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Montevideo food in South America’s smallest country is big on tastes, flavors, and diversity.
In a land with more cows than people (yes, 1 person for every 4 cows), Uruguayan food has more than beef to offer culinary travelers.
The influence of European immigrants and the traditions of the indigenous people create a rich Uruguayan food tapestry.
While in Montevideo, the capital, we explored the local cuisine and the best restaurants in Montevideo to eat the traditional specialties.
On your Montevideo Uruguay travels, use this food guide to help you navigate local Montevideo foods.
Discover delectable Montevideo food with these top 10 must-try authentic foods and Montevideo restaurants.
Top Montevideo Food & Restaurant Map
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: If you’re in Montevideo for a short time, it’s worth taking a walking tour of the city to get oriented. We recommend this private half-day guided tour to see the best of Montevideo in a few hours.
10 Food Experiences To Have in Montevideo
1. Dig into Uruguay Beef at La Pulperia, the Best Local Parrilla
Given the popularity of meat and the many places to eat it, it can be daunting to find the best places to experience a parilla (steakhouse) in Montevideo.
One place which stands out is La Pulperia, in the Puntas Carretas, one of the city’s coolest neighborhoods.
La Pulperia is described as one of the best parillas, if not the best in Montevideo.
It is not a fancy place, but a laid-back restaurant packed with locals. It has a simple menu, great service, and unrivaled-quality meat.
From the menu, order the pulpon or rump steak or asado (short ribs), which are the most popular cuts of meat.
The huge portions of beef come served with a side of homemade fries and a salad.
Get it with a lovely bottle of local Uruguayan Tannat wine; an assault of richness and flavor that will leave you wanting more!
Address: Lagunillas 448, 11300 Montevideo
Hours: Tues – Sat, 7:00 pm -12:00 pm; Sun 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm; Closed Mon
What to order: Pulpon or asado
2. Indulge In a Chivito At a Chiviteria
The chivito is the national sandwich of Uruguay.
Chivito means “little goat” in Spanish, and the history of this sandwich goes back to the 1960s.
In the story, an Argentine asked a restaurant owner for a dish of roasted goat like the one she was accustomed to back home.
The chef had no goat, but he slapped together a sandwich and topped it with a little of just about everything in the kitchen. It was a hit, and the Chivito sandwich was born.
The chivito is a huge sandwich filled with loads of meat. It is made up of a thin slice of churrasco (filet mignon beef), topped with bacon, mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, mayonnaise, ham, olives, and a fried egg.
It is served with french fries or baked potatoes, and it can be prepared as a sandwich or as a dish.
If you are still hungry for more, you might want to try the Canadiense, a variation of the chivito sandwich with Canadian bacon.
There is no shortage of places to have a chivito in Montevideo. Honestly, it is difficult to pick just one place to have this sandwich. Restaurants take great pride in making the best chivitos, as they celebrate the national dish.
Our advice is to have it more than once, at a couple of different locations.
Best Restaurant in Montevideo for Chivito
Chiviteria Marcos in the Pocitos neighborhood, just a couple of blocks from the beach, serves it in large portions with local beer. Our recommendation is to go there, indulge, and share it!
Address: Av. Luis Alberto de Herrera 1186, 11300 Montevideo
Hours: Open daily, 10:00 am – 12:00 am
What to order: Chivito or Canadiense
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST RECIPE: If traveling to Montevideo is not on your immediate travel plans, you can savor Uruguay’s national dish at home. Follow the steps outlined in our simple recipe Best Chivito Sandwich: How To Make Uruguay National Dish
3. Have a Gourmet Lunch with Tannat, the National Wine of Uruguay
If you’re a meat lover, a gourmet lunch at Bodega Bouza is a must when visiting Montevideo Uruguay.
Here, you can sample incredible cuts of grilled beef and lamb in their chateau-style restaurant.
Bodega Bouza winery in Punta Carretas is about 30 minutes from the center of Montevideo and is well worth the trip.
Along with your meal, you can sample incredible wine pairings featuring Tannat – the signature grape of Uruguay.
This family-owned boutique winery offers tours of the bodega, wine tasting, and a restaurant.
They even give you a tour of the private classic car collection of Mr. Bouza, which features more than 30 antique cars and motorcycles.
If you have never had Tannat wine before, be prepared to enjoy some of the best wine you will ever taste.
The experience at Bodega Bouza is outstanding. The tour is led by knowledgeable guides, the wines are fantastic, and the food at the restaurant is incredibly delicious.
Address: Cno. Redemption bis 7658 Uruguay
Hours: Guided tours: Mon – Fri at 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, & 4:00 pm
Pro Tips: Take a guided tour including wine tasting and lunch
4. Try Morcilla Dulce at Mercado del Puerto – A Parrilla Experience
You may already be familiar with blood sausages or morcilla. In Uruguay, morcilla dulce is a local specialty that you don’t want to miss out on.
These are sweet blood sausages made with sugar, raisins, and ground nutmeg to give them their sweet taste.
You’ll be surprised at how sweet these sausages really are. The caramelized sugar on the sausages combined with the raisins and nutmeg make them like a dessert.
