Paris | Le Petit Vendôme
Clued-in locals and famous food critics (Le Figaro’s François Simon is a fan) swear by this tatty Auvergnate bistro de quartier right off the Place Vendôme. It’s hard not to love the petits three-dollar kir cocktails and hearty dishes such as grilled pig’s feet, yet the lines spilling out onto the sidewalk are actually for the sandwiches, on buttered, jaw-challengingly chewy baguettes from boulangerie Julien (the “it” bread of Paris.)
Less is more when it comes to a great baguette sandwich: Trimmings?Jamais! Make yours a classic jambon-fromage with nutty Cantal cheese and cured ham from the Auvergne.
Tote your lunch to the Tuileries gardens and eat while gazing out on the Louvre. The Mona Lisa can wait. 8 Rue des Capucines, Second Arr.; 33-1/42-61-05-88; sandwiches for two $14.
Rome | Il Forno Roscioli
Pierluigi Roscioli bakes the greatest pizza bianca in Rome at his traditional family bakery. Leavened with a 20-year-old yeast starter and baked in an 1824 oven, the slim slabs of untopped pizza dough have a springy crumb and a bubbly top that’s moistened with olive oil and speckled with grains of coarse salt. Just as famous are the apple-packed torta di mele and rustic pane di Lariano studded with raisins and walnuts.
The men at the counter will construct a perfect panino for you if you buy some pizza bianca and a few milky-pink slices of their handcrafted mortadella from Pasquini, Bologna’s greatest producer.
Eat your panino while strolling the nearby Campo de’ Fiori market, and admire the riot of fruit, flowers, and greens. 34 Via dei Chiavari; 39-06/686-4045; sandwiches for two $14.
Vienna | Zum Schwarzen Kameel
Dating back to 1618 and remodeled at the turn of the last century with extravagant Jugendstil flourishes—turquoise tiles, sculpted reliefs—this bar and sandwich shop is attached to a landmark restaurant. Dropping in for a pre-lunch drink and a canapé around its weathered vintage-wood counter is something of a sacrament among the old-school Viennese elite.
A separate station dispenses a dizzying array of dainty canapés and white-bread tramezzini, but the house pride is the Schwarzbrot open sandwich piled with moist, rosy, hand-carved Beinschinken (boiled ham) and freshly grated horseradish.
Try the range of Austrian wines by the glass, especially the fragrant Gelber Muskateller, then pick up some boutique schnapps and jars of Wachau Valley apricot jam to bring home. 5 Bognergasse; 43-1/533-8125; sandwiches for two $3.