Bodega Garzón Restaurant

Guests at Bodega Garzón Restaurant in Jose Ignacio are offered menus of four to six courses showcasing regional dishes and seasonal products from Uruguay. The restaurant also incorporates the open-flame cooking techniques of its culinary director, the world-renowned chef Francis Mallmann.
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Exterior View -  Cactus y Pescado, José Ignacio, Uruguay,

Cactus y Pescado

Hamburgers, fish and pasta are served at this typical beach bar just up from Bikini Beach in Manantiales.

Bar at Fasano, José Ignacio, Uruguay


Located at Hotel Fasano Las Piedras, this gastronomic restaurant is as innovative in design as it is in cuisine. Perched on the highest point of the hotel’s 1,000-plus acre plot and carved out of a rock face, the caveman-esque dining room defines rustic glamour with stone walls, luxe caramel banquettes and cowhide couches, and a rooftop that boasts sweeping views of the countryside and beach in the distance. While the Fasano is located a 30-minute drive from José Ignacio, the excellent Italian menu makes it one of the most sought-after reservations in the high season. Patrons can expect dishes like homemade pasta and grilled meats and seafood.

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Exterior View - Fish Market Manantiales, Ignacio, Uruguay

Fish Market Manantiales

Located on the main strip in Manantiales, just steps away from the beach, the Fish Market serves some of the freshest seafood in the area. The restaurant features an open kitchen with al fresco dining on colorful picnic tables. All of the servers wear aprons made of bold fabrics from Roberta Roller Rabbit, who has a tiny store adjacent to the restaurant. Their homemade ceviche, whole fish dishes and grilled octopus should not be missed.

Ice Cream at Freddo, José Ignacio, Uruguay


In terms of scale, Freddo could be considered the Baskin-Robbins of South America, with many locations throughout Argentina and Uruguay. But when it comes to quality, the high-quality ice cream brand is in another category altogether. There is an outpost on the main square in José Ignacio and another on the main drag in La Barra, which has a nice terrace with ocean views. Be careful: this can become an afternoon addiction.

Temporarily closed as of November 2023. 


It may seem strange to find a gourmet restaurant run by a celebrity chef at the end of a dirt road in Uruguayan farm country, but Francis Mallman has never been conventional (when he opened a restaurant on Long Island, he did so in the least chic nave, West Hampton.) Mallman earned his reputation as Argentina’s best chef in Mendoza and Buenos Aires, where he runs the highly-lauded Patagonia Sur.

In Garzón, an inland town about a half-hour drive from José Ignacio, Mallman might as well be called the mayor. He owns much of the surrounding land and a small inn, but his restaurant is what draws elite visitors and foodies from all over South America. His creative concoctions, like the legendary wood-grilled meats and fish, may compare in complexity to those of international culinary wizards such as Heston Blumenthal and Thomas Keller, and given that even lunch costs about $100 per person, they should.

Indagare Tip: Garzón is a 40-minute drive from José Ignacio, so a meal here can be a five-hour affair.

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Exterior View - La Caracola, José Ignacio, Uruguay

La Caracola

Nothing embodies the effortless beach charm of José Ignacio better than La Caracola. The latest venture from the owners of Parador La Huella, La Caracola isn’t a bona fide club, but you do have to be invited or know the owners to get in. You arrive via a small rowboat that crosses Garzón Lagoon and deposits you at your destination: a simple wooden building with white walls, canvas awnings, a fireplace and wooden beach furniture. The décor is sparse to allow the views of the Atlantic to be the star attraction (along with the crowd of course.) The food is similar to that served at La Huella; nothing fancy but very fresh and delicious.

Note: La Caracola only accepts reservations for groups of 10 or more.

