Behind an antique door in a charming colonial home in the Old City lie the most original Montevideo pizzas. Together with spicy weekly specials, unique cocktails and a 100% Uruguay wine list.
John and Jon—friends call them ‘the Johns’—moved to Uruguay from Seattle five years ago. They opened Escondite or ‘hideaway’ in April 2023, after years of wow-ing their Uruguayan friends—all Old City chefs—with their unorthodox takes on traditional Uruguayan cuisine, particularly pizza.
The kitchen is focused on a woodfired oven producing Neapolitan style pizzas—the anchor of the menu. I nearly died and went to heaven as I sank my teeth into the salty, lemony sweetbread pizza (pizza de molleja). They’ve also invented a gaucho pizza with slices of tender beef condimented with chimichurri.
Weekly specials allow Jon—whose grandmother ran a successful restaurant in LA—to bring spices, heat and world flavours to the table. Something seriously lacking on the majority of Uruguayan menus till now. The week that I visited the focus was Thai and Southeast Asian.
I’m impressed by the wine list. 100% Uruguay wines selected by John for price point and growing region (I don’t recall seeing region feature so squarely on a winelist here before). Try different styles by the glass. For instance, ask John to take you through different styles of local Chardonnay—such as steel tank versus oak-matured. Also in a nod to their origins, check out the whiskey-based cocktails including whiskeys from Ireland, Scotland, the US and Japan.
What you should know
Ample portions The Caesar salad was massive and could easily be a starter for two.
Notable options for carnivores The t-bone steak (costilla con lomo) is a favorite, finished in a cast iron skillet inside the 500°C wood oven with butter, garlic & thyme. John’s favourite is a juicy chicken milanesa.
Vegans and vegetarians are most welcome The pappardelle pasta is handmade.
Artisanal ice cream Many of us in the old city got to experience Jon’s handmade ice cream long before the restaurant opened up, as those gastronome friends mentioned above were serving it in their restaurants. It’s incredible.
Other surprises include the pizza being served with scissors! And very original desserts. There’s no overreliance here on chocolate and dulce de leche. My dining partner feasted on a buttery fried plantain with icecream.
Reservations recommended particularly on Fridays and Saturdays and for the open-air patio.
Pérez Castellano 1411, Montevideo, Uruguay
Wednesday to Saturday from 7 pm until late. Special events on demand.
Watch this space or join Escondite’s social media to learn when they start to open on weekends for lunch.