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The 13 sandwiches you need to eat right now

 From Nashville fried chicken to stacked subs, we've got the best sandwiches in Toronto for all your deli dreams. Lunch break, anyone?

The best sandwiches in Toronto | Italian trio sandwich at Lambo's Deli and Grocery

Let's face it, sandwiches are the original perfectly balanced meal. Whether it's the ideal ratio of bun to toppings in a well-executed sub; the buttermilk soaked, crispy Nashville fried chicken popping up all over the city; or delicious, house cured deli meat, Toronto's got a sandwich spot for you. 

We've tracked down Toronto's best sandwiches from the old school California Sandwiches to the new delis on the block: Lambo's Deli and Flora's Deli. No matter your bun style or topping choice, you can always find that special sandwich for al-desko dining or a quick takeout and delivery option. Forget soggy leftovers, better lunchtimes are ahead.

Speaking of lunch, if you want to continue on your carb loading journey (umm, yes), Toronto's best pizza and best pasta by neighbourhood are pretty great places to start. 

The best sandwiches in Trinity Bellwoods

California Sandwiches

244 Claremont St.

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Don't be fooled by the name, this sandwich spot originated in Toronto's Little Italy as a grocery store in the 1960s. When word got on about their delicious homemade veal and chicken sandwiches, customers started showing up more for lunch instead of grocery shopping. Fast-forward to today and 14 locations later, this family owned and operated lunchtime fave is still doing things like they did in the 60s — Italian tomatoes ground fresh daily and Kaiser buns baked fresh every morning. 

eatcalifornia.ca

Flora’s Deli

1276 Dundas St. W.

Inspired by his nonna Flora, Jesse Mutch creates sandwiches that make us weak in the pepperonis. In addition to paninis with dreamy fillings like cold cuts and giardiniera or eggplant and ricotta, Flora’s Deli can be found serving Italian faves like meatballs and cannoli at their new popup spot inside Mahjong Bar (and on UberEats for delivery).

@florasdelito

La Cubana

92 Ossington Ave.

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Peek through the windows at La Cubana and it looks like you've gone back in time to those classic diner days with its retro design and blue tiled walls. This luncheonette serves up homemade Cuban comfort food alongside cuban coffees and cocktails. Naturally, you've got to try the pressed Cubano with ham, pork, gruyere, red onion, pickles, grainy mustard and chipotle mayo. They've got a great selection of medianoche (which translates to "middle of the night" — because you'll probably dream about it), like pork belly with pineapple salsa and short rib with chimichurri.

lacubana.ca

Lambo's Deli & Grocery

176 Bellwoods Ave.

Sandwiches are already near-perfect vessels, but there’s a new place in Trinity Bellwoods that has truly perfected the art of the deli sandwich. Lambo’s Deli and Grocery, right down the street from the park, serves up fully loaded Italian-style subs that are bellissimo. Meat lovers will rejoice with their Italian Trio of capocollo, mortadella and prosciutto tucked beside fresh mozzarella, roasted red pepper and a Calabrian chili spread. Vegetarians can find love too with their Italian Vegetable sub.

lambosdeli.ca

The best sandwiches in Little Italy

PG Clucks

610 College St.

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If you're looking for the best Nashville-style hot chicken sandwiches outside of, ahem, Nashville, look no further than PG Clucks. Their chicken is soaked in a lemon and herb brine for 24 hours, then six hours in buttermilk before it's lightly coated twice and fried for that extra crispy goodness. With a process like that, it's no wonder their sandwiches have achieved such accolades as "best fried chicken in Canada" over the years. Their tiny spot is takeout only and there's often a line, but we'd gladly wait for their Big Cluck Sandwich any day.

pgclucks.com

Tokyo Hot Fried Chicken

928 College St.

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This hot fried chicken hotspot set the Toronto sandwich scene on fire at the CNE with its outrageous Karaage (Japanese fried chicken marinated in soy, garlic, ginger and sake) stacked sandwiches on soft brioche buns. Now with a spot on College Street (operating out of Folly Brewing), this joint combines izakaya style street food with Nashville heat — they've even been known to add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to their chicken sandwiches to cool things down.

tokyohotfriedchicken.com

The best sandwiches in Oakwood Village

Primrose Bagel Co.

