The Best Bánh Mì In San Francisco

Looking for a bánh mì? These are the best options in San Francisco.
cross section of banh mi with duck and veg

photo credit: Carly Hackbarth

There’s a special spot in sandwich heaven reserved for Vietnamese bánh mì. Between the crunch of fresh baguettes, the acidity of pickled carrots and daikon, and the richness of pâté and mayo, even the most average versions are still pretty great. But why settle for average when San Francisco has so many options? Here are some great bánh mì spots in the city.


photo credit: Melissa Zink



$$$$Perfect For:LunchSerious Take-Out Operation
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Saigon Sandwich makes the best bánh mì in town, which is why we have no problem showing up to this spot whenever the desire for well-marinated meats hits. The bread is lightly crispy on the outside, and soft in the center. And the ratio of pickled carrots to mayo to spiciness is true perfection. Our favorite bánh mì spot is located just outside of Little Saigon in the Tenderloin, and is cash-only. We like getting the version with juicy roasted pork, but going for the tofu, chicken, or special combo with ham, pork, and pâté is never a bad idea either.

Every time we stop by the counter-service spot Banh Mi Crunch in the Sunset, it’s packed—and for good reason. They’ve got eight different options served on a warm baguette that’s crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Each sandwich is generously filled with pickled daikon, carrot, cilantro, cucumber, and jalapeño that feels like it was just picked. While all the protein options are great, we love the juicy grilled pork and the crispy lemongrass beef the best. They only have a few seats that tend to fill up quickly—we suggest going on a short walk to Golden Gate Park and having a makeshift lunch picnic with your sandwich.

The first thing you’ll notice about the bánh mì at this takeout-only Vietnamese spot in the Tenderloin is that they’re generously filled with pickled carrots and daikon—these compact sandwiches are thick. And compared to other spots in the city, theirs has thicker swaths of mayo, which is definitely to our liking. Get the marinated tofu—juicy, herby, and an all-around winner.

Sing Sing has an indoor dining room brightened up with red checkered tablecloths, holiday string lights, and enough mirrors to classify as an amusement park attraction, which means you don’t have to scramble to find somewhere to dig into their excellent bánh mì. There are only two things (currently) on the menu: a Vietnamese iced coffee for $4 and a bánh mì đặc biệt for $6. This classic combo is loaded up with eggy mayo, pâté, and enough cold cuts to make a butcher faint. So sit back and relax as you dig into a bánh mì while Vietnamese music videos play on the TV in the corner.

This small, takeout-only spot makes our favorite bánh mì in Excelsior. They’re filled with some of the best marinated meats in town, from juicy grilled pork to tender lemongrass chicken. Huge portions are also what make these sandwiches shine. Their baguette is the size of a forearm, and each one is stuffed with a liberal amount of thick carrot and cucumber strips, and heaps of fresh herbs. Even the fresh spring rolls (three per order) are packed with so much pork and shrimp. 

photo credit: Melissa Zink

Dinosaurs in the Castro is a takeout-only operation that has bánh mì down to a science. What sets theirs apart is the bread—the thicker roll has a lovely toasted crust and is soft in the center. The sandwich is big, too. We usually go for the grilled pork that has a nice hint of lemongrass, or the one with excellent xiu mai-style meatballs in it. There are optional add-ons like pâté and avocado, but we’ve never had a reason to add them since the sandwiches are near-perfect as is. Also, don’t look past the fresh spring rolls—they’re some of the best in town. If you’re not in the Castro, Dinosaurs has other locations in SoMa and Lakeside, and outside of the city in Pacifica.

Like the name suggests, b&b specializes in boba and bánh mì—an ideal pairing, like compact cars and parallel parking. We love this Sunset spot because their sandwiches are a pretty great value, considering they are massive. Fillings include slow-roasted pork belly, chicken, and fried tofu, but you’ll want to zero in on the bánh mì that comes with the big helping of tender bulgogi beef and creamy house-made gochujang aioli we now want on everything.

The Vietnamese cafe in the Inner Richmond specializes in vermicelli, pho, and rice plates—and some pretty stellar bánh mì. While you'll get to pick from a decent-sized bánh mì menu, like grilled pork, lemongrass steak, and five-spice chicken, the crispy duck sandwich is what will most likely keep you coming back. It is phenomenal. An extra thick duck cutlet is fried and then smothered in a creamy housemade aioli and a ton of coleslaw. This is one where you may want to grab an extra napkin or two—it gets messy.

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