Great food and historic attraction at Sumo Restaurant in Maldonado by Mary Massey of La Barra
For me there is no way to top good food and historical significance to make a restaurant pleasurable. Sumo, at the corner the town plaza on Sarandi and Florida in Maldonado not only serves excellent meals, it offers a taste of history.
A former owner honored the Argentine 80’s rock group Sumo with the name of his restaurant. Sumo was short-lived and mostly underground but was highly influential in shaping contemporary Argentine rock by merging post-punk with Raeggae.
Sumo has both indoor and outdoor seating and the service is great at any table. The shaded outdoor seating creates a good atmosphere for people-watching on the pedestrian-only Sarandi.
Don’t miss the most exciting feature of the physical lay-out; a side room dedicated to Charles Darwin who is said to have stayed in that spot during his 10-week stay in Maldonado in 1832. The walls of this room contain a museum-quality display of illustrations, charts, notes, quotes, maps, as a tribute to Darwin and his study of evolution. His A Naturalist’s Voyage Round the World …Journal of Researches into the Natural History and Geology of the Countries Visited During the Voyage Around the World of H.M.S. Beagle is found online. (Details of Darwin’s experiences in Maldonado and Uruguay are in Chapter 3.)
Good things come from the cocina (kitchen) and the parilla (wood-fire grill) at Sumo. I recommend the licuados and the cappuccino as the top two non-alcoholic beverages. Each time we were at Sumo the staff went overboard to make sure each of us got what we wanted. Meals come with a basket of freshly-baked miniature yeast rolls and butter. The Uruguayan standard list of grilled beef cuts is available including picaña and entircott. There are two picada options, each is a mixed grill designed to be shared by two people. Three people might be even better because there is plenty. If you don’t care for organ meats, or blood sausage, there is still a great deal of meat. Be sure to specify “muy jugoso” if you like your meat cooked less than medium and seca (dry) if you want it more done.
The salads are great for sharing, and the chicken Caesar is excellent. It comes on a long rectangular plate and can be a great accompaniment for two or three people. Pizzas and pastas are well-prepared with all of the toppings and sauces recommended except champiñones (canned mushrooms). The pizza is typical for the area and one advantage at Sumo is that a smaller sized pizza can be ordered.
There is always room for dessert when you order the isla flotada, (floating island), a mile-high fluffy meringue and raisin dessert topped with a sweet sauce made from egg yolks and just a touch of wine. It can be shared with coffee for at the end of a meal.
So if you are strolling around in the center of Maldonado, check out Sumo on the corner of the city plaza. You get good food and history in a convenient location.