Follow this guide to find out where to eat in Montevideo. In this article you will discover our recommendations on the best places to eat in Montevideo, in neighbourhoods such as Ciudad Vieja, Centro, Pocitos and Carrasco.
The Uruguayan cuisine has been greatly influenced by Spain and Italy and as their best-selling produce is their famous red meat – going to Montevideo without eating at least once a parrillada is a sin. However, it offers little variety as far as spices are concerned – the chimichurri, a sauce usually eaten with an asado (barbecue), is the exception. Another option for travellers is the chivito, a thin meat sandwich with lettuce, tomato, egg and mayonnaise – it can also contain ham, cheese and/or bacon. It’s served in most city bars and it comes with potato chips.
When it comes to dessert, you cannot miss dulce de leche: fill your pancakes with it or eat it with flan, your options are endless. Taste it once and you will surely want to put a few jars in your suitcase in order to bring the sweet taste of Uruguay back home with you.
Where to eat in Ciudad Vieja & Centro
Having lunch in the Casco Histórico (Ciudad Vieja) in Montevideo is the best way to taste the Uruguayan flavours whilst discovering the most ancient part of the city. You cannot miss the Mercado del Puerto (Piedras 237), both a gastronomical and cultural experience in a building that was formally the centre’s fruit, vegetable and meat market in the late 19th century and the early 20th century.
If you ask anyone on the street where to eat in Montevideo, they will probably send you to the Mercado del Puerto. Due to its history and beautiful architecture, this place attracts many visitors every day and can be a bit expensive, however, it is one of the best spots to try Medio y Medio – a local sweet, sparkling white wine in the Mercado, but if you’d like to eat out maybe it would be best to try some other options, not only to avoid paying the higher prices in the Mercado, but also because almost every day there is a new place to eat in Montevideo.
A few blocks away from the Mercado you will find the Peatonal Sarandí. During the last few years, this street has become Montevideo’s gastronomical epicentre. Here are a few restaurants you should try:
- Jacinto, (Sarandí 349, corner of Alzáibar): enjoy the cuisine of chef Lucía Soria – disciple of the famous chef Francis Mallman – as well as delicious home-made bread.
- Estrecho (Aarandí 460, corner of Misiones): lean on the counter to witness how they prepare a delicious loin salad or how they caramelise the crème brûlée.
- Sin Pretensiones (Sarandí 366): taste contemporary Uruguayan cooking – they offer, for instance, sturgeons from Río Negro, a delicious local fish which would be hard to find on any other menu throughout the country. You will also be able to discover and buy antiques, handicrafts and items from the countryside.
- La Fonda (Pérez Castellano 1422, corner of 25 de Mayo), a family restaurant with affordable prices where you can directly see the chefs at work.
- Toledo bar de tapas (Cerritos 499 corner of Treinta y Tres): if what you like is trying a little bit of everything in order to sample as many flavours as you can; then this is the restaurant for you.
For a more lively lunch or an afternoon coffee, a good option is Santa café & cocina (Cerrito 521). Another good idea would be the coffee shop Centro Cultural de España (Rincón 629). Located in the first floor, it offers Mediterranean cooking and is mostly known for its potato omelette.
If you are looking for a pizza, you might be surprised to hear that in most bars in the Centro and Ciudad Vieja they are served in square-shaped portions. To find even more surprises go the Bar Tasende (Ciudadela 1300) and ask for a pizza al tacho: without tomato sauce and with tons of mozzarella, this pizza turned this place into a classic in Montevideo.
If you want a sandwich, go to Futuros Refuerzos (Ciudadela 1188), where you will be able to taste the famous Uruguayan chivito and other traditional recipes prepared with various types of bread.
You can also try the typical home made chocolate and churros from Bar Facal (18 de julio 1249 corner of Yi). The bar also offers a wide menu of Uruguayan classic dishes and during weekdays you can even enjoy a street tango shows. This is a typical attraction for visitors due to the statue of Carlos Gardel – the famous tango singer and its romantic lock fountain, another classic in Montevideo downtown. Ideal for any loved up couples!
Where to eat in Montevideo: Pocitos & Punta Carretas
In Uruguay dinner is later than in most countries – usually between 9 pm and midnight. You may wonder how Uruguayans are not hungry during the afternoon: the secret is having an afternoon snack, called merienda. If you are wondering where to eat in Montevideo during the merienda, you should go to Hoy te quiero (Jaime Zudáñez 2601) and La Dulcería (Jaime Zudáñez 2855) – there you can enjoy a good coffee or a cup of tea. What snack should you eat in Montevideo? Some cake with dulce de leche such as the torta alfajor or some milhojas.
