CULTURE NATIONAL

Savoring Santiago: La Madriguera Café 

Chile Today’s Savoring Santiago series highlights the city’s top restaurants, cafés, and bars. Discover farm-to-fork eateries, underground resto-bars, luxury dining experiences, and hidden culinary gems. Each article offers the owner’s insight, along with their recommendations for must-try menu items. 

Upon entering La Madriguera Café, guests are promptly greeted by genuine, welcoming smiles. They are guided to a spacious patio surrounded by a lush garden and decorated with colorful seating and abundant umbrellas. 

While the patio has been a refuge from the quarantine, once restrictions are lifted, guests can enjoy two levels of indoor seating, complete with cozy couches, a PacMan gaming area, and a stunning view of towering glass buildings. 

Ideal for a workday, meetup, or date, the menu offers abundant options of freshly prepared dishes for those seeking a substantial meal or midday snack. 

And, while cafés are plentiful, you would be hard-pressed to find another drink menu as unique and diverse. The café’s intentionally sourced coffee beans are transformed into enticing non-alcoholic cocktails, Nutella lattes, and Turkish coffee. 

Founder Sebastián González Aguilera reveals the inspiration and vision for his cafés in Vitacura and Las Condes, along with exciting plans for future expansion. 

Also read:

These Are the Ten Best Breakfast Cafes in Santiago

How did you get started in the restaurant business? Tell us about what inspired you to create La Madriguera Café.

It began a year ago, when I decided to buy a café in the east sector of the city, in Vitacura. From the start, I saw this as an opportunity since the acquisition rights were considerably low [priced] due to the pandemic. As a lawyer specializing in investing and real estate, I decided to acquire it because I had always wished to be the owner of a gastronomic business.

I have to admit that I never thought that working with coffee would captivate me so much or that creating jobs would give me so much personal satisfaction, especially when you consider the country’s current economic situation. That is why, a couple of months later, I decided to open another branch, this time in Las Condes. I have to add that the positive comments from frequent customers have motivated expansion of what was once a small and traditional café.

How would you describe the café’s food and atmosphere?

The food and beverages are mostly homemade, and we distinguish ourselves with signature dishes that give us our distinctive seal. People recognize this as an essential characteristic of the Madriguera Café, where the concept of warmth from our food and beverages results in a relaxed atmosphere. What we wish to give our clients is this feeling of disconnection from the rest of the world.

Where do you source your coffee beans and ingredients?

They mainly come from Chilean providers; for example, the fruits and vegetables are brought in directly from La Vega. As for the coffee, we have several local roasters, which marks a difference due to its mythical and distinct flavor. The beans are of Yemeni origin, provided by the Mokhabunn brand, run by its owner, Mustafa.

What has been your experience during quarantine?

To tell the truth, it has been a good experience that has allowed us to position ourselves as a reliable café in the Eastern sector, where we bring together the best specialty coffee roasters, thus providing our guests with gourmet coffee. Right now, we have a coffee bar almost five meters long, with an imported, state-of-the-art espresso machine and various filtering methods – it is a real experience for coffee lovers.

How would you like your café to grow in the next five years? Do you have anything special planned?

The idea is for the brand and concept of Madriguera Café to continue expanding on a national level, establishing branches in various municipalities, thereby facilitating access for our clients from all areas of our country. These clients are also the ones requesting that we put up more branches. Furthermore, the idea is to be able to cultivate the taste for specialty coffee in our country. That way we can leave aside commercial coffee and give in to the experience of drinking high-quality, real coffee.

What three beverages and dishes do you recommend?

That is a tough question, but I recommend the following:

BEVERAGES:

  1. Madriguera Summer and Otoño;
  2. Chocolate caliente Hot Marilyn Liberté;
  3. Special filtered Café or Turkish coffee prepared in an Ibrik.

DISHES:

  1. Croissant Madriguera or any other signature sandwich;
  2. Pochado or Brioche Madriguera;
  3. Pastry and desserts in general, but the one that stole my heart, CINNAMON ROLLS WITH FROSTING.

Connect with La Madriguera Café on Instagram @cafe.lamadriguera.

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