Cuisine of Montevideo

Cuisine of Montevideo refers to the food cooked and served in the city of Montevideo, Uruguay. The cuisine served in this city is similar to the one served throughout the whole country of Uruguay, with beef being a staple of the diet along with the torta frita; a pan-fried cake. The influx of immigrants and tourists into the capital over the decades, introduced a range of culinary influences that can be found in the city.

"Fish in a box", fresh fish served with Mediterranean vegetables in a Montevideo restaurant
Chicken served in a restaurant in Montevideo

In recent years the number of restaurants and the diversity of cuisine has increased considerably, Lonely Planet describes the Montevideo culinary scene as "just starting to get exciting" with a variety of restaurants within the city, expanding from traditional Uruguayan cuisine to Japanese cuisine and Middle Eastern cuisine.[1] Restaurant Arcadia atop the Plaza Victoria on the 25th floor of the Radisson Montevideo Victoria Plaza Hotel is widely regarded to be the finest restaurant in the city.[citation needed]


A torta frita is a pan-fried cake consumed in Montevideo and throughout Uruguay. It is usually circular, with a small cut in the centre for even cooking, and is made from wheat flour, yeast, water and sugar or salt.[2] Beef is very important in Uruguayan cuisine and an essential part of many dishes. Many of the restaurants serve beef steaks, pork or chicken dishes.[3] Given that Montevideo is a coastal city, it is also provided by a plentiful supply of fresh fish which alongside beef and chicken is very important in the Montevideo cuisine. Some restaurants like Che Montevideo on the Rambla Gandhi in the Pocitos area of the city, specialise in fresh seafood.[4]

Mercado del PuertoEdit

Mercado del Puerto

The centre of traditional Uruguayan food and beverage in Montevideo is the Mercado del Puerto ("Port Market"). This complex contains a considerable range of restaurants and cafes. La Palenque restaurant serves Uruguayan and Spanish cuisine with a variety of lamb, pork and cold meats dishes with vegetables, paella, rice and shellfish.[5] Additionally, the market is host to various cultural events on Saturdays.[6]

The Mercado del Puerto is the city's most famous area for parillas ("barbecues").[7][8] The open-aired building which houses the market was built in 1868.[7] While originally a venue for fresh produce, it is now filled with parillas.[9] The structure was built in the style of a nineteenth-century British Railway station.[10] It is listed among "The Best Markets" in South America by Frommer's.[6]


Left:Arcadia. Right:El Fogon
A McDonald's in Montevideo, a sign of increased globalization

Montevideo has a variety of restaurants, from traditional Uruguayan cuisine to Japanese cuisine such as sushi. Western fast-food chains such as McDonald's,[11] and Burger King[12] are evident in the city, showing the forces of globalization.

The Restaurante Arcadia, on the 25th floor of the Radisson Montevideo Victoria Plaza Hotel is considered Montevideo's best restaurant.[13][14] Arcadia is set in a classic Italian-inspired dining room and serves lavish dishes such as terrine of pheasant marinated in cognac, grilled lamb glazed with mint and garlic, and duck confit on thin strudel pastry with red cabbage.[13]El Fogon is more popular with the late-night diners of the city. Its interior is brightly lit and the walls covered with big mirrors.[13] Officially a barbecue and seafood restaurant, it serves grilled meat dishes, as well as salmon, shrimp and calamari.[13] Also of note is the Cru. Numerous restaurants are located along the Rambla of Montevideo.

Kokoro is a Japanese restaurant located on Viejo Pancho in the barrio of Pocitos. It serves traditional Japanese cuisine, mainly dishes with meat and fish to suit the Uruguayan palette.[15] Its dishes range from appetizers such as a dumpling of salmon and nira, to Sauteed whitefish with Teriyaki sauce and white rice to rolled sushi and sashimi and Japanese curry and rice with Wagyu (beef) or chicken. Deserts include green tea ice cream and apple rolls.[15]

Kazbah is Middle Eastern restaurant located on the Bartolomé Mitre. It serves dishes such as falafel, schwarma (doner kebabs), couscous and tagin.[1]Panini's is a notable Italian restaurant located in the Ciudad Vieja historical area of the city, just off the Plaza Independencia, and is testament to the influences of some of the Uruguayan Italian immigrants. It is noted in particular for its "degustación de pastas", described as "a veritable smorgasbord of noodley delights."[16]

Also of note is Rara Avis in the east wing of the Solís Theatre,[17][18] a branch of the Uruguayan chain of restaurants called La Pasiva in the Centro area which serves pastas and meat dishes, and the restaurants in the Mercado del Puerto[19][20] and the Mercado de la Abundancia.[21]

Bars and pubsEdit

Line cooks grilling sausages and other meats in a market near the port of Montevideo, Uruguay.

Many of the notable bars in the city are located in the barrio of Pocitos near the sea. Amongst these pubs of note include the "Tibet Pub", "La Estada", "La Vuelta" and the "Rosh Bistró Bar".

