Calgary lunch spots that serve the best sandwiches

Haunted by a childhood where lunchtime meant a PB and J or ham and cheese on soggy Wonder Bread? These restaurants will make you rethink the sandwich and have you looking forward to lunch again.

Holy Grill

1
827 10 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2R 0B4

The paninis and burgers at Holy Grill are loaded with fresh toppings. Piled with cheese and mixed veggies that include artichoke hearts, pickled eggplant and grilled zucchini, vegans can sub avocado for cheese on the New Californian panini. For large appetites, additional toppings can be added on for a small fee. Don’t forget to order a side of beet root chips!

Peppino Gourmet

2
209-435 4 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2P 3A8

Grabbing one of Peppino’s famous Italian baguette sandwiches used to mean trekking to Kensington or Bridgeland during the lunch hour, but “Calgary’s littlest Italy” recently opened a downtown location that serves every one of its 40-plus sandwiches, from assorted selections topped with deli meats and cheeses to a variety of vegetarian options.

Trung Nguyen Vietnamese Subs

3
10-132 3rd Avenue SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0B6

There is always a line snaking out the door of this hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop during the lunch hour, and with good reason – Trung Nguyen’s bánh mì (Vietnamese baguette sandwiches) are full of flavour and stuffed with satay-marinated meats, crunchy pickled vegetables and just a dash of heat. It helps that they’re easy on the wallet, too.

Spolumbo's Fine Foods & Deli

4
1308 9 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0T3

A well-known Inglewood establishment, Spolumbo’s was founded over 20 years ago by Italian-Canadian ex-Calgary Stampeders Tom and Tony Spoletini and Mike Palumbo. The Italian Panini selection includes the highly recommended Spolumbo Special, a cheese and deli meat sandwich served with a handful of pickles. The eatery’s signature Italian sausages are made without fillers or preservatives. Try a spicy one on a crusty bun with tomato sauce.

Teatro

5
200 8 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0K7

Billed as an “immobile food truck” dealing “street meat,” Carne keeps it simple with a menu of just three sandwiches, served on house-made bread – roast porchetta, spicy Italian meatball and alpine grilled cheese. All of Carne’s offerings are prepped in the kitchen of its upscale-Italian mother-ship restaurant, Teatro, ensuring these sandwiches are something special.

Grumans Catering & Delicatessen

AB

Come for the Montreal smoked meat at Grumans, but stay for so much more. Straight from Bubby’s kitchen, you’ll find Jewish deli sandwiches served with potato salad or fries. These include the wholesome chicken breast club as well as bagel with cream cheese and lox. Heartier sandwiches include Montreal smoked meat and a Reuben, both served on caraway rye.

Sidewalk Citizen Bakery

6
618 Confluence Way SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0G1

Since Sidewalk Citizen opened its location in the Simmons Building in the East Village, it has been that much easier for downtown workers to enjoy a delicious sandwich on the bakery’s famous sourdough. Sidewalk Citizen now also offers pita sandwiches. The daily lunch special features soft, round pockets filled with a variety of different fillings every day.

Caffe Mauro

7
120-999 8 St SW, Calgary, AB T2R 1J5

Located at the base of an office tower across the street from MEC, Caffe Mauro has become a favourite spot for those working in the area. Its unique specialty sandwiches, include prosciutto bocconcini and an impressive build-your-own-sandwich board.

Game meats, such as venison, bison and elk, are gaining popularity, partly due to their unique taste, and the fact that they are generally leaner than farmed meats such as beef and pork. You don’t need to dress in camp or carry a gun to sample wild game – just head down to one of these local restaurants. Image credit: iStock.com/Brzozowska.
In the past, salads were often labelled “diet food” and served as an afterthought on restaurant menus. For better or worse, restaurant salads are now often sizeable meals, and can sometimes contain more calories than a burger and fries! For those trying to eat healthier, salad bars can help take back some of that control – making your salad as green or as calorie-laden as you’d like. Image credit: iStock/MelanieMaya.
For those who are new to sushi, the thought of eating raw fish on rice can be a little intimidating. Sushi rolls are a great “gateway” to more traditional nigiri, and thanks to some of the whimsical and creative dishes prepared by local sushi chefs, they are becoming a cuisine unto itself.
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