Have you made Uruguay a destination vacation yet? We did and we are glad that we did. We stayed in Montevideo and also Carmelo. I’ll show you some restaurants in those two cities and a few others in Punta del Este and Colonia del Sacramento. Let’s start with Carmelo.
Estrella, Ruta 21 entre km 260 y 270 Colonia, Carmelo, Departamento de Colonia, Uruguay
Basta Pedro, meaning “Enough Pedro”, was a short ride away from our Carmelo Resort in Carmelo, Uruguay. The hotel staff drove us in the hotel van and offered to pick us up when we were ready.
We were not sure what to expect but we were told that some of the best sunsets in Uruguay are seen from the restaurant near the harbor for motor and sail boats.
The restaurant really does not open until 8PM and this is normal for Uruguay. They eat late. However, the very nice server used her mobile phone to tell us that she could serve us some empanadas, cheese, bread and beer when we arrived at 6:30PM. Sunset in the summer was about 7:55PM so we wanted to get some food before we took some pictures.
The menu for dinner is better than what you might expect at a bar restaurant. They had many different kinds of pizza and pasta available. Their outside deck was quite expensive, and they had air-conditioned dining inside.
This is known to all of the Carmelo locals, but we wouldn’t have found it on our own. Luckily, the hotel had us covered and we enjoyed the food, beer and beautiful sunset.
Ruta 21, Km 262, Carmelo, Uruguay, 70100
This is the main dining room for the Carmelo Resort. We enjoyed breakfast there every morning and the chef enjoyed suggesting new specialties every day for us to try. We enjoyed our servers including Luis, Noel and Mariana regularly. They tried out their English and we tried out our Spanish. Everyone was so nice to us in the resort.
The Food and Beverage person, Matias, greeted us every day as if we were his family members. He always made sure that everything was taken care of for us. Matias is probably on a fast track like many Hyatt people to transfer to another very nice Hyatt property. We love how Hyatt recognizes talent and then promotes and expands from within.
The breakfast buffet is quite expansive and there are fruits, pastries, breads, juices, cheese and all sorts of typical breakfast foods. We’ve had huevos rancheros, eggs benedict, pancakes, French toast and quite a few other dishes that the chef suggested. The chef is very talented, and we enjoyed every meal here.
For dinner, we have enjoyed the Caesar salad, Uruguayan beef, pork, risotto, pasta and just about everything in between. They have a very nice wine selection – largely from the nearby Narbona vineyard. They also have some Argentine wines since Argentina is so close to Carmelo.
The resort chef is Julio Garcia Moreno, and he is something special. This is a very nice restaurant, and the service and quality of food are terrific. You’ll love it.
Ruta 21, Km 262, Carmelo, Uruguay, 70100
The Carmelo Resort has a very nice bar which is not far away from their main restaurant, Pura. We decided to stop in Mandara on our first night and saw that they had plenty of food in the bar to choose from. Madeline wanted empanadas since these are probably one of her favorite dishes in South America.
We had some nice cocktails which were custom made by a very competent bartender and we enjoyed some snacks while we perused the menu. After the empanadas, we decided to split some other items and we enjoyed them with some nice Malbec wine from Argentina. You can learn more about Malbec in our post about Mendoza. While we’ve been in Uruguay, however, we’ve tried different varietals including Tannat which is Uruguay’s dominant wine.
The Mandara bar is a very nice place for you to try. Both the service and food are excellent.
Ruta 21, Km 262, Carmelo, Uruguay, 70100
We thought originally that a pool bar wouldn’t have much in the way of food, but they do. They serve typical snack food, but you can also order salads, hamburgers, fries and many other things. If they don’t have the ability to make it there, they’ll call into the Pura restaurant and somebody else will make it.
The servers are great here. We enjoyed Lucia, Jesus and Nicolas most every day as we’d lounge around enjoying the pool area while reading our Kindle books. The Carmelo Resort is a lovely place with a gigantic pool and plenty of lounges. The Rio bar just makes things perfect.