Many bars and pubs are located inside community markets. Customers at markets may sit at bars to order sausages, offal, asado, and other meats that are being grilled right in front of them. Meats, especially cheap cuts of beef and pork such as sausages and organs, are a large part of the ordinary diet in Montevideo. The various meats are served with simple side dishes such as crusty bread, tapenades, fried potatoes, and tapas. During lunch, local lager beer is the most common choice of accompaniment, although soft drinks such as colas are widely available. In addition to having bars and pubs, markets in Montevideo also sell fresh produce, mate, coffee, kitchen ware, and other basic consumer goods.

The Shannon Irish Pub

In the old area of the city or the immediate surroundings notable pubs include the "Shannon Irish pub" and "Chains Pub". The Shannon Irish pub in the Old City area of the city was established in 2001.[22] It is located at Bartolomé Mitre 1318, 2 blocks from the Plaza Independencia and 1 block from the Plaza Matriz. Bradt Travel Guides says "An Irish pub on Montevideo's liveliest pub street, with a wide range of beers (although Uruguayans find it hard to understand why an Irish pub doesn't serve Irish coffee)."[23] The pub is an important centre for Irish Uruguayans, often featuring live music.[24] The pub serves traditional Irish whiskey by Jameson (1780), Paddy (1779), Powers Gold Label (1791), Bushmills (1608), Redbreast, Ballantine's (1827) and others and mainly sandwiches and fajitas.[25]

Former world record barbecueEdit

On the 13th of April 2008, twelve thousand five hundred cooks in Montevideo together grilled 12 tonnes (26,500 lb) of beef, setting a new Guinness world record.[26] The event required a grill nearly 1.6 km (1 mi) long and 6 tonnes of charcoal. The barbecue bested the previous record of 8 tonnes, which was set by Mexico in 2006.[26][27] Montevideo's record held until March 2011, when 13.713 tonnes (30,232 lb) of beef were grilled in General Pico in Argentina.[28]

Now the record is back in Uruguay, precisely in Minas[29]


  1. ^ a b "Kazbah". Lonely Planet. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  2. ^ "Torta Frita Cuando Llueve". Archived from the original on 26 April 2011. Retrieved 21 November 2010.
  3. ^ Greenberg, Arnold; Greenberg, Harriet (1975). South America on $10 a day. A. Frommer. ISBN 9780671227272. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  4. ^ "Che Montevideo". Lonely Planet. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  5. ^ "Gastronomy". El Palenque. Archived from the original on 5 April 2011. Retrieved 27 May 2011.
  6. ^ a b "The Best Markets." Frommer's. Accessed: 1 June 2011
  7. ^ a b degrazier. "Walking Through Ciudad Vieja, Montevideo."
  8. ^ Brown, Polly Rodger. Read, James. First-time Latin America.
  9. ^ Amy & Jonny "Mercado del Puerto, Montevideo, Uruguay: The Meat Odyssey Continues."
  10. ^ The Rough Guide to South America On a Budget. Penguin, 2009.
  11. ^ McDonald's Uruguay
  12. ^ Thomas register of American manufacturers and Thomas register catalog file. Thomas Pub. Co. 1996. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  13. ^ a b c d Shawn Blore; Alexandra de Vries; Eliot Greenspan; Haas Mroue; Michael Luongo; Charlie O'Malley; Kristina Schreck; Neil E. Schlecht (2003). Frommer's South America (3 ed.). Frommer's, John Wiley and Sons. pp. 686–92. ISBN 0-471-77897-4.
  14. ^ "Radisson Montevideo Victoria Plaza Hotel". Radisson. Retrieved November 26, 2010.
  15. ^ a b "Menu". Kokoro. Archived from the original on 23 October 2011. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  16. ^ "Panini's". Lonely Planet. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  17. ^ Article of the newspaper EL País about the Rara Avis
  18. ^ Mention of the inauguration of Rara Avis in the east wing of the Solis Theater by the IMM Archived 2012-03-28 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ Official site of the Mercado del Puerto
  20. ^ Page of the Intendencia Municipal de Montevideo about the Mercado del Puerto Archived 2010-11-20 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ Page of the Intendencia Municipal de Montevideo about the Mercado de la Abundancia Archived 2011-06-04 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ . The Shannon Irish Pub Retrieved 25 May 2011. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)/
  23. ^ Burford, Tim (2010). Uruguay. Bradt Travel Guides. p. 99. ISBN 978-1-84162-316-0. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  24. ^ McWilliams, David (7 March 2008). The generation game. Macmillan. p. 188. ISBN 978-0-230-70651-4. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  25. ^ "Nuestro Menú". The Shannon Irish Pub. Retrieved 25 May 2011./
  26. ^ a b Davydo, Dmitri. "World's Biggest BBQ." 2008-04-14
  27. ^ "Uruguay sizzles up one big barbecue." The Associated Press 4/13/2008
  28. ^ "World's biggest barbeque." Baltimore Sun March 20, 2011
  29. ^ "[1]." BBC December 11, 2017

Further readingEdit