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See also: Cocina Latina
Chilean restaurant

Viņa del Mar
Pastel de Choclo at Viņa del Mar
Foods from Viņa del Mar

2012 Dec 1
Hipster Hintonburg is due for a McDonald's.

Wouldn't this be a great location ?

2012 Dec 1
The windows of this place have been covered with paper, I think it is closed.

2012 Feb 7
I'm glad to see the below posts... i've been passing this place for weeks and wanted to try it but put off because it always seems to be empty'ish.... maybe i'm just passing at the wrong times.

2012 Feb 7
Walt, bang on with your comments. I stopped in with a small group for dinner about a month ago, though the place was terribly empty.. we were the only ones in it, and that felt like such a shame.

I will second/third/whatever the excellent salads and dressings. Their empanadas are handmade, and we were told they could make them to order as well. Incredibly friendly folks running the place.

I had a basic sandwich with beef and cheese (possibly another garnish or two..), which was exactly how I wanted it to be -- fresh ingredients, well-proportioned, and was greater than the sum of its parts. I thought the price very reasonable at about $10, including the side salad.

Really worth a stop if you're around the strip and looking to change it up. Would be a shame if the place didn't survive the ongoing gentrification. I emphatically echo Walt's comments about its value and appeal as a unique Hintonburg spot, and certainly worth supporting in the midst of the trendish and bistro-ey takeover.

2012 Feb 7
Vina del Mar doesn't wear the stylish attire of many of the other restaurants along Wellington, but that's exactly what drew me in.

Don't be fooled, I highly value impression in a restaurant. Well played ambiance certainly adds impression to the restauranteur's experience, but ambiance does not define impression alone. This is something many of our cities latest upstarts have forgotten. Hintonburg is no exception. Vina del Mar is certainly more modest in character and method than will suit the tastes of many in this day and age. But, in this race to the most recent trend, Vina emerges less ordinary than the fashionably hip Johny-come-lately's popping up along the strip.

When I arrived, late on a weekday, the place was packed. It turns out the owners had agreed to let a local karaoke group use the space on a trial basis. I was pleasantly surprised. Who doesn't enjoy a little entertainment with their dinner? Again, this would never pass at the majority of the restaurants along the strip, but immediately it created a unique impression.

Despite being obviously swamped, I was promptly greeted by the owners, a South American couple (I assume Chilean). I had a pint of Beau's, which they offer on tap. It's a nice local choice. I might have appreciated a more exotic cerveza to complement the cuisine but I was too thirsty to inquire. I ordered plantain chips and a beef empanada to start. The empanada, obviously from the freezer on this night, was nothing to write home about. The chips on the other hand were fresh and very tasty. Plantain chips are a personal weakness and I was thoroughly pleased.

As a main, I ordered the fish and chips. The fish was nicely grilled and the chips were freshly deep fried. This was served with a generous green salad. I can only add to the praise already given on this site about the delicious dressing. At $14.95, I wouldn't call this dish a steal, but it was certainly a fair price for a well portioned and prepared meal. I did not have any room for dessert, sadly. Another time.

In a period of rapid gentrification in Hintonburg, Vina del Mar offers not only delicious food but a distinct impression on its visitor, one easily overlooked with the many more lauded and hyped restaurants popping up. Isn't it nice to skip the upscale bistro once in a while and opt for an exceptionally genuine dish? Unfortunately, I have noticed it does not often have the crowd that it did the night I was there. I urge Hintonburg's residents to consider what we will be losing if we do not support the neighbourhood's unique restaurants just as we do the new.

2011 Mar 25
2 Thumbs up!
I have tried everything, and enjoy everything (though I can't eat churassco's because I can't eat cheese or avacadoes - but my husband enjoyes them). My fave is the fish & chips. Best chips EVER. We love the owners, and think Stella is a saint. Her homemade salad dressing (lemon rather than vinegar based) is to-die-for. People who have commented that the empanadas are too dry or too small must have had an unusual night. That has never been our experience. But try them with Hugo's homemade (and varying in flavour and heat, but always excelente) salsa!
Decor is about to have a bit of a facelift - long overdue.
Prices are still excellent. A meal for two WITH wine and a generous tip runs up to $60.00, but can easily go for less.
Have live entertainment on occassion - always a treat. April 2, 2011 is next event - Columbian group.

