Although I’m not sure it is officially a “restaurant,” 100 Montaditos is definitely the most popular, or the most frequently visited restaurant among students. Walking through the program center or reading a group chat between students, you are likely to hear the phrase “let’s just go to cien.” In good times and bad, and more than anything in broke times, Cervecería 100 Montaditos has been there for us. Walking through Madrid, and visiting other parts of Spain, it seems like there is a 100 Montaditos every few blocks. Although I have not tested this theory, it seems impossible to walk five blocks in Madrid without seeing a 100 Montaditos. A montadito is a little sandwich, of which 100 Montaditos seems to have more than 100 options. The montaditos are good, but their defining characteristic for us is that they are very, very inexpensive. They also have salads, but I’ve never seen anyone order a salad there.
On Wednesdays and Sundays, all the sandwiches are 1 euro each. Every other day, they are between 1 euro and 2 euros if you order the fancy ones. Tinto de verano, which is similar to sangría, beer, and cider are 1.5 euros each. Cien is open late, so it is a great place to get a few drinks and a snack before going out in addition to being a cheap lunch spot. And they have breakfast!
Although I enjoy the occasional montadito and tinto de verano, I am far from the most devoted customer on the program. There are a few students who save their lunch stipends from the program by going to 100 Montaditos for lunch every day. One group of students has a superstition of only buying plane and train tickets in 100 Montaditos.
My friend Danny, who is a student at Tufts, has announced that his goal for this semester is to go to all of the 100 Montaditos. When we found out 100 Montaditos actually has several locations in other countries, including Guatemala, Italy, and the United States that changed to visiting all of the 100 Montaditos in Spain. However, according to Wikipedia, there are 350 locations here in Spain, so that goal might also be overly ambitious. But I believe that if Danny sets his mind to it he is capable of anything.
Despite the fact that our devotion to 100 Montaditos is sort of an ongoing joke between students, I truly believe that cien is a great equalizer on our program. Cien is a place where everyone is comfortable, and everyone can afford to eat (and drink). Its locations are an easy place to meet and have a quick conversation with a friend, get lunch, or start out a night on a budget. It is a place where we know we will have a good experience.
(This post was not sponsored by 100 Montaditos, I promise. But 100 Montaditos, if you’re reading this, you should probably sponsor Danny, he deserves it.)