Most restaurants, both modest and high-end, offer affordable lunch specials (menu del da or menu ejecutivo). All you can eat Brazilian churrasquenas with endless streams of waiters offering up different cuts of meat are popular among locals and tourists alike. Though limited, ethnic foods can generally be found in cities as well as in immigrant colonies. German foods (baked and pickled goods as well as sausages) are especially prevalent and generally of high quality. Though the Paraguayan dishes tend to be bland, most restaurants have hot sauce (ajpicante) to spice things up. Travelers on a budget should note that many restaurants in cities refuse to serve tap water in order to profit from bottled water.
In small town restaurants, the selection of dishes are typically limited to Paraguayan staples such as empanadas, sopa, chipa guazu, and milanesas (these types of foods are known as minutas), while cities offer a wider variety. In larger towns, the supermarket food court pay by the kilo buffets are popular and can be the most dependable food option. Heladeria Amandau and El Heladero ice cream chains have stores selling desserts and snacks throughout the countryside.
Restaurants serve lunch roughly between 11am and 2pm, though larger, popular restaurants in the city may serve food all afternoon. Most places open for dinner between 7:30 and 8pm but don’t tend to fill up until 10pm or, later on the weekends. If you need a pick-me-up between lunch and dinner, your best bet is to head to a confitend’ (coffee shop). These often offer a full menu in addition to snacks and pastries. Restaurants and even ice cream parlors tend to shut down between midnight and 1am. In smaller towns, many restaurants either shut down or have reduced hours during the winter (low season).
The Best of Country Cooking
Some dishes that taste better in the countryside, thanks to the fresh ingredients and methods of cooking. Don’t pass up the chance to eat the following:
Tallarm Thick yellow noodles cooked with a delicious tomato based sauce and often served with chicken, beef or pork.
Mandio chyryry Fried mandioca with scrambled eggs, queso Paraguay, and onions.
Arroz con leche Creamy and delicious when made with fresh cow’s milk. Sometimes burnt sugar is added giving it a richer flavor.
Kure (pork, in all its forms) Fried (chyryry), al horno, or tatakua (baked in an oven or brick oven) or asado (grilled).