Leave it to a country suffering from massive debt to give us a restaurant that understands our household austerity budgets.
With just the change jingling in your pocket, you can have a meal at 100 Montaditos, the mini-sandwich franchise from Spain that opened its first U.S. restaurant at Midtown Miami last year. With a second outlet already hopping in South Beach and another opening soon in South Miami, this tavern-like eatery has been dubbed a “Spanish Starbucks for sandwiches” by Businessweek. (That’s a reference to Madrid-based Restalia Group’s rapid, stateside expansion plans, not its prices; a meal here can cost less than a tall vanilla soy latte.)
Crusty, five-inch white and whole wheat baguettes and Mediterranean ciabatta squares are the palettes for stuffings that range from simple Serrano ham and olive oil to a hearty combo of duck mousse, minced olives, tortilla, chorizo and mojo-picon sauce. The sandwiches are $1-$3, except on Dollarmania Wednesdays, when all are a buck (and the typically long line gets even longer). The discount applies to takeout, although you can’t call in your order like usual on Wednesdays.
Montaditos keeps its overhead low with a quick turnover of tables and what it calls “speed-scratch cuisine:” Customers mark their orders on checklists and wait until their names are called over a public address system. Meals are picked up at a separate counter.
The place doesn’t skimp on to-go boxes, which are sturdy and provide raised slots for each sandwich. Orders do tend to get confused in the hectic atmosphere, so be sure to check your box before splitting.
The classic chorizo is a pleaser, as is the more adventurous pulled, barbecue pork with bacon, guacamole and piquillo pepper. The grilled beef with Iberico cheese, honey, arugula, red onion and Dijon mustard is another top-notch choice.
Sides are limited to potato chips, nuts, Spanish olives or two types of french fries, which come with four dipping sauces. Along with sodas, teas and juices, there’s Mahou Cinco Estrellas, a run-of-the-mill Spanish beer, on tap and in bottles.
Three sandwiches can easily satisfy an appetite. There are sweet sandwiches for dessert, such as cream cheese and guava or dulce de leche with chocolate spread, but you may be too breaded out to go the distance.