La Linda Bakery
Café and Bakery | La Barra, Maldonado | $$ | Instagram: @lalindabakery
| Best for those craving some hand-made carbs
In a city that overflows with artisanal markets but painfully lacks independent coffee shops, establishing a spot like La Linda was a clever business move I’m jealous I didn’t think of myself. With impeccable decoration, hand-made pastries and lots of flowers, La Linda is just as beautiful as it’s name suggests. But not only beautiful – it’s different.
Large, airy open spaces and a window to the bakery’s kitchen give La Linda a sense of transparency and homeliness that many independent coffee shops lack. This, along with the hip crowd that frequent the locale, makes for a wonderful beach break to satisfy the caffeine junkies.
Café | La Barra, Maldonado | $$ | Instagram: @borneocoffee.uy
| Best for the thirsty surfer
Another feature in the coffee scene is Borneo, which with a more European coffee shop vibe brings all your classic coffee shop eats – like banana bread and iced lattes.Of course, it’s not Europe you’re in, so expect a boho crowd and waiters that look like they just hopped off their surf board to serve you because let’s be real – they probably have.
Cruz del Sur
Organic Produce Farm | José Ignacio | $$$$ | Instagram: @cruzdelsurfarm
| Best for the farmer’s market lovers
Think farmer’s market but make it shabby-chic – That’s what Cruz del Sur brings to the table. They have a restaurant, host events, sell products and bring communities together in a one-of-a-kind setting.
Check out their regular al-fresco dining experiences for a starlit home-grown dinner or perhaps go pick out some flowers to give to your loved ones. Does it get more wholesome than this?
Restaurant | Manantiales | $$$ | Instagram: @elabrazo
| Best for those looking for intimacy
Taking inspiration from the sand and the sea, el Abrazo is an intimate restaurant tucked away
amongst the Manantiales woods – which also serves as the chef’s very home. With lounge chairs on the sand surrounding a fire pit to the intimate nooks and crannies designed around the place, El Abrazo lives up to its name, meaning The Hug, in Spanish.
Important though, make sure you bring enough cash, as this place doesn’t take card!
Elmo Resto Bar
Restaurant | El Chorro | $$ | Best for rustic realness
Rustic and extremely hard to find, Elmo is one of those places locals want to keep away from tourists as much as they possibly can. With a very minimal online presence, Elmo is hard to suss out. Regardless, their pizzas seem to have a whole crowd of devout trip-advisor reviews, with people claiming the spot is busy even during winter, when Punta del Este becomes somewhat of a ghost-town.
Café and Bakery | Manantiales | $$ | Instagram: @papirosencafe
| Best for the coffee experts
There’s something undoubtedly appealing about this tropical-looking café, and it’s not just their specialty coffee. Like many small-businesses in Uruguay, there’s an undeniable family feel to this locale, where staff is renowned for being kind and attentive.
Ready to satisfy the snobbiest of coffee drinkers, Papirosen is ready to take the Uruguayan coffee scene to a whole new level of cool.
Campo Canteen, Festival and Art Gallery
Artistic Community | Pueblo Garzón | $$ | Instagram: @campoair
| Best for artists on the move
El Campo is one of those places that doesn’t quite fit into any labels – so describing it becomes somewhat of a challenge. It’s a restaurant, an artist’s residence and a festival; a mélange of art, food and community.
Events accompanied by live music, artist exhibitions and a stunning scenery are only some of the things that give Campo such a unique standing. Be sure to check out what artists are being housed here at the time of your visit, and take some time off your beach holiday to explore art like you’ve never seen it before.