Ciudadano Restaurant in Santiago Chile gets a lot of love for two reasons: it’s good, and it’s cheap. What more could you ask for in a restaurant, right? Well, how bout putting it in a funkily decorated old house smack in Barrio Italia, a district filled with some great Santiago restaurants and boutiques?
I’ve been here three times now, and the first two times both I and everyone I was with loved our dishes. This time, unfortunately, things weren’t so great, although I’m willing to take some of the blame for my choices. I guess I shouldn’t have gotten so excited to see fried mozzarella sticks on the menu, but I haven’t had those forever, and they sounded good. The breaded, only semi-melted cheese sticks we got weren’t exactly what I’d hoped for. I guess delicacies like deep fried cheese are best left to the gringos.
Ciudadano Restaurant is known for its pizzas. At under US$8 for most of these large, thin crust pies, it’s hard to imagine a better deal. I decided to branch out and try smoked salmon and capers, and I think that combination was to blame for my so-so feeling about this one. Then again, the cheese and sauce didn’t seem like anything special either, so it might have just been an off night for the kitchen.
Rodolfo’s ossobuco pasta sounded delicious, with a mushroom and champagne sauce to compliment the strong flavor of ossobuco-filled raviolis, but the sauce was thin and insipid, with none of the bold flavors the ingredients led us to expect. And this one certainly wasn’t my fault.
This probably all sounds like a list of reasons never to go to Ciudadano, but the truth is that I’d still recommend it on the strength of previous visits. Anywhere can have an off night, and I’m willing to give Ciudadano the benefit of the doubt. With a bill under US$40 for two raspberry mojitos (no complaints here, the bar was working just fine), a starter and two mains, it’s a risk I can afford to take.