I’ve been sipping my way through Punta’s cafes to make the most of the slower pace of life here. So, for you, dear Expaters, here is a list of the best cafes in Punta del Este.
I love the tradition of merienda in Punta del Este. Every country does it a bit differently – whether it’s tea time in the UK, onces in Chile or merienda in Uruguay, it’s probably my favourite moment of the day.
This is an ongoing list as I eat and drink my way across town, so feel free to add in any more suggestions in the comments.
PS lots of places shut up for the summer, so to avoid disappointment, check the website or call ahead.
While I don’t drink coffee, friends tell me the coffee here is good. I can vouch for the smoothie juices which are great.
They also serve refreshing hibiscus tonics and the patisserie selection is very, very good. In fact, a lot of people just go for the cheesecake.
The place is quite small, with a just few tables outside, but I’ve always managed to get a seat.
I come here regularly for a one-to-one coffee with friends. Locals come here as much for the coffee, as for the takeaway patisserie.
I come here with my kids for their airy light croissants and hot chocolate (hot milk with a slab of chocolate to dunk!)
One table serves as a chess set, and downstairs there is a cute little toy kitchen play area.
There is lots of seating, so it’s a useful place to meet up with friends. It’s a fun place for people watching, too. With its tables turned out towards the street, I always seem to end up in conversation with other diners around me.
Sadly, like its next door neighbour La Picniqueria, service can sometimes be an issue here, so be prepared to wait.
The food here is simple, but really good. I came for brunch and enjoyed scrambled eggs with gloriously rich yolks and oh so creamy avocado on toast.
I really liked the industrial chic vibe to the place. It has super high ceilings and an exposed kitchen where you can gawp at the chefs toiling away making pasta.
However, be warned service is s…l…o…w. When I visited the service was just too chaotic for me to make La Picniqueria a regular kind of thing, but the great take out lures me back.
Cafe de la Huerta
This is my new favourite find. Staff are personable, the tea is excellent (in fact it’s the only good cup of tea I’ve had here in Punta), but it’s the atmosphere that really wins it for me.
With its thatched roof, and boho chic higgledy piggledy interiors, I find it so very charming.
It has a toy room to the back, and a beautiful garden the rear. It’s probably the best cafe in Punta del Este for young kids.
The only inconvenience for me was it seemed to be closed much of the time, but I’ve been told that opening hours are now to be extended. Hoorah!
Adrianuzca’s Cat Cafe
As the name suggests, this is the best cafe in Punta del Este for cat lovers!
I’m not a fan of zoos or using animals for entertainment, but I was assured by locals that this cat cafe is for a good cause. The owners rescue sick stray cats, and help them recover here.
There are strict rules in place to protect the animals’ welfare (e.g. do not corner the cats, let them come to you, respect their personal space…). The place felt and smelled very clean, and I had no issues regarding the hygiene of the place.
It’s worth bearing in mind that if you want to bring your children, they need to be able to respect the rules. A couple of children got scratched for their over zealous stroking. They’re not toys, kids!
Waffles at Hotel l’Auberge
I felt like I’d stepped into some magic portal and ended up in the Belgian countryside when I visited Hotel l’Auberge.
I’m told that when you visit Punta, you simply have to enjoy waffles at Hotel l’Auberge and now I see why.
The tea room is located in an annex off to the side of the hotel, and there’s a rather charming little cooker for the waffles (Bruxelles, not Liege in case you were wondering).
The waffles are good, but the gardens are what makes this place so special. A little gem.
With its little, shaded garden, Felix Caffe is a must in the summer months.
The chandeliers and country style garden lend it a rather feminine air. Whenever I’ve come it’s been a favourite for ladies to catch up over afternoon tea with champagne.
The menu is limited, so I’d recommend it more for a drink and a bite, rather than a full meal. Nevertheless, my kid was very content with his homemade meat burger. The freshly prepared lemonade was delicious, too.
Felix Caffe is small, shabby but chic, mini oasis worth checking out.
Table de Jean Paul
I came here for aperitivo with my family and really enjoyed its large open spaces.
While we may have made a strategic mistake with our order, both my husband and I felt it was a little overpriced. Mr Expater ordered their homemade beer, which may have bumped the price up perhaps but was good nonetheless.
I guess, you’re paying for the setting. There is a lovely big garden, with tucked away, relaxed private dining spaces making it all feel rather eco chic.
I’d come here for a romantic supper, or chilled drinks with friends, as well as a refreshing drink on a summer’s day.
Coffee Cras was my first great cafe discovery in Punta.
The staff here were so lovely! It kind of felt like we’d been taken in by a team of surrogate Uruguayan aunties.
The menu is limited, focusing on waffles, alfajores and other sweet goodies. I ordered every type of alfajor on offer (what can I say, I was new in town) and then watched my kids fight over the goodies.
It’s also worth noting that there are a few steps into the cafe, and then the toilet is located in a rather chilly basement adjacent to the building. With this in mind I wouldn’t recommend it especially for anyone with very young children or babies.
The cafe hosts regular arts workshops, book swaps and small events, so it’s worth keeping an eye on their insta.
This is a French / Italian mix cafe, with a Punta vibe. The patisserie are great. The decor is light and airy. It all feels oh la la rather chic.
I came here with my three little monsters, but I reckon I’d feel more at home with a little white fluffy dog, drinking an espresso while reading Le Figaro.
I stuffed myself with pain au raisin then ambled along the port side, like a true flaneuse.
PS for egg lovers, there is a little omelette station with a chef making them to order.
Check @Frances.Co.pasticerceria on insta.
Located in Manantiales, on the outskirts of Punta, rather in the middle of nowhere, La Linda is a huge, gorgeous cafe bakery. It’s definitely the best cafe in this part of Punta del Este.
It has a lovely large, greenhouse style space to the side, or you can pull up a chair alongside the freshly baked goodies in the shop.
The bread and pizza bases are really, really good.
Be sure to pack mosquito repellant if you visit in the summer months.
This is an ongoing list, so if you have more recommendations to share, feel free to let me know in the comments. Gracias!