It’s not quite a grilled cheese, but it bristles with that same simple sandwich magic, only it’s galvanized with a touch of class. The panini is a roll, something sophisticated and foreign sounding like ciabatta, michetta or baguette, sliced open and layered with a delectable assortment of deli meats and cheeses. But the pièce de résistance, the subtle touch that transforms this item from sandwich to culinary marvel, is the toasting. Is your mouth watering yet? If so, check out one of these top Philadelphia panini purveyors.
1233 N. 31st St.
Philadelphia, PA 19121
(215) 236-8624

Though the “i” in “iMac” was initially conceived of and employed to demystify the internet, like good (urban legend) marketing, it has come to represent many different things to many different people, all of whom will vehemently insist that their interpretation is the one true meaning. iMunch states right on their site, “Innovative. Intellectual. Interesting. Inventive. Intimate,” so there’s not much guesswork there. There’s also no guess work when it comes to ordering from this Brewerytown establishment. Get the panini. Any one you’d like, because each is a scrumptious ciabatta treat. Though, if you’re in the market for true old-school deli, the CB Ruben featuring corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Thousand Island dressing is a definite winner.

Old Nelson Food Company
1435 Arch St.
Philadelphia, PA
(215) 568-1730

Hot, made-to-order magic that is available at several locations around town. Old Nelson Food Company offers an incredibly wide selection of taste-driven panini creations. You can get everything from a mesquite turkey with artichoke, spinach, roasted red pepper and Dijon mustard to a prosciutto with mozzarella, artichoke hearts, basil, sun-dried tomato, and pesto to a veggie with lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, avocado, cucumber, roasted pepper and alfalfa sprouts. Peruse your options with glee, then order one of the savory pressed palate pleasers.

1225 Walnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 922-3835

Fuel is Philadelphia’s innovative culinary revolution that was the first restaurant to offer an entire menu of items under 500 calories. Utilizing only fresh, 100 percent organic ingredients, with most grown in Fuel’s very own local greenhouse, this establishment offers the city a unique panini-munching experience that explodes with rich, crisp flavor. Fuel’s family-friendly attitude ensures that any dish can be customized to delight a younger palate. Try a pioneering panini such as their eggplant and goat cheese recipe featuring roasted eggplant, goat cheese, pesto, roasted peppers and arugula. Or try the Fuel Stacker with portabello, eggplant, zucchini, squash, tomato, house-made mozzarella and pesto.

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Mr. Joe’s Cafe
1514 S. 8th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 334-1414

It’s easy to miss this quaint little stalwart of tradition, but when it’s quality you want, an authentic eatery like Mr. Joe’s Cafe is exactly what you need. The namesake panini, Mr. Joe’s, features prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, fresh tomato and fresh basil. However, don’t overlook Mr. Vince because it’s a grilled sausage, broccoli rabe and smoked provolone masterpiece. The finely-crafted food at Mr. Joe’s Cafe will transport you back to the simple pleasures of home-cooked goodness and classic tastes.

Dolce Carini Pizza
1929 Chestnut St.
Philadelphia PA, 19103
(215) 567-8892

Dolce Carini Pizza has been a downtown destination for residents, workers and tourists for over two decades. Their full menu features everything from poppers to pizza to their perfectly-pressed panini. Speaking of peppers, the Prosciutto Di Parma featuring prosciutto, roasted peppers, fresh mozzarella, and tomatoes all topped with Dolce Carini’s dreamy house dressing is an edible paradise. You can walk by and grab a sandwich at their counter, dine in or dine out (at one of their quaint sidewalk tables). Whichever way you choose to munch, Dolce Carini Pizza presents a positively palate-pleasing panini experience.

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Allen Foster, a lifelong Greater Philadelphia resident, has been writing about all those wonderful things that make us feel so alive for over 20 years. He approaches each day as an adventure, eager to discover what new and vibrant surprises await just around life’s corner. You can see his work on