The Best Thing About Maldonado, Uruguay

When people ask us about Maldonado, we tell them that the beaches are great, but the real reason we love this place is the food.
people on beach during daytime

It’s hard to believe that there’s a place in Uruguay that offers such a variety of seafood and, at the same time, is so easy to get to. This would be Maldonado.

I asked my friend who lives in the city to recommend one restaurant. We went to “Gran Hotel,” which serves delicious seafood in an elegant setting.

The chef was very proud of the fact that the hotel had been open for more than 60 years, and he said it was because of its good food and service. He also said the owner used to be a butcher, and this is why they use fresh ingredients—and nothing from cans or boxes—in their dishes. This explains how the food tastes fresh and homemade.

We ordered some great seafood dishes: fried calamari with lemon-garlic mayonnaise, shrimp ceviche with apple-mint sauce, crab cakes with a spicy sauce, deep-fried fish with tomato sauce, grilled tuna steak with a spicy sauce, salmon sashimi on top of rice with soybean sprouts, rice with grilled squid, cooked mussels in wine sauce (called “casitas”).

And as all Uruguayan hotels do here in Maldonado (and I’m sure it’s true everywhere), they serve their guests free breakfast every morning. What a breakfast! They even serve fresh fruit salad with yogurt and granola bites.

I know we’ll be back to Maldonado soon, and this is the reason why.

On our last day we went out to eat in the beachfront “El Clarin.” We chose a place near the water where we could also watch the sunset. The seafood here is great and the food is served fast and fresh. The restaurant is open all day, so you can get food anytime.

The food doesn’t cost much either. When people ask us about Maldonado we tell them that the beaches are great, but the real reason we love this place is for its food.