped with dulce de leche caramel ice cream. Yummmm.
They took credit cards and were happy to convert to USD, but since I had my Chase Sapphire with no foreign transaction fee, I preferred to charge it in pesos to get a better conversion rate.
The atmosphere was both restful and thrilling and I couldn’t have imagined a more peaceful, perfect way to spend my first evening on the island.
Empanadas on Anakena Beach
The next day, my guide Paul had suggested lunch at Empanadas Tia Berta, which apparently had the best empanadas on the island. It was still closed and other options in town were closed or didn’t appeal, so we decided to combine lunch with more site seeing and headed to Anakena Beach and the food stalls.
They were just opening up so I ran around on the beach to play in the waves and look at the moai while the grill got going.
When I came back we had a menu full of delicious options — basically various proteins that could be ordered with cheese, onions, pepper, and some other thing I wasn’t familiar with.
Paul ordered the tuna, I went with the beef hamburger, and knowing how much I like a good empanada and love to try new things, also ordered the chicken with onion. They were only 2500 pesos (~$5) which seemed cheap compared to everywhere else I’d eaten.
Now Paul was a great guy and guide, but he probably should have dissuaded me from two empanadas. Because the first one arrived and it was as big as a calzone.
Not quite the small flaky pastry I’d loved in Mendoza, but quite good. The beef was nice, but the chicken with onion was amazing, and quite juicy. I spent half the lunch wiping my chin.
Pisco Sour Sunset at Hako Honu
At the end of my full day tour Paul was kind enough to go to dinner with me. I have no problem traveling alone, but wasn’t excited at the idea of a solitary dinner after such a wonderful day. An expensive meal (as all meals are on Easter Island) is much better with great conversation. And selfishly, this way someone could drive me to the restaurant and I wouldn’t have to walk.
I was more than happy to defer to his opinion on the best place to go, and once again, my early bird luck held and the first three places weren’t open yet including Makona and Tatuke Vave. Tatuke Vave was the most disappointing, as it was somewhat outside the city past where the boats come in, and had such an amazing view!
We wound up at Hako Hanu, which commands a direct view of the sea and sunset. It was there I tried my first Pisco Sour. Made from distilled wine, it tasted much like a margarita, but with none of the gross tequila taste. I was a fan!
Appetizers started at $20 at this restaurant, entrees at $30, so we both decided just to sip a sour or two taking in the sunset and chatting before going to another restaurant. (Ultimately I was still full from the late lunch of empanadas, so I just called it a night).
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