Search for Best Sandwich in Tampa Bay

It’s on! First up is the Italian Beef Sandwich at Portillo’s in St. Pete. I can’t express how excited I was to find that Portillo’s had come to our area. My first and only experience (until today) was with fellow foodie friends while in Chicago about ten years ago. Portillo’s is a Chicago institution since 1963 and while watching the Netflix series “Ozark” the daughter Charlotte longed for the time when they could return to Chicago and eat at Portillo’s. That prompted me to search for it and that is how (to my utter surprise) I found one that was only 14 miles away in St. Pete.

Portillo’s Italian Sandwich Rating:

Bread – 8

Soft, warm, and delicious. Freshly baked Turano French bread

Ingredients – 8

Only four ingredients. Bread, gravy, sweet peppers, and beef. Simply delicious. The high-quality ingredients shine. Their famous, homemade, Italian beef is slow-roasted for four hours, and thinly sliced.

Condiments – 8

Gravy. It is a Portillo recipe and wow, it is flavorful, and secretly spiced. It’s actual gravy, just like grandma used to serve. They use the beef’s natural gravy that comes off of it while roasting for four hours.

Service – 9

Friendly, well-trained, and efficient. We were there at Sunday rush hour and they handled it well. I went in with my empty tray in hand and was immediately greeted by a team member who took it and when I asked about sweetener for my ice tea, he personally escorted me to the counter to make sure I was served immediately.

Presentation – 6

It is not the prettiest sandwich, but after all, it is a fast-food joint.

Cost/Value – 6

The sandwich was on the small side and costs $7.19 plus a .70 upcharge for the sweet peppers.

Ambiance – 9

It is a beautiful space well-designed and fun. High ceilings and well-appointed. We ate outside on the patio and it was socially distanced, immaculate, and welcoming with a nice breeze. The exterior reminded me of a refined In-N-Out restaurant.

Final Rating: 7.71

Overall it exceeded my expectations and my memory. It was a delicious sandwich and a pleasant experience. We will definitely visit again soon. I totally see why Charlotte was craving it so bad.#TampaBayBestSandwich #portillos