Agincourt Bakery, home to one of Toronto’s best veal sandwiches, is a true mom-and-pop shop owned and operated by the Romagnuolo family for over thirty years.
Pastry cases greet you as soon as you walk in, but take a brisk ninety-degree turn and you’ll happen upon a wonderland of hot tables replete with stuffed peppers, pastas, and of course everything needed to assemble traditional Italian hot sandwiches.
A smaller table in the centre of the store has more room-temperature items like gigantic olives, cheeses and sausage.
The veal cutlets for their best-selling sandwich ($6) are tenderized, lightly breaded, and given a quick shallow fry that seals in the tenderness and flavour of the meat, all in house.
They’re then slowly braised in their house tomato sauce, which they wait in a pool of at the hot table before being plucked out to stuff into a sandwich by hand.
Rocco Romagnuolo reveals to me that part of the secret of these veal sandwiches is fresh garlic incorporated into their bread crumbs.
The meatball sandwich ($7) is also one of the best in the city, squishy, saucy goodness crammed full of huge all-veal meatballs.
They also designed their own bread specifically for sandwiches, a bit puffier with two cuts on top. Rocco says they were searching for something crispier, spongier that could stand up to the saucy meats, “the gel of it all,” as he puts it.
Choose from mozzarella ($1), provolone or Swiss ($1.50) for your cheese and top your sandwich with mushrooms, sauteed peppers, or wickedly spicy hot peppers (all $1 each).
Other breads come from Euro Harvest.
Even salads ($1.99 per 100 grams) stick to your ribs and are gleefully un-leafy, with options like coleslaw, potato salad, pasta salad and fruit salad.
A serving of lasagna is only $7 and could easily feed two, though at the end of a long day I know I could polish off the many-layered, sweetly sauced, incredibly meaty pasta dish myself.
Pistachio and sfolia cannoli ($2.50) could almost be forgotten after stuffing yourself with so much hearty homestyle Italian, but you’d be wrong not to give these scratch-made beauties a try. These cannoli are as oversized as the meatballs here, the shell for the pistachio dipped in decadent chocolate and sprinkled with crushed nuts.
Everything is made fresh every day in the morning using simple ingredients, nothing from a can. There’s a seating area at the back where you can enjoy the traditional Italian here right away.