Search for Best Sandwich in Tampa Bay (#5)

Next! The fifth tasting is the Banh Mi Sandwich at Banh Mi Saigon Baguette Vietnamese Sandwich and Pho in Pinellas Park. My friend John joined me there. It was a twenty-five-minute drive to the restaurant. I have made Banh Mi sandwiches at home but never had one at a restaurant. And this amazing creation did not disappoint.

The Saigon Baguette Banh Mi Sandwich Rating:

Bread – 8

Tender yet crisp crust and soft inside and delicious. Buttered Baguette Bread. It was delicious—the painted sign on the wall says baked fresh daily. I tried to confirm this but was unable to get an answer. There was definitely a language barrier. This place is legit Vietnamese. John nd I were the only anglos. It sure tasted like it had been baked that morning and was a perfect complement to the delicious sandwich.

Ingredients – 9

There were six ingredients. Baguette bread, jalapeño slice, mouth watering and tender Bulgogi beef (Bulgogi, or Korean barbecue, literally means “fire meat.” Thin slices of beef are marinated in a sweet-savory sauce, then grilled to juicy and flavorful perfection), julienned carrots and cucumbers, and pickle. Simply delicious. It took a while for the order to come out but it was obvious that it had been prepared to order. The fresh high-quality ingredients shine. It was my first time to have Bulgogi beef and it will not be my last. Oh my.

Condiments – 7

Butter and cilantro dressing. I would have preferred a bit of the dressing. We also ordered an order of crispy egg rolls and rice paper spring rolls. They were both fresh and amazing!

Service – 5

Pleasant. However, you order at the counter and then are called back to pick it up and I am still getting used to being charged an 18% tip for no table service. It is awkward. We carried our trash to the garbage bin so essentially we did everything but cook and prepare it. Everyone was friendly and all smiles in the spotlessly clean and open concept kitchen but the young cashier was not very forthcoming on my questions about the food.

Presentation – 9

The sandwich was perfectly wrapped like a gift complete with a classy and beautiful sticker that labeled each sandwich name. I’ve never seen anything like it. It is an neat and precise sandwich and makes a stunning presentation (see pics).

Cost/Value – 8

The sandwich was extensive with a very generous portion of Bulgogi bbef. The meal, along with an Boba mango green iced tea (also a first and highly addictive and fun) for me was $15.20 not including tax and tip. The sandwich was $8.95 and the Boba Tea was $6.25. It was an definitely one of the most affordable meals yet in our search for the best sandwich. I am definitely planning to go back and take Gina. Also, on a side note, I ordered vegetarian and special Pho to go for dinner and it was absolutely incredible. Huge servings that were delectable in every way.

Ambiance – 8

The restaurant is spotless, cushioned, and welcoming. I honestly felt as if I had been transported to Vietnam. We ate inside, and it was socially distanced and comfortable. the only slightly distracting thing was a foosball table at one end and because of the intimacy of the restaurant-it was a bit distracting. There was also nice outdoor seating.

Final Rating: 7.71

Overall it is a perfectly crafted sandwich that truly melds in your mouth. It is the best Banh Mi sandwich I’ve ever had—of course, it was also my first one—but it will not be my last at this amazing culinary discovery.

Click on the hashtag #TampaBayBestSandwich to see all the tastings and a list of the ones to come. @banhmisaigonbaguette