Punta del Este is referred to as the Hamptons of South America – a gathering place for the VIPs from Argentina, Brazil, Chile and other countries. It happens to be where you encounter them chilling with the runway models Naomi Campbell and Gisele Bündchen at Buddha Bar, and also to stock up on high end brands such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Valentino.
Just a one-hour flight away from Buenos Aires, Punta del Este as well as the surroundings are filled with pristine Atlantic shorelines, tanned ladies, not to mention excellent food. Below are a few of the finest places to eat which have a relaxed feel along with locally sourced menus.
Coming from Buenos Aires, quite a few local flight companies offer daily 55 minute direct flights to Punta. From Miami, American Airlines travels many times a week to Montevideo, Uruguay’s capital. Rentals for the two hour or so trip to Punta del Este can be found at the airport terminal. Peak season is December all through March, which means that you should get started in planning your freezing temperatures vacation right now.
Antique wooden tables on the beach, great smelling lemon trees, lush pines, along with candle light allow for enchanting evenings at this site. Order the impossibly tender unhurried braised lamb, accompanied by a portion of roasted sweet potatoes. Open every day for dinner from December to late February.
Ruta 10, km 185, José Ignacio; 011-598-486-2273
2. La Bourgogne
Jean-Paul Bondoux’s restaurant in the vicinity of the downtown area of Punta offers just perfectly set dining tables, wonderful roses, as well as meticulous service. The chef is the owner of a farm nearby, which is where he grows herbs, veggies, and a lot of fruits to make dishes including langoustines with a potato mousse with orange infused butter. The shop adjacent offers freshly baked breads, gourmet cheeses, and vino from Bondoux’s own Burgundy. Open daily in high season, and from Thursday to Sunday the rest of the year.
Avenida Pedragosa Sierra and Avenida del Mar; 011-598-42-482-007
Hubert and Pamela O’Farrell re-created their own classy Buenos Aires restaurant on a serene street close to the marine. Stone wall surfaces and bare cement surfaces are the environment for a powerful contemporary interior decoration of red-colored sofas, North African tables, as well as azure director’s seats. The Mediterranean food selection incorporates naturally well balanced dishes like white apricots with Gorgonzola cheese and San Daniele prosciutto. Open daily during the high season.
Ruta 10, km 164.5, Manantiales; 011-598-42-774-331
Seven years back, celebrity gourmet Francis Mallmann turned an abandoned general store in a countryside town called Garzón into a five-room hotel and restaurant. Almost all dishes including the rib eye steak with chimichurri and the salt-crusted whole fish are prepared in wood-burning ovens.
Plaza Garzón, Garzón; 011-598-410-2811
5. La Huella
A rustic beachside spot with a main veranda downstairs brimming with top models and celebrities; the peaceful second level offers ocean views. Everyone loves the fried calamari with chili mayo, as well as the decadent dulce de leche “volcano,” a pudding served with banana ice cream and brittle oatmeal biscuits. Open year-round.
Playa Brava, José Ignacio; 011-598-486-2279
This Tudor-style boutique hotel’s sunny tea room is famous for their Belgian waffles with dulce de leche, honey, and homemade marmalades and jams. In peak season, open every day from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.; on weekends year-round.
Carnoustie and Avenida del Agua; 011-598-42-482-601
Uruguayan painter Carlos Páez Vilaró commenced hand-molding a habitable sculpture in 1958; nowadays it’s a white, round-edged hotel and museum for his work. On an ocean side high cliff, it’s the place to enjoy breathtaking sunsets.
Punta Ballena; 011-598-42-578-041
Awa, a moderately priced 48-room boutique hotel with classy minimalist design, is in a residential area convenient to downtown. The pool side day spa features a sauna and a whirlpool, and offers hot stone and shiatsu massages.
Avenida Pedragosa Sierra and San Ciro; 011-598-42-499-999