Every summer, Argentines and Brazilians flock to the stunning resort of Punta del Este in Uruguay for a summer of fun and relaxation. But Punta del Este is not just about partying and sunbathing; it also has a fantastic gastronomic offer to discover. From small refuges hidden in sand dunes to high-end restaurants with elegant tasting menus, there is something for everyone. Here, we reveal 10 of the best restaurants in Punta del Este, plus two additional tips.
When Jean Paul Bondoux moved to Uruguay in 1982, he probably never imagined that he would continue serving classic French dishes there almost 40 years later. The story begins with La Bourgogne, an award-winning haute cuisine restaurant whose menu includes Burgundy classics, such as snails or magret de canard (duck breast). Bondoux has kept La Bourgogne (it has the Relais & Châteaux seal of approval) in the family; his children Aurelien and Amandine also cook in the restaurant, and you can also try the Pinot Noir that Aurelien and Jean Paul prepared together. If fishing is abundant, chef María Elena Marfetán will drive two hours from Punta del Este to Lake Rocha to pick up blue crab and shrimp to serve for dinner.
Going the extra mile can certainly be seen in their establishment Lo de Tere, one of the best restaurants in Punta del Este. This family-run restaurant offers meat, fish and seafood, but the octopus carpaccio and mussels picked on nearby Isla de Lobos served with herbs picked on the beach and red crab salad are definitely a hit. Enjoy the views of the marina and the friendly service (regular customers even enjoy personalized napkins); the wine list is also remarkable. Those in the know order María Elena's elegant seafood tasting menu (24 hours in advance required).
In the last decade, there have been options of great gastronomic quality that make the visit worthwhile beyond the price, such as La Cantina del Vigía (Zelmar Michelini 744 Tel. And, if Punta del Este is considered one of the best tourist centers, the José Ignacio area would be the best; there, the one you cannot miss is the Parador La Huella (Calle de Los Cisnes, Playa Brava, Tel. Don't be fooled by its beach cabin atmosphere and its thatched roof; here, the ocean, earth and fire come together in dishes to share, The delicious whole sea bass Flame-roasted combined with tubers. Punta del Este has a reputation for having high prices and among regular tourists it is common to travel several nights to the city of Maldonado to enjoy a cheaper menu. An adorable retreat with views of Playa Brava in José Ignacio is La Cantina del Vigía.
Pick up and mix delicious salads to take them straight to the beach or recharge your batteries with a white cake and a slice of lemon at nightfall. Owned by Agustín Benítez and Federico Desseno -the latter is also the creator of the Marismo restaurant in José Ignacio-, and with a menu designed by chef Fernando Trocca, La Cantina del Vigía has two wood ovens from which the delicacies of the sea and the countryside come out. While this luxury Brazilian hotel chain has three restaurants in its Punta del Este location, Fasano is undoubtedly one of its best. Chef Gastón Yelicich cooked in Europe and the United States before returning to his native Uruguay and, after working in restaurants in José Ignacio, opened Cuatro Mares on the Punta Peninsula. After the success of Marismo, Federico also owns La Cantina del Vigía, an informal restaurant in the square in the quiet town of Maldonado.