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5 Meaty Montevideo Restaurants

Uruguyan Herefords
Uruguayan Herefords await their turn on the dinner table. Credit: Wikimedia

Being the world’s largest consumer of meat, Uruguay has fostered a culinary tradition that is envied by many and extremely difficult to imitate.

The vibrant Montevideo, a major cruise port and Uruguay’s capital, is home to nearly half of Uruguay’s population. Cultural traditions stand out in potency and reach. Nowhere else is this cultural aspect more concentrated than the capital Montevideo.

1. La Pulperia

One of Uruguay’s traditional and by extension most popular methods of preparing its variety of meats (grilled ribs, barbeque bedef, etc.) is parilla. With parilla, meat is placed directly on an open fire and grilled. Found in Lagunillas, La Pulperia is possibly the most widely known restaurant for preparing meat by parilla in Montevideo.

Essentially, La Pulperia is a steakhouse with a simple menu focusing on well prepared meat. Here, everything is kept simple with four to five wooden tables by a sidewalk and a few benches on a bar.

It’s important to note that the restaurant is only open for dinner with only two sittings from the evening onto the night. Additionally, the place gets quite crowded, so reservations are a must especially during the peak season.

2. Bistró Sucré Salé

Located in Boulevard Artigas, Bistró Sucré Salé takes a step away from traditional Uruguayan food with owner chef Hugo offering with a French menu including brioches, tarts and Illy espresso.

Beyond just the menu, the general look and feel of the establishment as well as its surroundings sets up this bistro as a great French culinary experience in Montevideo.

Outside, there is a fountain-and-iron gazebo in the courtyard as well as historic buildings that create a vintage feeling.

On entering, the smell of freshly baked croissants, Van Gogh posters and the general setting creates the typical French ambience.

Importantly, please note that no credit cards are accepted here, at least not as yet.

3. La Cocina de Pedro

Found in the quaint neighborhood of Palermo, La Cocina de Pedro (Pedro’s Kitchen) is an open-plan kitchen created with somewhat a chic décor.

The restaurant offers a wide variety of dishes ranging from traditional Uruguayan to international and several in-between. Typical Uruguayan fare include parrilla meat and tortillas, pastas, risottos, fish, salads, grilled caramelized sweet potato, picaña meat and gourmet sandwiches.

The atmosphere is hip, similar to an upscale pub that one might find in any major city. Reasonably priced wines are also on offer.

4. Es Mercat

For visitors heading to Old Town Montevideo, Es Mercant is a great choice for good food in a relaxing setting. Beyond that, Es Mercant is all about seafood and is easily one of the best seafood restaurants in all of Montevideo.

The menu changes daily as only fresh products are used as dependent by the day’s catch offered at the local market.

5. Tandory

Nestled in Ramon Masini Libertad and comprising a vintage setting, Tandory is essentially a fusion restaurant offering dishes based on culinary practices from all across the world.

Chef Gabriel Coquel offers guests gourmet choices from Malaysian, European, Chinese and South American experiences. The fish and paella are popular choices.

For the best choice, visitors should have a little chat with the chef, especially if they know a little Spanish.

The menu changes regularly with additions and reductions. As such, it’s always wise to enquire about the current dishes, especially with the owner, Chef Coquel.

As of late, Uruguay is receiving more features on travel itineraries for its many attractions including its traditional restaurants.

Given that Uruguayans are the world’s biggest consumers of meat, it’s no wonder that they have achieved such excellence in the art of meat preparation coupled with excellence in other culinary methods and cuisines as well, offering visitors a delightful treat for the taste buds.

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. He is the author of four books about cruising in the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexican Riviera.
February 17, 2020

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