Coffee culture is alive and kicking in Uruguay’s stimulating capital, Montevideo. Whether you’re looking for a quiet, cosy café to bring your laptop, the tastiest cake in town, or a lively place to meet friends, Montevideo serves to all tastes.
Montevideo is known for its enviable city beaches, rich Uruguayan cuisine and a cultural offering to rival any European city, all of which is fueled by an overflowing coffee scene. The love of Uruguayans for their native yerba mate has evolved to encompass a fondness for all things warm, brewed and stimulating. Especially a good cup of coffee. Every neighborhood boasts many coffee shops, no two alike, but those that follow stand out for their ambience, the quality of their coffee, and their unique history.
This quaint and intimate café is the perfect place to start the day with a savory brunch and your choice of coffee. Like many cafés in Montevideo, the building has its own story. The new owners have kept the original sign and façade built in 1963, maintaining its classic charm. The attention to detail and careful design make you feel right at home upon entering. A variety of antique lamps sway above the cushy leather booths inside and the café also offers terrace seating located on the corner of one of the many tree-lined streets of the historic Palermo neighborhood. Candy Bar is open throughout the day and well into the evening, so you can pop by almost any time for a café and their famous “banoffee” dessert.
Café La Farmacia
This antique pharmacy has now transformed into the alluring Café La Farmacia. Located in Ciudad Vieja, the owners opted to keep all the original decor, from the drawers and cupboards to the old medicine jars and marble mortars that were once used to make medicine. It’s a local hotspot, not just for its cozy and historic appeal but for its carefully crafted coffees and exquisitely prepared fare. They stick to the basics here with their coffee menu, from espressos to lattes, but what stands out instead is the consistent quality and the skill with which each of these classics is made. In the early hours the natural light beams through La Farmacia’s grand windows, shining light on its intricate tiled floors and unique interior design. A perfect way to spend a morning in the old town of Montevideo.
La Isla Café
Created by two surfers inspired by the surf culture of California, owners Mathías and Juan Pablo, set out to create a café designed around healthy food and great coffee, the perfect nourishment before a long day of surfing. Even for those who don’t strive to catch the biggest wave of the day, it’s still worth a visit, to recharge on a cappuccino and one of their fresh, nutritious sandwiches. La Isla is laid out in the cafeteria style, with a small counter to place your order and ample outdoor seating. Located in the Carrasco neighborhood and just a two-minute walk from the beach, it’s a perfect place to catch some sun, read a book, people-watch, and sip on some stellar coffee.
Francisco Saez 11500
Café Brasilero was a haven for musicians, artists, and famed Uruguayan writers like Mario Benedetti and Juan Carlos Onetti. The latter famously wrote parts of his first novel, El pozo (The Pit) here. Uruguayan author and journalist, Eduardo Galeano, frequented the café every Wednesday for 20 years, and a large portrait of him hangs on its wall to this day. Upon its first opening in 1877, Café Brasilero was the epicenter of the bohemian arts scene in Montevideo. The café sadly closed in the 1980s, but reopened in 2010 and has honored its tremendous past, with photos, poems and newspaper clippings hanging on its walls. It is the oldest café in the city and the first to be named a café of cultural interest in Montevideo. If the rich history isn’t enough to entice you, they also serve up a menu of coffee drinks all named after famous writers. Also located in the neighborhood of Ciudad Vieja, Café Brasilero is the perfect place to grab a coffee, drink in the city’s artistic heritage, and maybe even get inspired to start writing a classic of your own.
The newly opened Flora Café is nestled on the corner of Canelones and Convención in the city’s center. The concept here is ‘Conscious food,’ serving food and drinks with organic and fresh ingredients. In the center of the restaurant, there is an herb garden that the chefs and baristas use for their dishes and beverages. On the menu, you can find classic dishes with a healthy twist like pancakes made from oats and topped with fresh fruit or their stuffed focaccia – stuffed with tempeh, eggplant, greens, and white bean hummus. Locals, laptop in hand, also flock to Flora for co-working, as one of the best cafés in Montevideo to work from. You’re likely to find them sipping on a warm latte with oat milk, encompassed in the scent of fresh herbs from the indoor garden.
Brecha Bar and Café
Visitors are welcomed to this corner retreat by the smell of warm bread and focaccia baking in its ovens and the aromatic scent of coffee being brewed to order. The indoor sanctuary, with art from local artists decorating its walls, is a laid-back, cozy spot to enjoy a fresh, flaky and buttery croissant alongside a cortado. On warm and bright mornings, locals take advantage of their sidewalk seating to catch some rays while biting into their baked goods. In the afternoon, Brecha serves pizzas on artesian dough, sandwiches and desserts, and into the evening this bakery turns into a bar offering beer and wine and live music.
Aquiles R. Lanza 1201
The Lab Coffee Roasters
The family-run business, Lab Coffee Roasters, opened its first location in 2016 and since then has become fundamental to the lives of Montevideo’s coffee lovers. Now the growing business has six locations throughout Montevideo, each with its own specific charm and all guaranteed to offer exceptional coffee and delicious snacks. The ideal coffee shop for networking, studying, catching up on work, or just relaxing over great coffee, Lab Roasters serves it all amidst comfy and modern interior design. They source coffee from around the world, from Colombia to Rwanda and Ethiopia, and transform these worldly coffee beans into lattes, flat whites and cappuccinos, with the option of ‘Nude’ oat milk – a specialty milk made specifically for baristas. Their desserts are in a class of their own: from the fresh and tart lemon pie topped with generous heaps of whipped cream to their smooth and decadent red velvet cake, you’ll be sure to find the perfect pairing for what is one of Montevideo’s finest coffees.
Av. Tomás Giribaldi 2283