We have come to find that there is a reason that Chile is not known for its cuisine. While they might do some creative things with seafood or serve up a damn fine pisco sour, we have found most local dishes to be lackluster or in worse cases, just bad. In general, there seems to be a laissez faire approach to creating food here.
We did, however, find some gems of restaurants in Santa Cruz. Our first night out, after touring Montes, we headed to Vino Bello. We were all feeling pretty high and hungry after our first vineyard visit so without shame, we did the gringo thing and went to dinner at 6pm. We arrived at Vino Bello right as they were opening for the evening shift as Chileans are more apt to eat much later. It was wonderful, though, we had the whole place to our selves including the spectacular view of the nearby vineyards. We eased our way through an aperitif, a delicious starter salad full of fresh greens, and then we moved on to flavorful pastas and pizza just as the restaurante was starting to fill up. Besides the view, the food was excellent. It was prepared with care and fresh ingredients and was not outrageously expensive. Vino Bello reaffirmed our faith in Chile, it is possible to find good food!