The Plaza de Armas is one of the more attractive places in Colonia and naturally it has attracted a number of restaurants. There is a row of them along one side of the Plaza. To compete, each has developed its own personality so most visitors will be able to find one which suits them. Here are three of them.
El Drugstore (Vasconcellos 179, Tel: 25 241)
The restaurant has a funky ambiance in keeping with the owners’ personality. Outside there are two antique cars which have been converted into dining spaces while inside it's filled with eclectic bits of artwork and other objects. The atmosphere seems to take precedence over the food for many diners here. Eating in one of the cars would undoubtedly appeal to many customers. People we ate with ordered a chivito and a lomito (both sandwiches) and they were pleased with their simple meals. Some of the more exotic dishes we tried were less successful. The portions, though, were huge, and I felt the restaurant was a relatively good value.
Viejo Barrio Restaurant and Bar (Vasconcellos 169, Tel: 25 399)
This place has a truly enjoyable ambiance and it certainly is different. The waiter has probably 100 hats and every few minutes he came to the quaint dining room area wearing a different hat. It became such an amusing experience that all the restaurant customers would wait to see the next hat rather than concentrating on their meals. While the hats are the attraction for many, the food is actually quite good. The pasta in particular is superb. It is homemade with a choice of anything from gnocchi with brown butter and sage, to tagliatelle, and ravioli. For dessert they have terrific flan, dulce de leche tart, or apple pudding, amongst other things.
Restaurant El Meson de la Plaza (Vasconcellos 153, Tel: 24 807)
Simple dishes made with good-quality ingredients have made this fairly formal traditional restaurant a favourite with visitors to Colonia and also with tour groups. Fortunately, there are a couple of different rooms so you may not have to share with a group. Steak dishes are a specialty here and we were told that they are generally good. The comprehensive wine list showcases Uruguayan vineyards which we had never heard of and are hard to sample anywhere outside of the country. There are both inside and outside tables that sit right on the peaceful Plaza. We didn’t eat here because we were looking for something a little more lay-back at that time but I am sure it would have been fine in different circumstances.