Our Rating  

Anthony's Italian Kitchen
151 Middle St, Lower Level

Four Plates  
Anthony's Italian Kitchen Reviewed: Summer, 2000

The second in a series:
In Search of Portland’s Best Sandwich Shop.

We're looking for the Portland shop that fixes the best open-your-mouth-wide-can't-get-it-in-there- fast-enough, don't-talk-to-me-now-or-I'll-eat-my-hand sandwich. We're not in the mood to neatly unfold a napkin onto our laps. We want to grab a few bucks and a bib and, if we're careful, finish with all our fingers. That's not to say our standards are low. Quality is very important-fresh ingredients and good bread. Creativity—new twists to old favorites. And quantity, too—we won't be leaving room for dessert. In short, a sandwich to wow us.

We found a strong contender in Anthony's Italian Kitchen. A full-fledge Italian restaurant, Anthony's qualifies as a sandwich shop by virtue of it's menu, three quarters of which consists of sandwiches. But, you'll find more than your ordinary Italians here.

On our first visit to Anthony's my friend chose a 10-inch Eggplant Parmesan from the Specialty Sandwiches section. It was big (yeah, 10 inches) with a good portion of lightly fried eggplant in a thick red sauce, with chopped onions and lots of Italian spices. Excellent tomato flavor. The fresh sub roll was soft but with a little crust on the outside-substantial enough to stay together and avoid getting soggy. More cheese on top would've been nice. The menu read, "three cheeses," but we noticed just a sprinkle of grated parmesan. B+ (an A with more cheese).

I had a Panini Sandwich, served on a crusty baguette. The Steak Pizzioli, consisted of steak tips in a wine and oregano red sauce, and also came with a can of soda. The bread was perfectly thick and crusty, surrounding lean and tender steak, though I thought there could be more of that. Delicious wine and oregano red sauce. The menu shows nine Panini Sandwich choices, offering a variety of cheeses, veggies, and meats all served on crusty baguettes. B in my grade book.

In all fairness, (and hunger), we returned to Anthony's for a second tasting the following night. My friend ordered a Veggie Syrian Roll-Up. It was HUGE, had to be 12 inches long, and full of lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, olive, cucumber, provolone cheese, and mayonnaise (also comes with green peppers, but she opted against those). Very fresh shredded iceberg lettuce, sliced plum tomatoes, red onions, and most creatively, cucumber. (She wishes that more places would include cucumbers in their veggie sandwiches.) The cheese was thick and the bread was very thin, yet it held everything well; the mayonnaise didn't leak through, and the bread didn't get soggy. An A+ in the veggie sandwich category.

I had a Gobbler Syrian Roll Up. Like my friend's, this sandwich was of good proportions. Turkey breast, cranberry sauce, lettuce, tomato, onion, and mayonnaise (opted out of the Swiss cheese) were rolled tightly together to about the diameter of a coffee mug. The sandwich, full of good stuff, was even constructed well-I could eat it with one hand and work the remote with the other! Now, that's a quality sandwich! It earns a solid A.

wheelchair accessible  
vegetarian selections
vegan selections  
most credit cards accepted
Choosing to take our sandwiches home with us, we waited no more than five minutes for them after we'd ordered. I was impressed by the service. Anthony's itself is set up like a traditional Italian eatery, replete with red and white checkered table clothes. There's a wine list, and a selection of beer. They also offer salads, pastas, dinner plates, and pizza, and a catering service as well. After eating Anthony's sandwiches, we'll certainly return to try the other menu selections.

Anthony's Italian Kitchen also has a location in the Portland Public Market, among the other fresh food venders in that wonderful local grocery.

Prices were reasonable, especially considering the generous size of the sandwiches. Eight-inch subs are between $4.25 and $4.50. Ten-inch sandwiches range from $4.99 to $5.50. Syrian Roll-Ups are $4.25 to $5.25. And $5.99 will get you a Panini Sandwich on a crusty baguette.  back to the top

      Matt O'Donnell is a poet and freelance writer who lives in Portland.


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