317A Oakwood Ave.

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What started as a series of pop-ups and backyard parties has grown into a “bagel lifestyle brand” with its very own store on Oakwood Avenue. Primrose’s hand-rolled, malt-boiled circles of doughy goodness are baked fresh every day and served with their signature schmears like wasabi-tobiko cream cheese and beet-citrus salmon gravlax.

Primrose also has bagel sandwiches to-go like their glorious tuna melt with crispy onions and Spanish paprika and the banh bagel with Vietnamese barbecued pork, pickled carrots and scallion sauce. Pre-order ahead of time because their menu tends to sell out fast.

primrosebagel.com

 

The best sandwiches in the Junction

When The Pig Came Home

3035 Dundas St. W.

The best sandwiches in Toronto | A sandwich from When the Pig Came Home

This Junction stalwart is the home of the “original $5 peameal sandwich,” but it’s the Montreal-style smoked meat offering that makes us want to roll up our sleeves and get messy. When The Pig Came Home was founded in 2012 by three sandwich-loving pals and has been slinging sammies laden with house-cured, seasoned, smoked or roasted meat ever since. Their porchetta, Philly cheesesteak and jerk chicken sandwiches are also worth a try.

whenthepigcamehome.ca

Chica's Chicken

2853 Dundas St. W.

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After experiencing a hot chicken awakening in Nashville, chef Matthew Pelechaty and his wife Carolyn opened Chica’s Chicken. Named after their yellow lab, the Nashville-style hot chicken spot offers their own take on the spicy dish. Their crispy on the outside, moist on the inside chicken is dry brined and left to rest for two days to allow the spices to seep right to the centre of each piece. They make all of their spice mixtures in-house and even blend their Carolina reapers and ghost peppers by hand.

chicaschicken.net

The best sandwiches in King West

Porchetta & Co.

545 King St. W.

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The original Porchetta & Co. opened in 2010 and since then it's been a homegrown favourite for crunchy porchetta and fried chicken sandwiches. After over a decade, the house special still holds a special place in people's hearts with its hand carved porchetta, truffle sauce, parmesan and house-made mustard on a toasted sourdough bun. For sides, it's the creamy coleslaw and the roasted potatoes tossed in porchetta drippings and rosemary that do it for us. 

porchettaco.com

The best sandwiches in Midtown

Grandma Loves You

1084 Yonge St.

This tucked-away spot could easily be overlooked — but that would be a big miss (a footlong to be precise). Sarah and Artin Davoodi relocated from Germany to sling meatballs, sautéed sausages and cold cuts. If sandwiches don’t float your boat, the grilled hot dogs surely will.

@grandmalovesyoutoronto

Banh Mi Boys

2365 Yonge Street

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What started as a small mom-and-pop shop on Queen Street West ten years ago has grown into a banh mi empire with four locations across Toronto. Banh Mi Boys has stayed true to their original concept of offering a modern spin on these traditional Vietnamese baguettes.

The banh mi here are filled with braised, grilled and fried meat — instead of the classic cold cuts — and topped with lots of fresh, savoury and pickled ingredients. They're famous for their five-spice pork belly banh mi — the pork belly is braised for four hours before topped with their hoisin sauce, fresh cucumbers, pickled carrots and cilantro. Banh Mi Boys also offers lots of vegetarian options, Chinese steamed bao’s and Korean-style Taco’s.

banhmiboys.com

Zelden’s Deli and Desserts

1446 Yonge St

Irene and Shelley Zelden started out with a deli in Thornhill in the 1980s before returning to matzoh ball soups and pastrami with this midtown staple. The deli sandwiches — served on rye with a dill pickle — have been our lockdown saviours.

zeldensdelianddesserts.com

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