It’s the last quarter of the year so I think I’d better write about my best meal in 2015. Parador La Huella sits on windswept Brava beach of the little town of Jose Ignacio in Punta del Este, Uruguay. Punta del Este is the Saint Tropez of South America. It’s where the bronzed and the beautiful get together during the southern hemisphere’s December summer. Jose Ignacio is thankfully a bit further from the action than Punta’s main party beaches. Here it’s mostly families hanging out and people just relaxing on the sand.
La Huella (currently number 15 on the 2015 Latin Americas 50 Best Restaurants) is a shabby chic bleached wood shack with a large deck that sits right on Brava beaching Jose Ignacio with a view of the lighthouse. During the peak summer season, from mid-December to mid-January, the place is packed from noon till late. The food is deceptively simple but unbelievably good. Meat and seafood cooked on the large wood-fired grill, some sushi and sashimi, a few salads and pastas, a decent wine list, cool cocktails, great music and a super friendly crew who look like they’re having fun while they work.
In the five days we were in Punta, we spent two at La Huella and established a routine. We would drive to Jose Ignacio right after breakfast, book our table for lunch, lug our stuff to the beach and lie on the sand until around 1:00 then go to La Huella and have a leisurely lunch on the wooden deck before heading back home. As you can see from the photos – we had grilled seafood, salads, a seafood pasta, fried calamari, baked mussels, flaky empanadas and the infamous volcan de dulce de leche – a molten dulce de leche cake that is a hit with the caramel-loving South Americans.
Why was it my best meal of 2015? Because the food was simple, delicious and not overpriced. Because the place was unpretentious and the service was speedy yet friendly. Because sitting by the sea and eating al fresco is one of life’s pleasures. But most of all, because those lazy days were spent with my husband and children, sitting around a table, having a meal together and just enjoying life. I’m counting the days till our December holiday in Punta.
Brava Beach José Ignacio – Uruguay
Telephone: +598 4486 2279