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the best SANDWICH in (San Francisco) period.

Who has ultimately eaten the great sandwich? Where does SF have sandwiches that are stacked mile high with roast beef or pastrami?
Any tasty accompanying spreads or mouth-watering condiments that makes one crave for more...
Any secret garlic sauces or homemade spreads that really compliment add the synergistic effect, where the end product is much greater than the sum of the two pieces of bread + whatever your heart desires to be put in between.

I am simply asking fellow SF chowhounds for your favorite rec for SANDWICHES....

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  1. Rina,
    You sound like an ex-pat NYer. Go to Brothers Deli in San Bruno or San Mateo. My wife is a Brooklyn/Jersey girl and when we lived in SF she had the same complaint. Ben Braun, the Cal basketball coach has been known to eat there and the guy can eat.

    5 Replies
    1. re: local_guy

      My recommendation for a good sandwich of the mile-high but still good-tasting variety: Giordano's "all-in-one" sandwich on Columbus in North Beach. The fries are crispy and peppery as is the coleslaw...you'd think fries and slaw on a sandwich is a taste-be-damned drunk-at-3am kind of thing, but it's quite delicious and very much the opposite of that.

      1. re: Agent 510

        Giordano's is a Pittsburgh tradition- I'm not sure how many places serve this style, but there is one here, one in Pittsburgh and one in Ft. Lauderdale (pretty random!)

        1. re: P. Punko

          I'll be in SF tomorrow, so may try Giordano's on a stroll thru North Beach. Any idea where the one in Ft Lauderdale is, since I'm from Laudy? I've done a search on CH but so far, no luck. thanks

          1. re: P. Punko


            Giordano's is a knock off of Primanti Brothers of Pittsburgh and Primanti Brothers has two locations in the Fort Lauderdale area. I've been to Primanti Brothers in Fort Lauderdale and it's as good as the original in Pittsburgh.

            Scroll to the bottom of the page for the Fort Lauderdale locations of Primanti Brothers.

            I don't believe Giordano's has locations in Pittsburgh or Fort Lauderdale.

            1. re: Norm Man

              Thanks Norm Man! Just got back onto chow after a terrible bout of pregnancy...LQTM...

              Anyway, unbeknownst to me, DH has discovered primanti in Ft Laudy and is in heaven. Thanks so much! Giordano's was still awesome by the way.

      2. Brothers is great.
        Also check out Max's Diner they have great pastrami and its always piled high. The corn beef is off the hook too!

        1. You might be the first to try Town's End Hobbs’” Carnegie Deli” pastrami, served hot on house-made sour rye, with potato carrot pancakes. Please report back if you do.

          Are you just looking for corned beef and pastrami?

          Would the great in-season soft-shell crab on sourdough sandwich that Hayes Street Grill sells at the Saturday Ferry Plaza Market be something you'd be interested in?

          1. Marina Subs on Union (at Steiner?) BY FAR the best sandwich I've ever had. Of course, I'm a little biased cause I grew up eating them... ask any native San Franciscan, they're probably familiar with the place. They owner/sandwich maker is a little obsessive compulsive about how he makes them, but that's what makes them so good. They're just the right amount of toasted, melted cheese, then he adds the cold ingredients and then the SAUCE! The heavenly drippy tasty sauce that makes the whole sandwich. I usualy get the regular sub, but he's got all sorts of combinations. Be prepared to wait in line, there's always a line, but well worth it. I think he closes around 3pm too.

            1. My votes would be for Morty's Deli in the Tenderloin for good east-coast style pastrami and/or chicken parm, etc. - www.mortysdeli.com - and AK Meats for the Die's Decadence in the Outer Richmond (combination butcher & sandwich shop) - http://www.yelp.com/biz/E60m-4IPYWZog...

              1. Ted's Market on Howard near 10th. No sit down, stand in a line, hole-in-the-wall-ish and yet excellent sandwiches... turkey and avocado, poor boy (really an Italian combo), the Rich Boy and fresh roast pork. Not east coast but if you want good and inexpensive (around $5 usually) this is the place. Lunch time rush - 40 people in line but it moves fast. Use to work around there a long time ago...just happened upon it again. Still excellent.

                1. I agree that the Giordano's sandwiches are interesting and very tasty.

                  My favorite is Saigon Sandwich Shop for their Banh Mi. I ask for a combo of roast pork and meatball (it's pork too), it comes on freshly toasted baguette with mayo and filled with cilantro, jalepeno, a vinegary slaw of I forget what. Second choice would be the sandwiches at Memphis Minnie's, the little star is half beef brisket and half pork. They do a pastrami sandwich on Wednesdays.

