Guide books tell you the most economical places to travel in South America are Columbia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. Go anywhere else and you will be paying European prices.
In Punta Del Este, my new favorite place for good food and good value is the Rotisserie down from the Hotel Playa Brava recommended by Juan Carlos.. For two hundred pesos, or about ten bucks, I can have a working guy’s lunch. The proprietor brings a basket of home made rolls while I wait for the big show. I have already fetched a Coca Cola from the display frig and ordered a big helping of rice and broiled Lenguado, Spanish for sole.
The funny thing about fish is that it is called good if it doesn’t taste fishy.
My order comes tender, and not fishy, and there is plenty. The rice has peas and carrots like they fix it in Columbia or Costa Rica. The Coke is better than home because they use real sugar.
For budget minded travelers, there are always places where locals eat that give you value, even in boom and bust resort towns just before the holidays when things start resurrecting from the dead.
When I hit the road, I have to spread my stars out. If I stay in a five star hotel I have to eat a lot of two star meals.