The 10 Most Essential Food Experiences in Uruguay – 2023

Uruguay is a country that has become famous for its vibrant culture, breathtaking landscapes and delicious cuisine. It’s no surprise that Uruguayans take food very seriously, and that’s why there’s no shortage of great restaurants in this country. From traditional dishes to modern fusion cuisine, Uruguay has something for everyone. In this blog post, we take a look at ten most essential restaurants in Uruguay that are worth a visit.

Waterfront restaurant in punta del este
Waterfront restaurant in Punta del Este

1. El Palenque – Montevideo and Punta Del Este!

The Mercado del Puerto was founded in 1868 as a marketplace, but over the years it filled almost completely with competing parrillas. One of them, El Palenque, has been a benchmark for good food in Montevideo and Punta del Este for more than 60 years. This fantastic parrilla was founded by Don Emilio Portela and is now run by his children and grandchildren. The restaurant has several areas: a counter around the grill for an informal experience, two dining rooms with white tablecloths, and sidewalk seating. Although El Palenque is known for the quality of its beef, the menu stays true to the Spanish heritage of the founding family and features plenty of grilled octopus, fish and seafood.

2. Lo de Tere – Punta del Este

Lo de Tere is a charming restaurant located in the beautiful coastal town of Punta del Este. The restaurant is known for its seafood dishes, using only the freshest ingredients. The ambiance here is cozy and romantic, making it a perfect place for an evening out with friends. The specialty of the house is the pescado del día a la parrilla (grilled fish of the day), which is always perfectly prepared.

3. Parador La Huella – Jose Ignacio

Parador La Huella is a beachfront restaurant located in the picturesque town of Jose Ignacio. The restaurant offers a unique dining experience with its rustic decor and outdoor seating area. The menu is inspired by Mediterranean cuisine, and only the freshest ingredients are used. Their specialty is pulpo a la parrilla (grilled octopus), which is one of the best in the country.

4. El Abrazo – Manantiales

Federico Gasparri, an esteemed Uruguayan chef renowned locally and internationally, considers cooking an art that creates moments and atmosphere. His culinary philosophy emphasizes the importance of using premium ingredients while preserving the authenticity of the dish. El Abrazo, in Manantiales, a restaurant Gasparri founded with his wife Lucía Sosa Días, is the embodiment of their shared gastronomic vision and family values. El Abrazo prides itself on being a cozy, intimate and relaxed place that draws inspiration from nature. The menu features primarily premium ingredients sourced from the coasts and lands of Uruguay. El Abrazo’s cuisine features a variety of preparation techniques and cooking methods, including outdoor grilling, roasting on the fire and baking in the clay oven.

5. Tandory – Montevideo

Located in the exclusive Pocitos district of Montevideo, Tandory Restaurant boasts a prime location and chic ambiance. This stylish restaurant serves a delicious blend of Asian and Mediterranean cuisine, offering fusion dishes that are sure to impress. With its personalized service and cozy atmosphere, Tandory is the perfect place for an intimate dining experience. The restaurant seats 60 guests on two floors, including a wine cellar, and the eclectic decor reflects unique culinary influences from Europe, Latin America, and Asia.

6. La Perla del Cabo – Cabo Polonio

La Perla del Cabo is a seafood restaurant located in the small town of Cabo Polonio. The restaurant is known for its fresh seafood caught daily by local fishermen. The ambiance is rustic and bohemian, making it a perfect spot for a unique dining experience. The specialty of the house is the fish of the day a la plancha, which is always prepared to perfection.

7. Charco Bistró – Colonia del Sacramento

Charco bistró is a charming restaurant with a terrace bar and direct riverfront views, located in the historic town of Colonia del Sacramento. The restaurant offers a fusion of Uruguayan and international cuisine, and the menu is inspired by local ingredients. The ambiance is refined and elegant, making it a perfect spot for a chic dinner. The specialty of the house is the risotto de hongos (mushroom risotto), a vegetarian dish that is very tasty.

8. Solera Tapas y Vinos – Jose Ignacio

Located in charming Jose Ignacio, Solera Tapas y Vinos is much more than just a bar or restaurant. When you enter, you’ll be greeted by a beautifully designed space that combines the best elements of a tapas store, wine store and restaurant. One of the standout features of Solera Tapas y Vinos is its impressive selection of wines and beers. From bold reds to crisp whites and refreshing beers, the bar offers an extensive drink menu. Of course, a visit to Solera Tapas y Vinos would not be complete without sampling some of the delicious tapas offered here. On the menu, you’ll find a wide selection of small plates that are perfect for sharing with friends or enjoying alone. From classic Spanish dishes like patatas bravas and croquetas to more innovative creations like octopus carpaccio and beef carpaccio, there’s plenty to choose from.

9. Baco Vino y Bistro – Montevideo

Baco is a wine bar and bistro in the beautiful Punta Carretas neighborhood of Montevideo. The restaurant offers a varied menu inspired by local ingredients and international flavors. The ambiance is cozy and romantic, making it a perfect place for an evening date. The house specialty is the Magret de Canard Sellado with Risotto de Quinoa y Champiñones, which is full of flavor and cooked to perfection.

10. Il Tano Cucina – Punta del Diablo

Il Tano Cucina is an Italian restaurant located in the charming Punta del Diablo. The restaurant offers fresh seafood and fish from local fisheries in a varied menu inspired by Italian cuisine, using only the freshest and local ingredients, accompanied by an excellent and varied wine list. The ambiance is cozy and inviting, making it the perfect place for a relaxing meal.

Ten Great Restaurants You Absolutely Must Try

Uruguay has a great selection of fantastic restaurants that offer a unique and unforgettable culinary experience. Whether you are looking for traditional Uruguayan cuisine or international flavors, there is something for everyone. So the next time you travel to Uruguay, be sure to check out these ten great restaurants.

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