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Originally published Friday, June 14, 2013 at 5:30 AM

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European cafe fare, al fresco

Chico Madrid, tucked away on a quiet block on Capitol Hill, offers traditional Spanish sandwiches with the feel of a European sidewalk cafe.

Seattle Times staff writer

Chico Madrid

Spanish

711 Bellevue Ave. E., 206-453-3234http://chicomadrid.com

Hours: 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 7 a.m. to at least 11 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. to at least 11 p.m. Saturday, 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday

Etc: Credit cards accepted; beer and wine, wheelchair accessible, street parking

Prices: $

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Chico Madrid is the latest project from the folks behind Honore Bakery and Fuel coffee on Capitol Hill. It’s part coffeehouse, part sandwich shop and part sidewalk cafe.

It’s part of the new wave of casual eateries with a European sensibility, where the food is understated and unfussy, focusing on charcuterie, cheese and other imported gourmet products so the kitchen staff doesn’t do the heavy lifting.

The menu: A Spanish-inspired list of mostly bocadillos (Spanish baguette sandwiches) and tapas such as Tortilla Española, all food under $10. The wine list is a great deal with many bottles of sparkling and table wines going for $14 to $16.

What to write home about: A tuna on baguette ($8) with aromatic preserved lemons and pickled onions is binded by ailoi. The best dishes here are simple: Some toasts ($4) with a generous slab of chocolate and drizzled with olive oil, better than Nutella. The sangria is fruity, not too sweet like most versions you’ll find at bars.

What to skip: The white Spanish anchovies in The Boquerones ($8) were too delicate to stand up to the doughy bread. The blue cheese and honey over toast ($4) were too salty.

The setting: The cafe is located on the ground floor of an Art Deco apartment complex, the layout not much different from the typical cafe or lunch counter found in downtown office towers. The sidewalk seating is the prime real estate, where you can order rounds of sangria or a bottle of wine and people watch all day.

Summing up: Three sandwiches ($7.25-$8), two orders of toasts ($4 each) and at happy-hour price: sangria ($5), beer ($3) and a tortilla ($5), totaled $48.45, enough for two or three people. It’s Spanish bocadillo-inspired fare, mostly three-ingredient snacks and baguettes that are reasonably priced even with a bottle of wine. It’s also something you don’t find much on Capitol Hill anymore: a quiet corner, where you can sit outside without hearing the rowdy bar hoppers and heavy foot traffic.

Tan Vinh: 206-515-5656 or tvinh@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @tanvinhseattle

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