On my visit to Montevideo, I picked the first two restaurants for their location: one at the Mercado del Puerto with a tango show in the street and one along the busy pedestrian street, with plenty of people watching, but neither with memorable food. My last restaurant turned out to be the best, Jacinto in the old town!
Jacinto is located four blocks from the cathedral, near the end of the pedestrian area. It has seating inside and on the pedestrian street, making it a pleasant place to sit. This part of Montevideo’s old town is mostly focused on tourists and is very quiet at night for dinner time when most of the day-visitors have left. The restaurant was not very busy on a weeknight and I picked a seat outside. The service was very friendly from the moment I arrived, a positive contrast to the generally unremarkable and not very friendly at all the other restaurants I ate at. I had my menu in hand immediately and my wine, water and some bread arrived quickly! The bread basket had some crunchy baguette style bread (which I liked) as well as a darker bread with nuts (which I passed on due to my allergies). The wine was inexpensive and very good for the price!
For the main course, I ordered a chicken with a bacon and it was delicious, by far the best dish I had in Montevideo. The chicken was moist and tender and the bacon was crisp. The combination tasted great and still makes my mouth water as I write this. The mashed potatoes were a good fit and well done. I usually order chicken when I don’t have high expectations, because it’s hard to mess up. But it usually isn’t great either, so this was a very pleasant exception and surprise!
Overall, Jacinto was the best restaurant I ate at in the old town and I’d go again. Between the nice, quiet location, the friendly service and the great food, it did everything right – and that for a good price. If you visit Montevideo for the day and only have one meal in town, make it Jacinto, you won’t be disappointed!