On a recent business trip to Asuncion, Paraguay, I had the opportunity to sample some delicious food at five amazing restaurants and stay at the excellent START Villa Morra Apartments Hotel. During my trip, I met lots of local professionals who gave me recommendations on some great restaurants in Asuncion.
One of the smaller countries in South America, it has a sad history, including a major war in the mid-1800s (the country lost 40% of its territory to Brazil and Argentina), from which the country has never fully recovered but is otherwise rising and stable.
That said, the country is a second-world developing country that is coming onto the radar due to its economic and political stability. The country is more stable than its neighbors, making it a favored investment destination for Brazilians and Argentinians.
If I had to describe the Asuncion vibe, I would say it is like felt like Houston, Texas, without freeways and suburbs. It is sprawling, with a well-developed urban heartland. I also discovered that Asuncion, Paraguay, is a gold mine for fantastic food at very inexpensive prices. Bear in mind that speaking Spanish is essential if you plan on visiting, as virtually no one speaks English anywhere.
Asuncion As A Food City
Simply put, the restaurants in Asuncion are amazing, and it is an incredible food city if you are a foreigner visiting from a Western country. The food here is usually made locally, with local ingredients, and generally has no additives or hormonal extras.
I found all the food here to be amazingly fresh. This is especially true for their meats! These are some of the freshest I’ve experienced (sorry, vegetarians & Vegans).
Factor in the fact that Paraguay is inexpensive to Western tourists due to the favorable exchange rates, and the city is a haven for gourmets searching for culinary delights!
Ese Lugar Quinta Nauar
Location: Villa Morra
One of Asuncion’s oldest restaurants, Ese Lugar Quinta Nauar, has been in business since 1896. The prices were comparable to other eateries, and the food was perfectly cooked. The service was professional, attentive, and friendly. The restaurant serves international and traditional dishes adapted to the modern world while maintaining its essence.
The Ese Lugar Quinta Nauar has a classy dining room with tables inside and outside under a glass structure, smartly dressed servers, and a maitre d’hotel. The setup gives you the impression that you are in for some serious dining.
The location is beautiful in an exquisitely restored country house. The outdoor courtyard has a lovely, cool, calming fountain pool. Not to mention the Covered outdoor seating & patio seating
The establishment has a very family-friendly feel with lots of space and options for families to gather. It also looked like an excellent place for couples to go on a date night. The building has many different room styles with lots of space to eat, lounge, and relax, and I loved the old architecture.
I sampled a delicious meal here consisting of the following:
Sopa de Cebollas (Onion Soup) – delicious! Had a soft texture, a bit thicker than water, but a rich onion taste. I found it very different from French onion soup. Tasty, served piping hot with cheese and croutons.
Ceviche de Mariscos (Seafood Ceviche) – Served on a massive plate. I must confess this was not my favorite ceviche. I was missing the lime taste.
Bife Koygua (Steak Koygua) – Huge plate, piping hot. Looks delicious! Everyone at my table was jealous of this, and rightfully so—hefty food. The dish came in a hot tomato sauce and eggs.
Erdinger Dunkel (German beer) – solid, you can’t go wrong with German beer.
Cappuccino – tall serving.
La Queseria (Shopping Mariscal):
I found the La Queseria a fantastic space to share brunch and chat in a quiet environment. Located in a mall, it is still relatively quiet. The place has an Interior and exterior section, a long bar with a purple palette, and mirrors on the inside. Also, from the interior entrance is a bar on the shopping mall concourse side.
I went here twice for business meetings in a group of 5 people. On both occasions, we sat at their large circular outdoor table in both instances.
La Queseria is a perfect lunch spot with a menu that has many options for sandwiches, tapas, eggs, and specials for a good breakfast.
La Queseria is a great place to people-watch at the shopping mall across the street. The restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating, although I found the outside seating quieter than the inside.
Internally, it has a modern vibe with dim and elegant mood lighting and greenery/jungle greens around the exterior courtyard seating and along the interior. Although it also has a 50’s retro and midcentury modern aesthetic.
The restaurant has a massive cheese-themed menu. There are a ton of options spread over breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner, and it includes Paraguayan as well as non-Paraguayan options. One thing to note is that It takes a long time for the staff to attend even though they are very friendly.
I went here twice for two different meals. My first time there was in the evening for dinner, while my second visit was for a brunch business meeting.
During my dinner visit, I had the following:
Queso y Jamon cocido (cheese and ham balls): So delicious, cooked perfectly, and juicy/ creamy inside.
Chimichurri Steak: Served perfectly cooked, it had a massive side of greens, lemons, and cucumber; the steak was juicy and warm.
I had a Hobglobin IPA, a surprisingly delicious India Pale Ale beer. It was served in a chilled glass.
For my brunch menu, I had the following, accompanied by generous servings of delicious coffee.
North African Shakshuka: So warm, creamy, juicy, and flavorful, with a side of bread
Salmon Eggs Benedict Bowl: Served over fresh greens. Generally, this was too much food; the mash-up of flavors was a little weird, and I didn’t finish.
La Cabrera (Original location)
Location: Ycua Sati
If I has to describe this restaurant in Asuncion, in one word Spectacular springs to mind when describing this place. It is one of the best restaurants in the entire country and arguably the best steakhouse in Paraguay.
I came here for a business dinner around 7 p.m. on a Monday, and the place was utterly deserted. That being said, the food was incredible, and the service and overall experience were immaculate.
