What a pleasant surprise Montevideo was! I was so focused on Buenos Aires I hadn’t even thought to research this glorious city. This was the second stop of our ATW trip after BA. Kyle did all the work and I tagged along for the ride. After a quick ferry + bus ride combo from Buenos Aires, we arrived into Montevideo for the first time.
We stayed in a great location right near Pocitos Beach at the Regency Golf Hotel. This was a great budget spot at $80 a night for a clean, safe room with all amenities needed. I forgot to pre-check for healthy restaurants as I normally do and suddenly remembered on the bus ride over 10 minutes prior to arrival. Both of us starving, I quickly did some research on my phone only to find the holy grail of healthy eateries: Mercado Verde.
This organic gem of a restaurant was only 12 minutes walking distance from the hotel. The tiny shop is a healthy grocery store/juice bar with a small fridge filled of treats and daily specials. The store sells all the obscure grocery items I could barely find in New York from sprouted lentils, to sea vegetables of all kinds, to gluten free everything, to house made sprouted breads. They even had a wide selection of vegan and gluten free dry snacks and desserts. The kind chef working behind the counter even spoke English – a seemingly rare occurrence in South America.
The fridge contained daily smoothies and juices (never with sugar or dairy), almond cream-based parfaits, and fresh salads and sandwiches. The salads, always gluten free, changed daily while the vegetarian sandwiches stayed the same. I normally do not eat gluten but these sandwiches were crafted with their house made bread that contained whole grains, flax seeds, nuts, and other delicious seeds – all organic. This means LOTS of fiber and nutrients otherwise not found in conventional bread.
Apart from the minimal use of gluten, Mercado Verde reminds me a lot of the principals taught at the detoxifying Anne Wigmore institute. Like a kid in a candy store, I STOCKED up here. I graciously had a wheat grass shot in the morning followed by a smoothie then a millet salad for lunch.
Kyle and I grabbed sandwiches for dinner and headed back to the beach for a sunset picnic on the sand. We set up base with our Turkish towels and watched the sun go down as we chowed down our insanely good sandwiches – filled with veggies and smothered in a fresh vegan aioli (soy free). I was on cloud nine ending my perfect healthy day.
Mercado Verde wasn't the only incredible part of Montevideo though. The beach there is simply perfect. It feels a lot like Miami only no one really speaks English and it is a bit more mellow. Be sure to stay near the beach so you can walk there everyday. This wont be hard because the stretch of beach literally goes for miles and miles along the city's coast - I haven't seen anything like it! Even in California there are stretches of coast where beaches are nonexistent.
One of the best parts about it all? It’s super cheap. I mean we got a full day’s worth of food (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) for two (although Kyle eats 2 of everything so it's really for 3) for about $50 USD. This also included fun little treats and desserts. If it was NYC it would have been well over $100. So rare that a days worth of high quality food doesn't break the bank! Can’t wait to go back to this heavenly place. Check out Mercado Verde in all its locations around Uruguay – including the famous Punta Del Este.