The Uruguay Food Tour: South America’s Star Dishes

uruguay food

For those who want to enjoy a good South American menu, Uruguay food is a must.

Although it’s a very versatile cuisine due to its many influences, we put together a tour of the must-see stops of this gastronomic culture. 

Here, we bring to you the top 5 Uruguayan dishes. 

Uruguay’s food is a melting pot of traditions since, in addition to the native and immigrant ones, its inhabitants have been able to adopt as their own the so-called rioplatense culture, due to its proximity to Argentina, the culture of the Guaraní people in Paraguay and also that of Brazil. 

As for the foods consumed, beef is the main protagonist, bringing together all the culinary influences. So when people look for Uruguayan food near me, parrillada with chivito as the main star is the first option they will find, followed by beef empanadas or milanesa steak. Let’s take a look then at the iconic dishes of this Atlantic culture.  

Uruguay Food Tour, Stop #1: The Pinnacle of Parrillada

Step into the heart of Uruguay’s food with a visit to the quintessential asado uruguayo

The parrillada permeates the social fabric not only from Uruguay but also from Argentina, its geographic and culinary neighbor. These two countries are united by the asado culture, where family and friends gather around the grill for an almost ritualistic experience to drink, eat and enjoy with loved ones. 

The asado uruguayo is basically a mixture of succulent meats with chivito as the leading player. From chorizo or choripan to beef and sausages, this epitome of food in Uruguay embodies the spirit of communal dining and grilling mastery. 

Uruguay Food Tour, Stop #2: Empanadas Uruguayas 

And of course, the gastronomic route will not be complete until you try the classic empanadas uruguayas.  

These tasty pastries, reminiscent of their Argentine counterparts, are what they are in the culture of the Rio de la Plata mainly because of their enormous versatility. 

While the traditional and infallible are beef empanadas followed by ham and cheese empanadas, the fillings can vary according to the chef’s imagination. 

From vegetarian options such as spinach and bechamel, pumpkin or onion and cheese to more gourmet options with mushrooms and leek, empanadas are a rainbow of possibilities you can not miss. 

Uruguay Food Tour, Stop #3: Milanesa Steak and Milanesa Pizza 

Milanesa (praise be to milanesa), in its essence, is a preparation of meat, usually beef, chicken or lamb, which is finely pounded, breaded and fried until it is golden brown. The most famous is undoubtedly the milanesa steak.

And since everything can be a little better, there is the Neapolitan version of milanesa a la napolitana, which takes us back to its Italian influences: milanesa with melted cheese, fresh tomato and a pinch of oregano. It’s basically a milanesa pizza. It doesn’t get any better than that. 

Pair it with mashed potatoes or french fries and you will have the most delicious comfort food you will ever taste. 

Uruguay Food Tour, Stop #4: Seafood Extravaganza

Although it is not one of its strongest dishes, we could not miss the Uruguayan station for seafood lovers. 

Here, grilled fish takes center stage, offering a refreshing departure from the hearty meats of the parrillada. Fish in Uruguay is usually eaten grilled with a salad to accompany it. Another acclaimed option is the breaded one: fish milanesa indeed with a side of french fries or green salad. 

Uruguay Food Tour, Stop #5: Mate Culture

And last but not least, we bring to you the heartwarming ritual of mate uruguayo. More than just a beverage or mere herbal infusion, mate is a symbol of hospitality and camaraderie. 

This is a characteristic drink of all of South America. Mate is the traditional drink to enjoy in the mornings (or any time of the day, let’s the truth be told) and share with friends and family. 

Just as the parrillada gives way to the communal meal, mate is the communal drink par excellence in South America.

As the Uruguay Food tour concludes, consider extending the adventure by visiting the best South American steakhouse restaurant near you. 

These establishments harbor the essence of South American cuisine, offering a diverse menu that celebrates not only the flavors of Uruguay but also those of Argentina, its neighbor on the map and in the kitchen. 

From the iconic parrillada to the infinite wonders of the empanadas or the crispy beauty of the milanesa paired with the softness of the potato, every bite of every dish will be a must stop to enjoy on this South American gastronomic tour. 



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