Uruguayan culture favors mate over coffee, so cafés are specialist areas rather than commonplace ’round-the-corner’ localities. However, Punta Del Este has been Uruguay’s most famous and popular holiday destination for decades, and as such is home to a great variety of cafés and coffee houses, often featuring the most delicious treats to go with your afternoon brew.
Bakery, Cafe, Sandwich Shop, Dessert, Pastries, South American, $$$
Famous for its incredible sweet and savory croissants, Medialunas Calentitas is a hub of caffeine-infused energy for those who want a celebrated buttery treat to go with their coffee. It has something to fit every occasion; breakfast, lunch, cakes and tea, and dinner. Medialunas Calentitas has an informal atmosphere, with a colorful, rustic seating area and floor-to-ceiling windows to enjoy the weather. You will find it in several strategic locations around Punta del Este, like Punta Ballena and La Barra, and you will find it open all day and all night during high season. This café is frequented by young people, adults, and families alike.
A lovely place for coffee and sweets in the center of downtown Punta Del Este. It has mouth-watering milkshakes but is primarily an ice-cream shop, with such an assortment that you will be blinded by options. If that wasn’t enough, the range of cakes and sweet treats are almost as colorful. This is the perfect place to visit if you’re out for a wander and need a chance to rest your legs and get out of the sun.
A couple blocks inland from Punta Del Este’s iconic beach Playa Brava, lies the romantic Felix Caffé. Tucked away behind some luscious green foliage, this café is in a converted house and is an escape from the world around you. The garden encompasses you with pine trees and other fragrant shrubs that only add to the delicious cakes and treats they have to offer. Inside, the vintage atmosphere feels like you’re in a romantic European country; it’s the perfect spot to take that special someone.
When it comes to variety, Lady Marion takes the cake. This café has a wide range of options for coffee, dessert, breakfast, lunch, or dinner, as well as a fantastic view of the city. It has a relaxed atmosphere, service as warm as the plates, and delicious baked goods. It is found on the beachfront promenade, so it is the perfect spot for a break or refreshment after a leisurely walk along the beach enjoying the panoramic Atlantic views.
This very modern café is a short walk from the beach and very central to the rest of the city. It feeds off the energy of its surrounding area with its walls of windows, and presents itself as clean and no-nonsense, with nothing to distract you from your food, work, or coffee. With a fantastic variety of gourmet meals you’re unlikely to find anywhere else, this café is perfectly designed for you to enjoy a nice coffee or snack with some friends, to brainstorm and ‘co-work,’ or just relax by yourself, sit back, and be inspired.
King Sao Plaza is a beautiful café, it has everything you could ask for in a high-end coffee house: coffee and tea in quaint little cups, a gorgeous view of the water and port, impeccably crafted cakes with those intricate drizzles of sauce that are almost too pretty to disturb. The entire atmosphere is infused with a touch of class, KingSao looks and feels more professional. It’s even open until 2 a.m. if you’re a fan of the midnight cappuccino.
Another very central café, found on the peninsula a mere two blocks from the bay and close to the port. It specializes in sweet delicacies, like rich cakes, treats, and baked goods, with a wide variety on display as soon as you walk in, so it’s worth a visit even just to window-shop and let your mouth water. It also has a wide range of food for lunch and dinner that varies from traditional Uruguayan cuisine to Italian, French, and much more.
A very cute and lesser known café tucked away a little inland. It is a converted house with a Mediterranean tiled roof which might fool you because Deleitarte is 100 percent Uruguayan. You’ll be welcomed with a warm smile and feel right at home, with such friendly and attentive service that you won’t want to leave. They are open for breakfast, lunch, and quick tasty snacks and coffee. It has a wonderfully minimalist design of bright, warm colors and creates a lovely environment for uninhibited conversation.
Veleros is located inside the Conrad Resort & Casino, making it very much at the heart of Punta Del Este. It has the familiar and business atmosphere of a luxury hotel and is as plush as you would expect. There are incredible views from the floor, and the coffee beans and ingredients are well sourced and incredibly rich. Veleros has a diligent, friendly, and accommodating staff, and the food is delicious.
A coffee lover’s dream, this is the ideal café for those who just can’t start their day without a cup of joe. Its walls are designed with irregularly cut pieces of wood put together like a rustic jigsaw. It offers an amazing assortment of coffees to choose from and a blackboard describing the specials of the day. Though the focus is coffee, it still serves delightful treats, grilled sandwiches, soft drinks in mason jars, and artisanal beers.