HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >


ISO - Toasty Meatball Sub / Grinder / Hoagie

OK, here's my plea:
When I'm stateside, I love the MANY places one can get a great toasted meatball grinder / hoagy / sub.

The sandwiches I crave are made with nice soft home-made meatballs, fresh marinara sauce and mozz, all toasted-up so the bread is crunchy and delicious.

Bonus points if the sandwich is made on hot garlic bread that is first toasted, then the meatballs and cheese are added, and the whole thing goes back into the pizza oven, or under the broiler so the cheese gets golden brown and bubbly on top.

Now I love me a California Sandwich meatball on a kaiser, but the toasty-garlicky submarine grinder style still wins for me.

Surely there must be some good meatball subs here in TO... right?

Please share your faves.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    1. re: Crispy skin

      Those sandwiches -- they are good?

      I've always been tempted to try one of them, like the chicken parm. sandwich, but I never see anyone order them

    2. oh and just to add, both Panini's and Parmigiana sandwiches in Woodbridge have a meatball sandwich... but I've never tried it. I'd wager both of them are good though

      1. My experience with Pizza Nova's sandwiches is that, like most Pizza Nova items, it's quite good for a pre-fab chain version, but a little short.

        Hmmm... I haven't made it up to Panini's or Parmigiana's - are they hot-table type places, or might they have a garlic-bread style toasted bun?

        ...I'm hoping for the real-deal-oversize-nonna-in-the-kitchen-handmade-toasty-garlicky-crusty-cheezy-goodness. :-)

        11 Replies
        1. re: TorontoTips

          You might try Nino D'Aversa Bakery at Toro Rd and Keele. I'm just passing along rep because I haven't tried them myself (not my area) but supposedly they're quite good. Typical Italian sandwich joint. Been there for years.

          Anyone else tried them?

          1. re: Dimwit

            I've been to Nino's many times.

            Open 24 hours, they are a great late-night choice for pizza or an espresso and some cookies.

            They do a quality wood-oven pizza, great breads, gelato, etc and they sell a quality meatball and veal sandwich from the hot table when available, but not the toasty-garlicky hoagie version I crave.

            My search continues :-)

              1. re: duckdown

                Yes indeedy - I've had pizza post-party at Nino's a few times. :-)

                Just bumping this thread, cuz I'm still in search of the meatball-on-toasty-garlic-bread hoagy of my dreams!

                One can't drive to Buffalo every weekend! (although the cheezy buffalo-style pizza, hoagies and wings make it tempting!)

                1. re: TorontoTips

                  Where do you go for your hoagies in Buffalo, I would love to know.

                  1. re: bogie

                    Somebody already mentioned this earlier, but I'm going to confirm this. I searched high and low for this very same sandwich. Now, I love California chicken cutlet sandwich, but for a nice toasted meatball sandwich, you won't believe this, Pizza Nova is amazing. I was looking for this exact same sandwich for so long, couldn't really find it. One day I walked into Pizza Nova, saw the picture and said "what the heck" let me try it. I couldn't believe how on the Mark it was. It was great!!! Give it a shot.

                    1. re: bogie

                      I'll have to try Pizza Nova... but the chain-thing scares me :-)
                      In Buffalo,

                      1. re: TorontoTips

                        Are you just being a tease TorontoTips or did you lose your connection before typing the place in Buffalo? :P

                        Wow, meatball sandwich on toasty garlic bread... that does sound good, and I agree, for a chain, Pizza Nova is the best - I have had their garlic bread which was good, the thought of meatballs and toppings as well sounds even better!

                        The only other place I can think of for meatball sandwich is Angelo's Hot Table in East York, I don't think it comes on garlic bread but maybe they could do it custom for you? You could always call them and ask. I have read mixed reviews on this board... have never had a chance to go there when they are open but they are mentioned in this thread:


                        Angelo's Hot Table
                        20 Bermondsey Rd, Toronto, ON M4B1Z5, CA

                        1. re: TorontoTips

                          I've had the Pizza Nova version, as far as chain made food goes, it is great, not near enough sauce, but I liked it.

                          Gino's Pizza used to make a good one when they had a store on the Danforth, but now that place has looked horrible any time I have walked in.

