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South Florida sandwich recommendations

Where are you going for #NationalSandwichDay? Here are our staff's favorite picks.

After much research and tasting, our staff picked some must-try sandwiches.

To really appreciate a well-crafted sandwich though, you have to know what to look for. Our former food critic John Tanasychuk told us what separates a stellar sandwich from one made by your lunch lady: "I think a good sandwich is when they pay attention to every aspect, not just the filling. They have to pay attention to the bread and pay attention to the mustard and the lettuce so it's this wonderful combination of textures. It's not just like they threw something on supermarket white bread. They really thought about every element of the sandwich."

With that being said, here are some sandwich spots who have mastered the bread-to-meat-and-condiment ratio:

Empire Pizza Cafe (read our review here); 15 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale; 954-467-9997; EmpirePizza.com

"The Philly Cheese steak at Empire Pizza is so hot and juicy, it makes my mouth water just thinking about it. I want one right now." – George Wilson, Visual Content Coordinator

LaSpada's Original Hoagies (read our review here) in Fort Lauderdale, Davie, Coral Springs, Boca Raton and Lauderdale-by-the-Sea; LaSpadasHoagies.com

"The way LaSpada's prepares their sandwiches looks like a well-oiled assembly line. One sub-maker pitches whole fistfuls of deli meat across the room, which lands like a catcher's mitt in a spread-open hoagie held by another employee. Then they add toppings, followed by a second layer of deli cuts that form a kind of meat blanket over the whole thing. Really generous with their portions, too." – Phillip Valys, Arts and General Entertainment Reporter

Even our Executive Editor Howard Saltz put LaSpada's at the top of his lunch list saying, "They've got the right mix. Every single ingredient is fresh, and they combine them really well. I like seeing them make it."

Noodles Panini (read our review here); 821 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954-462-1514; NoodlesPanini.com

"The meatball sandwich at Noodles Panini is definitely at the top of my list. Best damn meatballs in the area if you ask me. Their sandwich bread is baked just down the road at Gran Forno." – Danny Sanchez, Audience Development Manager and Web Master

Gran Forno; 704 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954-533-6276; GranFornoPronto.com or 1235 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954-467-2244

"The bread is freshly baked, and they come with a heaping serving of meat. At $5 on Tuesday, you can't get a better sandwich anywhere." – Elissa Rosen, Society Scene Editor

*Note: Only the Gran Forno Pronto at 704 E. Las Olas Blvd. has the $5 sandwich deals on Tuesdays.

La Fonda de Aurora; 222 N. Federal Highway, Suite B, Dania Beach; 305-799-7675; LaFondaDeAurora.com

"Now this is not a fancy sandwich place but the pan con bistec, a sandwich that usually comes with thin steak, onions, lettuce, tomatoes and shoestring potatoes, at La Fonda de Aurora in Dania is maybe the best pan con bistec I've had, and that includes the ones I've eaten in Miami and Hialeah. They use Romaine lettuce instead of crappy iceberg lettuce. The palomilla, the thinly sliced beef, in the sandwich is so well marinated that it doesn't need any sauces or mayo or anything. It's not spectacularly different in presentation, but it's a notch above most other of its kind in quality." – Danny Sanchez

Bravo! Gourmet Sandwich (read our review here); 2925 NE 6th Ave., Wilton Manors; 954-533-4350; or search for "Bravo Gourmet Sandwich" on Facebook.com

"The sandwiches are huge, the size of hubcaps. I've tried the roasted pork, Lomo Saltado, Pollo Bravo and fish sandwiches. All awesome. But I always find myself ordering the Pollo Bravo one (grilled chicken breast marinated in Peruvian spices, grilled onions, bacon, cheese, lettuce and mayo, according to the menu). Super tasty. They also have a selection of mayo-based sauces … to pour over the sandwiches." – Erika Pesantes, Reporter

Louie Bossi's (read our review here); 1032 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954-356-6699; LouieBossi.com

"Usually when you think of pork sandwiches you think of ham sandwiches or a Cuban sandwich but at the new Louie Bossi's on Las Olas, they do this porqueta sandwich. It's roast pork that's been stuffed and slow roasted and then he puts it on a house-baked bread with a few other condiments including some hot cherry peppers and it's so delicious, and there's enough there for two." – John Tanasychuk, Food Critic

J28 Sandwich Bar (read our review here); 1854 N. Young Circle, Hollywood; 754-208-2902; J28SandwichBar.com

"Another pork sandwich I like is in downtown Hollywood called J28. It's two brothers who happen to be from Peru. J28 is Independence Day for Peru. And they do a pork belly sandwich on a house baked roll with onions and thinly sliced sweet potatoes. It's so delicious! I never thought pork would work like this but it really does." – John Tanasychuk, Food Critic

Georgia Pig Barbeque & Restaurant (read our review here); 1285 S. State Road 7, Davie; 954-587-4420; or search for "Georgia Pig BBQ & Restaurant" on Facebook.com; (Still no credit cards, closed on Sundays)

"Average pork sandwiches are easy to get, but when I like to show off for my out-of-town friends, we end up at The Georgia Pig. That pork has been cooking at The Pig's open pit for hours, and now it's chopped into tiny, tasty bits. A cook slaps a generous portion on a classic white bun, gives the whole thing a quick microwave zap and a server plops it down in front of you. Over and over again. The pork sandwich has been the staple at The Pig since the cinder-block building opened back in 1953. Price is a bonus: $5.75 for sandwich-only, $8.50 for added fries and slaw." – Nick Sortal, Entertainment Writer

The Pink Submarine; 2041 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors; 954-566-2219; ThePinkSubmarine.com

"They just have awesome sandwiches, kind of weird, eclectic combinations, so I bought two sandwiches to bring home and they were awesome." – Sarah Dussault, Director of Photography

The Salad Bowl; 100 E. Broward Blvd. Suite 107, Fort Lauderdale; 954-828-9208; TheSaladBowlFL.com

"I've gotten good sandwiches at the Salad Bowl. I get the steak sandwich and in the mornings I usually get an egg and ham sandwich, which is really delicious. You can pick whatever bread you want like French bread, white, you can put it on a bagel, you can even put it on a croissant. It's pretty cool, and pretty cheap. They give you a lot of food." – Mauricio Maldonado, Online Producer

tjmedina@SouthFlorida.com@MedinasMedia

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