*Updated March 2022*
Sandwiches may be simple—meat, cheese, veggies between two pieces of bread—but around here, they’re anything but boring. From classic to innovative, these Orlando’s Best Sandwiches.
Housed in a former Checkers drive-through, Tortas El Rey might not warrant a second glance unless you know about the fresh, scratch-made Mexican street-food classics made inside. Classics like 50-cent tacos, generous burritos and authentic huaraches are available but, as the name implies, tortas are king here. And the most delectable is the carnitas—flavorful pork sandwiched in a fresh cemita roll, dressed with a light layer of refried beans, lettuce, tomato and mayo. Pickled carrots and jalapeños come on the side, as do fiery-hot red and green salsas. Pile it all on top and dig in. 6127 S. Orange Blossom Trl., Orlando.
As the name suggests, this sandwich is not classicly Cuban (and neither are the crispy tater tots that you should definitely order as a side). But with house-smoked pulled pork, shaved ham, Swiss and pickles on a toothy ciabatta roll, who are we to nitpick? There’s plenty to share, and it’s equally enjoyable to-go, indoors or on the easy, breezy patio.
With so many hot-sauce-slathered fried chicken sandwiches on the market locally, it’s hard to stand out. But Jam Hot Chicken manages to shine bright. The chicken is huge, but has a perfect amount of slaw and pickles on top, and the bun held up but was still soft. And it’s rich (of course) but not overly so. The ‘90s hip hop playing is the cherry on top. This one gets two enthusiastic thumbs up.
Corned Beef Big Mac
Thin layers of salty corned beef, shredded iceberg, pickles, American cheese, soft sesame seed bun and (of course) special sauce…there’s literally nothing to NOT like about this sandwich from Deli Desires. It’s a perfect example of someone taking creative license on a classic and nailing it. The other sandwiches there are all fabulous, but this one is a knockout.
Chicken Steak Supreme
There are no wrong turns on LaSpada’s enormous menu of classic Italian hoagies and Philly cheesesteaks, but the wise diner will head straight for the chicken steak with all the toppings. Their freshly griddled chicken is even more flavorful than the juicy, delicious steak and sits oh so well with the onions, green peppers and mushrooms on the Supreme. Don’t get fancy and swap out the white American cheese for provolone—the smooth sauciness in every bite is what makes this sandwich the ultimate comfort-food treat. The only hard question here is whether to go for 8, 10 or 12 inches of deliciousness. Locations in Orlando, Sanford and Orange City.
Florida Shrimp Roll
Gourmet sandwiches are the standard here, but we keep coming back for the delicious—and beautiful—shrimp roll. The taste of the ocean shines through in the butter-poached Florida shrimp cradled in grilled, warm brioche. The shrimp is lightly dressed with a slaw of fresh citrus, crunchy fennel, celery and fresh herbs. Request the house-made ranch potato chips for a salty oomph. 595 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park.
Enjoying tea and sandwiches is civilized business, and the serene vibe at KrungThep evokes the expected air while delivering a powerful punch of flavor and crunch. It’s hard to choose between the inventive sammies here, but we all agree the tastiest choice is the Gra-Prow Chicken, an irresistible mélange of diced chicken, mozzarella, fresh basil, onion, red pepper and basil mayo. Ask for fresh Thai chilis on top. Sourdough bread from Olde Hearth Bread Company makes this perfect square even more delectable. 1051 Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park.
Beef with Cheese and Onions
This time-honored Orlando spot has a menu that hasn’t changed much since they opened the doors in 1967: house-made roast beef sandwiches, crispy tater tots, and thick-as-mud milkshakes. It may be the standard, but the classic beef sandwich makes our best-of list—with a few essential tweaks that take it over the top. Order it rare, and topped with cheese and onions. Tots are not optional—and neither is the definitive horseradish sauce. 424 Nd. Bumby Ave., Orlando.
Banh Mi Nha Trang
This tiny counter is hidden in a courtyard where the owners carefully hand-pick all their ingredients and hand-make all their meats to ensure quality. 1216 E. Colonial Dr. #9, Orlando.