Hours: 7am-3pm Monday-Friday; Closed Saturday-Sunday
Toastissimo joins our urban fast-food offerings from across the Atlantic. Such quaint European sandwich spots were perhaps always destined for the American market, considering we're the champions of fast food.
Toastissimo was created by Franco Cesari, a Roman who lived in France and longed for the bread and coffee of his homeland. In 1995, he slapped together a sandwich and coffee joint in the heart of Paris. Now Toastissimo has more than 20 stores in France, Italy and Spain. But that's nothing compared to the 300 locations planned for the U.S., with Orlando having the distinction of being the first. We're the test market.
Sitting in the bottom floor of the downtown SunTrust bank building, Toastissimo sets out to conjure the sights and aromas of a Roman trattoria though it's more like brushing up against travel agency's brochure of a Roman trattoria, one in the lobby of a bank.
One of their signatures is foccacia-style bread that deliciously sheaths 11 different panini sandwiches. Tasting of olive oil and rosemary, this bread is not the artisanal variety it mimics, but it sure is better than most sandwich bread served in fast-food spots. I had a hot-off-the-press bresaola with arugula ($6.95), a tasty cured beef that rivals its pork counterpart, prosciutto, for flavor but hasn't yet become as popular. My sister went for the simple rostino panini ($5.95) with mozzarella and roasted veggies, including red peppers and eggplant.
We also tried two soups (the soups change daily), but they didn't compare in quality to the sandwiches and had a taste and texture that reminded me of Campbell's. Beverages, on the other hand, were terrific. After lunch, I sidled up to the coffee counter and ordered a double shot of Illy espresso ($2.50), which I downed while standing at the bar. So Italian.
Payment Type: Amex, Discover, Master Card, Visa