Here is a great recipe to make the best beet with goat cheese and walnut salad you will ever eat. It is my gift and contribution to the people of Uruguay to pair with their magnificent beef steaks, tannat red wine and good cheer that is always proudly on display whenever you eat out in Uruguay. This salad was inspired by our visit to the charming town of Colonia de Sacramento where we had a simple but beautiful lettuce salad, just to prove that Uruguay is more than just great beef.
I have to be completely honest and tell you that, generally, the quality of salads and vegetables in Uruguay just did not match up to the magnificence and emphasis on meats and red wine. Unless you enjoy meat (particularly beef) it can be rather slim pickings sometimes in Uruguay. Vegetables on the menu were in rather short supply and unless you could cook it on a grill it just wasn’t available. In other words, there are not a lot of green vegetables in the Uruguayan diet. And salad, it was generally a simple affair, with not much imagination. This surprised us as Uruguay has a fabulous climate and good soils for growing vegetables.
So when staying in Colonia de Sacramento, we visited a fabulous restaurant and had our faith restored that Uruguay can indeed produce a good salad. Today we feature the best of the restaurants in Colonia de Sacramento, a magnificent UNESCO World Heritage site, that is well worth a visit if you are traveling to Uruguay. We also detail our beet with goat cheese and walnut salad, our gift to the people of Uruguay.
Read on to find out more.
Where to Eat in Colonia de Sacramento, Uruguay
Colonia is full of old charm, old vehicles and great little restaurants where you can enjoy a casual lunch or enjoy a great evening meal.
If enjoying an evening meal be aware most restaurants do not even open until 8pm and sometimes 9pm. And if you arrive at that time chances are you will be the only customers. I kid you not, peak time is between 10pm and midnight. That is when you will find the ambience and atmosphere to be at its peak.
We enjoyed the food in Colonia. Here are our favorite choices:
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- Buen Suspiro. Calle de los Suspiros 90 (street of sighs)
This little place was the bargain of the year. Cheese and meat platters. Good for a lunch for two. Enjoy wine tastings in a quaint setting with outdoors and indoors seating.
- La Florida. Florida 217
This was an eclectic, little place with great food. Not cheap but good quality (plan on $100 for 2 people including wine and drinks). Some things were different from the usual menu. All food was home made. We enjoyed some very good calamari to start, black pasta ravioli with salmon filling and a beautiful fish dish.
We could not work out when La Florida was open as no hours were posted and it seemed quite random when it would open. Persevere and make sure you try this restaurant.
- El Porton, Avenida Gral Flores 333
El Porton is a steak restaurant on the main street. It opens a little after 8pm (early for Colonia). El Porton wins the value award in Colonia. We enjoyed steaks, fries, salad, dessert, a bottle of house wine and coffee. The cost for 2 was approximately $60.
- Marlo, Del Commercio 168
This was our favorite restaurant in Colonia. It has a fabulous ambience and an emphasis on quality. We enjoyed grilled provolone, high-quality steaks, grilled vegetables (of course), fresh green salad (plain but the best quality salad we enjoyed in Uruguay), sparkling water, an up-market bottle of tannat, flans for dessert and coffee. Price was $115 for 2. Not cheap, but given the quality, we thought it was excellent value and the best steaks we tasted in Colonia.
This restaurant doesn’t open early. We were the first customers through the door and departed at about 11pm, just as things were becoming busy. We were shocked and embarrassed (feeling like party poopers) as when we left a family of 4 were just arriving including 2 children under the age of 5. They start them young in Uruguay!
Best Beet with Goat Cheese and Walnut Salad
Inspired by the good, green lettuce salad we enjoyed at Marlo’s, this beet with goat cheese and walnut salad is one we think would go beautifully in Uruguay. Matched with some great steaks and a good tannat wine, you can’t go wrong.
Try your local farmer’s market to source the best possible beets, with leaves attached, as well as some good goat’s cheese. We enjoy eating beet leaves but they have to be fresh-looking and not wilted. You can substitute the beet leaves with silver beet, spinach or lettuce.
Read on for the recipe for beet with goat cheese and walnut salad.
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- Cut the beets from the stem. Bring a pot of water to the boil and place beets in the pot to simmer for 30 minutes, longer if the beets are large, or until cooked. Place beets in a bowl of cool water. After 15 minutes peel beets, cut into chunks and put aside.
- Meanwhile, remove the stems from the beet leaves. Discard the stems. Rinse the beet leaves well. Dry the leaves in a clean tea towel. Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat and saute beet leaves for 1 to 2 minutes or until the leaves start to wilt. Reserve.
- Meanwhile place the walnuts in a pan and dry roast over a medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Reserve.
- Assemble the salad by combining the beets, beet leaves, walnuts and crumbled goat's cheese. You can optionally add a good quality vinaigrette dressing