4 Things To Eat In Montevideo: Classic Uruguay Cuisine

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On our trip to Montevideo, we feasted on Uruguay cuisine. Some of the Montevideo food we ate was so good that we ate it twice (a rarity for us, as we usually like to try as many different local dishes as possible!). Most of our meals were devoured at the Montevideo market, Mercado del Puerto, where we dined on huge portions of Uruguayan meat dishes accompanied by local beer. After sampling an abundance of fare, we ranked our choices for the best things to eat in Montevideo, Uruguay.


Uruguay Traditional Food

Uruguayan cuisine has been heavily influenced from other countries – most prominently by Spain, Italy and Portugal. In the Age of Discovery and colonization, these countries brought their gastronomy with them. As a result, much of the Uruguay typical food is rooted elsewhere, but has evolved into something that is uniquely their own.


About Uruguayan Food

Our top recommendations for food in Montevideo are the best things we ate in Uruguay. Unfortunately, we don’t have any tips for vegetarians. Although it is not impossible to find meatless Montevideo, Uruguay food, we weren’t seeking it out during our trip. It’s also important to note that Uruguay food and drinks are not as affordable as we thought they would be. Uruguay main dishes at restaurants often cost around $15 USD, which was higher than we expected.


Things To Eat In Montevideo, Uruguay

Without further ado, our Montevideo, Uruguay favorite food list…


#1 Chivito Sandwich, Uruguay

A Chivito Sandwich in Montevideo, Uruguay

The Chivito is the Uruguay National Dish…and it’s utterly amazing! The classic Uruguay sandwich is rarely contained within two pieces of bread. Instead, the contents are layered in a heaping pile on a plate, spilling over the sides – and it requires a fork and knife to consume it.

The ‘sandwich’ portion of the meal is stacked with beef, ham, bacon and cheese…and then topped with a fried egg and sometimes olives for extra flair. Typically, an assortment of ‘sides’ – fries, potato salad and mixed greens – will be buried beneath the Goliath sandwich. When it comes to Uruguay famous food, the Chivito is – by far – the most unique and an absolute must-try for visitors!


#2 Uruguayan Grill Parilla

Grilled BBQ Chorizo at market in Montevideo, Uruguay

Uruguayan barbecue meat is a Montevideo specialty – and it’s delicious. Just watching the meat being prepared is a fascinating adventure in the Uruguay culinary scene. At both markets and restaurants, grills – called parilla in Uruguay – are covered in thick cuts of beef, coiled pork and vegetables. The meat sizzles over glowing coals, sending a tantalizing scent into the air that is simply irresistible.

The meat is often served as a main meal, but smaller portions of meat from the grill are popular Uruguay appetizers. Our favored grilled meat in Montevideo is chorizo, which is ground pork sausage that has been seasoned with garlic, salt and peppers.  

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#3 Uruguayan Pizza

Uruguayan Pizza in Montevideo, Uruguay

Pizza may have been introduced to South America by Italians, but Uruguayan Pizza has its own flair. Rather than a circular pie, pizza in Uruguay is square. There are numerous choices when it comes to toppings, many of which are meat products, like pancetta.


#4 Empanadas, Uruguay

Empanadas and beer in Montevideo, Uruguay

While in Uruguay, we loved eating empanadas as a quick lunch or snack on-the-go. Empanadas are a great budget option for eating in Montevideo. The small dough pouches are prepared with an assortment of fillings. Most common are carne (meat) and jamon y queso (ham and cheese), but we tried empanadas with egg, chicken and pancetta, too.

However, not all empanadas are savory; sweet empanadas filled with fruit or chocolate and are popular Uruguay desserts. Empanadas are often found in bakeries, but there are entire shops dedicated solely to empanadas.


Drink Mate In Uruguay

When it comes to Uruguay drinks, none are as iconic as Mate. The caffeine-laden drink is made with yerba mate leaves that are steeped in a thermos of hot water. The liquid is then poured into a special mug and is consumed with a metal straw. Locals are often spotted walking through the city while carrying the thermos in the crook of their arm, the mug in one hand and their mobile phone in the other. As one of the most popular drinks in Uruguay, it’s a must-try in Montevideo!


Best Restaurants In Montevideo, Uruguay

As we previously mentioned, our favorite place to eat in Montevideo was at Mercado del Puerto, which features numerous restaurants. The choices made it easy for us to have an appetizer at one place and then try a meal at another spot. However, visitors looking for the best restaurants in Montevideo can seek out the best spots by reading reviews on TripAdvisor.



Our Top Tips For Your Trip To Montevideo

Now that you know what to eat in Montevideo, we have a few more tips for your trip! 


Montevideo Food and Wine Experience

Learn about the local culinary scene from a professional guide on a Montevideo Food and Wine experience. Travel to a nearby winery for tastings then indulge in a typical 3-course meal at the vineyard. Learn more about this tour!


Where To Stay In Montevideo, Uruguay

We think Barrio Sur is the best area to stay in Montevideo. The district is near the city center, Ciudad Vieja and the coast. During our Montevideo visit, we stayed in mid-range accommodations at Hotel Iberia (where the rooms were clean and the staff was friendly). There are numerous options when it comes to Montevideo hotels, which are priced for a range of budgets.

We recommend you start your search for accommodations in Montevideo on Booking.com – like we do!


Top Tips for Your Trip To Uruguay


We Want To Know: What is your favorite thing to eat in Montevideo? What other Uruguay cuisine would you add to our list of must-try dishes? Give us your best tips and advice in the comments below!


Start planning your trip to Montevideo, Uruguay! Search for the lowest airfares, the best accommodations and fun things to do…then start packing!  Want more travel planning tips? Head over to our Travel Planning page for more information and tips on traveling – and for country-specific information, take a look at our Travel Guides page!


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Eat in Montevideo JetSetting Fools

  Eat in Montevideo JetSetting Fools

What To Eat in Montevideo, Uruguay by JetSettingFools.com The Best Things To Eat In Montevideo, Uruguay by JetSettingFools.com 4 Must Try Things To Eat in Montevideo, Uruguay by JetSettingFools.com
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6 thoughts on “4 Things To Eat In Montevideo: Classic Uruguay Cuisine

  1. Steveo

    Did you not try any milenesa? What about tortas fritas with dulce de leche? Did you try the yogurt there? Canelones con salsa Blanca? Asado? You may need to go back!

    • Tamara

      I lived in Uruguay most of my life…until age 27 and let me tell you you were missing on some things:
      First of like Steveo said…what about milanesas?? Milanesa Napolirana is for sure a staple that people need to try!! (not kosher at all so I won’t be eating those anymore….I am also vegetaroan now…)
      Garrapinada? Those are roasted peanuts with lots of sugar that yoy can buy in the street as well as torta fritas.
      You also forgot to mention “La pasiva” where you can find the best hot dogs along with the best chivitos…according to most people.
      The pizza is one of the things that I miss the most, specifically from “Rodelu” in the “Parque Rodo”
      But..if you only been in Montevideo…for sure you need to go back and visit other amazing places like “Cabo Polonio”, “Colonia”, “Piriapolis”, “Punta del Este”, “Las termas”… and more…where you will discover not only beautiful sights but great new dishes. Have a great day!!

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