When I think about Santiago, one of the first things that comes to mind is a mental image of a lomito. Chilean people love large amounts of mayonnaise and their version of guacamole on everything. I found the hot dogs loaded with mayo and guac to be a little intense; however, those two ingredients found a perfect home on the lomito. A proper lomito starts with a fresh baked roll cut in half. Then thinly cut, slow cooked pork is piled on top of the bottom half of the roll. The pork looks like unholy deliciousness when it is scooped steaming hot out of the stock that has been its home for quite some time. The sandwich is then topped to order. My favorite combination was tomato, avocado, and mayonnaise. I’m usually not a big fan of mayo; however, the good lomito places often make their own mayo, and the richness does compliment the sandwich well. Once all of the ingredients have been stacked and the top of the roll is put in place, you will be staring at one monstrous sandwich.
I first learned about the lomito watching Anthony Bourdain‘s episode on Chile. The lomito place that they went to on the show was Fuente Alemana. Fuente Alemana has been serving these wonderful sandwiches for more than 50 years. I used tripadvisor.com to get a second opinion on Fuente Alemana and it came up #7 of 739 restaurants in Santiago. I figured that was a good sign so I made a resolution that I would have a lomito at Fuente Alemana before leaving Chile.
I’m 98% certain that there isn’t any sort of restaurant located at Pedro de Valdivia, 210. This is the address listed on tripadvisor.com for Fuente Alemana and I saw this address on a couple of other blogs. I found the address. There wasn’t anything there. I later learned that the real address of Fuente Alemana is Avenida Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins, 58. The only place I could find the real address was on Anthony Bourdain‘s website. I later read that the Pedro de Valdivia, 210 address is supposed to be where Fuente Alemana is opening a second location; however, I didn’t see anything there. Luckily there was another top-notch lomito joint right around the corner from where Fuente Alemana was supposed to be. You are probably asking yourself “if you didn’t have a travel show to tell you where to eat, how did you figured out it was a lomito place?” That is a valid question and the answer is that I was fortunate that the place was called Lomit’s, it had similar German arcitechure to the pictures I saw of Fuente Alemana, and there were a lot of people sitting outside eating lomitos. I walked in and took a spot at the bar. I didn’t know it then, but I was about to eat arguably the best sandwich of my life. A proper Chilean lomito place would clean up in NYC. If you are thinking about opening one, please consider the East Village as a location. I could guarantee you at least one regular customer.
At this point I know that some of you are worried that I never made it to Fuente Alemana. Rest assured that I am a man of great conviction and that I wouldn’t give up on my resolution to eat at Fuente Alemana so easily. Lomit’s had a bar that you could eat at, but it also had tables and a good deal of outside seating. Fuente Alemana is much more to the point. The entire restaurant is the cooking area completely surrounded by a large wooden bar. Everyone sits around the bar and orders their sandwiches directly from the lady’s making them. As soon as you walk in you can tell that Fuente Alemana is a sinful pit of unhealthy deliciousness and that is what makes it so great. The real location of Fuente Alemana was much closer to my hostel than the fake location so I was able to get their twice during my remaining time in Santiago.
The first lomito I ordered was the same combination as what I ordered as Lomit’s-tomato, avacado, and mayonnaise. I would say the two sandwich places stacked up pretty evenly. The second time I ordered a lomito at Fuente Alemana, I thought I would be cool and order the “lomito completo con queso caliente” even though “completo” wasn’t an option on the menu. To the hot dog guys in Chile, completo means tomato, avocado, and mayonnaise; however, that wasn’t the case at Fuente Alemana. I got a lomito with a tomato sauce, a huge mound of sauerkraut, and melted cheese. The sauerkraut was delicious and clearly homemade, but I was a little disappointed I didn’t get the avocado. If you ever find yourself in Santiago, hopefully this story will inspire you to try a lomito and help you avoid some of my mistakes along the way. As parting advice I want to point out that the red bottles on the counter are not ketchup. They are a delicious, spicy chile sauce that is similar to sriracha. I didn’t figure that one out unti I was half way through my first lomito.