Shopping and Eating in Montevideo, Uruguay
Shopping in Montevideo
In Montevideo, it is worth buying, first of all, products made of genuine leather: shoes, clothes and accessories. Uruguayan leather is of very good quality and workmanship, and finished products are inexpensive compared to Europe, and even more so Russia.
Note: according to allcitypopulation, the population of Uruguay is 3.485 million (2021).
Shops in the capital are open from 9:00 to 18:30-19:00 on weekdays (some shopping centers close later – at 21:00-22:00) and until 13:00-14:00 on Saturdays, Sunday is a day off. Markets operate on approximately the same schedule, but sometimes also on Sundays.
It is best to buy clothes, shoes and bags in shopping centers or at craft fairs. There are several large shopping malls in Montevideo:
- Montevideo Shopping is one of the largest in the city, here you can find many American brands (mostly budget ones), most of which do not reach Russia. There are also several electronics stores and a good food court.
- Punta Carretas Shopping is, without exaggeration, the most beautiful shopping complex in the city. It occupies a spectacular colonial-style building, there are clothing and footwear stores, souvenir shops, restaurants of national cuisine and playgrounds for children.
- Tres Cruces is the most “European” mall in Montevideo. Here you can buy clothes, shoes and accessories made of genuine leather, jewelry and souvenirs.
Montevideo has its own outlet – Vaiven Outlet. It is small, but the choice of brands there is quite good, most of which are American and Brazilian. The outlet is located within the city and offers discounts up to 70% all year round.
For local delicacies, it is best to go to the markets. The largest food market in the city is Mercado del Puerto, located in a beautiful historic building. Here you can buy local cheeses, sausages, meat, wine and other products of excellent quality. There are several excellent meat restaurants in the market, as well as pavilions with leather goods and national clothes. Another well-known market in Montevideo is the Mercado de los Artesanos, an artisan fair that sells handicrafts from local craftsmen. At the Feria de Tristan Narvaja mobile market, you can buy national costumes, vintage accessories and records, rare books and other interesting things.
Acatras del Mercado is an art gallery in Montevideo worth stopping by even if you don’t intend to buy anything. It sells paintings and sculptures by local artists, hand-painted ceramics and other works of art.
Another interesting store in the capital is Escaramuza Libros, a very colorful bookstore where you can find books and albums about the history and culture of Uruguay. In addition, there is a very pretty patio with a glass roof and a cafe decorated with antiques.
Cuisine and restaurants
There are more than 200 restaurants and cafes in Montevideo, most of them Uruguayan cuisine establishments. The most popular restaurants are “parilla” (parilla), specializing in asado and other meat dishes. Meat is on the menu of absolutely all restaurants. It is usually cooked on an open fire and served with vegetables, fresh or grilled, potatoes and bell peppers are especially popular.
The most popular dish in local restaurants is parillada de plata, which is an assortment of different types of meat. Usually it is ordered for two or for a company, portions in Uruguay are quite impressive. Also, almost everywhere they serve chivito (chivito) – a sandwich with meat or chicken, which is served with french fries, eggs and vegetables. Locals can master this dish alone, but foreigners most often order one chivito for two.
There are many immigrants from Italy in Montevideo, so there are many pizzerias here. Pizza in Uruguay is square and can be topped with a variety of toppings, but a must-have ingredient is plenty of mozzarella.
You can have a quick and inexpensive meal in the Uruguayan capital in bakeries (panaderia), they serve pies (empanadas) with different fillings: meat (including spicy), spinach and cheese, bacon, etc. Also, bakeries have a lot of different sweets, coffee, sometimes there are salads. In general, fast food in Uruguay is not very respected, as food does not tolerate haste, but the capital is in some way an exception. Here you can eat hungaros (spicy sausage in dough) and olimpicos (sandwiches with different fillings) on the street.
Montevideo is a multinational city, so there are restaurants of different national cuisines: Portuguese, French, Mediterranean, Italian, etc., and all of them are quite authentic.
One of the most fashionable and expensive restaurants in the city is Rara Avis (serving fusion cuisine), and from the national ones, you should pay attention to Bouza Bodega Boutique, located near the local winery. Here, not only excellent meat, but also the best wine list in the city, in particular, the pride of the Uruguayans – the Tannat variety.