Houston's Best Sandwiches: Italian at Antonini's Subs and Steaks

The Italian at Antonini's is big, jam packed full of ingredients, spicy as hell and absolutely fabulous.
The Italian at Antonini's is big, jam packed full of ingredients, spicy as hell and absolutely fabulous. Photo by Jeff Balke
We are in search of Houston's best sandwiches because we love sandwiches and we love Houston!

It's usually a good sign when you walk into a hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop and it's full of nearby workers stopping in for lunch, particularly on the Friday before a holiday weekend. Antonini's Subs and Steaks (17314 TX-3, Webster) has been around for nearly three decades near Clear Lake (they now have two additional nearby locations) and it is clearly an area favorite as workers poured in at lunchtime when a friend and I came to try the highly recommended Italian.

The woman at the counter said that their cheesesteaks had long been the favorites on the menu until the syndicated regional television show Texas Bucket List featured them and their Italian sub. Since then, it's all anyone seems to want. And with good reason.

To be fair, my friend tried the turkey-steak, a turkey version of the beef classic, and it was delicious. But, my Italian was the clear winner. Soft, po' boy-style bread is stuffed well beyond capacity with four kinds of Italian meats (salami and three types of ham), lettuce, tomato, onion, provolone, oil and vinegar dressing and, the kicker, their hot pepper relish.

The relish is obviously a customer favorite because they sell it in small plastic tubs at the counter.

The meats were all high quality with good flavor and were sliced super thin. They interestingly piled the meat on top of the veggies, something you don't see every day, but it actually made for a better bite (I might have to try that myself) because it was easy to get a big hunk of meat in every bite.

But it's that spicy relish that carries this sandwich's flavor profile. I am not someone who typically goes for very spicy foods. I'm fine with a little, but it can be overpowering. By the time I finished eating this sandwich, my mouth wasn't on fire, but I could certainly feel the heat and taste the vinegar...and it was absolutely fabulous. There was such richness in the meat and cheese, the spicy, vinegar-y pop of that relish cut through the fat and made the whole thing sing with flavor.

Honestly, I should have bought a big tub of that stuff and brought it home to mix with mayo for every sandwich I eat forever. Next time I'm at Antonini's, you can bet that is what I'll be doing. After reading this, you should as well.

If you have a sandwich you think is one of the best in town, hit us up. We're always looking for new options.
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke