Madrid's Vinos de Bellota: tapas sans tourists

Server Joaquin Alvarez
Server Joaquin Alvarez

Vinos de Bellota, tucked away on Madrid’s Antonio Acuna St., presents an unassuming space and décor.

The true standout out here is the food: a smattering of tapas, the standard Iberian pork (delectable), and various Spanish dishes. There’s also a good selection of wine, as the eatery’s name suggests. It’s mostly from Spain, the world’s third-largest producer.

Before the food –– the décor. Done in burnt red and gold, the walls are flanked by stone and open to a large picture window perfect for watching the evening traffic. The wood slat ceiling caps the place with warmth. On the bar, there’s an incongruous snowman dressed in a grass skirt on the bar. I never learned its story, but the figure seemed somehow appropriate as everything here felt authentic: the waiters, the bar staff were all welcoming and engaging.

We began with foie gras, which was delicate. It had a fine texture and was suitably rich. Different tasting dishes, paired with toast, were also presented: wine infused with salt, a jelly of gin tonic sauce (sweet, rich).

Gazpacho (served the Salamanca style: thicker) was presented with tomato, garlic, and ham sprinkled on top. It was delicious, and was paired with cheese and beef croquettes that had undertones of mushroom.

More mushrooms mixed with fava beans were wreathed by spinach fritters for the next dish –– served with a red wine from Toledo. We did like the wine more than the dish; it was perhaps our least favorite of the night, although the spinach had a nice crunch and the fava beans were good.

Other diners have mentioned Vinos de Bellota’s excellent paella (we did not sample).

All the dishes were served on minimalist black slate by our server, Joaquin Alvarez. Joaquin informed us that the restaurant opened in 2010, and has been doing a brisk business: locals, business types and a few wayward tourists.

The tiramisu was slightly sweet, and arrived with a surprisingly tart strawberry drizzle (a nice combo). A cheesecake was light and fluffy with a base layer that did not overpower.

Vinos de Bellota | 27 Antonio Acuna Street, Madrid | +34 91 209 26 36 | @vinosdebellota

Follow R. Daniel Foster on Twitter and Instagram: @rdanielfoster

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