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The Piggy Market.

Foodie Friday: 7 killer sandwich spots in the Capital Region

By Alessandro Marcon on January 22, 2016

Foolish is the fool who says there ain’t much to a sandwich. Simple, sure: two slabs of bread and stuff in between. Yet we all know there’s so much specialness in that deceptive simplicity. It’s the finer touches: the baking of grains, the stacking and chopping, the layering and saucing, the crunch, the chew, the, linger and the settle. It’s a fine balancing act of textures and tastes, senses and sensibilities.  Fortunate for us, we’ve got many a fine sammy shop here in the region of La Capitale. With so many delicious offerings to choose from (and to be frank, many, many delicious sammies were sampled in the compiling of this list) – the process to settle on the killers was tough. Value and uniqueness were both considered, as was freshness and overall taste. Perhaps carrying the most weight, however, were two core factors. First was the element of very-difficult-to-recreate-at-home. Can I buy nice bread and make this sammy myself? If so, it might not make the list despite its deliciousness. Second, the go-out-of-the-way factor. Would I alter the trajectory of my day to make a date with this sammy? If so, it has the beckoning factor, that mysterious force that finds you suddenly halfway across town with a sammy in your hand and smile on your mug. Somehow that ‘should do’ just got buried in your chew. Fighting off the urges to wander from the keypad and into sandwichlandia, we distractedly bring you: 8 Killer Sandwich Spots in the Capital Region.

The Piggy Market  // @ThePiggyMarket // Westboro – 400 Winston Ave.

Although definitely on the pricier end of the spectrum, that pulled-pork number in the photo (see above) was an undeniable flavour treat. It was probably one of the most unique pulled pork sammys I’ve ever had – low on the vinegar, low on the sweet, dial cranked on the spicy and tangy. The bread was crunchy on the outside and impeccably soft on the inside – soft and fluffy enough to absorb all that righteous bbq sauciness. This is not the sandwich you’d call upon to fend off an angry hunger wave and yet it’s more than worth its weight in premium smoked pig as an afternoon snack. With an offering of sandwiches that change all the time, this little piggy ran all the way to Westboro.

Relish Food Truck // @relishtruck // Central – OttawaU Campus (Campus Station)

Relish Food TruckAt Relish, The game changes on a daily basis. I was fortunate to encounter this beef brisket sammy adorned with a perfectly-cooked over-medium egg and smothered in a delicious chive(?) and sour cream sauce. The balance in this sandwich was incredible. Just so well put-together. Not to mention that the accompanying salad was not simply a very good side dish in its own right (which it was) but that the flavours of the salad rubbed shoulders with the sandwich in a highly-complimentary fashion. Thought goes into a serving this good, and the cooking skills are glaringly evident when it’s put together like it is: eschewing sloppiness (I’m thinking of you señor yolk) and embracing compactness. Hey students of OttawaU, looking for lunch?

Meat In The Middle // Central – 311 Bank St

Meat in the Middle

With the straightest of faces, I can say that in my humble though highly-respected (Mother says) opinion, Meat in the middle serves up the best Montreal smoked meat sandwich in Hottawa. It’s hard to pull off a sandwich like this. Sans toasting of the Rye can easily lead to empty bread and a pile of smoked meat staring up from the plate. Meat In The Middle keeps in tight and truly lets the smoked meat be the star of the show (think West Block to the Big Daddy). Just a smear of simple mustard rounds off the sandwich in which the rye comes in for support like Scott Moir under Tessa Virtue. Since first trying Meat In The Middle, I’ve been back twice for more. Further chews have led me to state that the Cuban sandwich here is also delectable.

Chez EdgarEdgar  // @ChezEdgar //  Gatineau – 60 Rue Bégin

If you haven’t yet been to Edgar for breakfast, your stomach has so much pent up rage against you it would make Yosemite Sam’s outbursts seem like a weekend at a Buddhist retreat. Not solely masters in the brunch, however, Chef Marysol Foucault and crew serve up deadly take-out such as tagines, mac ’n’ cheese, soups, butter chicken and more, including yes, sammys. I had a sandwich with chicken, tons of basil leaves, a big slice of peach and other things undiscernible. Nothing stuck out. Nothing. It all blended together into one rifle blast of ridiculously good flavour. The picture above features their vegetarian sandwich, and should aptly be captioned: French kiss of meatless bliss. Get over the bridge, Anglos.

