One of my favorite places to grab a quick bite, during my time in Barcelona, was Cerveceria 100 Montaditos: a chain of small taverns specializing in miniature baguette sandwiches and cheap drinks. I just recently moved to the DC area and when I discovered that one of these restaurants existed a mere metro ride away, in Arlington, VA, I had to check it out.
There it was in all its glory. I’ll admit that I felt pretty nostalgic when I finally found 100 Montaditos in Arlington. Memories of watching the Barça games while ordering strange sandwiches and 2 Euro drinks with new friends all came back to me. The Arlington location looked a bit more modern from the outside than what I was used to in Barcelona and even the location I had visited in Madrid, but a sign advertised a 4:00 happy hour. I was right on time!
Wow. It was empty. In BCN, I’d usually end up standing against a bar counter or somewhere in the corner, especially during happy hour or during a Barça game. Either way, I chose my seat and looked around. The interior was almost identical to its European locations. Though, the Arlington location seemed to advertise itself as more of a sports bar, the interior aesthetic still didn’t disappoint!
I was a little bit relieved to see a menu entirely in English. (See the full American menu HERE) In Barcelona, the menus at 100 Montaditos are entirely in Catalan, which is to be expected. (See the Spanish menu HERE) In fact, that was half the fun of going to 100 Montaditos abroad. Most of the time, from my Spanish language background, I would understand that a sandwich would come with brie, arugula, and tomatoes, but I wouldn’t know the last ingredient. I would order it anyway. SURPRISE — anchovies! Another interesting thing about the Arlington menu is that it was a bit more Americanized. For example, there was a Philly cheesesteak section as well as a BBQ section, both things you wouldn’t find on the BCN menu.
Finally, it was time to order. We filled out our order sheets and got 2 beers, patatas bravas, and four sandwiches. I decided to get one more “Spanish” sandwich and then one more “American” sandwich to compare. I was really surprised and happy to discover that they actually served beer from Barcelona at the bar! One of my favorites: Estrella Damm… I even wanted to keep the mug, but I resisted. It wasn’t the same cheap beer typically served at 100 Montaditos in Europe, but I wasn’t disappointed.
The patatas bravas that we ordered were more like heavily fried potato wedges with a spicy ketchup sauce. That’s not to say that they weren’t absolutely delicious, but they weren’t what I was imagining when the menu said “patatas bravas.” I guess I’m used to the type with aioli, but I suppose they can be served with just a tomato sauce too (at least according to wikipedia). Either way, we finished them all, so I guess that’s saying something.
From top left to right we ordered the following montaditos: tortilla española with aioli, philly steak with brie and arugula, hot dog with ketchup and mustard, and tortilla española with chorizo. The first two were mine and they were both delicious. When they brought the plate to our table, I was happy to see that they gave us chips because that was something that I liked in Barcelona, the chips. One thing, though, that I noticed was different was that they did bring the plates to us. In BCN, I was used to anxiously awaiting my name being called from the service counter. It was one of those annoying things that also made the experience kind of fun.
All in all, I will definitely be returning to 100 Montaditos in Arlington, Virginia. It amazed me how similar to the Barcelona 100 Montaditos it really was and I can consider it a small piece of Barcelona that I can have with me here in the US.