Is a sandwich a meal? Well, when you get one from Elm Cafe, it certainly is. While the menu rotates regularly, you can be sure your lunch will incorporate as many of the four food groups as possible. Elm Cafe has only a few window-side seats, and a limited patio when the weather dictates, so this is very much a to-go destination. You’ll need to check the Elm Cafe Twitter account – or, be adventurous and just walk in through the door of the cozy establishment – to know what’s on for the day.
But, throughout the year, this has been a favourite lunch destination. Why? One day, it’s a sandwich packed with the flavour of awesome hot wings. The next, it’s a Sloppy Joe served with beans and beef brisket. Tuna curry? A baked potato sandwich? Anything is possible. Really, what Elm Cafe does best is reimagining what can go between two pieces of freshly baked bread. What makes this place stand out is that it isn’t so much about creating soup and sandwiches as it is about creating art. All we wonder is how long it will be before this place outgrows its cramped Oliver location. – Steven Sandor 10140 117 St., 780-756-3356, elmcafe.ca
We’re all familiar with the first rule of real estate – location, location, location – and Zenari’s is in a prime position. On the main level of Manulife Place, Zenari’s gets a lot of foot traffic from the downtown core, and the restaurant is always packed over the lunch hour. It makes sense that it’s perfect for take-out. The Italian-inspired menu features a wide selection of sandwiches, soups and salads, with multiple daily specials. Zenari’s adds tuna to a traditional panzanella salad to create a tasty meal, and its subtle olive tapenade rounds off the flavour in the meat muffuletta, a grilled panini made with layers of Italian meats and cheeses. -Eric Silver 10180 101 St., 780-423-5409,zenaris.ca
Honourable Mention: SUNBAKE PITA BAKERY
Since 2000, Sunbake Pita has supplied grocery stores and restaurants with fresh-baked pita bread. It also offers catering and regular lunch/dinner take-out. The menu is small, but the variety of cheese-, vegetable- and halal meat-topped pies and wraps, all prepared on fresh-daily pita, leaves nothing wanting. Order a zatar option, which see a salty blend of oregano, oil and spices spread on a warm pita with your choice of cheese or veggies. Or tackle the spicy chicken and vegetable pie, topped with chunks of chicken, blended cheese, pepperoncini, peppers and tomato. And, you’ll shell out less than five bucks for a filling take-out lunch. -E.S. 10728 134 Ave., 780-472-8405,sunbake.leb411.com
If you can get vaccinated before the end of summer, will you consider going on vacation?