HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >

Discussion

California Sandwiches

Hi,

What are everyone's thoughts on California Sandwiches. I've only been there once and enjoyed it there. I've been wanting to go back but haven't had a chance yet.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. I didn't realize how good the veal was until I tried others.

    I wish though that they offered it on different types of bread. I find the kaiser too "powdery".

    1 Reply
    1. re: LikeTheWolf

      Manhattan Sandwich makes the best veal sandwich in Toronto. Run by one family, it is on Richmond, between Peter and John.

      Mustachio's in St Lawrence tastes bitter and oily.

    2. I don't like how their veal is one hunk of meat, and much prefer the thinner and more tender pieces of veal at SanFrancesco. Also, I find their sauce pretty watery at times.

      1. I went there once -- everything was swimming in oil -- but I really didn't understand why it's called California Sandwiches. Ain't much Californian about that place.

        1. I have to say GREAT chow at Californias. Have no idea why the name either but I sure love the veal, chicken and steak sandwiches. Super Nintendo...I highly recommend you try it again as over the years we have NEVER had a sandwich swimming in oil - personally I hate oily foods, I believe you got that very rare sandwich!

          I agree that the sauce is sometimes thin and not as flavourful as other times, but the meat is always perfect. We eat there often as a group (original location). The steak sandwich is amazing with mushrooms!

          2 Replies
          1. re: bestandworst

            It was named after a family vacation in California.

            Each location is family owned, and the meat cut on site.

            I've never had an oily sandwich there and have yet to find a better veal sandwich in the city. On occasion I have the sausage, which is also good. I tried the steak once, and the meat was hard and chewy. It was a big disappointment and have not tried it again, so I don't know if it was just an off day.

            1. re: bestandworst

              I have to agree- I love Californias- everytime im back in the city I have to stop there-

            2. I have always enjoyed California's too. I don't know what kind of hot peppers thay use but, boy are they ever hot (although maybe I am just a spice wimp).

              1. From what I can tell, CS is somewhat hit and miss depending on which location you go to. The original is still the best from what I can tell.
                Personally, I'll take Dorio's over CS. I like that they bake their veals in sauce. Also, choice of bread.

                DT

                3 Replies
                1. re: Davwud

                  Agree- highly over-rated veal sandwiches. Once upon a time (about 10 years ago) used to be quality but these days the veal they use is of such poor quality that it is tough as leather. Only redeeming quality is that it is freshly fried (and what freshly fried food is not good?) and immediately served.

                  Only semi-decent location is the original.

                    1. re: Brain of J

                      Weston Road, north of Sheppard. There's a plaza on the east side at a side street named Bradstock.
                      They also have a place in Kettleby. It's just off the 400 at Lloydtown/Aurora Rd.

                      DT

                  1. Where is the "original" location of CS?
                    I tried a Mustachio's veal and eggplant sandwich from St. Lawrence Market one week ago and it was considerably less saucy and therefore less messy than CS (Queensway location). (Less messy is great for business clothing and dates). Mustachio's eggplant was crispy but the veal wasn't anything special. I haven't tasted a CS veal sandwich in a few months, but I remember liking it better (from Queenway location) than San Francesco (off College St.) or Mustachio's.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Food Tourist

                      Original California location is on Clinton, south of College.

                      1. re: Yongeman

                        You jogged my memory - I have been there! I went the same night as San Francesco and did a taste comparison. I think I liked CS better, but that was a long time ago!

                          1. re: fickle

                            Yeah, it's been a while since I've been--I thought it might have been Claremont. Thanks, fickle

                        1. re: Food Tourist

                          Finally tried the eggplant parm sandwich at CS on Queensway tonight ($6.45) and it was really bitter, too soft, and not that enjoyable. There are ways of making eggplant less bitter and I'm not sure why CS wouldn't use them!

                          The eggplant at Mustachio's was light and crispy, though I only had it as an add-on to veal, not as a sandwich by itself.

                        2. California's sandwiches can be all over the map since everything seems to be cooked to order and end product can vary with the cook. I haven't been to the original location in many years, so I can't say whether it is better than the others.

                          I've been to about five California locations, and the sandwiches taste different from time to time. They are always tasty, and never bad, but I find them surprisingly bland relative to their appearance and wonderful smell. (Except for the scorching hot peppers, which I find too hot.)

                          I used to like San Francesco much more than California, but I've lately found the sauce there less robust than in the past and the rolls not very nice (at least at the Coxwell location).

                          When I look at Mustachio's sandwiches, I drool. They are enormous and look absolutely amazing. But something is missing when I bite in.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: embee

                            Embee, that is a great way of phrasing it. Mustachio's sandwich was "missing something", I agree.

                            1. re: Food Tourist

                              I think what is missing is the original sauce. I worked at Mustachio's part-time several years ago while I was in school and it was brand new at the time. The original chef that worked there made a fantastic sauce. It has since changed owners and cooks and it is not quite the same as it was then.

                            2. re: embee

                              Mustachio's sandwiches sit out there all day. I work downtown but live in vaughan and the CS in woodbridge is a great value.