Caminos de los Peregrinos s/n, 70100 Carmelo, Departamento de Colonia, Uruguay
This is a small family vineyard located in the Carmelo area. There are 7 small vineyards in this area but only a few that serve lunch or dinner. Madeline and I arrived by taxi from the Carmelo Resort and we arrived first for our tour and a tasting.
The tasting is in one building and after we finished, we were told we could take the short walk along the vineyards to where the restaurant was. It was only a 5-minute walk, and it was a beautiful day.
English was not spoken at the restaurant, and we were not surprised. We were the tourists. The menu included Uruguayan steak as well as fish and pasta dishes. Madeline and I split an appetizer of caprese which used the Campotinto olive oil along with their fresh herbs and tomatoes. I had steak and Madeline had a pasta. We knew which wine we wanted after tasting it and it was a blend of Tannat and Merlot.
The meal was not rushed, and we enjoyed it. The wine is not expensive for a very good quality wine. We wound up purchasing 3 more bottles of the wine at a 10% additional discount with no VAT since we were tourists with a USA credit card. Come for the wine or come for the food – both are great.
21, 70100 Carmelo, Departamento de Colonia, Uruguay
This is one of the earlier vineyards in Uruguay. The original farm dates from 1909 when Juan de Narbona established his vineyard. This vineyard is close to where we are staying in Carmelo Resort and Spa in Carmelo which is about a 3 hour drive from Montevideo.
We came for a tour and wine tasting followed by dinner. After tasting their wine, we knew what wine we’d like to have with dinner. It was a blend of Tannat and Cabernet Franc. Madeline had a pasta dish which was delicious, and she was spoon feeding me some extras to complement my meal of a Uruguayan steak with roasted vegetables.
Victoria, our tour guide, also doubled as translator from time to time but the menu was easy to navigate, and we didn’t need to speak English very often. This is a lovely restaurant with both indoor and outdoor dining. The food is great and properly spiced. You’ll love it.
This is the main dining room within the Hyatt Centric in Montevideo, and we enjoyed breakfast here every day. It has a large selection of meats, cheese, fruit, breads on display and a buffet area for eggs, bacon, sausage, etc.
We also could order something from the chef by asking our server. We had eggs, pancakes, French toast, etc. One thing you need to try if you are coming anywhere to South America is dulce de leche.
Madeline and I both love it and it’s like a combination of chocolate and caramel that’s creamy and we spread it on pancakes, bread, etc.
For dinner, there are plenty of interesting foods to try. Of course, the Uruguayan beef is on full display but there is also salad, pasta, fish, pork and vegetarian choices.
Francisco was our primary server and he made sure we received excellent service along with all the other great servers at the restaurant. You’ll enjoy this restaurant.
Madeline and I ate here more frequently than the primary restaurant for dinner. Most of the days, we spent touring and by the time we arrived, we simply wanted something simple for food because it was already getting late.
The bar had a very nice selection of food including empanadas, ham and cheese sandwiches, hamburgers, pizzas, etc. The beer on tap was cold and the service was friendly and lighthearted. We enjoyed this quite a lot. We found out quickly that if we paid by USA credit card, the VAT would not be charged. The same thing happened when we charged it to our room. That’s a savings of over 22% so that’s nice for a tourist.
Come for the beer but you’ll enjoy the friendly service and small tapas-like meals.
Guipuzcoa 331 | Punta Carretas, Montevideo, Uruguay
You can see my reflection and a bit of Madeline’s picture when she photographed the entrance to Garcia. Uruguay is known for beef, and they feel that their steaks are far better than their Argentine neighbors. It is a source of pride. We asked the concierge at the Hyatt Centric Montevideo for their recommendation and Garcia’s was the place to go. They had two locations, and we took the one closer to the hotel in Punta Carretas. Taxis are very inexpensive in Montevideo and our driver whisked there in about 10 minutes.
We found in Uruguay that it’s normal for restaurants to only open after 7:30PM or later. Luckily, this restaurant was open from lunch to late at night. We asked for a reservation at 6:30 but we surely didn’t need one. We were the only people inside although there were others probably having an early dinner or late lunch outside.
