Folks have been enjoying and fine-tuning the art of the sandwich for over a thousand years. Some recipes have stood the test of time and become staples in the modern American diet, while others have been less successful and gone by the wayside, such as the once popular “loose meat sandwich.”
However, most people can agree that several elements must be present in a successfully composed sandwich. These include fresh bread, high-quality ingredients, the proper ratio between ingredients, texture, and condiments. You might be thinking, wait, aren’t bread and condiments ingredients? Yes, but their caliber is integral to a successful sandwich and must be emphasized.
This article outlines a few of the best sandwich hubs in Seattle and what patrons can expect regarding their atmosphere and sandwich selection. So whether you’re a sandwich aficionado or just looking for a new lunchtime favorite, look no further than these six sandwich shops.
Paseo is a charming little eatery located in Fremont. Their restaurant consists of a few tables inside and a counter to order at. Several more tables and chairs are outside under a covered awning, which is great during the warmer months. Paseo serves a variety of Caribbean-inspired dishes, but sandwiches are their specialty. They have twelve to choose from, including a seared scallops option and two delicious-sounding vegetarian choices.
I decided to go with the first on the list and their specialty, The Caribbean Roast. Under this item in big pink lettering, it read “Rated best sandwich in America.” By whom it was rated is unclear, but why they rated it so highly was quickly evident. The Carribean-Roast sandwich was artfully composed of marinated and slow-roasted pork shoulder, pickled jalapenos, cilantro, giant caramelized onions, and romaine lettuce for a little crunch. It’s hard to go wrong dining at Paseo. All of their sandwiches looked just as good as the next, and everything was relatively affordable.
Homegrown is a sandwich and salad restaurant with several locations around Seattle. The first Homegrown location was opened in 2009 in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood, focusing on serving locally-sourced and sustainable ingredients, a mission they still strive for.
Their recipes prioritize using organic and non-GMO ingredients when possible. Additionally, they source their produce, meats, and bread from local farmers and suppliers to mitigate their negative environmental impact. They also strive to use eco-friendly practices, such as composting, recycling, and using biodegradable packaging. Their menu is full of vegetarian and vegan sandwiches, soup, and salad options.
Their most popular sandwich is the Avacado BLT, consisting of thin-sliced turkey, applewood bacon, avocado, melty white cheddar, roasted garlic aioli, and local farm greens. Their most popular vegetarian option is likely the Broccoli Melt, a very cheesy and texturally satisfying sandwich consisting of white cheddar, smoky roasted broccoli, caramelized onions, chermoula aioli, and farm greens. Furthermore, this sandwich chain has plenty of options for gluten-free patrons and is generally quite flexible around dietary restrictions.
Salumi is a popular Italian deli with a range of in-house cured meats located in the historic Pioneer Square neighborhood. The deli was founded in 1999 by the father of the celebrity chef Mario Batali which draws many tourists its way. Salumi’s specialties are the salami, prosciutto, and pancetta. All are made using traditional Italian methods. This destination is loved by locals and tourists, which often means long lines. However, those with the patience to stand in line should try their Muffuletta or Porchetta sandwiches, as they are very well-liked by customers and showcase the high-quality meats made by Salumi. The atmosphere inside their deli is casual and friendly, with limited seating. However, if you can snag a seat, patrons can sit and watch the meat being prepared in the Salumi kitchen, which is entertaining and illuminating.
Un Bien is a sandwich shop located in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. The shop was founded by two brothers, Miles and Tommy, who initially worked at the famous and previously noted Caribbean sandwich shop Paseo. Like Paseo, Un Bien is known for its Caribbean-inspired sandwiches, including the Hot Press, composed of roasted pork atop banana peppers, draped with slices of smoked ham and Swiss cheese, melted together in a hot press. They also serve a variety of tasty rice bowls, such as the West Caribbean Bowl, made with jasmine rice, black beans, lots of salsa, shredded cheddar, sour cream, jalapeños, and topped with a chicken thigh. Un Bien has two locations, one in Ballard and one in Shilshole. Both have a casual and laid-back atmosphere, with outdoor seating available in summer. Furthermore, Un Bien has received several accolades from local and national media for their sandwiches. Food and Wine magazine even touted them as one of the “Best Sandwich Shops in America.”
Honey Hole is located in the lively neighborhood of Capitol Hill along Pike Street. Upon entering this eatery, it feels very much like a hip dive bar, but instead of stale beer, smells like delicious food. The lighting is dim, and there’s a full bar off to the left. The sandwich counter resides at the back of the restaurant, and behind that is a display of their extensive menu boasting twenty-one sandwiches. A favorable characteristic of this destination is that they have a plethora of unique vegetarian options, some of which come with high-quality imitation meat. In addition to accommodating the vegetarian crowd, Honey Hole makes an effort to provide gluten-free customers and those with food allergies options as well. I went with one of their most popular veggie sandwiches, the Bellisimo. It contained smoked Tomato Field Roast, Roma tomatoes, sautéed onions, banana peppers, fresh basil, and goat cheese served on a demi baguette with red pepper mayo and a splash of red wine vinegar. The elements of this sandwich were paired remarkably well, and the vegan meat nicely contributed to the heartiness of this sandwich. Overall, it was a delicious and memorable vegetarian meal.
Valhalla Sandwiches is located in the heart of Greenwood, an adorable neighborhood with numerous shops, cafes, and bars to explore. Inside, Valhalla’s has a pleasant atmosphere with plenty of indoor seating and the option of outdoor covered seating. They also supply numerous beverage options, including a few local beers on tap. Their menu yields eighteen sandwiches to choose from. Most of them are inspired takes on beloved classics such as grilled cheese, PB&J, or their popular “Thanksgetting” sandwich composed of traditional Thanksgiving foods. Another excellent looking option was the Buddha Call, a vegetarian sandwich with sautéed spinach, roasted sweet potato, cremini mushrooms, roasted red peppers, provolone, and garlic tahini on a Telera roll. I decided on the Reubenator, Valhalla’s conception of the famous New York-style Reuben. This appetizing dish consisted of pastrami, sauerkraut, swiss chees, and thousand island dressing between two slices of grilled marbled rye. The bread used was a very dark marbled rye that stood up to the task of keeping the whole ordeal together quite well. Additionally, the formatting of this sandwich stayed true to the classic Reuben. In conclusion, Valhallas is not to be overlooked, particularly by those who enjoy reimagined versions of classics they know and love.