                  As for pastrami, I usually skip that in SF. I love fatty meat. Miller's is decent, though I haven't been in a long time. For italian style deli sandwiches, I like Molinari's or Genova's (in Berkeley). I've had the roast beef and the pastrami at Genova's and they are good.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: wanderlust21

                    i second saigon sandwich- warm toasted baguette with roast chicken and asian pickled carrot, onion, chile and cilantro. What - it's only $2.50?!?! Who would have thought heaven was so inexpensive....

                    as for pastrami/cornbeef... no one's mentioned East Coast West yet. Is their's no good? some NY guy told me it was pretty close when I said I couldn't find a good deli.

                    1. re: jbsirkin

                      Third Saigon. For an overstuffed pastrami I go to Golden Gate Butcher in the Ferry Building. I'm pretty sure they serve it on a fresh Acme baugette, so it simple meat and bread deliciousness.

                      1. re: Chris Rising

                        yep Saigon you can't beat.

                        Mario's cigar bar in North Beach has made good sandwiches, the last time i was there I was rather disappointed, I will try again because they have been great in the past.

                        Delessio Market and Bakery on Market makes good pressed style sandwiches.

                        1. re: Lori SF

                          Saigon is easily beaten by Sing Sing if you have the courage to go in. They have the best vietnamese sandwich in the City. Hyde between Eddy and Ellis

                          1. re: grubber4

                            Sing Sing what a name? I will check it out thanks

                  2. I like Moishe's Pippic in Hayes Valley (hayes & gough). The best pastrami that I've been able to find in the city, definitely piled high. On Friday's they have a smoked brisket, I like to do a half brisket and half pastrami (not on the menu), the owner looks at me funny every time I order it but he still makes it and damn if it isn't good. Simple preparation but very high quality stuff, the place has a Chicago theme goin' on.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: virtualguthrie

                      1 more vote for Moishe's on Hayes Street!

                    2. Yes, I know the OP specified San Francisco, but Little Lucca in South San Francisco still deserves a mention. Great garlic pesto sauce and dutch crunch rolls, low prices.
                      724 El Camino Real, South San Francisco

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Steve Green

                        Little Lucca is excellent..and the regular sandwich is enough to feed two people (and not be hungry) and it's still a bargain.

                        1. re: Steve Green

                          Also worth trying if you are out that way is Darby Dan's. Interesting sandwiches, breads and spreads.

                        2. Roxie's on San Jose near the Ingleside Police Station makes GREAT sandwiches. Get the Roxie Special, a terrific sub, grilled so that the cheese melts, the meats warm up, and the roll crisps. Or the meatball sub with melted cheese. Delicious!

                          Roxie Food Center
                          1901 San Jose Ave
                          (between Havelock St & Santa Ynez Ave)
                          San Francisco, CA 94112
                          (415) 587-2345

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Nancy Berry

                            I would offer to pick up my friend after her classes ended at SF city (from the east bay) just so we could stop at Roxie's on the way home. I don't know if it's "the best", but they do make awesome sandwiches.

                            1. re: adrienne156

                              My wife (east coast transplant) was craving a proper sandwich. Turned to trusty chowhound, and made the trip to Balboa Park, per this earlier rec from Nancy and Adrienne.

                              Just an absolute gem. I recommend getting the Roxie Special - Ham, Mortadella, Artichoke, Swiss Cheese, and of course I had to have it with everything on it.

                              I dare say this is *the* best sandwich I have had in the city, and yes I have eaten a lot of them at the Sub Center in West Portal, the sub place on 24th St when we lived in Noe Valley, and a few more ....

                              1. re: osho

                                Roxie is the best, by far. Went to high school up the street, so I ate there at least once a week. Meatball sub, dutch crunch, provolone cheese. Unbeatable.

                          2. The Submarine Center in West Portal. They have "The Atomic" which is turkey, corned beef and pastrami with provolone, lettuce, tomtao, onion, mayo, mustard and jalapenos. All lightly toasted and warmed in the flat deck oven. Delicious.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: ccbweb

                              wow this subject always is interesting. I know others like The west portal sub place but I thought it was the worst...i feel you could go to the safeway and have the same thing.

                              1. re: Lori SF

                                I'm another fan of The Submarine Center in West Portal.

