This is our Montevideo Coffee Guide.

And this is where we found some of the best specialty coffee in Uruguay.

A while ago we were sitting at Karina and Gabriel’s house and mutually complaining about some much needed time off.

This was during peak wedding season, and we were kind of feeling like our creative juices were about to run out. Karina casually mentioned something about them possibly going to Montevideo in October to spend Gabriel’s birthday weekend. Then she asked: “Do you guys wanna come?” And we NEVER miss out on the opportunity to drink coffee in a new place, so we thought this was a chance to make a little Montevideo Coffee guide.

Since we had some frequent flyer miles that were about to expire, we made the best out of them and flew down to Uruguay for 4 days. We don’t usually like spending so little time in places we haven’t been to yet, but this time we decided to look at this whole trip as a long weekend away to recharge our batteries.

We didn’t make an effort to see any tourist attractions, but we did make an effort to fit a ridiculous amount of alfajores in our bellies.

There were a few coffee shops we had our eyes on in Montevideo for a while. It was such a treat to see these up close! Even after an overbooked flight and some drama at the airport, we couldn’t have had a better time traveling. They switched our flight to another company, and we were able to fly out on the same plane as Karina & Gabriel!

So these are REALLY small doses. We almost didn’t take any pictures! So we decided to make this little Montevideo Coffee Guide instead of a large photo post.

We enjoyed Montevideo a lot more than we thought we would in 4 days. But we barely took any photos. We ended up bringing one real camera, but most of these are from my phone.

I (Frankie) was pretty fed up with my old iPhone, so I ended up trading it in for a Samsung right before we went on this trip. Most of these are with the phone, so I’m curious to see how many of you can tell the difference.

For our photographer friends, some of these are RAW files that we then edited on Lightroom, but some are jpegs. We posted a bunch of them on our personal Instagram accounts that were edited on VSCO, and we just loved how those came out as well – so if you work at Samsung, feel free to send us a free phone for Marília to use ;)

Here is our little guide to Good Coffee in Montevideo:

leaving São Paulo to fly to Montevideo

We hit up La Linda as soon as we left the airport. We were sharing the same rental with our friends, and this is a place they always rave about – not to mention that we were STARVING. Karina and Gabriel own a beautiful bakery called Viva Bakery in Brazil so they know their bakeries and have always talked about La Linda being an inspiration.

Definitely not let down. We had full meals we were too tired/lazy to photograph and then had coffee – and then started our Alfajor adventure.

La Linda Bakery in Montevideo, Uruguay. Such a beautiful bakery, with a lovely courtyard and their stunning kitchen you can see into.La Linda Bakery's beautiful bar area and some much needed coffee and alfajores

Our goal for these few days in Montevideo really was to just relax. We didn’t really do much research at all besides where we wanted to go for coffee. Since we were going for Gabriel’s birthday, we kinda let them guide us.

We’re usually super diligent about our planning and create all these boards on Pinterest and crazy maps of places we want to visit on Google, so it was nice to just play it by ear for a change. Not to mention we had good guides with similar taste, who visit Montevideo often.

We absolutely love Buenos Aires, and we were expecting a smaller version of it in Montevideo. Good thing we hadn’t done much planning or research, because it turned out to be very different from what we expected. We fell in love with the tree-lined streets and it was incredible to see how “calm” the city felt.

Montevideo is the capital of Uruguay, but it’s only the 25th largest city in South America. It’s quiet, calm, and easy to fall in love with.

Most of our time was spent walking around and eating our faces off, which was exactly what we wanted to do. We rented a car, so we were free to choose to stay wherever we wanted. Well, we just stayed where Karina and Gabriel thought it would be nice to stay in – so we stayed in the neighborhood of Punta Carretas.

It felt close enough to everything, but we took the car most places. Parking was easy to find everywhere and it was super safe to drive everywhere.

We updated this guide in 2020 with new coffee shops in Montevideo, so we also added some new apartments to our list of favorite apartments in Montevideo. We definitely plan on going back, and will definitely stay in one of these. As you can see, there are quite a few in Punta Carretas.

One place we were excited about going to in Montevideo was Sinergia Design. Their website is only in Spanish and isn’t really clear on what Sinergia is, so it’d probably wise to check out their page on TripAdvisor as well.

Sinergia is a multidisciplinary cultural space for small businesses, stores, desginers, makers, restaurants – and startups. It’s a good place to try out some some more modern Uruguayan food and check out some local design. There’s a small record store where we actually found some stuff we liked. Gabriel picked up a copy of Walter Schreifels’ An Open Letter To The Scene (affiliate link) which I’m sure he probably already had like 20 copies of in different colors (Really, we have a small doses where we get a peek of his record vault and it’s INSANE).

We also got some food (don’t really remember what) and some coffee at Café Nómade. Nómade was the first specialty coffee place we visited, but all we had was Espresso. They had a Faema machine at the time (Faema e61 maybe?) and it was a nice pour, but we were in a hurry and didn’t really get to check out their other stuff.

Apparently they’ve closed their Sinergia location, but Sinergia is definitely still very much worth the visit.

Sinergia Design in Montevideo, Uruguay - A multidisciplinary cultural space for small businesses, stores, desginers, makers, restaurants and startupsGabriel Bueno holding a copy of Walter Schreifels - An Open Letter To The SceneCafé Nómade at Sinergia Design and their FAEMA espresso machine

Walking Around Montevideo to Try Out a New Camera:

There’s no better way to get to know a new city than walking around. There’s no better way to learn how to use a new camera than going on a trip.