If you’re looking for looking for dinner in Montevideo and want to get a taste of some home-made Uruguayan food, you should definitely go to Tona (Luis Franzini 955), to taste chef Hugo Soca’s food. However, if you wish to revel in local meat go to Uruguay Natural parrilla gourmet (Héctor Mirando 2342) or to La Perdiz (Guipúscoa 350); this place has been ranking 1st on Tripadvisor for years.
Uruguay does not offer much for vegetarians – usually, only pasta and simple salads – but there are two places that cater perfectly for anyone looking to avoid meat: Bechamel (Franzini 907) and Namasté (Bvr. Artigas 1776).
If money is not a concern when you’re searching where to eat in Montevideo, or you wish to celebrate something special, FOC (Ramon Fernandez 185, corner of García Cortinas) offers various gourmet menus. You must also consider Tandory (Masini, corner of Libertad) as well, a restaurant ran by chef Gabriel Coquel that can offer you flavoured dishes, exotic spices, curries and many options that expand beyond the limits of traditional local cooking. In fact, it was Mick Jagger’s personal choice on his last visit to Montevideo.
Where to eat in Montevideo: Carrasco
Residential, aristocratic and not known to many tourists, Carrasco is a neighbourhood which has seen a rise in many offices, shops and commercial buildings during this last decade. Most of them are on the High Street, the Arocena Avenue or in neighbouring streets such as Rostand, Otero and Schroeder.
At the Arocena and la Rambla junction (a seaside street) you cannot miss the historical building Hotel Casino Carrasco. It was taken over by the hotel chain Sofitel in 2013, after having been abandoned for a long time and is a famous site in this neighbourhood. As you enter the lobby you can enjoy the hotel’s various art exhibitions, try your luck at the casino, and if you still have some money left, its definitely worth having lunch or dinner in the hotel’s restaurant, 1921 – a mix of French and local gastronomies.
In this neighbourhood, a top pick for both locals and tourists alike is the beloved Café Misterio (Costa Rica 1700 corner of Rivera). The restaurant is owned by Pablo Clerici and Roberto Behrens and is famous for their sushi and gourmet gastronomy. A less formal and more economical option is Chivipizza (Schroeder 6472 between Arocena and Costa Rica), one of the best to sample a chivito in Montevideo.
We’ve already told you that the merienda is one of the favourite meals amongst the locals in Uruguay and the Lavender Tea Room (Divina Comedia 2014) is one of the ideal places to have a great afternoon snack with a quality coffee or tea or delicious flavoured water and a piece of cheesecake or even carrot cake. The bakery La Linda (Potosí 1666) and the coffee shop Credo Café (Rambla República de México 5493) are also great options for eating between 5 and 7 pm in Montevideo. Credo Café also offers brunch and has its own Credo Store, a shop that offers their own brand t-shirts, shirts, caps, leather gloves which are made in Uruguay, and some general accessories for motorcyclists and outdoors sports lovers.
Tips for eating in Montevideo
- In Uruguay there are four meals (breakfast, lunch, merienda and dinner) but breakfast is usually the lightest (mate, tea or coffee with some toasted bread) and is usually eaten at home: you will find very few places where you can eat in Montevideo offering good gastronomical breakfasts.
- Lunch is usually eaten between 12.30 and 3pm. In the interior of the country, where offices and businesses have a two-hour break for the siesta (nap), lunch is just as important as dinner, but in Montevideo and other big cities lunch is getting lighter and lighter.
- Centro and Ciudad Vieja is mostly active between Monday to Friday during the day, since this is mainly a business neighbourhood. Therefore many bars and restaurants in the area only open for lunch. On the other hand, in Pocitos and Punta Carretas you will find many restaurants that only open at night and during the week-end. This is a great place to eat amongst the buzzing nightlife in Montevideo!
Where to eat in Montevideo: Restaurants directory
Mercado del Puerto. Piedra 236. The shops inside the building open only for lunch, those outside for lunch and dinner.
Jacinto. Sarandí 349, corner of Alzaíbar, Phone: (+598) 2915 2731. Monday from 9 am to 6 pm, Tuesday to Saturdays from 9 am to midnight. Closed on Sunday.
Estrecho. Sarandí 460. Phone (+598) 2915 6107), Monday to Friday from noon to 4 pm.
Sin Pretensiones. Sarandí 366. Phone (+598) 2916 9972, Monday to Friday from 9:30 am to 6:30 pm. Closed on weekend.