                            3. I am familiar with the Woodbridge CS location. As the others posted the meat in the sandwich is a good size, and the kaiser is not so much powdery as it is doughy. I found the opposite in the San Fran (on Steeles) sandwich where the meat was mostly breading and the bun was just enough crust to contain the middle contents. My ideal sandwich would be the generous cutlet from CS and the modest bun from SF.
                              If you are in this part of the city, that is a sandwich place in the plaza on the SW intersection of hwy 7 and Weston. Busy at lunchtime. Good meat in a kaiser with weak sauce.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: neighborguy

                                I beleive it is in the NW corner of #7 and weston Piazza del Sole.

                              2. Rustic Bakery also makes a pretty mean veal sangwich.

                                DT

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Davwud

                                  Hey Davwud,
                                  You mean the bakery on Rustic Rd. right at Maple Leaf P.S.? My mother still lives in the area and I've never gone to the bakery!!

                                2. Ya, I've been there a couple times however not since sometime in the 90's.
                                  It still has a good rep from what I know.
                                  I really like Dorio's on Sheppard n/o Weston. I usually get my veal on Vienna. It's great. They also have a location n/o TO in a little town called Kettleby. If you're ever up that way, drop in.

                                  DT

                                  1. I love their chicken sandwiches...medium peppers,sauce, and eggplant...My only compliant is that it gets soggy if you take it to go...ya gotta eat it right away!

                                    1. I go to the one on Sheppard a fair bit because it's near my house and enjoy it every time. I never find the food particularly greasy - especially not considering it's deep fried. I keep switching back and forth between sweet and medium, though, because I like a little kick, but find even the medium pretty hot. I can only imagine what the hot tastes like.

                                      1. I've eaten at the St Clair and Claremont (original) locations. Claremont wins hands down. This is not to say that the St Clair franchise doesn't make a good sandwich, they do, and they offer the bonus of being open on Sunday unlike the flagship resto. The sandwiches at the original location tend to be more generous in size and the sauce has more body.

                                        The veal, chicken, sausage, and meatball are all good. The last two constitute a meal-and-a-half. Of course the veal is the champ (those squeamish about food made from baby cows would do well to have the chicken, which rivals the veal sandwich).

                                        A pleasant surprise on a hot day this summer was the grilled vegetable sandwich - eggplant, bell pepper, mushrooms, onion, and zucchini. A beautiful "light" lunch option.

                                        I don't know if they still make their "sauce bun" for a buck.

                                        1. Just an FYI the St Clair/Via Italia location has changed from a California to a Miami Sandwiches. Everything else seems to be the same.

                                          1. I'd recommend a meatball sandwich at California. The last two visits to the Dufferin location, my sandwiches (veal, eggplant) have been killed by way too much breading. The peppers on the sandwich are always nice, though.

                                            1. We eat at the Mississauga CS - Winston Churchill and Dundas -- The bun is always fresh, and the veal is fresh cooked and we always really enjoy our sangwiches!!!

                                              1. I can only Comment on the one on Dufferin. It is better than Miami Sandwhich on St. Clair, but I would take Vinny's Panini over CS any day for the typical sangwiches.

                                                1. Agreed! Vinny's Panini (at Dupont and Shaw) has the best Italian sandwiches -- veal and chicken -- I've ever had. Definitely better than CS.

                                                  1. For those of you who get up to the new Little Italy (ie. Woodbridge), forget the CS at hwy 7 and weston.

                                                    For lunch from my office, we often go the always busy, and always fresh, made to order with various topppings, Dino Panino. My chowhound, world travelling sister insists on stopping here before going to the airport each time she visits Toronto:

                                                    3600 Langstaff Rd
                                                    Woodbridge, ON L4L 9E7
                                                    905-851-3715

                                                    1. I finally tried California Sandwiches and I must say I wasn't too impressed. The veal sandwich was good but the meatball sandwich was almost inedible! The meatball was mushy and just a weird texture. I figured that the best way to take it out is to have the sauce on the side so the veal stays crisp until you're actually ready to eat it.

                                                      All in all, it was ok, but I wouldn't make the trek just to have it.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: ctl98

                                                        The best veal sandwich I've had in Toronto is without a doubt San Francesco on Clinton, south of College. California Sandwiches is not bad at all, but nowhere near San Francesco's level. Also excellent are Ferraro's veal sandwiches on Eglinton, west of Avenue Rd (they only serve sandwiches at lunch, they are not on the dinner menu, but they are heaven).

                                                        Mustachio's?! Uggh. Blah.

                                                        1. re: ctl98

                                                          I agree on the meatball being close to inedible. I like the veal, chicken and steak. They aren't fantastic but they are still very good. Mustachio's used to be good before they got so busy.

                                                          Seeing how you mentioned sauce on the side to retain crispiness...I highly recommend the schitzel place inside village by the grange. He has been there for a million years and cooks each piece to order. There is no tomato sauce, but you get a very crispy tasty breaded veal sandwich - it is always great.

