And the best local eatery in Chile is…

A local favorite in the southern city of Temuco wins coveted title of ‘Best Picada in Chile 2013.’

Looking for a great lunch spot or the ideal place for a casual dinner? Ask around and people will tell you their favorite picadas — recommended local eateries that range from sandwich shops to corner restaurants serving up the best Chilean dishes around.

Picadas can be found in practically every neighborhood in every city and town in Chile. With such an abundance of great options, Chile’s Council for Culture has created a new contest to find the ‘best Picada in Chile’ each year.

This year the council received over 60 thousand votes and determined the favorite for 2013 was a local restaurant in the southern city of Temuco. With over 18 thousand recommendations, Las Muñecas de Ñielol took the top spot. The restaurant is a favorite with locals who have eaten there for over 35 years. Serving up classics like empanadas and humitas, as well as southern dishes like curanto, Las Muñecas de Ñielol has the ideal menu for a delicious meal with everyone’s favorite Chilean flavors.

In second place for a second year in a row with over 14 thousand votes was Manhattan in Chile’s second largest city, Concepción. Known for its rustic sandwiches, this spot is a top recommendation for anyone looking for a lunchtime fix.

Farther south, in Punta Arenas, Chile’s third favorite picada Centro Hijos de Chiloé. Renowned for delicious traditional Chilote fare, this local landmark is always packed at lunchtime.

In its second year, the best Picada contest saw a huge growth in participation, receiving over 11 thousand more votes this past year than in 2012.

“We are very happy because once again people took part in this contest. They voted and chose their favorite picada,” Chile’s culture minister Roberto Ampuero said when announcing the winners. “But more than this, what motivates us is the work being done to maintain the gastronomical traditions and local tastes that exist in every corner of our country — tastes that are all rooted in one way or another to the areas they are born from.”