Picking up my mother in-law yesterday, in barrio Primero de Mayo, resulted in a very pleasant surprise. Approaching dinner time and with a slight hangover I was looking for something salty, greasy and good. Driving down Calle 14, about one block from my planned destination, I saw a big sign saying “Parrillada Uruguaya Juancho”. Anyone who has ever been to Uruguay knows that Uruguayans cook up a helluva BBQ. It’s a like an art, passed down from generation to generation in each family. Naturally, the sign caught my attention.
My mother in-law confirmed that “….todo lo que Juancho hace es rico!”. Always trying to be on good terms with la suegra linda, I invited everyone for dinner.
Juancho has been in business for 15 years. Like many others, he came to Cali, fell in love with a local girl and ended up staying. To be honest, his steak was fine by Colombian standards. But his choripan or chorizo sandwich might have been the best I’ve ever had. Excellent chorizo, grilled over burning hot coals, marinated with chimichurri and topped with a tomato-onion slaw.
The restaurant is full of tables, but I never left side of the grill. Halfway through my first sandwich I ordered the second. I’m sure you will too. Let me be clear that this sandwich is way better than anything I have ever tried at Subway or Sandwich Q’Bano and at $4.000 pesos (US$1.25). It’s also half the price.
All the other plates that I saw leave the grill looked nice as well. I’m not a big fan of grilled chicken. Usually it’s dry and without flavor. The grilled chicken here looked amazing. So did the pork tenderloin, the ribs and even the chicken hearts.
I understand that this part of town might not be very interesting by most metrics, but if you do happen to be in the area, I highly recommend you to swing by. This is not a fancy dining establishment, but a quiant neighborhood restaurant that happens to serve above average food. If his grill wasn’t so far away from my house, I’d be knocking on Juancho’s door every week.
Parrillada Uruguaya Juancho
Open every day from 5:oo P.M.
Carrera 53 # 13F – 75 in barrio Primero de Mayo, Cali
Telephone: 332 29 77