The city’s best Italian sandwiches are bulging with breaded veal, chicken, eggplant, meatballs, steak, and pork. Found at trusted pizzerias and sandwich counters, no two are the same, but they all demand full attention.
A time-tested Toronto classic, San Francesco Foods opened its first location on Clinton Street in 1954, and now there are three more in the city, with others in Barrie, Bradford, and Stoney Creek. They pack steak, meatballs, grilled chicken, pulled beef, pulled pork, eggplant, and other mixed veggies into buns, but veal is their specialty. They claim they’re responsible for the city’s “Original Veal Sandwich,” and there aren’t many left to argue it.
10 CLINTON AVE., 609 QUEEN ST. W, 736 Bay St., 30 LAIRD DR.
Born in Little Italy as a grocery store in 1964, California opened its first sandwich shop in 1967, and it’s now a successful Toronto empire boasting 12 locations. All shops remain family owned and operated businesses, each location with its own butcher cutting meat and grinding tomatoes for the sauce on site daily, their sandwiches slam those together inside Kaiser rolls, producing endearingly sloppy creations.
435 YONGE ST., 244 CLAREMONT ST., 2474 DUFFERIN ST., 3703 CHESSWOOD DR., 1603 THE QUEENSWAY (ETOBICOKE) 812 WARDEN AVE. (SCARBOROUGH), 200 WINDFLOWER GATE (WOODBRIDGE)
Precariously situated across the street from a San Francesco Foods (the original location, no less) and matching most of its immediate competition’s menu, Bitondo’s makes a solid case for Toronto’s new guard of Italian sandwiches, serving breaded veal and chicken cutlets with topping options like banana peppers to give them an extra kick.
11 CLINTON ST.
For a long time Porchetta & Co.’s namesake sandwich was one of just two main dishes on offer here (the other being porchetta à la carte), so once you reached the counter you just had to decide what you wanted to top it with (tomato sauce, mozzarella, mushrooms, truffle sauce, parmesan, or rapini), and if you fancied a soup or side to go with it. Whatever you chose, you’d walk away with a bun packed with a heavenly stack of prosciutto-wrapped pork shoulder slivers from Beretta Organic Farms, all roasted and then slow-cooked for your pleasure. Now they’ll feature fried chicken sandwiches on special, too.
825 DUNDAS ST. W, 545 KING ST. W
A St. Lawrence Market staple since 1995, Uno Mustachio (formerly Mustachio) is known for testing the integrity of its kaiser rolls and focaccia buns, notoriously packing them with bursting helpings of breaded veal, chicken and eggplant (if you’re especially hungry, check two of those boxes and get the Nonna’s with your choice of the classics with eggplant or parma, or the Godfather with your choice of the classics with both) that you could do well ordering a second bun for.
95 FRONT ST. E
One of the more elegant Italian sandwiches on offer in Toronto, Fusaro’s has fried veal and grilled chicken, but they also hawk panini’s that are delicate creations built around salamis, cold cuts, and muscle meats, Italian tuna, and roasted veggies. All of those ingredients are paired with toppings specifically designed to make your mouth water.
147 SPADINA AVE., 249 RICHMOND ST. E
Ciccio’s red sauce is tart and spicy, so they’re careful about applying it to their fried veal, grilled chicken and eggplant, but extra sauce (and onions) are free at this Yonge and Lawrence sandwich counter.
3220 YONGE ST.