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A Guide to Eating and Drinking in Montevideo

Mate in Montevideo

When it comes to eating and drinking in Montevideo, there's only one thing for certain: meat lovers will not go hungry, as the city is justifiably famous for offering some of the largest, tastiest steaks around.

For the very best steaks, head to the designated restaurants known as 'parillas'. There are many fine parillas in the Mercado del Puerto and the area is known for serving the largest steaks in the city at temptingly reasonable prices.

Traditional snacks include the 'chivito,' which is a huge meat sandwich served with great numbers of vegetables. But it's not all about meat: fish is also typically superb in the city, with a variety of paella-like dishes popular with locals and travelers alike. The outdoor market known as Feria de Tristan Narvajam has great food on the go for all tastes.

On the beverage side of things, top tipples include 'medio y medio', which is a blend of local white and sparkling wines. However, by fa rthe most famed drink in Uruguay is 'mate,' produced from the yerba herb. It's an acquired taste and many visitors require a spot of sugar with theirs, but locals will have it without as a 'mate amargo.'

The old town has a number of good cafes where travelers can enjoy a budget-friendly lunch or an early evening meal. These places will also be the saviour of the vegetarian, who can end up feeling somewhat sorry for themselves in the larger restaurants.

The Pocitos district is the most popular part of town for local restaurant-goers. Many of the establishments are a touch pricey but the food is superb.

As the evening stretches ahead, the nightlife in Montevideo waits to begin. Crowds head for the bars from around 22:00 but no-one takes to a dance floor much before 00:00.

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