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Travel + Culture

One-Stop Shopping, With Tables Attached


A big trend in Madrid dining these days is the combo restaurant and gourmet shop. There's Cuenllas, the revered wine-and-cheese shop, which opened an attractive restaurant next door a few months ago. There's Lavinia, Barrio Salamanca's fantastic wine store, where diners lunch on steak tartare and choucroute surrounded by the shop's 4,000 bottles. Sula, the sleek Quique Dacosta-Joselito collaboration, tosses a few for-sale bottles of olive oil and tins of foie gras around its downstairs bar…

And now Ignazio Deias, creator of one of Madrid's best Italian restaurants, Boccondivino, has gotten in on the act. The result is Acquafredda. In front: shelves and glass cases offering up pecorinos and gorgonzola; Piemontese sausages; an endless variety of pastas; and well over 500 bottles of wine. In back: a single-roomed trattoria of sorts that specializes in salads, panini, and simple pastas. The crostini with pears and gorgonzola is nicely pungent; the gnocchi handmade (if ill-advertised—the menu says it comes sauced with a basil-and-tomato pesto, when it fact the sauce was pretty much a straight napolitana), the calzone bright yellow from its semolina crust. I wish I could say it was terrific, because Madrid needs places that strive for authenticity. But somehow, I ended up more interested in the Castelmagno cheese on sale up front than what was on my plate.