A Foodie’s Guide to Montevideo

September 13, 2018 Hanny No Comments

If you’ve read my blog post – Four Days in Montevideo, Uruguay, then you are aware that I ate a lot while in Uruguay. Not only that, but I also tried some common Uruguayan dishes as well as some great restaurants. So as a foodie, here are some of the restaurants I went to and food I ate. 

 

Los Leños

Montevideo

One of the first restaurants I went to, when I first arrived was Los Leños. A restaurant located in downtown Montevideo, this place offers an ambient like no other. Brick walls, an open space and decorated with beautiful plants. Los Leños also has some delicious choices. 

Montevideo

Although , everything on the menu looked good, I chose Milanesa (breaded steak) and Mashed Potatoes. The mashed potatoes were absolutely delicious! The seasoning was up to par, the potatoes were well smashed (You can tell they used real potatoes) and it wasn’t too grainy or creamy.  As someone who has had a lot of Milanesa before, I really enjoyed the way they made the Milanesa. There was an equal amount of breading and steak, not one overpowered the other. The steak was easy to cut as well (you have no idea how many times, I’ve had Milanesa that was overcooked). 

montevideo

The final touch that I enjoyed about this dish were the lemons. The way to eat a Milanesa is by squeezing some lemon juice on top of the Milanesa, giving it a certain zest. 

Another thing I loved about this restaurant were the drinks. I’m not talking about alcoholic drinks, but just regular drinks. One of the drinks I had was a combination of lemonade, orange juice and basil. It might be an unusual combination, but the drink was wonderful. I would have never thought to put these three ingredients together, but it works. Other people at the table, ordered a combination of lemonade, mint and ginger, which I heard was also a delicious drink. 

 

La Pasiva

This had more of a diner look to it, but it’s a great, casual restaurant to relax after a long day. Here, I tried a sandwich called Chivito. No, I am not talking about baby goats (In Spanish, goat is either Chivo or Cabra. I’ll get into the differences much later…) Anyways, Chivito is a national dish of Uruguay. Inside the sandwich, you will find a thin slice of tender cooked beef steak, mozzarella, tomatoes, lettuce, mayonnaise, ham, black or green olives and either bacon or egg. The way mine was prepared had a fried egg inside with ham, tomato, lettuce, mayonnaise, mozzarella and the steak, of course.  

As a burger lover, this was just as good as a burger. Possibly, even better. The bun was nice and crisp, the meat was cooked perfectly (it wasn’t tough) and everything else just tasted good together. I had a side a fries to go along with my Chivito, which were also delicious. 

Before I left the restaurant, I did order Chaja to go. Chaja is a Uruguayan dessert that has meringue on the outside, while the inside has a cake texture with sweet peaches. I must say though, that this wasn’t the best Chaja I’ve ever had, but it was still Chaja in Uruguay. If you ever get the chance, try Chaja with Dulce de Leche (Caramel) and Peaches, it is an amazing combination!

 

II Mondo della Pizza

If there is one thing I did, it was to eat Pizza in Uruguay. Now, I’m not writing a post about Pizza because honestly the Pizza in Uruguay was about the same as where I live….Pizza is Pizza, unless you have the deep dish from Chicago.  Anyways, my reason for including Il Mondo della Pizza here is because they had some of the best Faina ever (Okay, the only one I’ve tried so far). Faina is essentially a chickpea flatbread. I know, it sounds a bit weird, but trust me this flatbread was amazing. It is also a very popular treat to have along with Pizza. 

As someone who loves to cook and eat, I looked up recipes on how to make this delicious chickpea flatbread and the ingredients are all simple and inexpensive – chickpea flour, water, oil and salt. Even though, Pizza is not a typical dish of Uruguay, Faina is very much a Uruguayan food. So whenever you have Pizza in Uruguay, try the Faina. 

 

I had such an amazing time trying out Uruguayan food, but while on my trip, I did eat Peruvian food. I thought it was quite interesting that I was in another country eating Peruvian food. However, I do have an explanation for this. It was a Sunday afternoon, when my group of people and I realized that nothing was open in Montevideo. At least in the area we were in. It was already getting late and we were all hungry, but after seeing several restaurants closed, we decided to do some online searching (Thank goodness for phones!). That’s when we discovered that there was a restaurant called Sabor Peruano still opened. 

It’s not like me to eat Peruvian in another country that is not Peru (or Miami, FL), but as it was the only place opened, we decided to eat there. The decor of this place felt very much like Peru – Very casual and simple. I decided to get Lomo Saltado with a side of Huancaina pasta. I have never heard of Huancaina pasta before, so I thought it would be interesting to try. Lomo Saltado is served with rice and fries, so it was interesting to try another combination for once.

I must say, I am a huge fan of Huancaina pasta. I love Huancaina sauce, which is a spicy cheese sauce used to make ‘papa a la huancaina’. This sauce is also used to dip chicken or fries, but I never thought about using it on pasta. As for the Lomo Saltado, I am picky about how it is cooked. I have tried many versions of Lomo Saltado, but I did enjoy how this restaurant cooked the meat. 

My time in Uruguay was a pleasant one, and I enjoyed trying all the typical dishes of Uruguay. The only thing I am a bit disappointed about is that I didn’t get a photo of the barbecue I ate.  So if you ever have the chance to have a parillada (barbeque), then you will have some of the best steak and sausages ever!

Tip: For even more flavor, add some Chimichurri sauce to the steak (that’s how I eat my steaks!). 

 

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Montevideo

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