Meat Press // @MeatPressShop // Hintonburg – 45 Armstrong Road

Meat PressMy special friend used to live right by here, and it was only when she moved to a new location that Meat Press opened. Shame that they hadn’t opened earlier ‘cause I would’ve loved sampling the daily offerings served up here. The quality of the thin-sliced ham sandwich to the left was not only lights-out, it was totally unique. The bun was nothing to write home about, but the ham was insanely scrumptious and was layered with fried cheese curds! and a sweet & tart kind of apple coleslaw. It was a super creative sandwich and more importantly, skyrocketed up the lipsmack meter. Combined with an equally delicious soup (creamy tomato) and homemade pop for a very appealing 10 bucks, I can only say: well played, gang, very well played. I’ll definitely continue popping by this spot to see what new creations they’re sharing with the masses (should I say minions?)

La p’tite épicere // Hull (Gatineau) – 158 Rue Notre-Dame-de-l’île

La p’tite épicereThis little corner store in Hull is boss. Monster Boss. Brando, Gandolfini, Aung San Suu Kyi levels. This shop has principles. Sammy principles that leave indelible taste marks. I’m sure that this choice will stir up some controversy, as there are quite a few sandwich shops that cut up deli meat and lay it into your choice of bread alongside lettuce, olives, tomatoes, spicy eggplant, mayo, mustard, etc. Here’s the truth: this shop is the best of’m. The choice is expansive: 18+ to choose from. And the bread? Magical. Concocted it seems by the hands of Adam from Kitchen Confidential. The bread here is soooo flavourful. That’s a 4-o, so. Friends told me anecdotes of pouncing on these sandwiches with ravenous glee. Having never had the pleasure, I once laughed dismissively. Now I taste truth.

Frankie’s Deli  //@FrankiesDeli // Nepean – 58 Antares Dr #7

Frankie's DeliAgain, there are quite a few shops in O-town that make awesome meatball sandwiches, shops that I frequent with great pleasure. Frankie’s I visit a lot less often because of how far it is from where I live. I will say this, though: Frankie’s meatball sandwich is right up there with the best of them if not sliding its way into top spot. The major difference between Frankie’s and others lies in two characteristics. First, the bread here, like other shops, is thick and quite heavy -and it has to be to handle all that sauciness. That said, Frankie’s bread was gentler, easier to chew and ultimately had a lighter more comfortable settle than others. Second, both the meatballs here and the sauce had a perkier and had a more robust flavour than most other samplings. Sure, this is quite a subjective argument, and if you’ve found your jam, then by all means, you know where to dance and get the lovin’ you need.  If, however, you are willing to change up the game, give Frankie’s an honest go. It was better than good; it was killer. Nonna would be proud.

The Sausage Kitchen in the Market was originally intended to be on this list. We are sorry to hear of its closure in November.


  • Karen Large

    The grilled cheese sandwich special at the Hintonburg Public House should be on this list for sure…

  • KS

    You should try Sanguichio (not certain of spelling sorry if incorrect) on Preston. Excellent sandwiches too

  • Brian

    So good to see Frankies on the list, I work over near huntclub and prince of wales and visit Frankies once a week and occasionaly 3 or 4 times for the past 5 years. The meatball sandwich is also one of my favourites. Great people working there and awesome sandwiches!

  • KM

    I would add Dirienzos and Hollands Cake and Shake!

  • Alessandro

    Oooooo, those sandwiches at Sanguiccio do look tasty, KS. And nice digs on Hollands, KM. I hadn’t heard of that place.

    As for Dirienzos, I think their rep somewhat supersedes their sammy, even though I do like their meatball and chickenparm. Priva ravioli in Westboro does both better IMO alebit at a much heaftier price. Frankies, however, beats both of them in the meatball department for the reasons I mention above.

  • Steph

    Morning Owl! Simple, not particularly fancy, but damn if their BLTJ isn’t the best thing you’ll put in your mouth today.

  • Kathy

    Sherwood Cafe on Sherwood (off Carling) makes the best roasted chicken, bacon, avocado sandwiches too!

  • Stacey

    Sanguiccios on Preston does a great sandwich. Should be on this list.

  • Lory Picheca

    Di Rienzo’s – that is all!
    http://www.dirienzo.ca/menu.html

  • Alessandro

    Agreed, Kathy. That very sandwich at Sherwood Cafe got sampled in the research, and it was mighty tasty. Morning Owl got a chew as well, Steph. The turkey something sandwich there was good – huge line on the day I went. Really popular spot.

  • Oscar Trashcan

    $5 SANDWICHES (the blue food truck)
    Holland Ave north from Wellington

  • Megan

    YES for P’tite Épicerie. But you forgot the soup! Oh lord, their magical lentil soup.

