This is the second post in the Hello Barcelona series.
In order to make a transcendent sandwich, all you really need are insanely good ingredients. I was blown away by the simple jamon iberico sandwiches from Cafe Viena, a simple, non-nonsense casual shop serving up sandwiches, salads, burgers, and hot dogs.
I was drawn to the place initially because Bryan and I were strolling around Las Ramblas, a beautiful tree-lined pedestrian walkway filled with shops, cafes, and stand vendors on both sides.
We had originally planned on having lunch at La Boqueria, a huge food market that also houses several tapas bars inside. Our friend had recommended that we try the eggs with baby squid at El Quim.
Alas, La Boqueria was closed on Sundays (so hard to find a place to eat on a Sunday here in Barcelona!). We pulled up our phones and started doing some quick location-based searches on Yelp. This place popped up because 1) it was very close by 2) it had 4 .5 stars from 143 reviews and 3) I caught a quote saying that Mark Bittman had hailed it has the best sandwich in the world.
Upon entering the small shop, you can see that they are very proud of Mark Bittman’s New York Times article. It is blown up and displayed proudly on the wall. The menu highlights the famous sandwich, marking it with a red circle with the words “New York Times” written inside. You almost feel wrong if you don’t order it.
I’m so glad we did. I was originally going to just get a half sandwich, but Bryan convinced me to get a whole one.
We also ordered a simple corn salad and some patatas bravas (fries with a spicy mayo sauce).
Frankly, I would skip ordering the other stuff. We were quite underwhelmed by both the salad (which is much less generously filled with non-lettuce ingredients than the menu photo might suggest) and the fries.
The sandwich, however, was phenomenal.
Granted, I was quite hungry by this point, having skipped both dinner and breakfast on our overnight flight to Spain (heh, we prioritized trying to get 6 hours of straight interrupted sleep over food!).
The bread was the most amazing part. It is delightfully crispy and delicate. Every bite gives a lovely easy-to-bite crunch (not like a French baguette, which is really hard!). On the top side of the bread there’s a thin layer of tomato + olive oil spread. The combination of the fresh tomatoes, crunchy bread, and intensely flavored jamon iberico is out of this world. It was soooooo satisfying to finish the sandwich.
“I’m so glad I ordered a whole sandwich” I said at the end of the meal.
We started our trip with a Viena Jamon Iberico sandwich. We ended our trip with another one. This time, that’s all we ordered.
It was, again, divine and the perfect way to end my quick 3-day trip to Barcelona.
Cafe Viena Barcelona
La Rambla, 115, 08002