A Friendly Guide to Restaurants in Paraguay
If you’re planning a trip to Paraguay or simply curious about the culinary scene in this beautiful South American country, you’ve come to the right place. In this travel guide, I’ll take you on a gastronomic journey to explore some of the best restaurants in Paraguay, highlighting traditional dishes and introducing you to hidden gems. So, loosen your belt and get ready to embark on a delicious adventure!
1. Asunción: The Capital’s Culinary Scene
a) Lido Bar
Established in 1953, Lido Bar is an iconic eatery located in the heart of Asunción. Famous for its delicious empanadas and milanesas, this place is a must-visit for anyone seeking a true taste of Paraguayan cuisine. Don’t forget to try their freshly squeezed fruit juices, perfect for quenching your thirst on a hot day.
Bolsi is another Asunción classic, known for its generous portions and wide range of dishes. From traditional Paraguayan comfort food to international favorites, there’s something for everyone at Bolsi. Be sure to sample their Bife Koygua, a popular dish featuring tender beef, fried onions, and a fried egg, served with a side of rice and salad.
c) La Herencia
If you’re in the mood for a fancier dining experience, La Herencia offers a beautiful atmosphere and exceptional service. This elegant restaurant specializes in Paraguayan fusion cuisine, blending traditional flavors with modern culinary techniques. Try their Surubí al Roquefort, a dish that combines the local river fish Surubí with a rich Roquefort sauce.
2. Encarnación: A Taste of the South
a) San Rafael Restaurante
Located in Encarnación’s historic district, San Rafael Restaurante is a local favorite for Paraguayan comfort food. Known for their chipa guasu (a corn-based dish similar to a soufflé) and mbeju (a starchy, cheesy pancake), this is the perfect spot to sample traditional dishes from the south of the country.
Gourmand is a trendy bistro offering a blend of international and Paraguayan cuisine. With a menu that changes seasonally, you can expect fresh, locally-sourced ingredients and beautifully presented dishes. Don’t miss their Mandioca Gratinada, a creative take on the classic Paraguayan staple, cassava.
3. Ciudad del Este: A Culinary Melting Pot
a) Casa Rica
For a taste of the Middle East in Paraguay, Casa Rica is the place to go. This family-owned restaurant serves up delicious Lebanese dishes, such as shawarma, falafel, and tabbouleh. The warm hospitality and mouthwatering food will make you feel right at home.
b) Tio San
Located near the Friendship Bridge, Tio San is a popular spot for sushi and Asian cuisine. The menu features an extensive selection of sushi rolls, as well as other dishes like ramen and yakisoba. The relaxed atmosphere and delicious food make it a favorite among locals and visitors alike.
4. Filadelfia: A Taste of the Chaco
a) Florida Garten
Nestled in the heart of Filadelfia, Florida Garten is a charming restaurant known for its German and Paraguayan fusion cuisine. Established by Mennonite settlers, the restaurant serves up hearty dishes like sausages, schnitzel, and traditional Paraguayan fare. Be sure to try their chorizo parrillero, a local favorite grilled sausage dish.
b) La Rueda
La Rueda is a cozy eatery that offers a taste of the Chaco region’s unique flavors. With a focus on locally-sourced ingredients and traditional recipes, you can expect dishes like Carne Asada al Palo (beef grilled on a stick) and Payagua Mascada (a meat and cassava fritter). Don’t miss out on their refreshing tereré, a traditional Paraguayan cold beverage made with yerba mate.
5. Tips for Dining in Paraguay
a) Be adventurous
Paraguay offers a diverse culinary scene, so don’t be afraid to try new dishes and flavors. From traditional Paraguayan fare to international cuisine, there’s a wealth of options to explore.
b) Learn some Spanish (or Guaraní)
While English is spoken in some tourist areas, it’s always helpful to know a few phrases in Spanish or Guaraní, the two official languages of Paraguay. This will help you communicate with locals and navigate menus with ease.
c) Respect meal times
Paraguayans typically eat lunch between 12 pm and 2 pm, and dinner between 8 pm and 10 pm. Many restaurants close during the afternoon siesta, so plan your meals accordingly.
d) Tipping etiquette
Tipping is not mandatory in Paraguay, but it’s appreciated, especially for good service. A tip of 10% is considered generous.
There you have it, my fellow food lovers! This guide should give you a taste of the diverse and delicious world of Paraguayan cuisine. I hope it helps you enjoy your gastronomic journey in this beautiful country.