Ultramarinos Quintin, often referred to as simply "Qintin", is the perfect blend of authentic, gourmet, yet laid back dining. After having eaten a mix of high end "molecular" cuisine and trendy Asian-Spanish fusion food, I was ready for some good, old fashioned Spanish small plates.
Quintin offers all that and more. Located in the trendy Salamanca neighborhood in Madrid, Quintin is part market, part restaurant and bar. The restaurant sells its own jamon iberico (which, by the way, is fantastic), as well as other cured meats, freshly baked breads, and much, much more. The market exists as a nod to the old corner grocery store that used to occupy the same location.
The owners behind this restaurant already have two other very successful restaurants in Madrid, El Paraguas and Ten Con Ten. As a result, people have been flocking to this new restaurant, which focuses on Spanish food made with fresh local ingredients.
The restaurant has a few outdoor tables and a huge indoor space. The atmosphere is loud, lively, yet cozy at the same time. The menu is reasonably priced and has a nice variety of all different types of Spanish dishes, including many small plates.
It's the perfect place to experience an authentic, popular Spanish hangout with lots of locals.
One of the simplest small plates (but one of my favorites) is pan con tomate. Take slices of toasted bread, rub on fresh garlic, and top with crushed tomatoes. This version was perfect - the toast was slightly crispy, and the garlic plus tomato combination was delicious.
Our other favorite was definitely the jamon iberico de Bellota, their own cured Spanish ham. The ham is hand-sliced to order, and it was definitely one of the best ones we had in Madrid. It was so tempting to buy some to take home with us. Instead, we ordered a second helping of this dish (!).
A simple blended soup was hearty and satisfying.
The anchovies with olive oil was flavorful, but quite salty with a strong fish flavor. I was hoping for a more vinegared anchovy. I guess I still don't know my anchovy vocabulary well enough to know what I wanted to order! It was fine, but not one of my favorites.
The server suggested ordering these duck rolls. They were tasty and reminded me a bit of Chinese egg rolls served with salsa. It was fine, though next time I think I would try something new.
I am a sucker for flan, Spain's delicious custard dessert. Their version was very good, and came with a few berries and just a touch of burnt sugar sauce.
All in all, we really enjoyed our meal here. The ambiance was really fun, the neighborhood was great, and the food was very good. We only had a chance to barely graze the tip of the menu - there are so many more dishes to try!
Definitely get the jamon iberico de Bellota and the pan con tomate. Other than that, explore away! If I ever return to Madrid again, I most certainly wouldn't hesitate to come back.
Ultramarinos Quintin Madrid
Calle Jorge Juan, 17, 28001