Three choices, all completely different one from the other, and not a steak in sight.

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Es Mercat

The Guru will wager that this is the best fish restaurant in the entire city, not just the Old City.

The merluza negra (sea bass fished in the South Atlantic) seasoned solely with rock salt is particularly amazing. Regulars bring the chef unique salts back from their world travels.

The trick to having the best culinary experience at Es Mercat is to have the chef and owner Roberto Connio (that’s him in the photo above) choose for you. For two, he’ll generally recommend a couple of appetizers and one main course as main dishes are large enough to share. A chef from Texas told me that he was so blown away by the food that by the time his main course arrived, “my eyes filled up”.

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Montevideo_Wine_Experience-owners

Montevideo Wine Experience

Just a stone’s throw from the infamous Port Market, lies Montevideo’s first ever wine bar run by two charming young guys serving exclusively Uruguayan wines.

Nico is from an old wine-producing family. Liber classified as Uruguay’s second-best sommelier in 2015. You can try wine by the glass (from 120 pesos). They also serve wine-based cocktails including a killer caipi made with Savignon Blanc. Accompany your drink choosing from a small menu of tapas. Alternatively order from Es Mercat across the road and they’ll deliver. So you’ll never have to leave your stool. To take home, MWE offer carefully-selected bottles while maintaining supermarket prices. Plus you’ll be getting expert advice. Priceless.

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Sin Pretensiones

Wonderful food at great prices cooked exquisitely in a vintage furniture store. Sin Pretensiones takes traditional Uruguayan comfort food and bumps it up to a gourmet level. And … VEGGIES!!!

Twenty-something chef Guillermina Bauer grew up in the hospitality business – her family ran restaurants in Punta, hotels in Argentina’s Patagonia ski resort and an estancia – and it shows in her professionalism and attention to detail.

Her crunchy skinny pizzas are topped with salmon, jamon crudo and the freshest arugula. If you want something that’s not on the menu – like a gourmet chivito, Uruguay’s classic multi-decker steak sandwich, just contact them the day before.

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The Guru shares more of her favourite foodies finds in Montevideo and beyond

Photos: Guru’Guay