Toronto's best submarine sandwiches

Sub Plot

Hoagies, heroes, grinders—let’s not quibble over semantics. They’re the ultimate comfort food. Here, our favourite submarine sandwiches from Toronto’s best throwback delis, 
new and old

By Alex Baldinger and Rebecca Fleming| Photography by Vicky Lam | Food styling by Carol Dudar
| February 16, 2022
Lakeshore Super Submarine’s classic assorted

10 For the Platonic ideal of the submarine sandwich, head to Lakeshore Super Submarine, a South Etobicoke time warp (you’ll see when you get there) where owner George Kozaris has been manning the counter for more than four decades. For his assorted sub, a cloud-light bun comes stacked with cold cuts, cheese, tomato, white onion and shredded iceberg lettuce. Skip the mayo to let the tangy house vinaigrette shine. On the side: a helping of one-liners, courtesy of Kozaris. Cash only. $7. 2939 Lake Shore Blvd. W., @lakeshoresupersub

Toronto's best submarine sandwiches
Illstyl3 Sammies’ Yous’ Guyz

9 The cheesesteak usually gets top billing, but Philadelphia is also one of the hoagie capitals of the world. You can find both at Illstyl3 Sammies, Pennsylvania native Germain Marshall’s Entertainment District takeout counter, and the cold-cut-laden Yous’ Guyz is a textbook example of the latter. Marshall stacks mortadella, Genoa salami, prosciutto and provolone, and offsets all the fatty goodness with a motherlode of pickles and herbs. If you like it hot, ask for a dab of Marshall’s house-made hot sauce. $14. 300 Richmond St. W., illstyl3sammies.com

Toronto's best submarine sandwiches
Flora’s Deli’s Norma Gina

8 Chef Jesse Mutch runs his pandemic-project sub shop, Flora’s Deli, out of Dundas West bottle shop Grape Crush. The sandwiches, inspired by his grandmother, include the Norma Gina, which stacks crispy-crunchy fried eggplant on a bun so dense and speckled with sesame seeds that it might share some DNA with a bagel. It’s topped with peppery arugula, a thick layer of whipped ricotta and house hot honey with just the right amount of heat. $13. 1166 Dundas St. W., @florasdelito

Toronto's best submarine sandwiches
Topol Sandwich’s Topol Cold Mix

7 To appreciate the heft of the fully loaded meat torpedoes at Topol Sandwich, it’s helpful to know that the Persian-influenced sub shop’s name means “fat” or “chubby” in Farsi. Excess and overload are the twin goals here, and the Topol Cold Mix sandwich is a wild success. Thinly sliced halal beef and chicken form the nucleus of the package. Around them go layers of lettuce and tomato, tangy pickles, a bright house-made sauce and a fistful of Hickory Sticks for crunch. $14. 8 Kingsdale Ave., North York; 10133 Yonge St., Richmond Hill; topolsandwich.com

Toronto's best submarine sandwiches
Elm Street Deli’s Tony Tacchino

6 There are all kinds of classic Italian-style sandwiches at Elm Street Deli, run by Lawrence La Pianta—who also happens to be the owner and pitmaster of Cherry Street Bar-B-Que. But the Tony Tacchino turkey sub is the unsung hero. A sturdy bun is stuffed with slow-smoked turkey breast, slices of sweet provolone, shredded lettuce, red onion, tomato and a few finishing touches that remind you this is an Italian deli: roasted red peppers, basil aïoli, sub sauce and a tangy muffuletta spread. $16. 15 Elm St., elmstdeli.com

Toronto's best submarine sandwiches
Chantecler Boucherie’s mortadella hoagie

5 It should come as no surprise that Parkdale’s premier butcher shop, Chantecler Boucherie, makes some mean hoagies. For our favourite, layers and layers of mortadella—bologna’s cooler cousin—are folded into a squishy sesame bun with slices of provolone, house-pickled fennel to cut through all that unctuousness, a squirt of honey-Dijon mayo and some tomato and shredded lettuce because, sure, veggies. $14. 1318 Queen St. W., chanteclerto.com

Toronto's best submarine sandwiches
Grandma Loves You’s spicy ham

4 This family-run lunch counter tucked away in a tiny Summerhill plaza deals in supersized sandwiches on crusty rolls that hold their own against an onslaught of toppings and sauces. The spicy ham sub is loaded with cold cuts, tomato, cheese, diced red onion, plenty of pickled jalapeños and a creamy house hot sauce. But the best part is the fried onions, salty lil’ nubbins that add crunch to every bite. $14. 1084 Yonge St., @grandmalovesyoutoronto

Toronto's best submarine sandwiches
Good Behaviour’s meatball sub

3 Talk about a one-two punch: Davenport’s Good Behaviour sandwich shop shares space with its sibling ice cream parlour. When it comes to their subs, we’re partial to this spicy raft of meatballs. They’re made with nine (nine!) cuts of beef, veal and pork, nestled into a sesame-studded roll with pesto-spiked mayo and a splash of chili oil, all tied together with melted provolone and kissed with marinara. $16. 342 Westmoreland Ave. N., goodbehaviourto.ca

Toronto's best submarine sandwiches
FBI Pizza’s Italian fried chicken hoagie

2 FBI Pizza is best known for its, well, you know. But it also makes a mean hoagie. Our favourite is essentially a grown-up chicken finger sub. Strips of white meat are coated in Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs and fried (think more chicken parm than the Colonel), then tucked into a toasty sesame-seed roll with tomato, jalapeño pepper and shredded lettuce. It’s all slathered in a trio of house sauces: red wine vinaigrette, sundried tomato mayo and garlic-parm sauce. $15.75. 2336 Lake Shore Blvd. W., 1248 St. Clair Ave. W., fbipizza.com

Toronto's best submarine sandwiches
Lambo’s Deli’s Italian Trio
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1 Lambo’s, a year-plus-old hoagie shop at the edge of Trinity Bellwoods, keeps its lineup of cold-cut combos admirably old school while adding some tasty frills. For its standout Italian Trio, capocollo, prosciutto and mortadella are layered on a pillowy seeded bun, with generous hunks of fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers, pickled onions and just enough arugula. What puts it over the top are the herby house-made pesto and spicy Calabrian chili spread generously applied to each half of the packed roll. $14. 176 Bellwoods Ave., lambosdeli.ca

Toronto's best submarine sandwiches
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