La Grotta Del Formaggio located in the heart of the old “Little Italy” has been here since 1977!
This delicatessen, located on Commercial and 2nd Avenue has graced Vancouver with some of the best authentic Italian cheeses, cold cuts, charcuterie and preserves. If you’re ever looking for some strange oils, vinegars or even just different Italian cookies this shop is bound to have it! The shelves were stocked with everything imaginable!
I decided to drop in for some lunch. The sandwiches here are talked about quite a bit so what better to do than to pick up a sandwich and a coffee and enjoy my afternoon off! I arrived at around 12:30PM and thankfully there was no line up. There was quite a few people working there, stocking shelves, cutting deli meats and making food orders, they all seem to be really busy, but they don’t neglect their customers. I came in and took a look around taking pictures of all their interesting stuff! One of the ladies around the sandwich making area asked me what I would like and showed me their system of sandwich making. So first you choose your bread!
If you want oil and vinegar in the sandwich, mayo or mustard (they have some really cool options like pesto mayo), then you choose your cheese, veggies and meat. They have freshly sliced cheeses and it always changes depending on what they have on hand, she told me that the selection today was swiss/emmentaler, provolone, smoked provolone and dill havarti.
Ultimately I got a half whole wheat focaccia with oil and vinegar, spinach, tomatoes, onions, artichokes, banana peppers and sliced turkey. This was all pressed in a panini press and served hot! During the wait for the panini, with some sneaky eavesdropping I had heard a customer ask for the Italian meatball sandwich and how it was absolutely amazing! Unfortunately they were sold out of the meatballs and you’d have to come early if you wanted some. This may account for another trip to La Grotta Del Formaggio if you know what I mean! Who can pass up a meatball sandwich! After a few minutes, I got my sandwich and paid the $8.00 for my half focaccia (a little steep for a sandwich I thought). I then left because they don’t have much of a seating area except for two tables out in front on the sidewalk. To my surprise, the sandwich was still hot and crisp when I arrived home and oh boy were they right! The sandwich was amazing! I would describe it like a gourmet Subway! They don’t skimp on toppings and the meat was like a couple cm thick!
I was enjoying it so much, the $8.00 price tag didn’t even bother me! I would definitely come back to this deli and next time I will be sure to try the meatball sandwich!