A REVISIT TO FRANCIS MALLMANN’S STUNNING GARZON HOTEL & RESTAURANT IN URUGUAY

El Garzon | Garzon, Uruguay

[PUEBLO GAZON, URUGUAY] — Details. Details. Details. It’s all in the details. And famous Argentine chef Francis Mallmann’s hideout in the small, un-developed Pueblo Garzon is dripping with it. Imagine the perfect movie set or photo shoot where every single corner, nook and cranny exudes great thought and attention. Nothing is missed. Zoom in on any square meter and you have your shot. Not to mention the food. Oh boy, the food.

Set about 40 minutes inland from the popular Bohemian Jetset town of Jose Ignacio the restaurant has been drawing carloads of gourmands to make the trek inland, past the expansive Uruguayan estancias, cows, gauchos and farmland to this treasured idyll. Long abandoned, he bought up most of the town years ago and built this magical movie set, anchored by his Garzon restaurant and five bedroom hotel. I was here several years ago, for a too-short single night and vowed to come back. We finally made it back at the end of season in early March of 2014 and got to spend several nights there, relaxing, eating, napping, and totally soaking up the mellow vibe. And it was cool to see how all The Little Things were updated and refined from my last stay, ever just so….

Lunches are crowded, especially on the weekends, but at night, you practically have the place to yourself. There is no reception desk. You just walk into the restaurant and the attentive staff show you to your room. Everything is included: meals, room, cocktails, wine and the ability to take horses up for a picnic in the surrounding hillsides. You don’t have to worry about signing for things or leaving your name. It’s like staying at a friend’s country estate, without the owner home. The pace is leisurely and brings down your blood pressure about 50 points.

Here’s what Travel & Leisure wrote about it in 2012. And TripAdvisor.  And Wall Street Journal, way back in 2009. And Financial Times. And in Food & Wine.

 

Franics Mallmann's Garzon grilled vegetables

As with most restaurants in Uruguay, and especially with Francis Mallmann’s restaurants, nearly everything is cooked with fire. One remarkable dish after another brought out, cooked in new and different ways to bring out the best in food. And people.

Garzon grilled fish, rock salt

A signature grilled fish, cooked in a rocksalt crust, cracked at your table. It makes you giddy with anticipation.

Garzon restaurant water pitchers.

To really appreciate Garzon, spend time looking at the details. Every. Single. Detail. Everything’s been thought out, for your eyes. Like being in your own private photo shoot.

Garzon, Main Street

Garzon Main Street

Garzon Hotel and Restaurant courtyard

The Hotel. The Restaurant. They are one.

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