The BLT could hardly be simpler, but its deliciousness lies in its stripped-down sensibility. When all three components are spot on, the sandwich’s savory and smoky sensibilities are perfectly balanced by crunchy freshness and rich juiciness. With tomatoes in their prime, chefs are putting traditional takes and unconventional updates on the summery sando. Whether you’re saving yourself from a sad desk lunch or having a casual meal out with friends, here are 15 restaurants for BLTs you should be eating right now. Not near any of them? OpenTable has you covered with more than 51,000 restaurants for any craving or occasion.
Il Solito, Portland, Oregon
The BLT gets all brunchy. An everything bagel from local bakers Pop Bagels is slathered with bacon cream cheese and stacked high with thick-cut brown sugar bacon (Yeah, that’s right, double bacon!), butter lettuce, a tomato round, and a fluffy square of baked egg. Just what you need to kickstart your day.
Rave restaurant review: “They treated us so nicely with great enthusiasm in such a swift manner. The food was amazing, and I enjoyed every single bite, along with the atmosphere. It was spunky and new, all while classy and upscale.”
Make a reservation at Il Solito.
Table Nineteen Lakeside Eatery, Whistler, British Columbia
You’re going to need both hands for this beast of a BLT. The Bear comes with two fried eggs, bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayo, and aged cheddar. Feel free to let out a satisfied roar after you’ve taken it down.
Rave restaurant review: “Always great food and great fun! And truly the best outdoor patio view!”
Make a reservation at Table Nineteen Lakeside Eatery.
Castaway, Burbank, California
This is the most decadent BLT you will ever eat. Served on a black squid-ink bun, a hefty king salmon burger gets topped with Nueske’s bacon, heirloom tomato, lettuce, and chipotle aioli. As if that wasn’t enough, it’s served with caviar-accented frites.
Rave restaurant review: “My experience was incredible. The food was actually hypnotizing. The flavors were explosions in my taste buds. I will definitely be going back.”
Make a reservation at Castaway.
Barley Mac, Arlington, Virginia
It’s not a BLT, it’s a BELT. The ‘wich is packed with generously sliced bacon, baby lettuce, yellow tomato, fried egg, and avocado aioli. There’s a side of fries, too, because you deserve the double decadence.
Rave restaurant review: “Great pizza and sandwich selection. Also, the service was fantastic! Definitely recommend.”
Make a reservation at Barley Mac.
Headwaters, Portland, Oregon
This BLT gets the crab cake upgrade. A plump patty forged from local Dungeness crab comes complemented by bacon, lettuce, tomato, and herb aioli. It’s totally clawesome!
Rave restaurant review: “Absolutely the best restaurant experience ever! The food was incredible, and the service was outstanding!”
Make a reservation at Headwaters.
City Perch, North Bethesda, Maryland
Burger + BLT = Sheer Awesomeness. The primo patty gets dressed up further with cheddar cheese and red onion marmalade. It comes with fries because, like we said, it’s sheer awesomeness.
Rave restaurant review: “Came here for brunch on a Sunday. Love the interior of this restaurant! The food was delicious! Staff was very friendly. Would definitely come back.”
Make a reservation at City Perch.
Vernon’s, Ponte Vedra, Florida
This BLT is a celebration of all things local. Pork belly accented with bourbon from nearby St. Augustine Distillery is accompanied by heirloom tomatoes from Saturiwa Trading Co. There’s also regionally sourced eggs, sourdough, pea tendrils, and datil hot pepper, which laces the aioli.
Rave restaurant review: “Had a wonderful meal with wonderful service. Recommend for date night, foodies, etc.”
Make a reservation at Vernon’s.
Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar, Moorestown, New Jersey
We want to start a club club where we just go out to eat club sandwiches. We’d start with this clever reimagination on naan bread featuring bacon, baby arugula, and heirloom tomato along with Havarti and citrus herb aioli. #Clubbing.
Rave restaurant review: “The amazing and tasty adventures that the good people at Harvest accomplish time and time again is astounding. With excellent and interesting food pairings that create awe-inspiring combinations of flavors, one can experience a tour of delectable tastes that can only be found at Harvest.”
Make a reservation at Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar.
DISTRICT, Los Angeles, California
Not your average BLT. Sourdough bread sandwiches house-cured red wine bacon, tomato-bacon jam, lettuce, and tomato. After one bite, a regular BLT just won’t cut it anymore.
Rave restaurant review: “The go-to for our team lunches! Love the ambiance, the staff, and the food. Amazing place — highly recommended.”
Make a reservation at DISTRICT.
Island Prime, San Diego, California
You want to get your claws on this ‘wich. Lobster and whitefish salad and the usual suspects are packed between slices of jalapeño cheddar sourdough. Bonus: it comes with a side of sherry lobster bisque.
Rave restaurant review: “Great food. Great location with amazing view. Been several times and it’s a great go-to place for a nice relaxing summer evening in San Diego.”
Make a reservation at Island Prime.
Rusty Pelican, Miami, Florida
There’s something fishy about this BLT. That’s because the traditional trio is gussied up with grilled salmon and caper-lime remoulade. Your choice of French fries or sweet potato fries on the side.
Rave restaurant review: “The service, food, and ambience exceeded our expectations. The staff went out of their way to ensure that we had a lovely meal.”
Make a reservation at Rusty Pelican.
Urbana, Washington, D.C.
You know the BLT well. Now meet the PLT. Crisped up housemade pancetta is paired with heirloom tomatoes, arugula, onions, and an optional egg (which you should most definitely order). The plate is rounded out with fries and cornichons.
Rave restaurant review: “A wonderful place to dine after a long day in a busy city. The food is excellent, and the service is great, and the pace is perfect. Definitely recommend whether staying in the hotel or nearby having a meal at Urbana.”
Make a reservation at Urbana.
Tasting Room at Brabo, Alexandria, Virginia
Here’s another riff on the classic summer sando: the DLT. Smoky duck pastrami and duck leg confit are paired with marinated tomato and lettuce on sourdough bread. There’s a spinach salad on the side to up the virtue quotient.
Rave restaurant review: “A wonderful experience as usual. We have made Brabo a tradition for special occasions and are never disappointed. The service is exceptional, and we feel like we are being taken care of. Highly recommend.”
Make a reservation at the Tasting Room at Brabo.
Trace, Austin, Texas
When you need to protein load. House-roasted turkey takes this BLT to the next level. The sandwich is built on toasted sourdough bread from local powerhouse bakeshop Easy Tiger.
Rave restaurant review: “We had a phenomenal brunch at Trace. Incredible service, lively fun vibe, and absolutely amazing food. My boyfriend and I thought every ingredient was thoughtful and every bite was delicious.”
Make a reservation at Trace.
The Taphouse, Coquitlam, British Columbia
They call it the BBB-LT because it involves so much bacon. Half a pound to be exact! The pile o’ pork is accented with housemade mayo, juicy tomatoes, and vibrant lettuce.
Rave restaurant review: “So impressed with the food. The presentation was gorgeous, something you’d expect in a fine-dining establishment, not a sports bar. Looking forward to a return visit!”
Make a reservation at the Taphouse.
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Nevin Martell is a Washington, D.C.-based food and travel writer and the author of several books, including Freak Show Without A Tent: Swimming with Piranhas, Getting Stoned in Fiji and Other Family Vacations. Find him on Twitter @nevinmartell and Instagram @nevinmartell.
Photo credits: Joern Rohde (Table Nineteen); Melissa Slate (Il Solito); Ipic Entertainment (City Perch); all photos courtesy of the featured restaurants.