Tampa's top 10 sandwiches of 2011

A sandwich connoisseur picks his favorites of the year.

click to enlarge The Bahn Mi at BT - Todd Sturtz
Todd Sturtz
The Bahn Mi at BT

Tampa has a lot of unique offerings if you’re a sandwich lover. Rich in global cuisines — from Asian to Cuban to Vietnamese to Italian — I could come up with a different tasty meat and bread combo to recommend for every day of the month. That being said, this is a top ten list (not top 31) so here we go:

Oyster Po’ Boy at Pane Rustica — Preferably on the house-baked olive bread, the perfectly seasoned and crispy fried outer casings give way to a plump and juicy oysters, while the bitter greens help cut the richness of the house-made paprika-lemon aioli. It’s simultaneously a shame and a blessing that this beautiful mixture of flavorful and texturally contrasting ingredients is only available in months that end in "R". 3225 S MacDill Ave., Tampa, 813-902-8828, panerusticabkery.com

Havana Hottie at Datz — A creative take on the Cuban sandwich, the Havana Hottie has a generous amount of smoked pulled pork, Jarlsberg cheese, crunchy dill pickles, and delightfully spicy and sweet Honeycup mustard. 2616 S Macdill Ave., Tampa, 813-831-7000, datztampa.com

The Cuban at Wright’s Gourmet House — More of a legitimate Cuban sandwich, Wright’s uses top quality ingredients and has a more traditional (although still not a purist’s traditional) approach: no lettuce or tomato, a good amount of mustard, and pressed just enough that the cheese inside melts and adds an almost creamy layer to the finished product. 1200 S Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa, 813-253-3838, wrightsgourmet.com

Tomozza at Doormet — Sidebern’s and Pane Rustica veterans Jake and Hans Koch created something I consider to be the artful transformation of a basil-pesto, prosciutto, and balsamic caprese salad into an easily devoured hand-held 9th Symphony on bread. Take a bow, maestros. 1155 S Dale Mabry Hwy #12, Tampa, 813-287-3667, doormet.com

(Cheap) Bahn Mi at Saigon Deli — $3 for a French-Asian BBQ Pork sandwich that's not only awesome, but also contains a plethora of different ingredients on the table that allow you to tailor it to your desired level of spicy/sweet/rich/salty? Saigon Deli’s Banh Mi is difficult to criticize, and even more difficult for me to give up. I’m proud to say I’m an addict. 3962 W Waters Ave., Tampa, 813-932-0300.

(Pricier) Bahn Mi at Restaurant BT — When I really want to treat myself to some gourmet street food, BT is where I go. I enjoy the reinvented BT even more than the original, as the menu, presentation, and service are all top notch. Stop by to treat yourself to a very elegant version of what I can only assume is pretty much the “hot dog” of Vietnam. 2507 S Macdill Ave., Tampa, 813-258-1916, restaurantbt.com

Pumpkin-Spiced, Maduro-Battered Monte Cristo from Wicked ‘Wiches Food Truck — Literally and actually a mouthful, this pumpkin-battered sandwich with turkey comes with cranberry sauce for dipping. Methinks the Indians would’ve wanted more than just beads if they’d known we were going to concoct unreasonably delicious coma-inducing treats such as this. 813-369-9120, wickedwiches.com

Tortas at Taqueria Monterrey — Another great value, Taco Bus’ sister restaurant offers a unique sammie on fluffy bread with a golden shell filled with umami-rich exotic ingredients, like pork al pastor, tripa (tripe), pulpo (octopus), and more. If you’re hungry and in the USF area, this is a must-have. 2320 E. Fletcher Ave., Tampa, 813-977-6808, taqueriamonterrey.net

Pulled Pork Sandwich at Holy Hog Barbecue — These guys can rock out some 'cue! Balanced, reasonably priced, and fun, Holy Hog is a great pick for a barbecue pulled pork sandwich with a number of excellent sides and sauces. 3501 N Armenia Ave., Tampa, 813-879-4647, holyhogbbq.com

Jibarito at Mi Pueblo Cafeteria — If you’ve never had a Jibarito (and if you aren’t of Puerto Rican descent, I’m assuming you haven’t), then this should be a fun exploration for you, my foodie brethren. It's a steak sandwich with pureed garlic “aji” sauce and smashed fried plantains in place of bread. The Jibarito is as fun to ponder over as it is to eat. 1910 N Lincoln Ave., Tampa, 813-351-0011.

Scroll to read more Food News articles
Join the Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.

Newsletters

Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected]