Berlin | Kadewe
A veritable Disneyland of comestibles, the sixth floor of the KaDeWe department store showcases all the latest food trends and ingredients. At its 30-plus dining bars, one can taste anything from bratwurst to bouillabaisse, but the best among them might be the cool, nameless herring nook—it’s right next to the fish section—manned by a chef who constructs fanciful smoked-fish platters and Fischbrötchen (fish sandwiches) with the brio of a sushi maestro.
Try the buttery matjes herring fillets packed into a big roll with a brittle crust and minimally accessorized with white onion, lettuce, and a tart pickle slice. T+L Tip Claim a window stool, order a glass of Riesling, and look out onto Berlin’s moody gray sky and the urban jumble below. 21–24 Tauentzienstrasse; 49-30/2121-2700; sandwiches for two $7.
London | St. John Bread & Wine
A casual offshoot of Fergus Henderson’s offal-centric St. John, this combination bakery, café, and wine shop, with spare white walls and wooden tables, is an olive’s toss from Spitalfields market.
Can a lowly bacon butty be true to its greasy-spoon roots yet exalted?The answer is yes if, as here, it combines smoky slices of grilled Gloucestershire Old Spot bacon and a smear of house-made ketchup between cushiony slices of organic sandwich bread.
Served strictly for breakfast from 9 to 11 a.m., the bacon sandwich is worth every minute of the lengthy commute to East London. 94–96 Commercial St.; 44-20/7251-0848; sandwiches for two $15.
Madrid | Paninoteca D’E
With a menu conceived by rock-star chef Sergi Arola, this mini-chain takes Spain’s beloved bocadillo into the 21st century. Decked out in sleek grays and metallics, the newest location, in the i of Salamanca, is popular with stylish young couples and matrons in Loewe scarves.
It’s traumatic to have to choose between some two dozen themed creations on offer—not to mention the outrageously good Italo-Catalan cocapizzas with paper-thin crust—so conduct a contest between the poached quail egg, Camembert cream, and potato chips dressed with truffle oil inside a chapata roll and the airy mollete bun filled with foie gras pâté, chicory, and mango chutney.
For dessert, select a tart filled with chocolate “caviar” from the adjacent bakery, run by celebrity pâtissier Paco Torreblanca, and it will be brought to your table. 12 Calle Juan Bravo; 34/91-577-1662; sandwiches for two $28.