When it comes to eating in Uruguay, steak comes very high on the list of things you must try. It’s not just neighbouring Argentina that prides itself on producing some of the world’s finest steak, Uruguay too serves up some very succulent cuts – after all, the country has 16 million cows (and just 3.5 million people)!
One of the best places in the capital, Montevideo, for a proper parrilla (BBQ) is the traditional restaurant La Otra (http://www.laotraparrilla.com). Or make for Mercado del Puerto, the city’s old marketplace that dates back to the 1860s but is now monopolised by barbecued beef stands.
For something a little more organic and seasonal, head to Restaurant Doméstico in the boho art gallery, design studio and boutique that is La Pasionaria (http://lapasionaria.com.uy/). Here you can order a wholesome bowl of squash and coconut soup, homemade rolls and apple crumble just like granny makes it.
Chocoholics will be happy to wander down the pretty pedestrianised Pérez Castellano Street in the Old Town, stopping off at Volveras a Mi Boutique de Chocolat (https://www.facebook.com/volveras.ami.7?fref=ts), a Willy Wonka
worthy chocolate shop with bright pink stripy wallpaper above a glass display box of bonbons lined up like jewels.
All the chocolate is organic, chemical free, 70 percent and imported from Bolivia – apparently from the
world’s only cocoa beans that grow in nature (rather than being cultivated). The mouthwatering flavours range from classics like almond, coffee and orange to the somewhat unexpected (but equally moreish) blue cheese or tomato and pepper.
Last but not least, for haute cuisine the newly renovated and reopened Sofitel Montevideo Casino Carrasco & Spa (http://www.sofitel.com/gb/hotel-7969-sofitel-montevideo-casino-carrasco-and-spa/index.shtml) has a charming chandelier-laden
restaurant called 1921 (named such because this was the year the original Carrasco Hotel opened). Here you can devour the delights of Head Chef William Porte – start with a cocktail from Bar Thays as it may well be the most beautiful you ever raise to your lips, before tucking into langoustines in coconut milk followed by delicate seabass.
Gabriel O’Rorke is the author of the Santiago City Guide an app for smart phones and tablets (recommended by The Independent) with maps that work offline so you can explore the city without incurring roaming charges. The guide has been downloaded in 11 countries and is full of cafes, restaurants and hidden gems that you won’t find in standard guidebooks.