La Fonda. Pérez Castellano 1422, corner of 25 de Mayo, Phone (+598) 2917 1559, Tuesday to Sunday, from noon to 11 pm.
Toledo bar de tapas. Cerrito 499 corner of Treinta y Tres, Phone (+598) 2915 3006, Monday to Friday from noon to 4:30 pm. Closed on weekends.
Santé café & cocina. Cerrito 521, Phone (+598) 2914 5632, Monday to Friday from 10 am to 7 pm, Saturday from 11 am to 3 pm. Closed on Sunday.
Coffee shop Centro Cultural de España. Rincón 629, Phone (+598) 2915 2250 int. 110, Monday to Friday from 9 am to 7 pm, Saturday 9 am to 5 pm. Closed on Sunday.
Bar Tasende. Ciudadela 1300, Phone (+598) 2900 2970, Monday to Friday from 9:30 until after midnight. Closed on Sunday.
Futuro Refuerzos. Ciudadela 1188, Phone (+598) 2902 5991, Tuesday to Saturday from noon to midnight. It will shortly move to another location, yet to be announced.
Bar Facal. 18 de Julio 1249 corner of Yi, Phone (+598) 2908 7741, Monday to Thursday from 8 am to 1 am, Friday to Saturday from 8 am to 3 am, Sunday from 8 am to midnight.
Hoy te quiero. Jaime Zudáñez 2601, Phone (+598) 2712 3356, Tuesday to Saturday from 9 am to midnight, Sunday and Monday from noon to 8 pm.
La Dulcería. Jaime Zudáñez 2855, Phone (+598) 2710 8010, Monday to Friday from 8 am to 8 pm, Sunday from 10 am to 8 pm. Closed on Sunday.
Tona. Luis Franzini 955, Phone (+598) 2712 7628, Tuesday to Saturday, from 8:30 pm to 11:30 pm. Closed on Sunday and Monday.
Uruguay Natural parrilla gourmet. Héctor Miranda 2432, Phone (+598) 2710 3608, Tuesday to Saturday, from noon to 3:30 pm and from 8 pm to midnight. Opens only at noon on Sunday and closed on Monday.
La Perdiz. Guipúzcoa 350, Phone (+598) 2711 8963, Monday to Sunday, from noon to 4 pm and from 7:30 pm to 00:30 am.
Bechamel. Franzini 907, Phone. (+598) 2716 3030, Monday to Friday from 8pm to 11 pm, Saturday from 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm and from 8 pm to 11:30 pm, on Sunday only at noon.
Namasté. Bvr. Artigas 1176, Phone (+598) 2709 5554, on Monday and Thursday from noon to 3:30 pm, from Wednesday to Saturday from noon to 3:30pm and from 8:30 pm to 0:30 am. Closed on Sunday.
FOC. Ramon Fernandez 285 corner of García Cortinas, Phone (+598) 91 654 227, on Thursday from 8 pm to midnight, Wednesday to Saturday from noon to 4 pm and from 8 pm to midnight, closed on Monday and Sunday.
Tandory. Masini corner of Libertad, Phone (+598) 2709 6616, Monday to Friday from 12.30 pm to 3 pm and from 8 pm to 11 pm. Only at night on Saturday and closed on Sunday.
Café Misterio. Costa Rica 1700, corner of Rivera, Phone (+598) 2601 8765, Monday to Saturday from noon to 5 pm and from 8 pm to 1:30 am. Closed on Sunday.
Chivipizza. In Carrasco: Schroeder 6472, Phone (+598) 2600 6161, only at night on Monday (8 pm to midnight), on Tuesday and Wednesday from noon to 3:40 pm and from 8 pm to midnight, on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday from noon to 3:40 pm and from 8 pm to 1 am, Sunday from noon to 3:40 pm and from 8 pm to midnight.
In Punta Carretas, Miñones 2855, Phone (+598) 2710 1710, Monday to Sunday from 7 pm to 2 am (the kitchen closes between midnight and 1am).
Lavender tea room. Divina Comedia 2014, Phone (+598) 2601 3545, Monday to Saturday, from 8 am to 6 pm. Closed on Sunday.
La Linda Panadería y Café. Potosí 1666, Phone (+598) 2605 9015, from Monday to Sunday, from 9 am to 8 pm.
Credo Café. Rambla Rep. de México 5493, Phone (+598) 95 960 506, Wednesday to Friday from noon to 11 pm, on Sunday and Saturday from 10 am to 11 pm.
By Carina Fossati, Uruguayan, journalist and author of Hills to Heels / Translated to English by: Grégory Noël