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Where to eat in Punta del Este and surroundings during low season

When the winter begins to approach, the question “where to go in Punta del Este at this time of year?” keeps arriving in my inbox.

In the summer, from November to February, demand is extremely high, so prices also inflate and, along with them, several temporary and seasonal restaurant projects pop up in the Punta del Este region and surrounding areas.

After Easter, most of these projects close, but unlike a decade ago, the number of good restaurants open all year round continues to grow and, with the low season, prices drop considerably.

It's worth mentioning that many of the places only open 3 or 4 days a week, so it's It is important to confirm the times before going.

The region's population, which boomed during the pandemic, continues to experience strong organic growth; not only from Argentines who used to immigrate to Uruguay in search of economic stability, but also from Europeans and North Americans who settled there, attracted by the excellent quality of life. This immigration movement brought new businesses and more infrastructure to the city.

Much of Punta del Este can be covered practically by bicycle or even on foot, taking advantage of the often sunny afternoons before the low temperatures of autumn and winter nights. Therefore, it is worth taking the time to explore the landscape, cultural attractions and good cuisine throughout the Maldonado region.

Before Punta del Este, there is the famous Casa Pueblo, by artist Carlos Páez Vilaró, which served as inspiration for the song “A Casa”, by Vinícius de Moraes. It is also a museum to be visited and a privileged view of the sunset. At the end of August it is also possible to see whales off the coast.

Just as you pass through Punta is the charming La Barra . The resort is one of the most popular in Uruguay. If in the summer the beaches and beach clubs are very popular, in the low season it is the ideal place to walk along its few streets that hide excellent bars and restaurants. About 25 km later is the beautiful José Ignácio and its lighthouse, another point worth visiting. At this time of year, José Ignácio gets lonely, life is right on the other side of the road, in the quiet village of La Juanita, full of holiday homes and which hides great gastronomic options.

Moving around Maldonado it is possible to visit several wineries. Alto de La Ballena, Vina Éden, Cerro del Toro, the new Cofradia de La Sierra, the new Bouza space with a restaurant known as Las Espinas, the bodega Oceanica José Ignácio (where you can also discover the production of high quality olive oils ) and the famous Bodega Garzón . Finally, another interesting point to visit is MACA (Atchugarry Museum of Contemporary Art), which has an open-air sculpture park.

Below are suggestions for places to eat and drink in the region during the low season:

  • Astigarraga House

Astigarraga House

Located in Punta del Este, the house belongs to the same owner as the neighboring restaurant specializing in Basque cuisine, Leonardo Etxea. Following the same Iberian line, the menu at Casa Astigarraga is mainly composed of tapas and pintxos. Croquetas, tortillas, fish and seafood make up the restaurant's menu, but it is not uncommon for Leonardo, the chef and owner, to prepare a beautiful paella or some special meats on the grill. If you're lucky, you can try a beautiful wood-smoked ancho, taken from the region's vineyards. In fact, the chef's two houses are very well supplied by one of the largest and most diverse cellars in Punta del Este, with examples of Uruguayan wines from practically all the good wineries in the country.

Astigarraga House: Lenzina corner Boulevard Artigas – stop 2, Punta del EsteDepartment of Maldonado, Uruguay / Low season opening hours: Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 12pm to 4pm and from 8pm to 1am. Reservations via WhatsApp: +598 42492318

  • Juana Kitchen

La Juanita Village

The restaurant, which only opens for dinner, has been in the village of La Juanita . Right in front of José Ignácio, it is hidden at the end of a dirt street, but make no mistake: the place attracts a loyal following in the low season. With well-executed seasonal cuisine, it offers recipes that are served on the grill and in the clay oven. In autumn, shrimp caught nearby can appear in dishes such as oven-baked gnocchi with shrimp and dill or deliciously prepared in ajillo. The rack of lamb with Moroccan couscous is another great option that could appear on the menu. The cozy atmosphere and courteous service (with attractive prices for the region) make this place one of the best options for any time of year.

Juana Cocina Bar: Av. Héctor Soria, 20402 La Juanita, Department of Maldonado, Uruguay/ Low season opening hours: Wednesday to Saturday from 8pm to 11pm. Reservations via WhatsApp: +598 92 971 331

  • Destination Sushi & Wok

Destination Sushi I

Sushi is not exactly Uruguayans' specialty, which makes Destino an even more special place. Another restaurant that remains open practically all year round in La Juanita-José Ignácio, works mainly with super-fresh local fishing and is always a clear recommendation for anyone arriving in Uruguay hoping to find a place specializing in this topic. But if you don't like raw ones, that's okay. The house's hot kitchen offers attractive options such as shrimp Pad Thai or braised Wagyu Wok, over Andean rice, egg, corn, huancaína sauce and almonds, which are also worth trying.

Suhi & Wok Destination: Argentine Republic, 20402 La Juanita, Department of Maldonado, Uruguay/ Opening hours in low season: tOpen on Saturday from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm. Reservations via WhatsApp: +598 4486 2886

  • Mataojo Cantina

Source: CNN Brasil

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