                                                        2. No one has mentioned Bitando's across the street from the original SF sandwich. I love the taste of their veal sandwiches. I like sweet veal with cheese. Does anyone else agree?

                                                          1. This may be overly critical but CS serves over priced sandwiches drenched in a soggy bun. Service could also be improved across their locations as they are no longer "the" veal-on-a-bun place.

                                                            Dino's in Woodbridge (Langstaff Weston/400) had a decent sandwich but I believe they had a change in management a year or two ago which put a damper on service. They do have good spicy olives.

                                                            There is also Pannini at Weston and 7. Better than California but their buns are also soggy and drenched in too much sauce. Service is also lack luster. Great spicy olives though!

                                                            5 Replies
                                                            1. re: iontrance

                                                              CS is probably the worst sandwich shop I've ever experienced, would rather attempt to eat shoe leather

                                                              1. re: Franchise

                                                                You have had real bad luck to describe CS that way. I admit it isnt the best but it is no way near the worst! If you are lacking options for an italian chicken sandwich I highly suggest you try it again!

                                                                1. re: deelicious

                                                                  tried it again after being dragged by co-workers.. again AWFUL

                                                                  1. re: Franchise

                                                                    speaking of italian sandwiches in the weston and 7 area .... has anyone tried the veal sandwich at fortino's?.... it's considerably cheaper than any of the mentioned places .....

                                                                    i had their chicken parm sandwich and i was surprised that they gave me 2 large pieces of chicken.. albeit, it was sitting in a tub of sauce with melted parmesan covering it before it was served... they also covered it with 2 slices of provolone and then toasted it in their press ... i thought it was good value for 4.99! ... the veal was the same price, so i'm looking to try it again soon ....

                                                                    the CS in the same area exceeded my expectations somehow ... except the bun was kinda tough .... what kills me is that u have to pay for extra toppings.... but i guess it's the same at all places ...=(

                                                                2. re: Franchise

                                                                  LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                              2. Love it there....the veal is the best.....go there if your hungry...its one huge sandwich

                                                                1. I think the original CS makes the best veal sandwich in town, but I really wish they'd start using fresh mushrooms instead of canned. In that regard, San Francesco is better. Other than that, though, CS is tops!

                                                                  1. CS on Clarment is the standard by which all other veals sandwiches in Toronto are judged. Tried lots of veals on the only place that comes close to CS is the Bona Via
                                                                    Italian Bakery & Café (308 Painted Post Drive) - Markham rd./Lawrence area of Scarborough. They back their own bread and buns and serve the veal on a crunchy calabrese bun rather than a soft kaiser

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Finnegan

                                                                      Best veal in town: Vinny's on Dupont @ Shaw. Second best: California. Third: San Francesco.

                                                                    2. BEACH AREA
                                                                      I used to go to a place on Queen St East (Lake side just east of Lee Ave). It was a family run veal sandwich restaurant and the food was excellent there. I can't remember the name but was wondering if it was a "California Sandwiches" location, It closed due to a death in the family of one of the principal owners, I believe. Does anyone remember the place and the name?
                                                                      If anyone knows it will be a Chowhound.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: fruglescot

                                                                        There was a California Sandwiches in that general area some years ago. I don't know for sure whether that's where you were going.

                                                                      2. California makes a good sandwich. My son and i go there once a month and share a veal sandwich as well as a steak sandwich . Never had a bad one , but the best veal sandwich is at "Pannini" at highway seven and weston rd in the plaza on the south east cnr
                                                                        Allways fresh and tasty , slightly better than CS .Most of the time there is a line up of Italian speaking people , so that says something for the product . Worth a visit

                                                                        1. Veal has been chewier than rubber on my last few veals, so I just go with the chicken now

                                                                          9 Replies
                                                                          1. re: duckdown

                                                                            Which location?? The last few I've had (This year) have been great. All from the original location.

                                                                            DT

                                                                            1. re: Davwud

                                                                              I always get mine from the original location and have never had a bad experience.

                                                                              1. re: Davwud

                                                                                Brampton one is the one I visit the most, because thats where I live, but I also visit the Queensway location. I've had chewy veal from both, within the last 6 months

                                                                                Which is the original location?

                                                                                  1. re: Davwud

                                                                                    No clue where that is, so nope, never tried it

                                                                                      1. re: duckdown

                                                                                        Duckdown, it's at 244 Claremont St. in Little Italy. I think you've posted before about disliking the parking for the Monarch (Caplansky's), n'est-ce pas? The original California Sandwiches is about a block or so from there, so it's the same kind of parking scenario.

                                                                                        That said, I always find somewhere to park at both of those places, although it may take a few turns around the block.

                                                                                        Ha...I see Davwud has just posted a Google link.

                                                                                        1. re: Yongeman

                                                                                          California on Claremont has four or five parking spaces for customers, tho they're usually taken by cops.

                                                                                          1. re: Yongeman

                                                                                            ah, okay thanks guys

                                                                                            you would be right, about the parking situation... i have the worst of luck.

                                                                                1. I've had no problem with parking illegally on the street around there. I think they do so much business with the cops, they've agreed to look the other way.

                                                                                  DT