Have your first sausage dessert, an experience of a lifetime.
One of the best places to experience morcilla dulce is at Mercado del Puerto in the Old City or Ciudad Vieja.
A market only by name, this Montevideo former old port market building built in 1868 has impressive iron-wrought structures.
This market is now made up of a pavilion of restaurants dedicated to selling meat.
These parrillas all share the common elements of open fires and large iron grills filled with varied cuts of meats and sausages cooking tenderly to perfection.
Although it is a bit touristy, with restaurant staff fighting for your attention while presenting their English menu, it is worth a visit. Look around and seat yourself at a counter that appeals to your taste buds.
One restaurant that’s popular with locals and that we recommend is Don Garcia.
Address: Mercado del Puerto, Rambla 25 de Agosto de 1825 228, Montevideo, Uruguay
Hours: Open daily, 12:30 pm – 5:30 pm
Pro Tips: Make sure you have cash, as card payments are not accepted
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5. Grab a Pizza “Por Metro”
Pizza por metro, literally meaning “pizza by the meter,” is a traditional Uruguayan pizza. It is similar to a typical Neapolitan-style pizza.
However, instead of being round, it’s rectangular, and the crust is thicker.
The pizzas are cooked in big clay ovens with a variety of toppings and are sold by the meter.
This dish is a great example of the Italian influence visible in Montevideo Uruguay food. In fact, it’s estimated that 40% of the Uruguayan population is of Italian descent.
You can enjoy this indulgent dish as a late-night snack option with your favorite pizza toppings.
Best Montevideo Restaurant For Pizza Por Metro
Papiros, a classic casual restaurant in Montevideo, stands out for its wood-fired pizza.
Address: Av. 18 de Julio 2092, 11200 Montevideo
Hours: Open daily, 11:00 am – 1:30 am
Pro Tips: Open late – stop by for a late-night snack
6. Enjoy a Tarta on la Rambla While Watching the Sunset
Tartas are delicious savory pies similar to a quiche. They are puff pastries filled with different ingredients from ham and cheese, to a variety of pastries filled with vegetables.
One of the most typical tartas in Uruguay is the Pascualina. This particular type of tarta is stuffed with spinach and hard-boiled eggs.
It is typically eaten cold and during Easter when meat consumption is restricted.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: We had one of our best tarta in Colonia del Sacramento. Don’t miss out on visiting this quaint and charming Unesco world heritage site in Uruguay. We recommend this personalized private tour to Colonia del Sacramento get the more of your visit.
Best Places in Montevideo To Eat A Tarta
Confiteria Saratoga is one of the best deli-bakeries in Montevideo. They have fresh bread and pastries baked daily as well as prepared meals.
Order one of the many tartas and ask for it caliente or hot. If the Pascualina torta is available, get tempted by this local treat.
Confiteria Saratoga is located in Pocitos, an upscale neighborhood about ten minutes from the center of Montevideo.
From the Confiteria, walk to La Rambla, the main avenue on the waterfront. Stroll on La Rambla and enjoy your tarta while watching the sunset on the Rio de la Plata.
Address: Manuel Vincente Pagola 3291, Montevideo
Hours: Mon – Sat, 7:00 am – 8:30 pm.
What to order: Tarta or pascualina
If you prefer a sit-in or dine-in experience check out Su-Bar, one of many popular restaurants in Montevideo.
Address: Juan D. Jackson 1151, 11200 Montevideo
Hours: Mon – Fri, 8:00 am – 4:00 pm; Sat, 8:00 am – 2:30 pm
What to order: Tarta – espinacha y queso con guarnición
7. Make a Stop for Lehmeyun, Montevideo Local Food from Armenia
The Armenian community in Uruguay is one of the oldest in South America. We were surprised to learn that most live in the capital, Montevideo.
Many of the Armenians are third or even fourth-generation descendants of the first wave of immigrants coming from the Ottoman Empire.
When the Armenians migrated to Uruguay, they brought their traditional cuisine and in particular, the Lehmeyun.
While in Turkey exploring the local food specialties, lahmacun (the Turkish spelling) was one of our favorite street food dishes.
In Montevideo, Uruguay, the Lehmeyun is a round, thin piece of dough topped with minced meat most commonly beef or lamb.
Finely cut-up minced vegetables and herbs including onions, tomatoes, and parsley are added to it.
The lehmeyun is then baked and served warm.
Best Restaurant in Montevideo To Eat Lehmeyun
One of the best places to have it in Montevideo is Erevan, a popular Armenian restaurant.
Conveniently located five blocks from Playa Pocitos, the most famous beach of Montevideo, it is a great place to have lunch.
Join the local crowd and appreciate the Uruguayan immigration culture through this Montevideo food.
Address: Jose Ellauri 1308, Montevideo, Uruguay
Hours: Mon-Sun, 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm – 12:00 am
What to order: Lehmeyun
8. Delight on Uruguayan Ice Cream Flavors
Ice cream lovers will not be disappointed in Montevideo. You will find several local options where you can cool off with ice cream.