2011 Jan 9
My girlfriend and I visited this restaurant about two years with high expectations of good food (not fancy, but good hearty Chilean fare). My girlfriend is from Santiago, and she knows Chilean food. We both visited Chile for a month in April 2010 so now I know Chilean food. I can tell you that we thought the service at VdM was poor, and a bit rude. I had the pastel del choclo, which was tasty, but the side salad was boring as all be. Chile is rich in local fruit and vegetables, so salads there are very good, and all Chilean restaurants pride themselves on visual presentation. The salad was mostly iceberg lettuce and not a whole heck of a lot else. And for the money, there wasn't much to eat. I did not see much value in what I had. My girlfriend got the empanada. It was quite small considering it was considered a main course, and did not have much filling. Very disappointing, really. More like an 'empanadita.' And for the price, outrageous. We make much better ones at home. In Chile a good empanada would cost you $2 Cdn, so ok, in Canada, say $6, no more. It is basic dough, ground meat, onion, herbs, an olive, part of an egg, some raisins, nothing fancy. It has been over a year since we have been, so to be fair, I think we will have to go back and give them a second chance. Chilean food is basically good, but not complicated. It should be easy to make this restaurant exceptional.

2010 Jan 14
Well, we had a good excuse to go to VM as it was my b-day. Yet, I was a bit concern about the time/food as per previous comments.

The food was well prepared and tasty, my kids had some Churrascos and Empanadas which were very good. I had the pollo asado (a bit dry) but well seasoned. The salads and fries were good and fresh. They all highlighted the lemon vinaigrette.

While my kids comments were positive it's not yet in the family's favorites; they are open in going back. One of them said, I can see myself going back in 4-5 weeks but no sooner. The funny thing is that all my kids clean out completely their plates.

The owners were friendly and the ambient was good for conversation.

In general, I am glad I tried it as it's a nice option to have besides the current options for family restaurants (the so boring kid's menus:chicken finger, mini-pizzas,etc).

So far, I give it 8 out of 10.

2009 Feb 24
I've been there a couple of times and had the same experience of them being out of things--I'm jealous you got fish! I've been trying to!

Had same issues with service slow and odd but heart of gold. Food I've had has been great, price is great, and you need some places like this around. :-)

Chilean food is lovely it's nice to have a source in our community.

I've had the empanadas and pastel de choclo (signature Chilean dishes) and both are fine. I also had steak and it was lovely.

2008 Jul 22
Tried Vina del Mar on the weekend. After considerable anticipation I was somewhat disappointed. I had dropped by earlier in the week but like several others noted, the kitchen was "sold out" of various selections.

Returned on Sunday and tried the chicken and the beef empanadas. Vina del Mar's were tasty, if dry - more like a chicken pot pie than the offerings I was accustomed to from Jumbo Empanada (Kensington Mkt, Toronto. The dough was a bit on the tough side (needed a steak knife) and both chicken and beef lacked seasonings.

I'll return to give some of the other menu items a whirl. Can't beat the prices, although the location has a decidedly musty smell. May go for the take-out option instead.

Cheers, E.






2008 Apr 26
If you order this you'd better like corn! It's like a thick stew made from partially creamed corn, ground beef, bits of chicken, hardboiled egg, and raisins. Kind of like that, only better. There were about 6 or 7 plump raisins in the entire dish -- easy to pick out if you don't like that sort of thing. The bowls are around 6 inches in diameter so this is not a small portion. It comes with a choice of salad, rice, or fries and costs about 9 bucks.

2008 Apr 2
Here are some pastels (and a couple of empanadas) from Vina del Mar. Photo courtesy of a friend of a friend.