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12 Must-Eat Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Top notch toasties ahead

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Crispy, oozy and decadent deliciousness: no matter where you're from, the simple grilled cheese sandwich ranks up there with some of the world's best loved go-to comfort foods. Toasted bread, cheddar, and possibly a tomato, is an old school classic but today different cheeses and creative add-ons can instantly elevate this childhood favorite to gourmet status.

From luxe ingredients like lobster and snow crab to staples like avocado and bacon, restaurants around San Diego have fine-tuned this perennial crowd pleaser to perfection -serving it both during weekend brunch service, as a late night bar snack and beyond.

With National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day next month (Wednesday, April 12 if you'd like to mark your calendars) Eater has compiled a dozen spots around town that specialize in these mouthwatering miracles of melted cheese.

- Please note map points are not ranked.

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Hamilton's Tavern

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San Diego’s oldest beer bar has it all: beer (obviously), tater tots and a dedicated grilled cheese menu nine sandwiches strong. Selections include the Classic (Texas toast, American cheese, optional tomato) and West Coast (avocado, pickles) to more avant garde affairs like Wimpy’s Revenge (barbecue chicken, cheddar, chipotle-raspberry BBQ sauce) and the Ninja Witchfyre (grilled onions, jalapenos, roasted Anaheim chilies and salsa roja). Served on rosemary sourdough each comes with a side of chunky pub chips.

Grater Grilled Cheese Shop

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From Greengo Food Truck to three brick-and-mortar locations around San Diego, Grater Grilled Cheese specializes in chef-inspired grilled cheese sandwiches and other cheese related products like mac n cheese and decadent cheese-topped fries. Signature menu items range from the Basic 5-cheese blend to a Puerto Nuevo-inspired version with butter-fried Pacific lobster, snow crab and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale chipotle aioli.

Venissimo

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When it comes to their signature grilled venini sandwiches fromage specialists Venissimo cater to any gourmet flight of fancy. Create your own or pick a set combo from the menu, yes there’s good old cheddar but here grownup cheeses like brie, burrata, gouda and chèvre are paired with everything from fig jam and red onion confit to salumi and smoked speck. For $9 you’ll get a whole sandwich, plus a choice of fruit or mini chocolate on the side.

Cheesy Express

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This cheery counter-serve spot has eleven next level grilled-cheese sandwiches to choose from. For the ultimate experience try the BBQ N Mac: yep, that’s mac n’ cheese mixed with barbecue pulled pork, caramelized onions and extra cheese between toasted French bread. There’s chipotle roast beef, spicy turkey and Korean barbecue version too or you can build your own by selecting bread, cheese, meat, specialty meats and sauces, plus veggies.

Neighborhood

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Well-known and loved for its elevated pub grub, executive chef Josh Maynard does a nice grilled sammie filled with Swiss and Gruyère cheeses on Texas toast at hip hangout Neighborhood. It comes with a bowl of roasted tomato bisque and costs a wallet-friendly $9.

Starlite

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Nothing tastes as good as an illicit late night grilled cheese and where better to enjoy such an indulgence than Mission Hills’ treasured cocktail lounge, Starlite. Lovingly made with Gruyère, caramelized onions and served on French levain bread ($12.50) you’ll find their grilled cheese on the late night eats menu, served from 10 p.m. until midnight.

Devilicious Food Truck

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This popular food truck's signature dish is its butter poached lobster grilled cheese with jack, cheddar, caramelized onion and Roma tomatoes on freshly baked sourdough. Other noteworthy mentions include a shredded duck confit with Gruyère, mozzarella and honey port reduction number, and an asparagus grilled cheese with goat cheese, brie, caramelized onion and tomatoes, plus optional (but highly recommended) bacon.

Queenstown Public House

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Queenstown Public House does a mean cheese ‘toastie’, Kiwi style. Served with a bowl of pine nut and basil-topped tomato soup the mighty grilled cheese itself comes filled with mozzarella and American cheeses, avocado and roasted Roma tomato. Served after 11 a.m. you’ll find it on the brunch menu every Saturday and Sunday.

Lil' Farmers Cafe

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Panini melt selections at this casual counter-service spot in Kearny Mesa are priced at less than $7 each and range from a classic grilled cheese with pesto, Swiss, Provolone, tomato, and grilled onions to roast beef and pepper jack with spinach, tomato, onion, mushrooms and jalapeños.

Counterpoint

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Popular Golden Hill hangout Counterpoint does a nice yet simple gourmet grilled cheese sandwich made with aged English cheddar, house smoked ham, roasted pear, grain mustard, and fries for $13. Enjoy with a well-crafted cocktail or house brewed beer.

Supernatural Sea To Sandwich

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Go big or go home with Supernatural’s luxe Griffin sandwich stuffed with rich spicy lobster, cheese and a special sauce on garlic sourdough toast (market price). Or check out the Aphrodite grilled cheese packed with shrimp and yummy applewood smoked bacon.

