15 Of The Best Sandwiches In America guide image

Guide

15 Of The Best Sandwiches In America

So many wonderful things can happen between two slices of bread.

It’s very possible to eat a sandwich for each meal of the day. You could start with a kaiser roll filled with fluffy eggs and cheese for breakfast, house a po’boy with fried shrimp and hot sauce for lunch, and end with a cheesesteak for dinner. Our point: there’s a sandwich for every mood, and we have a lot of them on this guide. Below, you’ll find 15 of our favorite sandwiches in cities across the country, with muffulettas in San Francisco, Italian subs in Chicago, and bánh mì in Houston.


THE SANDWICHES


Thai Diner

NEW YORK CITY

Now is a good time to remind you that a great breakfast sandwich doesn't require a bagel or english muffin. Take the excellent version from Thai Diner in NYC. They use buttery roti to keep all of the sandwich elements tightly compact so that every bite includes the same consistent layers and flavors. From top to bottom, you’ll taste herbaceous sai oua sausage, a combo of mayo and scallions, a soft, folded egg crepe covered in oozing american cheese, and fresh thai basil, all pressed between that flaky roti.


LOS ANGELES

This LA institution has been serving Jewish deli staples like matzo ball soup and a creamy macaroni salad that’s far better than it needs to be since 1947. But you’re coming here for the #19: Langer’s signature thick-cut pastrami smothered in swiss cheese, russian dressing, and homemade coleslaw between two slices of the famous, twice-baked rye. The pastrami and rye fuse together to the point where you can’t even tell which is which. It’s euphoric, plain and simple. If we could vote this sandwich into public office, we would.


SEATTLE

The Caribbean roast pork sandwich from this Seattle shack has the power to do two things: bestow upon you eternal joy and destroy your white T-shirt with meat drips. It’s worth it, though, for this toasted baguette stuffed with braised pork clinging to tangy marinade, sweet onions stamped with char from the grill, tart pickled jalapeño, romaine, and a zesty aioli that laughs in the face of standard supermarket mayo. Just be sure to have your Tide Pen on standby.


MIAMI

Miami's contribution to this guide has to be the very best version of the city’s most famous sandwich: the Cuban. Sanguich De Miami is home to the platonic ideal of a Cuban sandwich—it’s a perfect example of the combined powers of ham, roast pork, pickles, mustard, and swiss cheese between Cuban bread. Each one is prepared in an assembly line and brushed with pork fat before being pressed into crispy triangles. Unlike a lot of the more casual Cuban options in the city, they make almost every component of this sandwich themselves, with plenty of time and care. It's a difference you’ll taste the nanosecond it touches your tongue.


PHILADELPHIA

Philly is a sandwich town, but the clear meat king among the overstuffed royalty is the cheesesteak from Angelo’s. Tender shredded ribeye and melted american cheese are layered into a warm and crackly seeded roll baked in-house. And each time we have one, we feel like an Eagles fan watching the team win a Super Bowl (well, almost). The spot is always as packed as Walmart on Black Friday, but it’s definitely worth the wait.


HOUSTON

Once you taste the dặc biệt bánh mì from Alpha Bakery & Cafe in Houston, it will tease you forever, reaching out in daydreams like a pork-laden angel. Watching a staffer spread a thick layer of creamy butter on a fresh baguette for the first time is a thing of wonder, especially when that baguette then gets stuffed with pâté, bologna, pork belly, head cheese, and a fistful of sliced vegetables and herbs. This is the best bánh mì in Houston, which is why it’s hard to believe it only costs $5.


CHICAGO

This iconic family-run Italian deli and sub shop in Chicago has been around since 1937. J.P. Graziano’s industrial exterior hasn’t changed since the neighborhood was full of meatpacking warehouses, and inside they’re still making the most delicious Italian subs and sandwiches in the city. Specifically, the Mr. G, which has spicy soppressata, prosciutto, salami, hot oil, marinated artichokes, and a surprisingly delicate truffle mustard balsamic vinaigrette.


