The best value meals are the "Menú Ejecutivo" or simply "Menú" which many restaurants offer at lunchtime. These are set menu meals. Some offer a starter, main dish and dessert plus juice, soda or even a glass of wine. Some offer a three course lunch with no drinks included. Sometimes there is a choice of main dish. Prices vary accordingly, with the cheapest (maybe chicken and chips plus a soda) at around CLP$2200 and top end restaurants offering a sophisticated menu for CLP$12,000. The average price is about CLP$3500. Restaurants which offer these menus have a board outside with the menu. They cluster in areas with office workers: downtown, Providencia and areas of Las Condes. Don't overlook hotels for this as many offer it.

Santiago is also the sandwich capital of the world. If you can fit it into a roll or between two slices of bread, you can find it here. There are some very economical sandwich and pizza places in the Portal Fernandez Concha on the side of the Plaza de Armas. Or you can find the local Dominó chain all over the city. These sandwiches are often a meal in a bun. A Barros Luco is steak and cheese (ask for "frica" bread as you will be given a choice of bread), Barros Jarpa is hot cheese and ham. A Chacarero has steak, green beans and ají (hot pepper). Then you have the hot dogs, "vienesas". These can be Italiano: hotdog/avocado/tomato/mayonnaise, a Completo: hot dog/pickle sauce and sauerkraut, and an endless variety of other combinations. Replace the hot dog with some steak and you have an "As". There is a chain called Castaño which offers a variety of packaged sandwiches, empanadas, drinks etc. for office workers. They will heat things for you and the larger branches have tables to sit at.

Another good value meal can be had in the evening. These are "tablas", literally boards. They usually accompany drinks in the evening and are for more than one person. They can be simple ones of cheese and cold meats or have three tiers and contain a cornucopia of ingredients hot or cold. If you share one at "Happy Hour" (two drinks for the price of one per customer) they can do as a light evening meal, especially if you have taken advantage of the midday menu lunch.

The Mercado Central offers fresh seafood. If you can't afford the king crab, have a seafood empanada.. The market is open every day, but closes at about 5:30pm, so no dinner, just lunch. On New Year's Eve they open at dawn for those needing some restorative fish stew. Worth the visit, all kinds of fresh seafood on display. All kinds of fish and seafood are available and there is a separate Traveler Article with translations of some names.