Restaurant Review: 100 Montaditos

The Spanish tapas chain 100 Montaditos has expanded its reach and added flair to the South Florida culinary scene with several new locations, including one in the Fountains shopping center on University Drive in Plantation, Fla.

The restaurant is aptly named for its selection of 100 distinct miniature sandwiches, or “montaditos,” which are commonly served at Spanish bars.

From the outside, 100 Montaditos is intriguing, but not easily recognized. The storefront logo is almost illegible because of its unique font, but it belies the dizzying array of Spanish and Mediterranean fusion that awaits customers inside.

Authentic ingredients, like Serrano ham and Manchego cheese, are layered onto warm, freshly baked three-inch baguette rolls. The sandwiches feature both savory and sweet ingredients, and because they are purposefully made to be eaten in just two bites, they are also very inexpensive.

Simple sandwiches — like chorizo, pulled pork, or blue cheese, created on Montadito’s signature house-made bread — begin at $1. More complex combinations, like grilled beef, hummus, and arugula, are only $3. Appetizers, salads, and a small selection of imported alcoholic beverages accompany the small bites on the menu to give customers a sample of Spain’s defining flavors.

After skimming the menu online, my trip to 100 Montaditos was full of anticipation; I was intrigued that a chain restaurant touted so many eclectic options. Given my curiosity and yearning to experience the tapas culture first hand, my expectations for the restaurant were high.

Luckily, Montaditos does not disappoint. The décor of the restaurant is gorgeous dark wooden tables, dim lighting, and brick walls — lined floor to ceiling with old photographs. Not a detail has been overlooked; the sounds of Spanish guitar waft through the air, and even the cashiers wear mantillas in their hair, as homage to the chain’s European roots. The relaxing contemporary atmosphere augments the meal, which is also facilitated by the quick and cheerful service. The cashiers explain to newcomers how to order at the bar. For ease of ordering, Montaditos supplies checklists to customers, so that they can list the sandwiches by number rather than by name. The fast-food style operation allows customers time to socialize while their food is prepared.

Customization at 100 Montaditos is easy, thanks to the wide variety of sandwiches at affordable prices. For my small party, I ordered a plate of seasoned potato wedges, which comes with a side of “brava sauce” and aioli for dipping. The potatoes were fluffy and golden brown, fresh out of the fryer and with the right amount of spicy heat.

The stars of the meal were the five sandwiches I selected, all small bites with plenty of personality. Ingredients featured on the plate included robust Serrano ham with slightly sweet pulled pork and smoky Iberico cheese; grilled chicken with bacon and guava; turkey with cheddar, strawberry jam, and arugula; and roast beef with tangy honey Dijon sauce. Some of the combinations sounded disjointed before I tried them, but the flavors were harmonious and inspiring, not to mention reasonably priced. Five sandwiches, an appetizer, and two soft drinks only cost $20.

100 Montaditos can be referred to as a “fast-casual” rather than typical fast-food chain, because it elevates the quick dining experience to a new level. This place is perfect for an intimate lunch for two or even for the over-21 crowds that want a lively spot for a night out — especially on Wednesdays, when all sandwiches and drinks are just $1.

Customers should enjoy the ease of service, calming atmosphere, and affordable luxury that Montaditos provides. But most importantly, the flavors at 100 Montaditos will challenge the novice palette and comfort the experienced foodie, and leave both hungry for more. Discover what Spain has to offer at 801 S. University Dr.

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