For the days when you really want to dial it up a notch and take your lunch to the next level, it's best to leave it to the pros. Valley chefs continue to push the boundaries of what belongs between bread and others focus on the vessel, creating the best buns possible.
Here are five exceptional sandwich spots around metro Phoenix for when simple won't cut it.
chulaseafood.com If you are looking to spice up your lunch with a rich, hearty, flavor bomb, look no further than Chula Seafood. This local lunch spot and seafood market has three locations around town, with one in Uptown Phoenix and two in Scottsdale. The menu features rotating selections based on what's fresh, but a sure-fire winner is the Hatch chile tuna melt. This sandwich is served on toasted Noble Bread, and stuffed with chunky tuna, chiles, and gooey cheese. It is served warm and comes with a side of oily, herb-spiked chimichurri that takes the salty fish to new levels.
2107 North 24th Street
palakitchen.com It's hard to pick one favorite thing about Pa'La. It might be the dappled shade on the quiet patio. Maybe it's the historic bungalow filled with carefully curated pop art and photographs. Or maybe it's the sandwiches. This little 24th Street restaurant is best known for its grain bowls, topped with massive, succulent shrimp, or its sharable tapas plates. But the sandwiches are an unsung hero of the lunch menu. Following the seasons and what chef Claudio Urciuoli likes, the menu rotates often, and is posted to Pa'La's Instagram page. Favorites include the sausage, fennel, and poblano sandwich and the Salame Rosa with pickled onions. But the bread, baked in a wood-fired oven on display in the open kitchen, is always perfection.
4404 North Central Avenue
pizzeriabianco.com/pane-bianco In Phoenix, the Bianco name is synonymous with pizza. But Pane Bianco proves the family's skill in sandwiches as well. Chef Chris Bianco and his brother Marco Bianco use their skills with dough to craft thin, airy focaccia perfect for stuffing with all the best fillings. Try the chicken salad, made with locally farmed chicken, stone ground mustard, green apples, red onion, and arugula, for a fresh, bright bite, or sink your teeth into the perfectly salty and savory Prosciutto San Daniele, packed with basil and housemade mozzarella.
4525 North 24th Street
noblebread.com/eatery Whether you need a loaf of high-quality bread to make your own sandwiches, or you'd rather someone else make one for you, Noble Eatery has got you covered. As you make your way to order at this sandwich shop and bakery, you'll pass by boxes displaying the day's freshest loaves. At the register, order a tuna salad sandwich, packed with an unusual medley of tuna, potatoes, and beans, or opt for a California classic turkey, avocado, and cheese for a cold, fresh pick-me-up perfect for lunch.
218 West Main Street, Mesa
worthtakeaway.com Located on Main Street in downtown Mesa, Worth Takeaway slings fresh food with modern flair. This little sandwich shop specializes in fried chicken, but everything we've tried has been a success. For a refreshing, light twist on the classic, opt for the chicken salad sandwich made with roasted tomatoes and pickled apple slaw or taste the Reuben, made with pastrami and creamy Havarti cheese. The sandwiches at Worth are served with crisp French fries doused in a heavy helping of Old Bay.