After a mind-enriching tour of the Islas Fiilpinas (which is the name for both a Metro Station and an avenue in Madrid), my friends and I had the chance to dine again at Café & Te.
While the first was at Plaza Sol; this time, we were able to enjoy some delicious afternoon treats at its branch in Manuel Becerra, a quaint Plaza in this Spanish City. In both instances, we all asked for their delicious Panini grill sandwich.
If only for its Panino fare, I instantly grew fond of Café & Te. Actually, it seems to be a local favorite, and is one of most popular Madrid eateries, with many of the branches situated within the capital.
The company’s 100 (or more) shops are found scattered all over the country. Both the Spaniards and tourists are drawn into the restaurant if only because of the cozy and well-lit ambiance that it offers as well as its friendly and courteous service.
I am impressed with the interiors of the place – its dining area is evidently limited but comfortable and inviting. It does effortlessly evoke a warm and personal air about it, making diners feeling at home.
In my case, I fell in love with it for its simple yet flavorful Panini sandwiches. I thought the cafeteria is quite unique in that it belongs to a few (or am I wrong) establishments in the metro that offer Italian Panino sandwiches.
Café boasts of a good menu, the list of items found within are typically found in coffee shops, such as Con leche and Americana. Cold beverages are there for those who want to cool down during a warm evening. One can also order usual Spanish cafeteria meals like ensaladas, paella, and hamburguesas.
For clients to crave from other Italian fares other then Paninis, there are pizza and pasta to feast on.
I am familiar only with the prices of the Panini sandwiches, and I see that all varieties are reasonably priced at less than 5 euros. But upon checking the menu, I realized that coffee items in Café & Te are more expensive than that of the other coffee shops that I had been so far.
And while both sandwiches were toasted well, one thing I noticed about my Panino at the Becerra branch is that its surface boasts of seared lines, a feature that’s absent in the sandwich that I had at Sol.
This makes me wonder – why was my very first Spanish Panini without any seared and toasted lines?
It is possible that the Sol branch uses a Panini press without a searing plate. Or perhaps it has one but it was malfunctioning at the time that I dined there. (Weird deduction, I believe) It might also be that Café & Te had varying cooking and pressing techniques; it depends on its branches.
How does Café & Te’s Bacon Panini Sandwich taste like? How will I rate it?
I really don’t know if the cafeteria called it as such – a Panini – just to have a differently named item on the menu. However, in terms of appearance and way of cooking – I will hardly consider it as one.
For one, everything, filling and bread, is not pressed together. I’m used to eating Panino that are hotly-pressed, with filling and all sticking together.
Café & Te’s version, on the other hand, is well – merely a sandwich. I was able to take off the top slice and check the bacon. The lettuce fell off to the sides and so I proceeded to nibble on them.
Actually, this particular Café rendezvous easily had my vote because my sandwich was served with heaps of bacon – which more than satisfied my craving for delicious meats when eating a Panino or sandwich.
The meat was a little salty but tasted delicious. It was not overly toasted which was to my liking.
The only resemblance to a Panini was the seared lines on the bread surface. I was actually a bit frustrated that I was tempted to use my fist to give the sandwich a good press.
For me, it is like any other normal bacon sandwich, but a good one at that.
I need to mention the café’s con leche – it was delicious! Just rightly sweetened and heated, but as I said, coffee items here are a bit pricey compared to that of other cafés in Madrid.
Overall, I very much appreciated the fact that my sandwich at Becerra comes closest to being an authentic Italian Panini.
Hopefully, as more and more days of my stay in this European city pass, I will be able to stumble on and discover more cafes and restaurants serving Paninis. And, it is imperative that they are cooked in the best Panini grills (Read: With seared lines on the bread’s toasted surface.)
Anyone has a restaurant in mind that I can visit next?