                          As for Buffalo, you cannot go wrong there, likely my favorite would be Buzzy's on Niagara Falls Blvd

                          1. re: bbbradk

                            Opps, sorry about that :-)

                            As mentioned, there are loads of great places in Buffalo, (LaNova Pizza for example - who also have amazing Pizza) and all over the US in fact! (I also love DeLosa's in Madeira beach, FLA) That's why it mystifies me that we can't do a decent one in Toronto!

                            C'mon Toronto pizza joints, surely someone can toast up some garlic bread, drop home-made meatballs, sauce and cheese on top, and slide it back into the pizza oven for some toasty-melty goodness! :-)

                            1. re: bbbradk

                              I used to grab Gino's version in a pinch. On an attempt at the Church location a few months back I was told it had been removed from the menu.

              2. Those of us old enough to remember "Mother's Subs" (on College, around the corner from the El Mocambo) remember how good their hot subs (meatball, or veal) were - great meats, tasty sauce, lots of cheese, and hot, crusty, flaky bread. The gold standard in my memory.

                But I agree that New York State seems to have a local pizza/sub joint in every city that offers a decent version (and some are really great). From Ray's Famous in Manhattan, to some place in Endicott (Holiday Valley skiing), I have enjoyed many south of the border. Here in the Great White North - not so much.

                The old Dante's had a good enough take, but you really needed to eat it with a knife and fork, which doesn't quite fit the mold.

                1 Reply
                1. re: FrankD

                  Sadly, Dante's has chewy veal, sour staff, and prices that are just a slap in the face.

                2. Update - Thanks to a suggestion in another post, we trekked out to Metro Pizza on Finch West (between Weston & Islington) and enjoyed a very good Pizza and solid veal and meatball sandwiches.

                  Note - you must ask for your sandwich to be toasted if you want the bun crunchy and the cheese melted, but it was sporting home-made meatballs sliced in half on a crusty, toasted italian roll, covered in a delicious marinara, with cheese, sweet peppers, hot peppers, mushrooms, etc. all available as extra-cost toppings.

                  Not perfect - not on garlic bread, and a little bit on the pricy side with the toppings, (especially considering the neighbourhood) but fresh, delicious, home-made by an altogether delightful 'Nonna' (of the fun & flashy kind, who called me sweetie 5 times :-)).

                  Pizza was great too, with a nice char on the excellent thin crust from resting on the stone (ask for well done if you like the toppings and cheese to be a little browned) the sauce was delicious (I'll ask for a little extra next time), and the toppings were fresh and generous.

                  Metro Pizza - Terrible neighborhood, trashy plaza, but really good pizza and solid sandwiches! - bravo to Nonna 'Ruth' & company!

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: TorontoTips

                    I still think you have to give pizza a nova a shot. Especially because they're all over the place.

                    Even if it's not as good as Metro, at least you don't feel like going far, you can hit up a pizza nova and you'll know what your expectations are.

                    1. re: TorontoTips

                      UPDATE - I'm scaling back my rating of Metro to to just "ok" based on subsequent visits recently and very inconsistent preparation. Had one good and two barely acceptable experiences recently, so I'm pulling my stamp of approval, and back on my search! :-)

                      C mac, I'm gonna give Pizza Nova another shot, maybe it's just my local franchise or a bad night, since I remember the sandwich I tried so many months ago as stingy, with thinly sliced meatballs on a hot dog bun size roll, topped with undercooked rubbery cheese, acidic sauce, and it all tasted very processed.

                      If you're a restauranteur, struggling with attracting biz, get ahold of me, and I'll come be your partner, revamp your menu and food prep, and we can rocket to Toronto low-brow culinary superstardom :-)

                      1. re: TorontoTips

                        I don't know why pllaces do this, but pizza nova had this sandwhich right on the mark. Then had to go and screw it up changing from a nice garlic toasted bun to ciobatta bun. Why the hell is every changing to the ciobatta bun anyway? I can't stand them.

                        1. re: C mac

                          I'm with you Cmac, what's with all the pitiful 'ciabatta' buns?

                    2. It's in Mississauga, but Marconi Pizza at Cawthra and Burnhamthorpe does an excellent meatball sub on garlic toast. They don't broil it after putting it together, but you could certainly ask for it. I get mine with mushrooms and it never fails to hit the spot.

                      1 Reply