Montevideo's population is the result of immigration. This accounts for its varied cuisine. Uruguayan cuisine received the influence of the immigrants -mostly Spanish and Italian, and to a lesser extent French, English and German- who started arriving in Montevideo at the time of foundation of the city, a process which went on until mid 20th century. For that reason it includes fish, seafood, pasta and pizza. Meat, the main ingredient of our traditional cuisine, was later added to immigrant dishes, giving meals a more local flavor, and giving rise to different pot dishes. Our gentle weather and good soils, where cattle feeds in lavish grasslands, contributed to putting Uruguayan meat in a privileged position in the world. According to recent studies performed by the Instituto Nacional de Carnes, Uruguayans eats 64 kilograms of meat per capita per year.
Asado and mate
Uruguayans inherited asado and mate from the charrúa and guaraní indians and from the native creoles who lived before the birth of our country. These elements were strongly embraced in the capital city, regardless of social classes. The asado (barbecue meat) became the most consumed food, and the infusion called mate the Uruguayans' national beverage par excellence.
One of the possibilities to enjoy our tasteful meat is to eat a slowly cooked barbecue. The asado or barbecue is for Uruguayans more than a meal. It is just an excuse to meet family and friends at weekends or on holidays. Barbecues usually include meat, sausages, and organ meats (Molleja, riñón, chinchulín, etc.) .
The tasteful Uruguayan chivito is a sandwich made of beef tenderloin, lettuce, tomato, eggs, red pepper, and mayonnaise. It may also include ham, bacon, mozzarella cheese and French fries.
Montevideo restaurants' dishes are prepared by talented chefs, who reflect their knowledge and experience in the flavor and presentation of their meals, including fresh and natural products aimed at seducing guests.
Lamb meat and tannat wine
Taste our great lamb meat accompanied by a Tannat wine, a Uruguayan trademark drink. They make a perfect combination. The increase in the consumption of lamb meet and good wine resulted in the organization of the Festival del Tannat y el Cordero, which has been held each year since 2009.
Dulce de leche
The dulce de leche, a favorite dessert in the River Plate cuisine, is essential both at home and in restaurants menus. Some of our most delicious desserts include this tasty ingredient.
Tortas frita are a typically Uruguayan dish made of dough, flour, yeast and water, and cooked on boiling fat. They usually consist of a round circle with a hole in the middle to facilitate cooking. The tradition goes that tortas fritas are tastier if eaten on a rainy day. The smell of the damp earth reminds Uruguayans of this ritual. Many shops take advantage of this tradition and –on rainy days- they prepare and sell tortas fritas to those who cannot cook them at home.