How to Order Seafood in Chile


Merluza (hake)
Almejas (clams)
Reneita (pomfret)
Choritos (small mussel)
Jurel (mackerel)
Salmon (salmon)
Machas (clams)
Congrio (kingklip ( South Africa), ling ( Australia))
Cholgas (large mussels)
Corvina (like sea bass)
Jaibas (crabs)
Cochayuyo (a firm brown seaweed, soaked and stewed)
Langostinos (prawns)
Lenguado (sole)
Locos (like abalones)
Erizos (sea urchins)
Ostras (oysters)
Pejerreyes (smelt)
Albacora (swordfish)
Ostiones (scallops)
Calamares (small squid)
Picorocos (barnacles)
Atun (tuna)

Translating the names of fish is tricky as there are always alternatives. What is corvina in one country is a slightly different fish in another but with the same name. But once you dip your spoon into your caldillo you won't really care what the fish is called.

Here is a website with the names and pictures of most of the fish you will find in restaurants:


Jardin de Mariscos used to come with raw shellfish but that is no longer allowed. A paila marina is a hot seafood broth filled with shellfish. Usually restaurants offer corvina, lenguado or reineta with a choice of sauce. Margarita sauce, for instance would contain shellfish. 'Al horno' would be baked, 'a la plancha' would be grilled and 'frito' is fried. A 'chupe' is a thick concoction of fish and a bread-based sauce, usually served in an earthenware bowl, and browned under the grill. Not to be confused with a Peruvian chupe, this is a soup. 'Pastel de jaiba' is another favourite: crab, breadcrumbs, onion, garlic, cream and parmesan served in an earthenware bowl. Good ones have the correct proportion of crab to the rest of the ingredients. Avoid piures, easy to spot because they are bright orange, as they have an overwhelming taste of iodine. Some shellfish can only be served during certain times of the year but you will find good fish all year round.

Congrio is a firm white fish with an eel like tail that has a mild, not fishy taste and comes in three varieties: congrio negro, congrio colorado, congrio dorado. Each has its devotees. Translations for it are kingklip, ling and cusk eel, although it is not eel. Congrio frito is fried congrio and is usually served in portions huge enough for two people. Congrio cocida en mantequilla y ajo is congrio cooked in butter and garlic.

Many people like Corvina, not fried in batter but grilled, a la plancha. Another alternative is Lenguado, again, a la plancha, it is sometimes called sole, but it is really closer to plaice. Atún is also good a la plancha. Congrio is often served in Cazuela.

Clams are machas or almejas - different types. The machas are pink when cooked. In southern Chile there is another clam, navajuala, razor clam and it is served instead of machas, as in machas a la parmesana. There are various kinds of mussels, choros, choritos (smaller) and choros zapatos (enormous). For the real fans there are erizos (sea urchins) and picorocos (a large barnacle).

Note: Patagonian Toothfish, called Chilean Sea Bass in North America, is not normally served in restaurants in Chile.

Here is a website with the picoroco, giant barnacle, that is eaten in Chile. They are on sale at the Central Market in Santiago. 


The Wikipedia page of Gastronomía de Chile has pictures. It is a good reference for food in Chile. There are listings of foods according to region also. It is in Spanish at

Typical dishes

** Note:  The original information for this thread came from the following forum thread: