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Seattle's Best Sandwich Shops

It took us five years to find the decent sandwiches in Seattle, but we have found a bunch. Here's the places we like, starting from the very best:

1. Salumi in Pioneer Square
This place is paradise for meat lovers. Rare meats, herbed and spiced salamis, succulent braised bits, layered between sturdy french bread and lavishly drizzled in olive oil and garlic with wonderous cheeses, peppers, sauteed onions, etc. Sandwiches are available hot and cold. I'm not a meat lover but I love it anyway, for their damn good grilled vegetable sandwich, which I believe is vegan but never asked. Tragically, they're only open 11-3 M-F and tend to be closed for weeks at a time around the holidays.

2. Capitol Hill Internet Cafe and Eatery on Capitol Hill
The impetus for me compiling this list: the wonderful and various grilled sandwiches at this completely unassuming-looking cybercafe. Lots of vegan and meat-eating options alike. The Broadway (pears, gorgonzola, and salad greens drizzled in a raspberry vinaigrette) and their BLT are my favorites, their Mac 'n' cheese is great too, and they jsut got a liquor license.

3. Paseo in Fremont
From the outside it looks like a dingy, abandoned toolshed with a small piece of colored paper tacked to the wall saying "Paseo." If you park and walk to the door you can see their Zagat's rating (one of the highest in Seattle). Inside it is a Caribbean paradise. Strong, clear flavors like no sandwiches you have had before. Entrees too. Only one vegetarian option, which I haven't tried.

4. Le Panier in the Pike Place Market
I love their Brie sandwich, which is just thick slices of Brie on lightly buttered French bread. They also have a yummy "crudites" (a light sprinkling of goat cheese on lettuce and assorted fresh vegetables) and a few tasty meat options. Sometimes the simplest things in life are the most gratifying. Make sure to get an espresso drink and a pastry for dessert -- the pain au chocolat is a huge hit, though I treasure their almond croissants above all.

5. Pho and Banh Mi Saigon Restaurant and Deli in the Rainier Valley
If you get them as takeout, the sandwiches are laughably cheap - like, $2.50 or so. I like the marinated, sweet-tangy grilled chicken on very crispy French bread. This is also a full-service restaurant with delicious entrees and drinks, probably one of the very best Vietnamese restaurants in Seattle.

6. Michou in the Pike Place Market
A huge takeout counter and pseudo-deli with fresh Frenchish-Italianish food. Lots of terrific vegetable side dishes, and an array of consistently delicious meaty and meatless sandwiches.

7. De Laurenti's in the Pike Place Market
The newly renovated dining space on the first floor turns this place from a fantastic gourmet/import grocery to an immaculate, warm, classy cafe. Seattle has a lot of great small bakeries; De Laurenti's selects the cream of the crop for display in their pristine glass cases.

8. Macrina Bakery in Belltown
Judging from their clientele, this is the place to be for female foodies dining alone, though there are also always happy packs of mixed-gender foodies dining together. A somewhat decadent variety of sandwiches, galettes, quiches, soups, salads, artisan breads, and pastries, plus drinks and desserts. They serve mimosas at brunch, hot ginger-apple cider in the winter, and their mocha is a latte with flakes of Mexican chocolate stirred in -- ole! I particularly love the cherry-almond scones. Very long brunch lines on weekends.

9. Metropolitan Market, neé Admiral Thriftway in Queen Anne
Prepackaged and refrigerated sandwiches that are addictively tasty. Their prosciutto with provolone and arugula on French bread stands head and shoulders above the others, which need to be warmed up to be good. There are other Thriftway branches in Seattle, but I don't know what their sandwich selection is like.

10. Il Fornaio bakery in central atrium of Pacific Place mall, downtown
I don't like Il Fornaio the restaurant anywhere near as much as I like this hectic little mall counter with its prepackaged, cellophane-wrapped sandwiches grilled while you wait. Their delicious roasted vegetable sandwich is actually vegan, or so they tell me. I like to smuggle it into the Barnes and Noble cafe downstairs and eat dinner while reading a book I don't actually own.

11. Larry's Market in Queen Anne, Bellevue, and other locations
Larry's has some quite good and economical premade panini, which they grill while you wait. Both the meaty and the meatless ones have cheese and fresh vegetables. If you go to the Queen Anne store, make sure to pick up some coffee from Peet's.

12. Essential Baking Company in Fremont
A beautiful, sunny, wood-paneled space hosts an ample selection of pretty good food. Lots of sandwich options but almost all their food has some dairy in it. I think the food is about on a par with the Honey Bear, but more expensive -- I think it's the ambiance you pay for. Others rate it more highly.

13. Briazz, various locations around Seattle and up and down the west coast
One glance at the ingredient labels on these prepackaged, refrigerated wrapped sandwiches will freak you out (preservatives!) but one bite will change your mind. They also have a deli-like selection of soups, granola, chips, etc. with their "healthy" and vegetarian options color-coded. The Briazz downtown at 5th and Union is my favorite.

14. Other Coast Cafe in Ballard
Pretty decent, oversized sandwiches with one option for the vegetarians. Plus they have a Saveur subscription which you can read while you're eating - there's nothing like reading food porn while eating. Be alert when you order these to go - they've given us the wrong order several times.

December 30, 2003 in Original writing | Permalink