Montevideo lies almost directly across the Río de la Plata from Buenos Aires. For many visitors, the most intriguing area is the Ciudad Vieja, the formerly walled colonial grid straddling the western tip of a peninsula between the sheltered port and the wide-open river. Just east of the old town gate, the Centro (downtown) begins at Plaza Independencia, surrounded by historic buildings of the republican era. Av 18 de Julio, downtown Montevideo’s commercial thoroughfare, runs east past Plaza del Entrevero, Plaza Cagancha and the Intendencia (town hall) towards Tres Cruces bus terminal, where it changes name to Av Italia and continues east towards Carrasco International Airport and the Interbalnearia highway to Punta del Este.
Montevideo is famous for the wood-fired barbeque called "parrillada." Local cooks use slow-grill techniques for different beef cuts, lamb, sausage, blood sausage and even provolone cheese. Lomo is tender beef fillet, and asado is a tasty rib cut.