Traveling to Uruguay? Here’s a list of things you can’t miss in your next visit to Montevideo!
Try the traditional Uvita win
The Uvita is a sweet handcrafted wine, symbol of the Baar Fun Fun (with a double “a”), a place that opened in 1895 in the Old Town, with which it achieved its current fame.
The bar reflects the tango identity of the city with its typical scenery, and for over 100 years has been visited by many national and international celebrities, including the very own Carlos Gardel.
Visits are recorded on its walls, which can let you make a virtual journey through those decades of history.
It is an ideal place to go for an exquisite shot (or even a bottle!) of Uvita at night and enjoy a tango candombe show.
Barbecue at the Mercado del Puerto
Mercado del Puerto is one of the iconic places of Montevideo. An old market in the Old City, just in front of the harbor, has become the main gastronomic tour of the city.
Under its huge iron structure are more than 14 restaurants serving different dishes, but something that really stands out and you can not afford missing, is their roast beef.
The roast, though it has spread to other countries, and sometimes with slight differences, is a typical food of the River Plate and southern Brazil.
An Uruguayan grill is usually made out of ribs, roast, entails, pork, sausage, cheese, peppers, corn, among many other foods that decorate the grill with their different colors, aromas and flavors.
Walk through the 18 de Julio
This is the main artery of Montevideo, which is frequented by thousands of Uruguayans and tourists every day. In its vicinity there are many of the typical places to visit in Montevideo, besides being an excellent tour to begin to know the Uruguayan capital and interact with its people and their national culture.
Cinemas, theaters, shops, plazas, mate, fried cakes, a giant screen with the national soccer team’s matches and historical buildings will accompany you through the city’s main avenue.
Go to a soccer game
In one of the most footballing countries in the world, it is necessary to go to the legendary Centenario Stadium to watch the Uruguayan team playing, or a match between its two main clubs, Nacional and Peñarol, or even, a classic between the two clubs in which you’ll live the passion that this country has for the sport.
Even though “chivito” means “little goat” in Spanish, we’re not talking about the animal. A Chivito is a kind of sandwich invented almost by accident in the 1940s in a restaurant in Punta del Este, similar to the Argentine and Paraguayan beef tenderloin, or the Brazilian bauru. Legend has it that a customer arrived at a restaurant asking for goat meat. But as they didn’t have any, and there was not much else to offer that day as there had been a power outage, they prepared toast with butter, ham and beef tenderloin. The improvised dish was a success, and the recipe spread quickly to the rest of the country.
Over time the Chivito changed, and today you can find many varieties, such as with chicken or vegetarian ones.
There are many Chivitos on the menu for you to choose and taste, and the 18 de Julio is ideal to find a place that sells them!
Drinking mate at any time of day, and eating fried cakes are other Uruguayan traditions. Mate is a caffeinated infusion drink prepared with yerba mate, which is consumed mainly in Uruguay, Argentina, southern Brazil, and Paraguay. It is also consumed in some regions of Bolivia and Chile.
Inside a container called mate, the yerba mate is placed. Then hot water is poured and the beverage is consumed through a metal straw.
In Uruguay mate is bitter, and the most conservative ones say that this is the “true mate”, because nowadays there are different variants such as the sweet mate, or one with cold water, but it’s only a matter of taste.
Besides being good for your health, mate it is also useful for your daily routine, since it serves as a stimulant that can replace coffee. It is currently the most consumed beverage in the country.
On the other hand, we have the fried cakes that are often companions to the mate, especially on rainy days.
The fritters are generally circular with a cut in the middle, and are basically made of fat, flour, yeast, and are fried in beef fat. In Uruguay it is customary to eat fried cakes on rainy days, but on the street you can find many stalls selling them any day and at any time.
Listen to the rhythm of Candombe drums
The candombe is an African celebration to the beat of drums, brought to Uruguay by African slaves. The drums are called chico, repique and piano, and other instruments such as the guitar have been added to this type of music. The main event of Candombe in Uruguay takes place the first Thursday and Friday of February.
Throughout the year, you can hear the drums in the neighborhoods of Palermo and Barrio Sur (a few blocks from the 18 de Julio), or Sunday afternoons at the Parque Rodó.