This place was all about the beef and we came prepared. Madeline and I split a Caesar salad and ordered a Malbec wine with dinner. The food was great, but both of our steaks were a bit overcooked. We will need to be more precise the next time. We also learned that salt and pepper are rarely on the table, so we asked for it.
You can’t go wrong here with a steak. I would just get your hotel to write “medium-rare” in Spanish before you go. I’ve been told it is “jugoso” but you should check how you like your steak prepared before you set off for Garcia’s.
Pecas Café aka Freckles Ice Cream
30 - Las Focas, 20100 Punta del Este, Departamento de Maldonado, Uruguay
This is a cute ice cream shop that we stopped at during our tour of Punta del Este. The shop has much more than ice cream for the locals. However, I saw that they had 8 different varieties of dulce de leche ice cream, so I needed to give it a try.
I had a double dip cone which was enormous and delicious. I had trouble eating it outside because it was melting a little faster than I could eat it. Madeline helped and even with her assistance, it was a messy affair.
I learned that you could order the ice cream in a bowl as well and that would have been a far less messy affair. However, I enjoyed it immensely. They had probably 100 different types of ice cream available along with coffee and soft drinks. They also served a nice selection of sandwiches and other items if you wanted something more substantial.
The location is walking distance from the beach and the famous La Mano or Los Dedos. That’s the “hand” sculpture that is very well-known in Punta del Este. You’ll enjoy the ice cream here!
70000 Colonia del Sacramento, Colonia Department, Uruguay
We came to Colonia del Sacramento on a Viator tour. We stopped at a museum on the way to Colonia del Sacramento and then toured the city. We had a 3.5 hour stop in the town so we could explore more and have lunch.
We were advised to have lunch first and then stroll around. We ate at Don Peperone which was an Italian restaurant. It had space for more than 100 so we had little trouble finding a table. Madeline and I both had mini pizzas that were freshly baked and were excellent. They had over 50 varieties so you could surely find a pizza you liked. They had pasta, salads, meats, fish and many more things to eat but pizza seemed to be the highlight.
This is a very nice restaurant, and the service was friendly, and the food was freshly prepared – you’ll like it.
Bodega Bouza Restaurant
Cno. de la Redención 7658, 12500 Montevideo, Departamento de Montevideo, Uruguay
Madeline and I came to Bouza from the Hyatt Centric Montevideo on a Viator tour. We took the tour and really enjoyed it. We opted for a wine paired lunch after our tour and were ushered into a very nice and expansive dining room.
Lunch was in a semi-structured 5 course meal including dessert. There were two choices for each course and a wine was paired with each. Madeline didn’t like the appetizer choices which included caviar and another fish appetizer, so I sampled both on that course.
We both had beef tenderloin as our main course and we both had the same dessert, otherwise we split courses just to try something different. The food was excellent, and the wines were very good. We had a nice selection of just about all the varietals Bouza produced so it was a nice way to be introduced to their wine along with their chef prepared meal.
We’d recommend this tour if you want to try Uruguayan wine and sample a wide variety while enjoying lunch. If you enjoy the winemaking history and experience – it’s just a bonus to have a wine paired lunch.
entre 10 y 12, Rambla Gral. Artigas, 20100 Punta del Este, Departamento de Maldonado, Uruguay
We found this restaurant courtesy of our Viator tour director when we took an all-day tour of Punta del Este. You can read more about that here.
The name gave us the impression that it was an Italian restaurant but there was a wide variety of food available. I had a Uruguayan beer and Madeline had a Stella Artois which she prefers. Madeline had a cheesy fondue like dish with French fries. It wasn’t exactly what she expected but she loved it.
I had a Uruguayan steak, and it was cooked medium rare. I had learned the phrase by now. However, I learned that sign language worked as well. Any server knows what rare and medium rare are, so I just used my hands to show that medium-rare was in between rare and medium.
The service was great, and we had one server that spoke fluent English. There was outdoor dining, which we preferred or cooler climate indoor dining. The restaurant overlooked a harbor where there were plenty of boats just waiting for their owners to go out on a sunset ride. We had more to do but we’d come back to this restaurant. Great service and food.
So, hopefully you have some good restaurants to check out on your Uruguayan vacation. Have fun and bring your appetite.