As you all know, our South American diet since entering Argentina has been a lot of beef and well…more beef. And then we go out to dinner for grilled beef and sausage. Needless to say, our pallets (and our figures) have been ready to dine on something a bit less dense.
Now on the shores of Uruguay, in Punta del Este, we were eager for a seafood delight or at least something different. We were pointed just up the street from our conveniently located hostel to
Before we even entered the door, the gruff chef welcomed us with a discerning look that said something like, “stupid tourists,” but in a seemingly loving way. Paul tried to push and pull the sliding door…so it was a deserving look, I suppose. A jolly younger waiter then greeted us and said don’t worry, “ the chef just needs his wine.”
The wall opposing the door was adorned with veggies and condiments, garlic and herbs. Bright colors and seaside murals filled the other walls of the small, five-table restaurant. We were the only guests and were able to basically hang out with the very friendly server while the salty chef hung in the back. It felt like we were right at home with new friends.
We happily perused the menu that seemed to have a wide selection from meats and fish to pastas at a very affordable price, about $3- $5 USD.
Paul snagged the fresh fish of the day in a rellena-style, lightly batter-fried with a layer of melted cheese atop the filet, while I chose the veggie raviolis with a bolognaise sauce. As the chef prepared our dinner, he periodically grabbed a vegetable from the shelves of the wall, proving our food’s absolute freshness. After a few bites, the grumbling man came to the table and said, “te gusta (you like it)” with a little smirk. I guess he finally had his glass of vino.
Once dinner was finished and the simple mention of the in-house crafted dulce de leche accompanying a large piece of Uruguayan flan had us convinced that we needed to try a dessert. (This is usually an avoided practice for us lowly, and now job-seeking backpackers, but after the delicious meal, it seemed necessary.) And I am glad we did…this is a must-get if you ever venture to this restaurant in Punta del Este.
In the end, a large dinner plate each, a healthy portion of dessert, a liter bottle of beer and the tip, cost us $700 URG, about $30 USD. That may seem like a lot, but for the amazingly fresh meals a good amount of beer and the friendly folks we met, the experience was well worth it.