For all of those out there on low-carb/no-carb diets, I know that no matter how fervently you try and deny it, we all crave bread. It’s soft, comfort in a loaf – the most soothing of freshly baked scents. Bread is like the bricks that hold together the meaty, saucy, veggie mortar that makes up a sandwich. That is, perhaps, bread’s greatest virtue.
There are hundreds upon hundreds of drool-worthy sandwiches around Toronto. Many of them, within their own right, deserve to be on a best-of list. However daunting a task, we wish we could give everyone their time in the spotlight, but we had to buckle down. Sometimes there is more to just a sandwich than what’s between the bun. The people who are serving you, the ordering process, and the groove in your favourite stool can complete the experience that comes with the perfect sandwich. So, without further ado, we give you 10 of the best sandwich shops in Toronto… that just happen to serve some of the best sandwiches in Toronto, too.
A cool urban façade flanks this Queen West sandwich shop. Serving gluten-free arepa, a handmade cornmeal bread that comes hot and crisp off the grill, Arepa Café is a must visit for any celiac or mealiac out there.
Must Try: Reina Pepiada (Curvy Queen)
Banh Mi Boys
With a new location coming soon to Yonge Street, this Queen West sandwich shop is a fusion zone of phenomenal flavours. Everything from the buns to the pulled meats and even the pickled veggies for their Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches are made in-house. With lineups almost out the door on any given day, it’s a good thing there’s going to be a second shop coming.
Must Try: Braised beef cheek
Belly Busters Submarines
A staple in North York for nearly 40 years, Belly Busters hasn’t changed a lick. From their orange tables to their walls’ worth of Polaroid pics, Belly Busters and their famous bacon is an institution for the late night noshers of the northerly quarter.
Must Try: The Belly Buster with bacon (or anything with bacon)… Seriously, just make sure you get the bacon!
Now with a sister restaurant, Boar Sandwiches, The Black Camel is the baron of brisket in Toronto. With only a few places to eat your goods, the space is sparse. Luckily, what they stuff between their fresh Kaiser buns is anything but.
Must Try: Brisket sandwich
With their original Little Italy location open since the 1960s, California Sandwiches now has eight family-owned and operated locations throughout the GTA. Fresh Kaisers, fresh sauce, freaking delicious food!
Must Try: Veal sandwich
A St. Lawrence Market mainstay for over 30 years, the Carousel Bakery pioneered the peameal bacon sandwich way back when, and people still go nuts for them. This is not exactly a shop, but a stand, however with international acclaim for their Canadian bacon and the food-centric atmosphere of the market surrounding it, how could we not put it on our list?
Must Try: Peameal bacon sandwich
The Fish Store
In my humble opinion, no one makes a better fish sandwich in the city of Toronto than this little College Street shop. With 18 kinds of daily fresh fish to purchase and take away, or have them cooked just about any way you can think of, The Fish Store (and the couple who runs it) is lovely and their offerings always satisfy.
Must Try: Grouper sandwich
Not necessarily a sandwich-centric shop per se, this Ossington bar/restaurant does happen to make two of the most sensational little sandwiches in town. Fusing their Korean roots with their Philadelphia upbringing, their food is as unique as the retro-hip space that surrounds it.
Must Try: The Loosey
Southern comfort comes to the West End of Toronto. Louisiana’s favourite sandwiches are deserving of respect and repeat orders. With a casual vibe and good-hearted people, Po’Boys will make you feel right at home, y’hear?
Must Try: Deep fried oyster and bacon po’ boy
St. Clair West’s most serious smokehouse, The Stockyards is a mecca for meat in midtown Toronto. It’s hard to find The Stockyards at a lull, and the scents that ruminate through the air are tantalizing. Don’t come too hungry and expect a bit of a wait, or you might find yourself trying to gnaw the meat off your own bones.
Must Try: Cider braised pork sandwich