If you are a steak fan coming to Asuncion, you can’t afford to miss out on La Cabrera; it is simply one fo the best restaurants in Asuncion.
The eatery has a modern noir steakhouse vibe, with low ceilings and a brick wall interior. The restaurant is dimly lit, with candles at each table, and screams upmarket fine dining. Suffice it to say this is not the place to show up in a pair of jeans.
The service here was dedicated, fast, and incredibly fast. Although since the food is meticulously prepared, the meat takes time to prepare, it is delicious and worth the weight.
Every aspect of my experience at La Cabrera was high-end. From the atmosphere, service, and, of course, the incredible food.
Sopa de Paraguaya: This was like soft cornbread with a firm but cheesy texture. Very soft and flavored. Classic Paraguayan dish, very southern.
Corn with Cheese / Turkish Eggplant / Tortas.
Empanadas (2x): Empanada de carne “La Cabrera” huge empanadas.
Morscilla Vasca Dulce (Sweet Basque Blood Sausage): very similar to Black Pudding
Lomito Con Pimienta Concase: This Came in a sizzling hot tray and massive cuts of thick meat. It was perfectly cooked throughout – wow. This was served as giant cubes of meat, with other sauces and bits to try alongside.
You can have your steak cooked in 6 different ways, from rare to well done. In addition, the portions were massive. I was surprised by the sheer quantity of food on my plate.
Lo De Osvaldo (Paseo La Galeria)
Location: Villa Morra
The Lo De Osvaldo came highly recommended by several Asuncion residents, and they were right. This is probably one of the best steak houses I have ever visited, and one of he best restaurants in Asuncion.
The place has fantastic steaks, including unique cuts like Tomahawks and Beef Tongue. In addition, the pricing is extremely reasonable compared to the US or Europe.
As you can imagine, Lo De Osvaldo is busy, so it is highly recommended that you make a reservation to guarantee you get a seat.
Another restaurant located in a mall is ideal for a spot of people watching. The classy but casual eatery has indoor and outdoor seating, with dark leather and overall dark finishes.
The main eating area is a large circular room with a massive circular bar in the middle. The seating is booth style at the corners and table seating everywhere else.
The restaurant is peppered with TV screens showing soccer, and lots of soccer memorabilia and jerseys hand hang above.
A circular room with Wine Bottles is all around, which can be booked for special events.
Of all the places on this list, the staff had the most festive vibe and posed for pictures while also asking what I do in Spanish only, of course.
Sopa de Paraguaya: Like La Cabrera, a soft cornbread with a firm but cheesy texture. Very soft and flavored. Classic Paraguayan dish, very southern.
Smoked Top Sirloin Cuts: These were served on a piping hot grille that splattered the delicious juices all over me. The Waiter misunderstood my order as “medium well,” so unfortunately, I did not get the flavor I ultimately wanted.
Tomahawk Steak: Oh my god, this is just wild; I didn’t get this; my friend did, but it was A. monstrously large and B. Incredible to taste.
Café De Aca Villa Morra
Location: Villa Morra
The bottom line is this was my favorite restaurants in Asuncion; I went here four times during my visit. The Café De Aca is a daytime garden-style café and diner with many different rooms and places to sit.
The main restaurant is inside and features several rooms, while a pleasant outdoor seating area is also available. There is also a back exterior section and another separate interior building in the rear, which is more intimate.
I found it to be the perfect spot for Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Drinks. Also, it was a great local coffee shop to enjoy traditional Paraguayan snacks and drinks and their other options.
The sheer quantity of food options is mesmerizing, so much so I didn’t document much of the building’s interior. However, the place is packed with artifacts and memorabilia, such as old fans and radios, all from the 1920s and 30s.
The Café De Aca has a very homey feel with various rooms and indoor and outdoor seating areas. It is a beautiful restaurant; the veranda is full of plants, and everything is nicely decorated on the inside. I love the outdoor part of this café… sitting under the trees, and the sound of water from the little fountain feels like an escape from the city.
Whether you want to bring a visitor to taste local fare or want a small workspace, I came and set my laptop for work here twice, and the Wi-Fi was also incredibly stable for getting things done. The café is ideal, ins tops my list of restaurants in Asuncion, you can just pop into for some work, light snack, or dinner.
The food is delicious no matter what you order, and the waiting staff are attentive and very courteous. However, like most places, you have to wait a little longer for your food when it is crowded.
Sadly, I didn’t document what I had each time because I visited so many times. It was such a regular spot that I just forgot and took it in my stride.
However, I will say that every single time I ate here, the food was delicious, and I was never served something I did not like.
I was blown away by the restaurants in Asuncion! The food scene in Asuncion is a hidden gem and an incredible food city if you are a foreigner visiting from a Western country. The service, quality, and freshness of everything served to me were outstanding. The people and staff are friendly and courteous at every establishment. I enjoyed my dining out experience and would happily go back to sample some of the other culinary delights Asuncion offers. My recommendations for restaurants in Asuncion are as follows:
- Steaks, either La Cabrera or Lo De Osvaldo. You cannot go wrong with either; La Cabrera is more formal, whereas Lo De Osvaldo is where you’d go to have steak and watch football.
- General café and Paraguayan food, hang out at the beautiful Café De Aca.
- Special dinners with your significant other, Ese Lugar Quinta Nauar is a clear winner.
- For a business meeting, I recommend La Queseria, which is always a good choice.