Eat the Strip

Roberto's Corner

1034 Pleasant Park Rd, Ottawa, ON K1G 2A1

July 23, 2023 10:29 PM

By: Ameya Charnalia


A lunchtime line-up for an Italian sandwich at the back of a gas station is always a good sign.

Eat the Strip reader Jen Howes wrote to us in hopes of enlarging our catalogue of sandwich shop reviews and suggested we check out Roberto’s Corner, an Italian takeout counter tucked away at the back of a gas station near St. Laurent Boulevard and Walkley Road.

“Their sandwiches are fantastic and they make a big range of pasta to go as well,” Jen wrote to us in an email. “The food is fantastic and it's a really nice family business with very friendly people!”

Fantastic sandwiches? Nice family business? Friendly people? Sign us up.

We pulled into a parking lot near the Quickie corner shop where Robert’s Corner is located, popped into the back of the store and were met with an impressive display of bread, meats and cheese. A small army of staff were taking orders from eager customers.

While combing the expansive menu, we were greeted by Roberto himself. He recommended we order the eponymously-named Roberto’s Italian Trio and Marco’s Homemade Chicken Parmigiana—menu items seven and four, respectively. We also picked up the arancini, which are Sicilian rice balls stuffed, coated with breadcrumbs and deep fried.

A standard order of Marco’s Homemade Chicken Parmigiana comes with cheese, tomato sauce, roasted red peppers and spicy eggplant
A standard order of Marco’s Homemade Chicken Parmigiana comes with cheese, tomato sauce, roasted red peppers and spicy eggplant

Wide-eyed, we looked at the tray full of the triangular arancini. We couldn’t resist, especially after Roberto told us that they were made using his mother’s special recipe. We picked up one, in addition to our sizeable sandwiches.

Roberto’s Corner opened in 2018 in the location of an old Subway and sells over 350 sandwiches daily. Nearby construction crews are big fans of his well-priced sandwiches that don’t skimp on the toppings. With most sandwiches prices at $8.99, it guarantees a long line-up at lunchtime, even on weekends.

With a generous portions of prosciutto, mortadella, capocollo, cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, roasted red peppers, pickled eggplant and chipotle, Roberto's Italian Trio is one of the most popular sandwiches on the menu
With a generous portions of prosciutto, mortadella, capocollo, cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, roasted red peppers, pickled eggplant and chipotle, Roberto's Italian Trio is one of the most popular sandwiches on the menu

The spicy variety of Roberto’s Italian Trio sandwich came with a generous portion of chipotle sauce and spicy eggplant. We scarfed down the sandwich in the car, eagerly awaiting to bite into Marco’s Homemade Chicken Parmigiana sandwich.

This was the piece de resistance. We chose lettuce, onion and tomatoes as additional toppings. Each bite of the tender, breaded chicken was followed by silent nods in agreement that this sandwich—in addition to the warmth of Roberto and his staff—merits a return to Roberto’s Corner.

But what about the arancini, you ask?

Well, we were so full after our meal, that we forgot about the arancini until later that evening, when we got home and tucked into it with the marinara sauce Roberto’s staff had provided.

It was delicious.

The crunchy exteriors mingled perfectly with the stuffed chicken, cheese and peas. The tangy marinara added a nice zest to the dish, which could just as well have been served solo.

Our first experience of arancini was mesmerising
Our first experience of arancini was mesmerising

Before going to Roberto’s Corner, I had scanned several of their Google reviews.

“I've had nearly everything on their menu and I have never been disappointed, said one person in a review written in early 2023. “Their amazing food combined with their unbeatable prices make me a repeat customer.”

Reviews like this, we noticed, were commonplace for Roberto’s Corner—and now we see why.

We know exactly where to go when we’re craving a spicy Italian sandwich next.