After ten years running Es Mercat, which we wager is Montevideo’s best fish restaurant, Chef Roberto Connio was ready for a new challenge. But “we didn’t want to go too far away”. So, in December 2021, Swiss sidekick Lili Zech and he “left our baby in good hands (son Facundo’s)” and moved just around the corner to open up El Otro Es Mercat—‘The Other Es Mercat’—a Galician-inspired restaurant and tapas bar for seafood and fish lovers.
Known by the locals simply as El Otro, the restaurant is on the pedestrian street seconds from the port. The vibe is as congenial as always and a chair at the long, long antique bar is the ideal spot to strike up a conversation with both locals and foreigners.
Of course, it wouldn’t be ‘the other’ if there was no smoky grilled octopus, but at El Otro, there’s a new star of the show—bacalao,—salt cod—served in a myriad of styles.
The secret of Es Mercat’s success, besides the cooking and the laid-back atmosphere, has always been Roberto’s tireless pursuit of the very best quality seafood from the port and the Uruguay coastline. However, a tapas menu affords Roberto a new flexibility to serve his and Lili’s personal favourites. I know you’re dying for the tips. So, besides bacalao, shrimp empanaditas and crab croquettes, their preferred dishes include two egg dishes—tortilla española (Spanish omelette in the best tradition) and huevos rotos.
What you should know
Tapas and portions menu Like in Spain, you can choose a full plate (porción) or small plate (tapa) of most items. Each tapa is abundant—two and I’m stuffed.
Vegetarians and vegans Fabian the second chef is borderline vegan and the whole team loves to serve vegan and vegetarian. Just tell them your preferences.
Wine, coffee and desserts 95% of the carefully curated wine list is Uruguayan. There are plans to open a wine store in-house next season. The desserts and high quality coffee are notable.
Great service in multiple languages Staff speak English, Spanish, German, Portuguese, French and Italian at a pinch. They’re delighted to talk you through the chalkboard menu (updated most days as fresh produce arrives) in your language.
The heart of a brand-new gastronomy hub El Otro is at the centre of Distrito B—a fledgling hub for the great food and producers who’ve set up shop at the intersection of Perez Castellano and Piedras streets. Tero craft beer and Piwo icecream are just two of the many local producers from Distrito B and beyond used by El Otro.
Flexible opening hours I’ve arrived at El Otro at 10:30 for a breakfast bagel and found it closed. I’ve also passed by late at night and the house in full swing. Contact Lili the day before if you plan to go bang on opening time (this is relaxed Uruguay after all).
El Otro Es Mercat
Pérez Castellano 1526, Ciudad Vieja, Montevideo
Reservations: (+598) 2914 7078
Or call Lili on +598 560 278 or contact her via Instagram.
Guru’Guay readers love to meet Roberto and Lili personally. Roberto is in the restaurant most days and Lili on weekends but she told us, “if someone wants to meet us, send me a WhatsApp, because we want to meet you too” ❤️
Summer schedule till Easter
Open daily 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Thu-Sat 11 a.m. to midnight.
El Otro is available for events. If your party numbers ten or more, they’ll be delighted to open up for you outside of regular hours.
Photos: Adrián Echeverriaga