As children, we were conditioned to LOVE grilled cheese sandwiches. No longer relegated to a piece of processed cheese between two pieces of Wonderbread, many Florida restaurants have taken a decidedly adult approach to the childhood favorite. April is National Grilled Cheese Month, and to celebrate, we’ve gone searching for where Florida Insiders go for the ultimate comfort food sandwich. Here are our picks:
Dirty, and oh so good: The X-rated grilled cheese at Tampa’s Square One Burger hits the spot when gooey cheese calls. Gruyere and sharp cheddar cheese, dill pickle, beefsteak tomatoes and mayonnaise on a whole-wheat bun tempts even the goodiest two-shoes. 3701 N. Henderson Blvd. Tampa, FL. Tel: (813) 414-0101.
Grilled cheese, all the time: Vero Beach’s Grilligan’s features build-your-own grilled cheeses with nearly unlimited options like fontina, vegan mozzarella and Muenster, on ciabatta or multigrain bread, with an assortment of meats and veggies. 770 S US Hwy 1, Vero Beach, FL. Tel: (772) 299-3339.
His and Hers: You can’t really talk about grilled cheeses without including a Croque Monsieur and a Croque Madame. Miami has two eateries that offer stellar examples of these French staples–which essentially are open-faced grilled cheeses using a baguette with ham and béchamel sauce topped with melted gruyere. A la Folie Cafe on Espanola Avenue in South Beach serves up savory Croque Monsieurs and Brickell’s Le Boudoir offers the feminine Madame version- distinguished by a fried egg on top. We say Oui to both! A la Folie Café: 516 Española Way, Miami Beach, FL. Tel: (305) 538-4484. Le Boudoir: 186 SW 12 Terrace, Miami, FL T: (305) 372-2333.
They go together like peas and carrots (or, like grilled cheese and tomato soup): Orlando vegetarians love the Swiss cheese on rye, with tomatoes and french fries coupled with a cup of tomato basil soup at cheery Uncle Henry’s Restaurant. 595 W. Church St., Orlando, FL. Tel: (407) 849-4646.
Go Gourmet: The gourmet grilled cheese at Naples’ M Waterfront Grille in Venetian Village satisfies with melted brie, fontina cheese and fuji apple on artisan bread. Try it with the parmesan fries and truffled ketchup. 4300 Gulf Shore Blvd. Naples, FL. Tel: (239) 263-4421.