Saturday, April 6, 2013

Favorite Restaurants in Montevideo

Montevideo, located on the north bank of the Rio de la Plata is a major port with a friendly, small-town feel. I was fortunate to live there for (4) months due to my fiances work. One of the joys of staying in a place for a decent amount of time is getting to try a lot of different restaurants. Of course, sooner or later you find places you really enjoy and find yourself visiting week after week. Here are some of my favorite places and in no particular order.

A very popular establishment in the Punta Carretas neighborhood and conveniently located in front of the Sheraton Hotel. The menu is pretty extensive and the service is excellent. I loved the Bife de Lomo (Filet Mignon) and their variety of fish and pasta dishes. They have a nice, but small, bar area, decent wine list and outside seating during the summer. I would highly suggest you make a reservation or you could be waiting a long time.
LA OTRA PARRILLA
There is no doubt about it, Uruguayans know how to cook meat. In Uruguay, like a lot of South American countries, they cook their meat on a parrilla (grill). A fire is made under the parrillas metal apparatus with oak or other hardwood. When the wood turns to embers the meat is placed on the parrilla over the heat. The technic is slow but what you get is delicious, mouth-watering meat.

 La Otra is a great restaurant with wonderful, flavorful parrilla. They offer nice sides, which most restaurants don't offer, as well as amazing bread with a dipping sauce of parsley, lots and lots of garlic and a spice that has a nice "kick". La Otra is in Pocitos, on the corner of Tomas Diago and Juan M Perez.
LA CAVIA RESTAURANT
Another great restaurant that does parrilla really well is La Cavia, located at 26 de Marzo 1000 in Pocitos. The food is very consistent, the staff is efficient and very, very friendly. Try one of their tournedos and get either a baked potato or sweet potato. Hard to explain but they are much better than in the USA. If you are not in the mood for beef, they also have great chicken options and fish specials. If you have a sugar craving after dinner, there is Cake’s cafe a couple blocks away and you won’t be disappointed.
FRANCIS 
By far is one of the best restaurants in the city. Located in an old house in the residential area of Punta Carretas, the atmosphere is cozy, staff is excellent and almost everyone speaks English. Most importantly, the food is outstanding and they offer everything from seafood, paellas to meats and pasta. The best part for me is they also serve sushi, which is rare for Montevideo!
Don't miss this true gem!
This really was our local hangout, just three blocks from our apartment.The restaurant is in the Pocitos area on 21 de Setiembre. They don’t have a huge menu but their pizza was the best we had in the city. They also have a great chicken stir-fry with noodles, steaks and sesame crusted lenguado (fish).
MERCADO DEL PUERTO
I feel compelled to list this only because it is such a unique area in the city. It is within walking distance from centro (downtown) in an old covered market. The aroma of smoked grilled meat entices you as soon as you enter. Inside there are numerous of places to eat offering a variety of meats, fish and empanadas. There is also a wine store and several gift shops. This place is busy and they get a lot of tourists from the cruise ships so it is best to walk around and find a stool at one of the counters or try and grab a table. Be warned if you are seated at a table, they charge a table fee. Also, being a huge tourist area the prices are more expensive so a place to go just once.
CHIVITO
Not a restaurant but I must mention the famous “Uruguay Sandwich” called the Chivito.  A lot of restaurants offer this sandwich so you won’t have a hard time finding it. The sandwich consists of one or two thin slices of filet mignon, ham (optional), bacon, melted mozzarella cheese, tomato, fried egg, olives, onions and mayonnaise served in a bun with a side of fries. It is a delicious sandwich that may or may not give you a heart attack.

Now onto my two favorite places for desserts!

CAKES
A traditional tea house offering sandwiches, quiches and absolutely decant desserts! The Roman Novarro pie and the chocolate cake served with dulce de leche are some of the best desserts I have ever had. Located in Pocitos at Jose Ellauri 1067. It is a must if you are in Montevideo.
LAS DELICIAS
I absolutely love ice cream so when I found this place I new I would be a frequent visitor. Also located in the Pocitos neighborhood, Las Delicias is on 21 de Setiembre and Ellauri. They have wonderful creamy ice-cream in an array of flavors. They even let you try as many flavors as you want until you find your favorite. I loved the mint chip, chocolate with caramel, vanilla chip and some of their fruit gelato flavors. A delicious treat on a hot day.
I did not mention any restaurants in the downtown area since we didn't spend a lot of time there in the evenings. One thing is for sure, you won’t go hungry in Montevideo.  Buen provecho!!
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