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Food at La Susana, José Ignacio, Uruguay

La Susana

La Susana, owned by Vik Resorts, is barefoot glamour at its best. The beach club-cum-restaurant serves beach-friendly fare with an emphasis on local specialties and seafood. There is a supplemental sushi menu at lunch, which is excellent; other favorites include the homemade sausage, catch of the day bites, the La Susana salad and all of the grilled entrées. The vibe throughout is lighthearted and fun, and the hot spot attracts glamorous locals as well as well-heeled visitors. La Susana is best enjoyed with a group, and guests should plan to stay a while; lunch languidly rolls into the afternoon as the cocktails begin to flow.

Temporarily closed as of November 2023. 

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Bonfire dining has been raised to a bohemian art form at Marismo, José Ignacio’s premiere dinner spot. Reached via a winding dirt road off route 10, the romantic spot is set within a pine forest and lit by torches and candles. Convivial groups of families and friends gather at the long tables that surround a bonfire and feast on the specialty of the house, braised lamb. Even if you have a reservation, expect to wait; no one here is in a rush to leave.

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Food at Mostrador Santa Teresita, José Ignacio, Uruguay

Mostrador Santa Teresita

Owned by an Argentine chef, this casual spot is perfect for a quick breakfast or lunch. There is a daily buffet as well as an à la carte menu with items like creamy scrambled eggs with roasted cherry tomatoes. The house specialty is paella, which pairs well with the day’s market-fresh salads, roasted meats and grains (all of which can be taken to-go for a beach picnic). Coffee lovers must try the iced Colombian coffee.

Temporarily closed as of November 2023. 


Set in a pine forest on the outskirts of José Ignacio town, the chic NAMM is beloved for its alfresco setting, beach club vibe and delicious Japanese food, including sushi and grilled meats.
Bar at Narbona, José Ignacio, Uruguay - Courtesy Zeninho Photography


For those who don’t want to travel the forty-five minutes to Francis Mallmann’s Garzon for a culinary adventure, Narbona is only a fifteen-minute drive from La Barra. Located on a former estancia, the property is also home to a vineyard. The second outpost of the original restaurant in Puerto Carmelo, Narbona serves delicious local food—they serve their own wines and cheeses—in a rustic setting. Don’t miss the small wine bar and art gallery adjacent to the restaurant and in summer, nothing beats an asado (a barbeque consisting of a variety of meats and cuts) in the courtyard.

Exterior View : Parador La Huella, José Ignacio, Uruguay

Parador La Huella

In José Ignacio town, this is the prime place to come for lunch. The beachfront spot is ground zero for beautiful people, but the delicious food is what makes it so popular. While it may remind of Club 55 in St. Tropez, La Huella manages to feel both chicer and simpler. The scene is cool and laid-back, but getting a table is no easy feat during the high season. Regulars are waved in, so it’s best to reserve in advance if you are not one. The tables on the front terrace are prime for people watching, but there is additional indoor seating. The menu offers delicious salads, grilled steak and fish as well as pizza, pasta and sushi. Don’t miss the volcano desserts—especially the dulce de leche. At lunch, the view of the beach and sea is great, but at night, the atmosphere changes to be much cozier with lots of candlelight. Both mealtimes are special.

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Posada Paradiso

The owners of this funky hippy hostel in the center of town spent formative time in Ibiza before decamping to Uruguay, so it is only natural that it retains a sense of Spanish beach chic. There’s a café and bar that is open all day but the real highlight is dinner—they serve up a legendary paella in a dining room covered in colorful murals.

Ambience: Rex, José Ignacio, Uruguay


Rex claims to serve the best chivitos (a typical Uruguayan steak sandwich) in the region. Decorated in the style of an old-fashioned diner with a counter and red vinyl stools, Rex is popular with families who come for hot dogs, chivitos and waffles for dessert. The best tables are in the back overlooking the sea.

Exterior View - Suaya Bar & Restaurant, José Ignacio, Uruguay

Suaya Bar & Restaurant

Since the owner of Casa Suaya is a successful restaurateur from Los Angeles, it comes as no surprise that his hotel has an excellent restaurant. The menu focuses on fresh seafood and beef cooked asado-style in a wood-fired oven, and the crowd tends towards young and beautiful.

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