Cuisine of Montevideo
Cuisine of Montevideo refers to the food cooked and served in the city of Montevideo, Uruguay. The cuisine served in the city is similar to that consumed in the country as a whole with beef being a staple of the diet and found in a range of foods and torta frita, a pan-fried cake. However, given the influx of immigrants and tourists into the capital over the decades and centuries, a range of cultural culinary influences can be found in the city.
In recent years the number of restaurants and diversity of cuisine has increased considerably, Lonely Planet describes the Montevideo culinary scene as "just starting to get exciting" with the variety of restaurants springing up in the city from traditional Uruguayan cuisine to Japanese cuisine and Middle Eastern cuisine. Restaurant Arcadia atop the Plaza Victoria on the 25th floor of the Radisson Montevideo Victoria Plaza Hotel is widely regarded to be the finest restaurant in the city.
A torta frita is a pan-fried cake consumed in Montevideo and throughout Uruguay. It is generally circular, with a small cut in the centre for cooking, and is made from wheat flour, yeast, water and sugar or salt. Beef is very important in Uruguayan cuisine and an essential part of many dishes. Many of the restaurants serve beef steaks, pork or chicken dishes. Given that Montevideo is a coastal city, it is also provided by a plentiful supply of fresh fish which alongside beef and chicken is very important in the Montevideo cuisine. Some restaurants like Che Montevideo on the Rambla Gandhi in the Pocitos area of the city on the coast specialize in fresh seafood.
Mercado del Puerto
The centre of traditional Uruguayan food and beverage in Montevideo is the Mercado del Puerto ("Port Market"). This complex contains a considerable range of restaurants and cafes. La Palenque restaurant serves Uruguayan and Spanish cuisine with a variety of lamb, pork and cold meats dishes with vegetables, paella, rice and shellfish. Additionally, the market is host to various cultural events on Saturdays.
The Mercado del Puerto is the city's most famous area for parillas ("barbecues"). The open-aired building which houses the market was built in 1868. While originally a venue for fresh produce, it is now filled with parillas. The structure was built in the style of a nineteenth-century British Railway station. It is listed among "The Best Markets" in South America by Frommer's.
Montevideo has a variety of restaurants, from traditional Uruguayan cuisine to Japanese cuisine such as sushi. Western fast-food chains such as McDonald's, and Burger King are evident in the city, showing the forces of globalization.
The Restaurante Arcadia, on the 25th floor of the Radisson Montevideo Victoria Plaza Hotel is considered Montevideo's best restaurant.Arcadia is set in a classic Italian-inspired dining room and serves lavish dishes such as terrine of pheasant marinated in cognac, grilled lamb glazed with mint and garlic, and duck confit on thin strudel pastry with red cabbage. El Fogon is more popular with the late-night diners of the city. Its interior is brightly lit and the walls covered with big mirrors. Officially a barbecue and seafood restaurant, it serves grilled meat dishes, as well as salmon, shrimp and calamari. Also of note is the Cru. Numerous restaurants are located along the Rambla of Montevideo.
Kokoro is a Japanese restaurant located on Viejo Pancho in the barrio of Pocitos. It serves traditional Japanese cuisine, mainly dishes with meat and fish to suit the Uruguayan palette. Its dishes range from appetizers such as a dumpling of salmon and nira, to Sauteed whitefish with Teriyaki sauce and white rice to rolled sushi and sashimi and Japanese curry and rice with Wagyu (beef) or chicken. Deserts include green tea ice cream and apple rolls.
Kazbah is Middle Eastern restaurant located on the Bartolomé Mitre. It serves dishes such as falafel, schwarma (doner kebabs), couscous and tagin. Panini's is a notable Italian restaurant located in the Ciudad Vieja historical area of the city, just off the Plaza Independencia, and is testament to the influences of some of the Uruguayan Italian immigrants. It is noted in particular for its "degustación de pastas", described as "a veritable smorgasbord of noodley delights."
Also of note is the Rara Avis in the east wing of the Solís Theatre, a branch of the Uruguayan chain of restaurants called La Pasiva in the Centro area which serves pastas and meat dishes, and the restaurants in the Mercado del Puerto and the Mercado de la Abundancia.
Bars and pubs
Many of the notable bars in the city are located in the barrio of Pocitos near the sea. Amongst these pubs of note include the "Tibet Pub", "La Estada", "La Vuelta" and the "Rosh Bistró Bar".
Many bars and pubs are located inside community markets. Customers at markets may sit at bars to order sausages, offal, asado, and other meats that are being grilled right in front of them. Meats, especially cheap cuts of beef and pork such as sausages and organs, are a large part of the ordinary diet in Montevideo. The various meats are served with simple side dishes such as crusty bread, tapenades, fried potatoes, and tapas. During lunch, local lager beer is the most common choice of accompaniment, although soft drinks such as colas are widely available. In addition to having bars and pubs, markets in Montevideo also sell fresh produce, mate, coffee, kitchen ware, and other basic consumer goods.
In the old area of the city or the immediate surroundings notable pubs include the "Shannon Irish pub" and "Chains Pub". The Shannon Irish pub in the Old City area of the city was established in 2001. It is located at Bartolomé Mitre 1318, 2 blocks from the Plaza Independencia and 1 block from the Plaza Matriz. Bradt Travel Guides says "An Irish pub on Montevideo's liveliest pub street, with a wide range of beers (although Uruguayans find it hard to understand why an Irish pub doesn't serve Irish coffee)." The pub is an important centre for Irish Uruguayans, often featuring live music. The pub serves traditional Irish whiskey by Jameson (1780), Paddy (1779), Powers Gold Label (1791), Bushmills (1608), Redbreast, Ballantine's (1827) and others and mainly sandwiches and fajitas.
Former world record barbecue
On the 13th of April 2008, twelve thousand five hundred cooks in Montevideo together grilled 12 metric tons (26,500 lb) of beef Montevideo, setting a new Guinness world record. The event required a grill nearly one mile long and 6 tonnes of charcoal. The barbecue bested the previous record of 8 tonnes, which was set by Mexico in 2006. Montevideo's record held until March 2011, when 13.713 metric tons (30,232 lb) of beef were grilled in General Pico in Argentina.
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