Luckily, I ended up making the switch from iPhone to Samsung right before going to Montevideo. After years of being frustrated by the lack of storage and a few other issues, I finally made the switch.

This was the perfect opportunity to put this camera to the test – and we weren’t at all disappointed. Even now (in 2020, as we re-edited this post), the Samsung camera is still great. It’s sharp, gives us raw files we can edit in Lightroom with our own presets, and its colors have this contrast that the iPhone camera lacks.

Granted, as I type this, the iPhone 12 Pro has just been released. We aren’t fans of spending a fortune on new technology (as you might have noticed from our resources/gear page or our Amazon page) – so we’ll probably stick to our old phones for a while. People are saying that this iPhone camera is a game-changer, so we can’t tell you for sure that the Samsung camera is way better than the iPhone’s, but it’s been GREAT.

Some of the photos on this post were taken with a Canon 5D Mark III and a Sigma 35mm ART. Some with a Samsung S8. I’m not saying we can use the phone for work, but can you tell which photos were taken with the phone? We can’t.

We walked all over Ciudad Vieja and Centro and went to the Sunday Market (Feria de Tristan Narvaja). We felt safe the whole time, even while in the crowded market, and we really couldn’t talk about this enough: walking is always the best way to get to know a city.

If you’re walking around Ciudad Vieja, chances are you’ll end up waking up or down Sarandí street. Sarandí is a pedestrian-only street (at least through a huge portion of it, called Peatonal Sarandí) with many shops and restaurants. And it’s on the corner of Sarandí and Alzaíbar is where you’ll find Jacinto, probably the best dinner you’ll have in Montevideo. You’re welcome.

And not too far from Jacinto is where you’ll find Montevideo’s most-visited coffee shop and the highlight of our Montevideo Coffee Guide.

La Farmacia: A turn of turn of the century drugstore turned-café

There’s nothing worse than walking into a beautiful gimmicky coffee shop, and finding out the coffee there sucks.

Worry not, though. This was not the case with La Farmacia.

La Farmacia is a beautiful Café in Montevideo (Calle Cerrito 550), converted from a beautiful turn-of-the-century drugstore (pharmacy, depending on where you are, silly). From the sign outside to every little inch of the cabinets’ beautiful wood-work, it’s impressive that this place looks this good. But thankfully, they went far beyond visuals and made the visit SO worth it (We went twice in three days).

Espresso is poured from a Victoria Arduino machine. On the espresso, they had a single origin I don’t remember, but they had so many options of grains for other methods.

Coming from the closely-controlled coffee market in Brazil, where you can’t import green coffee beans (so roasters only get to roast Brazilian coffee), traveling to drink coffee is always a treat.

We have great beans in Brazil, so I’m not complaining – but it’s nice to drink fresh coffee from other countries. It was a pleasure to see they had things from all over South and Central America – and some single-origin African roasts.

All freshly roasted. We had V60s, and then Aeropresses (besides the other espresso beverages we drank) – and all were incredible. There are more photos and a deeper review of La Farmacia at Sprudge.

Café La Farmacia in Montevideo, Uruguay - a turn of the century drugstore turned into a beautiful caféLa Farmacia Café in Montevideo - it's visually stunning and the coffee is incredible - this is their Victoria Arduino La Farmacia in Montevideo is not your average coffee shop - this turn of the century pharmacy has details we could look at for daysBrunch at La Farmacia Café in Montevideo, Uruguay

Montevideo: Calm Meets South-American Charm

Montevideo feels completely different than every South American Capital. It actually feels a little different from most South American cities – there’s just this sense of calm in the air – all the time. Even with a population of almost two million people living in its metro area, Montevideo feels slow and easy.

It might be all the green, or the river. It might the Ramblas – and the parks. Or it might just be the fact that everything seems so spacious and spread out in Montevideo, but it really feels like the clock ticks slower in Uruguay.

Chances are you’ll end up tying your visit to Montevideo with a visit to another city in South America. It might be on a cruise, it might be on a visit to Buenos Aires and taking the Buquebus across to Uruguay – but Montevideo is definitely worth a visit if you’re looking for a few days of calm in the middle of your South American trip.

Considering how “small” Montevideo is compared to Buenos Aires, São Paulo, and Rio – it has much to offer. Especially in the coffee and restaurant department. These are some of the best coffee shops in South America, by far.

Here’s a quick list of links to some of the places pictured in this post. Pay them a visit if you’re ever in Montevideo!

La Farmacia Café
La Linda Bakery
Sinergia Design


2020 edit: Soon after we went down to Uruguay, a few new coffee shops have opened their doors. It looks like we’re going to have to visit again soon and add these to our Montevideo Coffee Guide.


Sometimes Sunday Café – Oh god, just look at their pictures on Google or check out their Instagram. Everything just looks delicious. The place is beautiful. A Copper hand-hammered Victoria Arduino and Mahlkonig grinders (probably for espresso and filtered) on the counter.

Seis Montes – Specialty Coffee Roasters that actually serve coffee. These are always the real deal. Probably the place to go stock up on some South American coffee, at least before you get to Brazil on your cruise. Beautiful design, Dalla Corte machine – and from the looks of their instagram page, these guys know their stuff.

Culto Café – This is probably the place that will go head to head with La Farmacia to see who gets more photos up on Pinterest. The design of this place is beautiful. Featured on Archdaily and probably a bunch of other architecture websites, you can see how much thought they put into this place. It’s on Sarandí, so you’ll probably stop by it. Let’s hope their coffee is as good as they look.

Botánico – Looks cool, hip, and slow. Faema machine and lots of plants. Probably worth a visit.

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