There is so much to love about the humble sandwich, especially when it’s taken to epic heights, or is piled with stellar ingredient combos and served on beautiful bread.
Now, we aren’t talking bao, breakfast sammies, hot dogs, or burgers. We’re talking straight up sandwiches, from succulent fried chicken to gooey grilled cheese, to stacks of veggies, or Vietnamese banh mi. If you wanted to eat your way around Vancouver’s sandwiches, consider this your passport.
Here, in no particular order, are 22 must-try sandwiches in Vancouver.
It’s summer camp year ’round at The Tuck Shoppe, the tiny and charming sandwich, soup, and salad spot at the south end of Chinatown. They’ve got some killer sandiwches on the menu (including a French Onion Dip and a Curry Cauliflower) but their brightest star is the Pork Belly Cubano, made with Mojo pork belly, ham, Swiss cheese, housemade pickles, and mustard.
Address: 237 Union Street, Vancouver
Known for their waffles and Japanese-style waffle sandos (aka sandwiches), the most memorable from this Asian-fusion spot is their fried chicken sando. It’s got Garlic fried chicken, lettuce, teriyaki sauce and mayo.
Editor’s note: Miura closed in December 2016
Tucked into a corner of the Rosewood Hotel Georgia, Bel Café is a bustling high-quality spot for satisfying lunches, sweet treats, and excellent hot bevs. They have an excellent roster of sandwiches, from classic the humble BLT to their Turkey with cranberry. But their seasonal Roasted Squash Sandwich is worth waiting for autumn for.
Address: Rosewood Hotel Georgia, 801 West Georgia Street, Vancouver
Would you believe some of the city’s best grilled cheese is served from an impossibly tiny Gastown walk-up window? Get the Yes Ma’am from Hi Five made with Six Acres’ mac and cheese with American cheese thrown in for good measure.
Address: 30 East Cordova Street, Vancouver
People line up come midday for the sandwiches at Meat & Bread, and the Porchetta is the best explanation: Slow roasted pork, chopped in front of you, with crispy cracklings and salsa verde.
Address: 1033 West Pender Street, Vancouver
Address: 370 Cambie Street, Vancouver
The West End’s Buckstop is a go-to for over the top creations centred on comfort eats and big BBQ flavours. The Devils’ Dream Melt is a specialty menu item: Smoked shaved sirloin in an IPA-barbecue gravy, onions and peppers, topped with mozzarella & swiss cheese and two pieces of tempura bacon, served open-faced on egg-washed fried sourdough bread.
Address: 833 Denman Street, Vancouver
Downtown’s Finch’s Tea House is a casual, tiny eatery that always boasts a lunchtime line-up, and people are wild about their sandwiches, including the simple but elegant Pear, Walnut, Brie, and Prosciutto. Have your Instagram app ready, it’s a beaut.
Address: 353 West Pender Street, Vancouver
This treasured Italian specialty shop has the art of sandwich-making nailed. Meats are sliced to order on fresh-made bread, and there’s an abundance of veggies and goodies available to pile on, like chopped olives, marinated artichokes, and roasted peppers, for that Italiano zing. Since La Grotta del Formaggio custom-makes each sandwich based on the customer’s specifications, the sky is the limit with how you mix and match the ingredients.
Address: 1791 Commercial Drive, Vancouver
The force is mighty from this tiny food cart found often in downtown. Take a BC staple like salmon, and the Kaboom Box makes it really pop, sandwich-style.
Address: Granville at Georgia Streets, Vancouver
Vancouver’s own sandwich-and-salad mini-chain is a favourite of the lunch crowd, and while it’s pretty hard to go wrong with what you choose from their trim menu, their Pulled Pork sandwich has a devoted following. It’s Southern BBQ meets sub sandwich for this delicious, portable, substantial selection. You’ll get that extra pow from Hubbub’s addition of caramelized onion, cilantro, lettuce, pickled jalapeños, and secret sauce, all on a warm baguette.
