Montevideo – restaurants to avoid in Barrio Palermo

El Tinkal (Intermediate C), 853 Dr Emilio Frugoni

I came here for two reasons. Firstly to sit outside on their terrace (plastic chairs and tables, nothing posh) next to the grand promenade (South America’s longest at 42km) and watch the sun set over the Rio de La Plata.

Secondly I wanted to try the Chivito, Uruguay’s national sandwich, which is typically made with sliced churrasco beef, mozzarella, tomatoes, mayo and here with added ham, lettuce and a plate of chips on the side.

20141027_205736It was pretty greasy and horrible sadly (C) despite the fact that the Chivitos at this place are supposed to be the best in town, at least according to this website. However some reviewers did suggest the cooking here might not be as good as it once was.

I also tried a traditional dessert called Martin Fierro which despite the strange name, is just a local (and not particularly nice) cheese served with membrillo (quince jelly). I’ve had really nice manchego with membrillo in Spain but again this did not impress as it was overly sweet and there was just too much of it (C).

La Cocina de Pedro (C), 1493 Avenida Gonzalo Ramirez, www.lacocinadepedro.com.uy

I really wanted to like this place with its dark (hence no pictures) and woody decor as it came well-recommended by the same website as above, but sadly the food just didn’t cut it for me. The complimentary bowl of indiscernible meat (tongue? luncheon?) that arrived with the menu was tasteless and remained untouched.

I was tempted by the starter of Rabas (tails) which in the north of Spain would be long thin slices of battered and deep-fried squid. In the end it turned out to be the usual bog-standard calamari rings which I tend to avoid in Spain. The batter certainly wasn’t a tempura as described and the portion was way too big and most of it stayed on the plate (C-).

The grilled Salmon came with a gloopy salsa of reduced balsamic and honey which tasted brackish and unpleasant, The timbale of veg was also pretty horrible (both D). Observing my unhappiness the waiter offered to change it for something else so I played safe and went for a mixed mushroom risotto. Even this though was sub-standard, with whole mushrooms the size of my mouth, and generally lacking in finesse (C-). The portion was huge once again.

Thankfully the Sauvignon Blanc was ok (B). It was one of five Uruguayan whites recommended on this blog. The waiter also cheered me up with a complementary limoncello although this would have been served warm (yuck!) had I not specified that I wanted it with ice.

I think that if you came here and ate meat from the grill your meal would be fine, but as I’d been a carnivore for the previous three nights on the trot I was really hoping for some decent seafood.

You might fare better at Es Mercat, at Colon 1550 esmercat.com.uy, very near the hotel. It’s recommended for its mariscos by the same pesky website though, so I wouldn’t count on it. It was shut every night I tried to go.

I’m going to rail more about the poor standard of non BBQ cuisine in South America in coming posts so I’ll leave it there on this occasion. Hope you fare better than I did.

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