For an authentic experience, try ice cream flavors that reflect the pride of the country.
Try ice cream made from Tannat wine and from Yerba Mate, the other national beverage.
For a gourmet experience, the best place to try these flavors is at Heladeria del Abuelo.
This locally owned store ranks high on creativity and innovation. The ice cream here is artisanal where all ingredients are natural and no additives or dyes are used.
Go out on a limb and try these unique ice cream flavors.
Address: Orinoco 5052, 11400 Montevideo
Hours: Mon – Fri, 4:00 pm – 12:00 am, Sat & Sun, 12:00 pm – 12:00 am
What to order: Tannat and Yerba mate ice cream
9. Sip on Medio y Medio for Merienda At Mercado Agricola
This traditional Uruguay drink quickly became one of our favorite drinks. Medio y Medio is a unique sparkling wine made by combining 50% white wine and 50% sparkling wine or spumante.
The name Medio y Medio means “half and half” in Spanish.
This unique sparkling wine was first created in 1886 at a bar called Roldys, located at Mercado del Puerto. Today, you will find it everywhere as a popular aperitif option.
This refreshing drink with a light and slightly sweet taste is incredibly easy to drink. You will also find some blends with red, rose, and white wines to cater to all tastes.
The Mercado Agricola de Montevideo (MAM Agricultural Market) is an attraction and can be described as a foodie center.
Located north of the city, it takes about 10 minutes to get there by bus from the Montevideo city center.
This market is known for its sheer size and its early 20th-century architecture. Upon entry through the main door, the modern design and the cleanliness of the place is striking especially for a working farmers market.
With more than 100 vendors, including specialty food stores and restaurants, you will find a large selection of fruits, vegetables, and organic specialty stores.
Visit the market when there is one of the many events scheduled at the end of the week.
Try Medio y Medio at Chin Chin, one of the best places to enjoy a late afternoon drink with a charcuterie board.
Address: José L. Terra 2220, Montevideo
Hours: Mon-Sun, 9:00 am – 10:00 pm
What to order: Medio y Medio and shop for fresh produce
10. Have Flan Dulce de Leche for Dessert
Flan has ancient origins dating back to Roman times. Today, it is enjoyed in a variety of forms in other countries around the world, like in Mexico, with its own flair.
Uruguay has its own version of this historic dessert – Flan Dulce de Leche.
The flan is served along with a scoop of dulce de leche, a caramelized milk originating in Latin America.
Depending on the restaurant, it may also be served with a scoop of ice cream.
The flan itself is slightly gelatinous in form, made from milk, sugar, and eggs, and commonly, vanilla.
The dulce de leche addition gives this Montevideo food a more complex, rich, and sweet flavor.
Be sure to try the Uruguayan version of this global dessert throughout your travels.
Best Restaurant in Montevideo For Local Dessert and More
Jacinto is a reference for the local gastronomy in Montevideo since 2012. In addition to their quaint restaurant, Jacinto has a bakery where you can get some tasty bread delightful pastries.
Address: Sarandi 349 alzaibar 1356, 11000 Montevideo
Hours: Open Mon -Tues, 10:00 am to 4:30 pm; Wed-Sat 10:00 – 11:30, Closed Sun
What to order: Flan Dulce de Leche
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST RECIPE: Dulce de Leche is a beloved South American treat. Learn to make it at home with our simple Best Dulce de Leche in Argentina | Authentic Homemade Recipe
Frequently Asked Questions about Montevideo Food
What Food is Montevideo Known For?
Montevideo foods are often thought of in terms of its biggest export – beef. Uruguay is one of the largest exporters of beef in the world, and you’ll find many parrillas or steakhouses serving up different cuts of this traditional food.
What is The Most Popular Food in Uruguay?
The most popular dish in Uruguay is the national dish, Chivito. Chivito is a sandwich assembled with thick-cut bread, beef steak, bacon, ham, mozzarella, olives, and tomato, topped with a fried egg. The Chivito is also available as a plated dish without the bread.
Tannat, the national red wine grape variety is growing in popularity.
In Montevideo, you will find varied cuisines and local food options. While it may not have the international acclaim of its neighboring countries, Uruguayan cuisine is no less delicious.
Allow yourself to be surprised by the great food and unique flavors.
Discover how the capital of this small country will surprise and delight you with its local food, wine, and mate.
Have you tried any of these Montevideo food specialties before? Please let us know which ones in the comments below.
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Claire is co-founder of Authentic Food Quest and a lover of simple and exquisite cuisine. Since 2015, with her partner, Rosemary, she has been traveling the world as a digital nomad, creating content about local food experiences.
Her advice from visiting 45 countries and more than 240 food cities has been featured in Lonely Planet, Business Insider, Honest Cooking, Food Insider, and Huffington Post. She has also co-authored three books, including one in collaboration with Costa Brava Tourism.
An ex-mechanical engineer, Claire is responsible for SEO, keeping the website running, and the fun food & travel videos on YouTube.
When Claire is not eating, she can be found running or cycling. Find out more about Authentic Food Quest