Veggie sandwich? If you’re about to say “Yawn…” we’ll happily re-direct you to Tap & Barrel and their epic Toasted Garden Veggie Sandwich. Stacked high with ingredients that pack a powerful punch (roasted beet, portobello mushroom, goat cheese, tomato, lettuce, and sprouts) this sandwich, on multigrain toast, includes a giant, showstopping crispy onion ring, and not only house mayo but also a schmear of hummus.
Address: 3 locations: Olympic Village, Coal Harbour, and North Vancouver Shipyards. See their website for location information.
If you’re at the Public Market at Granville Island, head right to Siegel’s and order up one of their Montreal-style bagels as a sandwich with lox, cream cheese, red onions, and capers. (We won’t disagree if you also choose a breakfast sandwich here, or their other meat-y options.) They’ve also got a Kits location, too.
Address: 1883 Cornwall Street, Vancouver
Address: 1689 Johnston Street, Vancouver (Granville Island)
When it comes to comfort food in Vancouver, Burgoo often tops diners’ lists, thanks to their hearty mac & cheese, rich onion soup, and their sandwiches. Though they are known for their killer Cheese Grillers, they really take things to a devilish place with their Dos Diablos, which is basically a white cheddar grilled cheese baguette with chorizo and roasted red peppers.
Downtown’s best-kept secret, the Turkey Sandwich at Sandwich Plus is a knockout. Piled high with your choice of dark or white turkey, avocado or cheese, cranberry sauce, and whatever sandwich toppings you desire, this is a must-try Turkey sandwich to give thanks for.
Address: 530 Hornby Street
The food at Mensch is a labour of love for owner Nitzan Cohen, and on the slender menu is one impressive ‘which: slow-brined, smoked, hand-cut pastrami served on fresh-baked rye bread.
Address: 666 East Broadway, Vancouver
Not every sandwich has a story, but the Rennie Grilled Cheese at YEW sure does. Named for Vancouver’s “Condo King” Bob Rennie, it’s made with Aged Farmhouse Cheddar and comes with a side of tomato soup. Oh, and it will set you back $23. Hey, man, real estate in this city is pricey.
Address: Four Seasons Vancouver – 791 West Georgia Street, Vancouver
It’s open 24 hours. It has one of the most eclectic menus in the city. It’s got “donuts” in the name, but loyalists know there’s more to Duffin’s. Their sandwiches represent a terrific meld of cultures, leaning heavily on the Mexican Torta, which is known for offering a variety of ingredients, including often avocado and peppers, on a crusty white sandwich roll. Duffin’s Chicken Torta is great gateway to their sandwich selections. Pssst: Save room for a donut. And some fried chicken, maybe.
Address: 1391 E 41st Avenue
The names might be simple at Railtown Cafe, the (expanding) cafe arm of the catering biz of the same name, but the tastes are always nuanced. If you go for The Pork, you’ll be biting into tender pork shoulder, with jalapeño, cilantro, and pickled vegetable aioli, all on a crunchy French baguette.
Address: 397 Railway Street, Vancouver
Vancouver is home to a thriving Vietnamese scene, and fewer items showcase the cuisine’s meld of French and Vietnamese than the Banh Mi sandwich. Au Petit Cafe makes a stellar one worth checking out.
Address: 4851 Main Street, Vancouver
Seafood is central at the Fish Counter, where, in addition to an Oyster Po’Boy and fresh fish tacos you can order up a Crab & Shrimp sandwich, for a sweet taste of the sea.
Address: 3825 Main Street, Vancouver
Sure to cure your Monday blues is the Mom’s Meatloaf from Vancouver’s Mom’s Grilled Cheese truck. This four-wheeled emporium of all things cheesy delicious has a daily special, and the week gets underway when they put together a hearty slice of homemade meatloaf surrounded by melted mozzarella and marinara sauce on crusty French bread. Mamma mia!
Address: Parked at or near Howe Street & Robson Street (Vancouver Art Gallery)
It’s all about the beets (or whatever veggies are in season) for the Charred Veggies sandwich at this cozy Gastown cafe. If veggies solo aren’t your jam, they also make great sandwiches with fish, turkey, or pork, too.
Address: 55 Powell Street/54 Alexander Street, Vancouver