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Eat & Drink

5 Toronto restaurants specializing in gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches

Posted by Alexandra Grigorescu / June 7, 2012

grilled cheese torontoGourmet grilled cheese sandwiches are becoming something of a trend in Toronto restaurants, and for good reason. It's hard enough to resist the nostalgic allure of gooey grilled cheese, but add some haute accoutrements--whether it be a strong Stilton, or smoked ham, or even the pesto that would've turned your stomach as a kid--and it's practically impossible. Fortunately, there are a number of new restaurants that have made the (un)common grilled cheese their raison d'etre. See also: the best grilled cheese sandwiches in Toronto.

The Grilled Cheese
I first encountered The Grilled Cheese through Ronnie's Local just across the street, where they deliver their complex-flavoured gourmet grilled cheese sammies. The Blackjack ranks among the stars of the menu--Jalapeno havarti, tomatoes, spinach and olive tapenade come together beautifully, but prepare yourself for a bit of a wait. Despite that, my only real complaint is that the sandwiches come with chips.

Melt Grilled Cheese
Melt offers delicious combinations for affordable prices--a big accomplishment considering that one of their "melts" consists of braised chipotle pork, mac 'n' cheese, purple slaw and cheddar. The format is simple: just select your melt, which runs the gamut from a breakfast sandwich to the Hot Momma Hudda, which features crispy chicken, then choose a bread, some free toppings and make it a combo. Oh, and don't forget to choose a dipping sauce.

Glow Press in Dine on 3
If grilled cheese sandwiches are a childhood staple, then Glow Press in Yorkdale is meant for truly elegant tots. Featuring all-natural cheeses, Glow lets you customize your sandwich with an array of toppings from pulled pork, to prosciutto, to lobster. Yes, lobster. All sandwiches come with a selection of freshly-made sides that rely on what's in season.

Cheesewerks takes considerable liberties with your childhood grilled cheese. Named after cities, the sandwiches range from a mix of swiss, spiced pastrami and pickled red cabbage (New York, of course) to the double-take-worthy Beijing, a blend of asiago, hoisin and BBQ pork. They also offer sliders, for the picky, can't-make-up-their-minds cheese enthusiasts. Add a side of housemade soup, mixed fruit or olives, or if you want to re-create the experience--or a layman's approximation thereof--you can shop their stock of fine cheeses and artisanal breads.

Millwood Melt
Millwood Melt has my vote for featuring tuna so prominently on their menu--the "kahuna tuna" is no-frills blend of Hawaiian tuna salad, tomato and medium cheddar. You'll also find variations on the standard grilled cheese such as spicy avocado and smoked ham, with all sandwiches presented on a sourdough bun. Run by a husband-and-wife team whose family has owned the building for years, the restaurant has a set menu featuring both recommended combinations and options for customization, as well as specials, a healthy array of sides--from tomato soup to mixed greens--and coffees made with organic fair-trade beans.

Photo courtesy of Cheesewerks' Facebook page



Sean / June 7, 2012 at 11:17 am
Do you have room for one more? Monarch Tavern on Clinton and College has great grilled cheese sandwiches.
Colleen / June 7, 2012 at 11:43 am
and don't forget about the Leslieville Cheese Market at Queen St. E and Logan, spectacular samiches!
Laura / June 7, 2012 at 12:31 pm
Cool Hand Luc
Chris Orbz / June 7, 2012 at 01:27 pm
The GC's Blackjack is jalapeño havarti, not Monterey jack.
neilson / June 7, 2012 at 08:50 pm
The only reason they're trending is because restaurants can rack up alarming margins on them. Big thanks to the fad-oriented, social-climbing, yuppie-retard, quasi-foodie clientele who will throw their money at blinged-out bullshit like this. Restauranteurs need not even try.

What's next: gourmet baked bean joints? artisanal hotdog carts? deconstructed peanut butter sandwich halls?
Rob replying to a comment from neilson / June 7, 2012 at 11:47 pm
made me lol. I'd probably go to one once to get some ideas. Or maybe just look at their menus online.
matt replying to a comment from neilson / June 8, 2012 at 09:42 am
acyually, i've seen a few "upscale" hot dog joints popping up.
if you want to see the newest food trend inT.O, just look at what was big 2-3 years ago in new york
Philip replying to a comment from neilson / June 10, 2012 at 08:08 pm
Rob Yuill / June 10, 2012 at 09:11 pm
Hey all.
Just wanted to tell everyone that has supported the grilled cheese over the last four years that I am so grateful and happy that everyone comes in with a smile and leaves with a bigger smile! We are about to franchise this wonderful restaurant and add some new amazing sammys!Tanls again! 212 to 416 what!
Norman Robertson / April 16, 2014 at 05:59 pm
Don't think we will ever learn how to eat healthy. For the most part, we are still so uneducated and dumb about our food choices. Not eating animals or products are not just an ethical thing, but also offers 0 cholesterol to poison our hearts...
Iliana & Sergey's Palette / August 29, 2014 at 10:42 pm
"An orange oval with a bold slab serif typeface, the branding is really not memorable and neither the rustic wood glued on the glass. However the food at Melt made up for any disappointments. There are quite a few options, including a poutine section and milkshakes..."

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