In Portillo Chile, the sun dances on the bright blue lake and the Chilean flag sways gently in the breeze. Bailando by Enrique Iglesias plays over the outdoor speakers. Huge wooden tables sit solidly on the patio, beckoning skiers to slide up, take a seat, and enjoy the sensational view. This is Tio Bob’s, a slopeside restaurante, just off the Plateau chairlift in Portillo. On-mountain dining is always a treat, but there is something magical about this spot named for Bob Purcell, former Portillo owner and beloved uncle of current owner Henry Purcell. Tio Bob’s (Uncle Bob’s) is the place to be for lunch in Portillo. 

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There are many ways to reach Tio Bob’s in Portillo, Chile. You can ride the Plateau chair, make a hard left, and drop in. Or, if you’re looking to make a grand entrance, ask your pilot to land above Tio Bob’s after a morning of heli-skiing. Either way the reward will be fabulous views of Aconcagua, the highest peak in South America.

Ski up, click out, and find a table large enough for lots of friends.

portillo chile tio bobsCuisine at Tio Bob’s is classic Chilean parrilla: grilled sausages, steaks, burgers, and salmon, all served with fresh salads and belly-warming soups. On snowy days, grab a seat by the fire inside Tio Bob’s stone and wood interior. On sunny days, the view outside demands your full attention. Looking out across the lake, Portillo’s high-alpine terrain all around, you’ll be treated to an impressive perspective of the lines you’ve skied all morning.

For a perfect lunch at Tio’s Bob’s, follow the advice of local connoisseur Mario Lobo: Ski up, click out, and find a table large enough for lots of friends. Order a bottle of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc and pair it with sliced sausages and a selection of mustards. Once your group has arrived and more wine has been selected, order salads and mains; the grilled salmon with capers is delicious. Be sure to ask for a side of papas frites — they’re always crisp and golden brown in color.

Dining at Tio Bob’s can be intriguing. You never know who will turn up and what the onda will be. Don’t be surprised if Olympic gold medalists Julia Mancuso and Jamie Anderson drop by to chat after a photo shoot. Other days might bring the entire Austrian Ski Team taking time to enjoy life after mornings spent race training.

Tio Bob’s is open late into the afternoon, so you can start your après right on the mountain. Pisco sours are ideal for toasting a perfect day skiing under the Andean sun. When the music grows louder, skiers dance on the roof or on top of the tables. As the sun slips behind the peaks, Tio Bob’s Chilean flag continues to sway in the breeze, keeping time with the latest Latin hit.