A little while ago I ventured to Jose Ignacio for lunch. Jose Ignacio is a charming seaside town about 40-minutes drive from Punta del Este, Uruguay. And I was very lucky to stumble on a restaurant called La Huella…
The little town of Jose Ignacio feels chic, but not pretentious.
And perhaps the most famous restaurant for a long stretch is La Huella. The beachside venue is high end, but not fancy. It’s barefoot chic, chilled, and rather fun.
I ate most of my meal barefoot, chasing my kids from their sandcastles to their lunch.
With salt in the air, sand in my toes and a good vibe all around, I really enjoyed La Huella. The pastel perfect beachside all round is just stunning.
We got chatting to some Argentineans next to our table who were regulars. They came to Punta every summer, and lunch at La Huella was a bucket list priority.
We also got chatting to a waitress who assured us that while we queued 30-minutes for a table, we were rather lucky. In the peak summer months, the restaurant would serve about 2,000 people in a day!
Unlike some of the places on this blog, La Huella is no secret. In fact, along with Jose Ignacio’s lighthouse, La Huella is an institution.
I mentioned how much I liked La Huella to friends in Punta. When they finally interpreted my weird Spanish / Chilean / British accent (I’m told it’s pronounced ‘La Waaaaayja’ with a soft ‘j’) I was met with cries of how next time I needed to try the barbecued fish, the grilled vegetables and much more…
The menu is simple and fresh. Staff are helpful and personable, but not overbearing. Service is slick, and never intimidating.
It’s certainly not a kids restaurant, but my kids were made to feel very welcome. In any case they spent most of the time playing with new friends in the sand dunes.
Uruguay is famous for its barbecues, and La Huella is no exception. So Mr Expater dined on grilled meats and I stole much of his chargilled vegetables.
The kids stuffed themselves with sourdough pizzas, before defying all rules of digestion and tumbling back into the sand for more playtime.
Puddings were simple, homemade, just like your grandmother would make them, with a teeny bit more flair.
With bellies full of homemade goodness, we left around 3.30pm. People were still piling in. Families, couples, generations of Uruguayans and tourists alike.
La Huella may be simple, but it’s rather special, and we’ll be back in 2022 for sure.