Leroy's Kitchen & Lounge

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Crown Island favorite Leroy’s farm-to-table menu of American fare includes a perfectly executed Gruyère de Comté and Farmhouse White Cheddar filled grilled cheese, served with tomato jam and a bowl of roasted tomato bisque.

Hamilton's Tavern

San Diego’s oldest beer bar has it all: beer (obviously), tater tots and a dedicated grilled cheese menu nine sandwiches strong. Selections include the Classic (Texas toast, American cheese, optional tomato) and West Coast (avocado, pickles) to more avant garde affairs like Wimpy’s Revenge (barbecue chicken, cheddar, chipotle-raspberry BBQ sauce) and the Ninja Witchfyre (grilled onions, jalapenos, roasted Anaheim chilies and salsa roja). Served on rosemary sourdough each comes with a side of chunky pub chips.

Grater Grilled Cheese Shop

From Greengo Food Truck to three brick-and-mortar locations around San Diego, Grater Grilled Cheese specializes in chef-inspired grilled cheese sandwiches and other cheese related products like mac n cheese and decadent cheese-topped fries. Signature menu items range from the Basic 5-cheese blend to a Puerto Nuevo-inspired version with butter-fried Pacific lobster, snow crab and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale chipotle aioli.

Venissimo

When it comes to their signature grilled venini sandwiches fromage specialists Venissimo cater to any gourmet flight of fancy. Create your own or pick a set combo from the menu, yes there’s good old cheddar but here grownup cheeses like brie, burrata, gouda and chèvre are paired with everything from fig jam and red onion confit to salumi and smoked speck. For $9 you’ll get a whole sandwich, plus a choice of fruit or mini chocolate on the side.

Cheesy Express

This cheery counter-serve spot has eleven next level grilled-cheese sandwiches to choose from. For the ultimate experience try the BBQ N Mac: yep, that’s mac n’ cheese mixed with barbecue pulled pork, caramelized onions and extra cheese between toasted French bread. There’s chipotle roast beef, spicy turkey and Korean barbecue version too or you can build your own by selecting bread, cheese, meat, specialty meats and sauces, plus veggies.

Neighborhood

Well-known and loved for its elevated pub grub, executive chef Josh Maynard does a nice grilled sammie filled with Swiss and Gruyère cheeses on Texas toast at hip hangout Neighborhood. It comes with a bowl of roasted tomato bisque and costs a wallet-friendly $9.

Starlite

Nothing tastes as good as an illicit late night grilled cheese and where better to enjoy such an indulgence than Mission Hills’ treasured cocktail lounge, Starlite. Lovingly made with Gruyère, caramelized onions and served on French levain bread ($12.50) you’ll find their grilled cheese on the late night eats menu, served from 10 p.m. until midnight.

Devilicious Food Truck

This popular food truck's signature dish is its butter poached lobster grilled cheese with jack, cheddar, caramelized onion and Roma tomatoes on freshly baked sourdough. Other noteworthy mentions include a shredded duck confit with Gruyère, mozzarella and honey port reduction number, and an asparagus grilled cheese with goat cheese, brie, caramelized onion and tomatoes, plus optional (but highly recommended) bacon.

Queenstown Public House

Queenstown Public House does a mean cheese ‘toastie’, Kiwi style. Served with a bowl of pine nut and basil-topped tomato soup the mighty grilled cheese itself comes filled with mozzarella and American cheeses, avocado and roasted Roma tomato. Served after 11 a.m. you’ll find it on the brunch menu every Saturday and Sunday.

Lil' Farmers Cafe

Panini melt selections at this casual counter-service spot in Kearny Mesa are priced at less than $7 each and range from a classic grilled cheese with pesto, Swiss, Provolone, tomato, and grilled onions to roast beef and pepper jack with spinach, tomato, onion, mushrooms and jalapeños.

Counterpoint

Popular Golden Hill hangout Counterpoint does a nice yet simple gourmet grilled cheese sandwich made with aged English cheddar, house smoked ham, roasted pear, grain mustard, and fries for $13. Enjoy with a well-crafted cocktail or house brewed beer.

Supernatural Sea To Sandwich

Go big or go home with Supernatural’s luxe Griffin sandwich stuffed with rich spicy lobster, cheese and a special sauce on garlic sourdough toast (market price). Or check out the Aphrodite grilled cheese packed with shrimp and yummy applewood smoked bacon.

Leroy's Kitchen & Lounge

Crown Island favorite Leroy’s farm-to-table menu of American fare includes a perfectly executed Gruyère de Comté and Farmhouse White Cheddar filled grilled cheese, served with tomato jam and a bowl of roasted tomato bisque.

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