Away from the bustling areas around Sol, away from the tourists at the Plaza Mayor and the traffic of the Castellana, Calle Ponzano and its surroundings hold several tapas bars and restaurants with a real, Madrid neighborhood feel. Today I’m highlighting Retinto which I would recommend for a great all-around tapas experience with quality, traditional tapas to choose from and an authentic atmosphere. For all this it may be worth the extra travel time and map studying to get there.
Retinto is dedicated to the tradition of bulls in Spain, and is even named after the Retinto, which is a Spanish race known for its dark chestnut tinted “tinto” color and its quality, lean meat. The bar has a refined feel, not gaudy, like those bars with several angry bull heads glaring at you while you innocently sip your wine.
At Retinto they pour the ubiquitous Riojas and Ribera del Dueros and have a long list of tapas and raciones. Many tapas are canapés or tostas which are toasted bread with a variety of toppings.
As a free tapa with your drink you may be served little “empanadillas” or maybe the pickled garlic which is in a huge bowl on the counter. Ask for them, the smooth, almost sweet taste of the garlic covered in olive oil was not at all what I was expecting, and keeps me going back for more. I bought some in the Corte Inglés once, not the same. I hope to be patient enough to make them myself one day!
A sign with a list of some of the cold tapas Retinto offers incudes; Cabrales cheese of northern Spain, here offered with anchovies, avocado or marmalade. Also of note is the grilled foie with Pedro Ximenez and the cheese, Torta del Casar.
Address: Calle Alonso Cano, 38. Madrid
Tel: 914 423 419
Metro Stops: Alonso Cano or Rios Rosas