In the U.S., tapas tend to be an upscale affair. Spanish cuisine connotes something sophisticated, trendy — in a word, fancy. That’s a far cry from tapas in the mother country, which are mostly cheap, tasty bar food. So when you think about it, Miami’s 100 Montaditos is probably the most authentically Spanish way to grab a bite with friends.
This casual-eating chain is a huge hit in Madrid, and Miami is just following its footsteps. The menu offers 100 tiny sandwiches, mostly just simple, tapa-sized rolls you can finish in a few bites and wash down with a cerveza. The crusty, baguette-style sandwich bread is fresh, the ingredients are simple and flavorful, and the atmosphere is extremely laid-back. If not for the sound of English and the presence of conspicuously American menu items like hot dogs or Philly steak, you’d think you were just around the corner from Plaza de España.
Thanks to the many montaditos on offer, you can fill your plate with a delirious variety of flavor. A tuna, fresh tomato, and mayo montadito can share your plate with a barbecue pulled pork with cheddar, and then you can toss on a smoked salmon and arugula sandwich for good measure. If you want to go full Spaniard, stick with items like chorizo or Serrano ham, or look for anything with manchego on it — that’s always a safe bet. There’s sangria and wine to drink, but it’s the lesser-known beverages that really establish 100 Montaditos’ cred as a legit Spanish restaurant. Mahou, Madrid’s popular local lager, is the best accompaniment to your meal here, but sweeter options like clara (beer with lemon-lime soda) or tinto de verano (red wine with lemon-lime soda) are also available.
Perhaps most importantly, the restaurant has a Spanish mindset to match its menu. Long, jovial meals are encouraged. The place feels like a traditional Spanish tavern, with terra cotta tile floors, the long wooden bar, and lively patrons standing around high bar tables. The menu may seem daunting at first look-see, but it’s very user-friendly. You order a sandwich by writing down its number, so don’t worry about pronouncing something incorrectly. And, for that matter, you could just jot down some random digits, and lo que será, será! With snackable little bites like these, you can always order more.