We had a chat with Adolfo Aravena, owner and chef at Mesa del Mar, in order to learn something about his career. He gave us a brief explanation of his own satisfaction to have discovered his calling for cuisine ever since he was young hand in hand with his family: “My way to learn was based on practice and dedication, immersed in pots and pans on the fire pits.” He worked in several renowned venues both in Argentina and Pucón, and it was not until 2004 that he settled down with his wife Jenny at their present space in Villarrica.
It may be said that they serve signature cuisine which privileges the freshness of ingredients and regional products cooked on request. Just like his mother did in the past, Adolfo searches for original flavors adding only garlic, olive oil, the algae known as cochayuyo, a condiment called merken or some simple sauce served in the right amount, avoiding cream and bechamel. Fresh fish and seafood come from Valparaíso, Puerto Montt and especially Mehuin, according to fishing seasons during the year.
An excellent Chilean premium wine list provides several options to accompany the dishes. We ate without haste enjoying the delicate flavors of each course. The perfect finale for our food was a dessert made with ice-cream combined with papaya flambéed with curazao, an apple crepe and a fresh combination of melon and berries.
We finished our lunch with a digestive drink and, as we noticed more customers were crowding the facilities, we confirmed what we had been told: Mesa del Mar is a classic of good cuisine in Villarrica. Simple and impeccable.
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