SAN FRANCISCO

This counter-service sandwich spot makes San Francisco’s best muffuletta, but it’s not exactly typical of the New Orleans classic. Theirs uses original mayo—something that'd be frowned upon by purists—but it adds an essential layer of richness that takes the dream sandwich to the next level. The sesame bread is specially made for them by a bakery over in Oakland, and gets coated with a thick swath of spicy olive spread that has us under its fermented cauliflower and carrot giardiniera spell. They’ll suggest you order it toasted (another controversial move), and we do too, especially if you want maximum melted cheese satisfaction.


AUSTIN

The Rachel sandwich at Mum Foods in Austin combines everything you love about New York Jewish delis with everything you love about central Texas-style BBQ. That means brined, oak-smoked brisket that’s been cooked low-and-slow until it pulls apart with a gentle tug. The rye is grilled, the sauerkraut is subbed for coleslaw, and the dressing is russian. It’s crunchy, smoky, tangy, and rich, and it’s something that could only exist in Texas.


ATLANTA

Though this pizzeria makes some of the best pies in Atlanta, we’d promptly trade them in for their incredible pita sandwiches. Firewall’s bread is baked in a wood-fired oven, so you get a nice crunch and a subtle smoky flavor from the sesame pitas. Every sandwich here is game-changing, but the Southern Italian is the best. Even though it’s inspired by Philadelphia’s roast pork, it stays true to Georgia with a load of tender collard greens that pairs naturally with braised shredded pork, salty provolone, and tangy hot peppers.


NEW ORLEANS

Po’boy shops in New Orleans are as common as the discarded beads you’ll find on the street post-Mardi Gras. There are endless options, but if you want the best, head to Parkway Bakery. This corner sandwich shop is more than a century old and has been feeding everyone from local musicians to presidents since they first opened. Go for the roast beef with gravy, get it dressed (lettuce, tomato, mayo, and pickles), and ask for some spicy mayo made with Crystal hot sauce.


WASHINGTON DC

DC’s best sandwich is in the far back right corner of Union Market, the largest and busiest food hall in town. Don’t get distracted by all of the people or the dozens of spots serving pizza and dumplings—instead, go straight to the Banana Blossom Bistro’s stall for the pork thit kho báhn mì. The Vietnamese sandwich is loaded with crispy vegetables and juicy pork on a flaky baguette and comes covered with a mix of maggi seasoning and mayo that meld together seamlessly. You might not be able to finish the whole thing in one sitting, but that just means you have a breakfast báhn mì to look forward to.


NASHVILLE

The original owner of Prince’s in Nashville basically invented hot chicken, and there’s a lengthy origin story that involves an angry girlfriend and a tub of cayenne. But for the purpose of this guide, we’re more concerned with their extremely delicious Andre sandwich. It’s a messy one, thanks to the combo of creamy coleslaw and sweet heat sauce that’s reminiscent of Frank’s Red Hot, but the perfectly seasoned fried breast soaks up everything flawlessly. Get yours with a spice level of medium, or you too will embody a tub of cayenne.


KANSAS CITY

Joe’s is the gold standard of KC BBQ, and their Z-Man sandwich might be the best thing involving smoked meat you can eat in Kansas. It comes loaded with brisket, provolone, onion rings, and barbecue sauce, all on a kaiser roll. You’ll probably have to wait around 30 minutes for your sandwich, but that only gives you more time to make friends in line and appreciate the functioning gas station restaurant in all its glory.


ASBURY PARK, NEW JERSEY

There’s a heated New Jersey debate on whether to call the famed breakfast sandwich pork roll or Taylor ham. It’s Taylor ham for us, but it’s certainly not called that at Frank’s in Asbury Park on the Jersey Shore. This is among the best places to get this iconic deli meat sandwich in the state, which actually means any other place on Earth. Get that thick-cut Taylor ham with egg and cheese on rye for a breakfast sandwich that can rival anything the neighbors over in NYC are putting out.


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photo credit: Richard Casteel

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