6945 Oakland Mills Road, Columbia, (410) 290-3434
We were in Columbia-which we usually find miserable, with its abundant speed cameras and confusing traffic signals-around lunchtime when we looked up this sandwich shop, located in one of the suburb's many bland brick strip malls. Though cheerless on the outside, Bon Fresco has a quite pleasant interior, reminiscent of a Panera, and its smiling staff was some of the friendliest and most efficient counter service we've experienced in a while. The Italian-deli-influenced menu (lots of ciabatta and focaccia) also incorporates Middle Eastern fare like tapenade and Israeli couscous. Though we wish we had tried the London broil sandwich-the special option was printed on a piece of paper near the register, par for the course for Columbia signage-we had no quibbles with the roasted turkey breast platter ($6.95) that we ordered. Juicy slices of turkey breast were heaped on a bed of dressed greens in a plastic to-go bowl. Hunks of fresh mozzarella, a sizable scoop of fresh hummus, tapenade, and green lentils were shored up on another side of the container. It was an odd presentation perhaps, served with a large, circular piece of ciabatta (some of the best we've ever had) perfect for tearing and scooping. Even if Bon Fresco requires us to navigate Columbia's sprawl, we'll be back.