    Also in Hull:

    -Merguez sausage sandwich (and others) at Café villageois Dès potron-minet on Rue Kent
    -All sandwiches (and ratatouille!) at Marius on Promenade du Portage
    -Cuban sandwiches (warm weather months only) at Luli sandwicherie cubaine on Rue Aubry
    -Vegan food, including sandwiches and burgers (King burger!) at La Belle Verte on Rue Eddy

    Get ye to Hull, Ottawans!

    +100 for Meat Press too – inexpensive and delicious! Plus cheese and sausages for sale at good prices and home made tasty sodas!

  • Sophie

    The Whalesbone Oyster and Fish Supply’s catch of the day sandwich definitely deserves a mention. It is perfect.

  • Antonia

    Casa Dei Panini at 52 Antares Drive near Hunt Club is my favourite spot! They have a great variety of breads, which are always fresh, good quality meats, tasty specials and a super friendly staff. Their steak sandwich is incredible! The owners really care about their customers! I often do a lunch run for everyone at the office. Casa never disappoints! I highly recommend giving this place a try!

  • Curtis

    Casa Dei Panini on Anatres Drive should definitely be on this list! Their sandwiches are fantastic!

  • Julie Lehman

    I haven’t tried all of these places but can say that the couple of times I have been to Casa Dei Panini I have enjoyed it very much. The meat and toppings are always there freshest. Costumer service at its best!!!!

  • Alessandro

    Had never heard of Casa Dei Panini. Do now. And cheers for that list of goodz in Hull, Megan.

  • Lucia

    I have to agree with the others…Casa dei Panini gets my vote. The sandwiches are always delicious and the daily specials are great! The place is spotless and the owners go out of their way to make you feel at home. This place is a lunch time favourite so don’t get discouraged if you have to wait in line as it moves fast…it’s that popular!

  • Anne

    How is Holland’s Cake and Shake not on this list? He started the potato chip on sandwich thing and the city is better off for it!

  • Alessandro

    Anne, Re: chips on a sandwich: I’ve seen Brits do that a lot, and have tried it myself on burgers. Gives a wicked crunch, no doubt! It can also give a nice taste-tingle depending on the chip flavour. Brits also like to put chips (fries) on burgers/sandwiches. Colombians really go hard with the chips on a hotdog – they also usually top it off with a quail egg on top, too: http://www.expat-chronicles.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/colombian-hot-dog.jpg

  • Anne

    Alessandro, I meant he started it in Ottawa (as far as I know). I saw it popping up after he started it, including at Edgar and Meat Press. A good thing if you ask me! Either way, love his sandwiches, as well as many on the other list. And some not on the list.

  • Marie

    I have to put Casa Dei Panini on my top list! To die for sandwiches!! Sooo much meat and toppings – I’m full after half but that doesn’t stop me from finishing the whole sandwich!

  • Paul O

    Franks on Greenbank just north of Hunt Club offer a terrific variety of sandwiches including my favourites “Glover Junkyard” (Ham, turkey, salami, havarti, mustard, mayo, lettuce, tomatoes and onions) and “Mighty Casey” (Smoke meat, turkey, hot salami, lettuce, onions, hot eggplant, mustard, mayo and swiss). They have a second location on Antares, since that road seems to be collecting recommendations here.

  • theolivecat

    Pressed on Gladstone ave, between Bronson and Booth have a sinfully tasty beef brisket sandwich served with sweet potato fries. The brisket and the fish are smoked in-house and the aromas are fabulous. The rest of the menu is pretty satisfying as well, offering gluten-free choices and a kid’s menu. They also feature some great local talent along with beer, and wine. If you like bluegrass music they host bluegrass musicians every Monday evening. The nanaimo bars will have you considering confession
    Another place I love is on Bronson ave between Gladstone and Somerset. It is an unassuming little place called Halifax Donair. I first went there with my daughter while she was visiting from BC and we went in because we were curious about how donairs and Halifax are connected.
    Our intention was to order a pizza and a couple of beers. The proud owner actually “strongly” suggested that we try the donair instead. He went on to brag about how the donair filling is made on site and to tell the story of how donairs and Halifax are connected.
    We took his advice. The best donair in town. Not an exaggeration. I brought another friend to try the donairs and he now drives from the west end of Ottawa just to get one.
    Their pizzas are also excellent. Try the donair pizza.
    This place is a gem waiting to be discovered. Not fancy, but roomy with a bar and two big screen televisions. In my opinion, a great place to start out before heading out to party, but you could also hold a small meeting there, or bring the family out for a reasonably priced meal. Well worth checking out. They also deliver.