                                There is not one special thing about the sandwiches

                                All subs served with lettuce, tomatoes, onions & secret sauce. Three sizes: mini / center / super.

                                The French roll is ordinary, the cold cuts no better than what a supermarket deli slices up, the lettuce shredded iceberg, the tomatoes are as far away from heirloom as possible and the special sauce is only house vinaigrette.

                                Sometimes there are a few bites of bread left without filling.

                                It is the best sub in San Francisco.

                                Magic happens when that sandwich goes in the oven.

                                There's pure art with the cheese melted exactly right and the roll soft, warm and crunchy. It is about the whole sandwich, not the parts.

                                It must be devoured immediately before the crispy toasty, oozy-cheesy perfection is gone.

                                They are happy to customize to your satisfaction.

                                Nice family owned store and a staff who has been there forever and are sandwich masters.

                                They even elevate the soft drink with the perfect finely crushed ice.

                                There's nothing fancy. The menu never changes.

                                It's no Wichcraft. It was here long before that and hopefully will be here long after people forget the name of the trendy sandwich shop of the moment.

                                The decor makes Subway and Quiznos look upscale. With a LOT of luck there is parking in the lot behind the restaurants across the street.

                                Forget the parking. I would make the pilgrimage to Submarine Center on my knees.

                                1. re: rworange

                                  rworange please please promise that when you go to santa barbara go to Tino's Italian Market and get a sub.. this is my measuring point of a good sub which started when I was 6 yrs. old when my father took me there...you will not be disappointed.. I would make a day trip up there from LA just to get my fix.

                                  1. re: rworange

                                    The Submarine Center is a lesson in turnover. There was a place called Little John's in Charlottesville, VA that worked the same way. They don't buy the top end of pretty much anything but they do so much business that everything is always fresh. And they put it all together in the right proportions.

                                    1. re: rworange

                                      thanks for this posting, I did in fact enjoy the sandwiches ( i had 3) at Submarine Ctr. You are right about a plain jane sandwich with ordinary fixings, but magic happens after it is removed from the baker's pride oven. Indeed a toasty bun increases the satisfaction of an already delicious sandwich.
                                      De ja vu occured when I when to visit the Marina Sub on Union st. it appeared that the sandwiches and fixings appear to be identical, even the way they fan out the wilted lettuce on the bottom of the hotel pan for the meat and cheese display. The decor almost resembles each other, even the Baker's Pride deck oven is the same brand. Not certain about the bread, though.

                                2. Definitely May's Sandwiches on 14th at Market. Once you know the rules about ordering, you'll get a fab sandwich for a fab price! Made with May's loving hands, you WILL get a stack of pastrami that comes up the here, but you MUST tell her which bread first. It's worth it. Plus you get a cookie.

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: mehunt

                                    that place is pretty good for a real honest sandwich

                                    1. re: mehunt

                                      "LOVING HANDS"!!!... hands maybe!...but what a disproving, wilting stare and mouth to boot if you dare not familiarize yourself in advance, in how and what to order when it is your turn...she can make the famed "Soup Nazi" seem like a Disney cartoon!

                                        1. re: sfeater

                                          May's re-opened this past summer after being closed for almost two years. Judy and May were bored with retirement. Judy is making the sandwiches these days, with May at the register. Judy doesn't really enforce the "bread first" rule, and she chats with her regulars, which keeps the line long and slow. Be prepared to wait. Their pastrami sandwich is very generous, made with warm (heated in a rice cooker), fatty pastrami. Most people there order it with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and other fixings that a deli purist would be disgusted by, but you can get it on rye with mustard. My personal favorites are the egg and tuna combo and their home-roasted rare roast beef. A half a sandwich (with two full pieces of bread) is plenty, unless you have someone to share it with or you want to sleep away the afternoon.

                                          1. re: johnrsf

                                            May's has the best chicken salad. I get it on Dark rye with Jack cheese and avocado which makes it a mammoth triple decker. Always worth the wait.

                                    2. I like Yellow Submarine in the Inner Sunset. I don't like Subway-style submarine sandwiches, but Yellow Submarine just does something special. I love the steak and cheese.

                                      Also a second vote for May's for the hot pastrami or corned beef. The prices are very low here too.

                                      1. Little Lucca Deli (El Camino, South SF) is the ultimate sandwich shop. If you have never beeen there, go TODAY!!!

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: DavidT

                                          I did forget to mention that the famous garlic sauce at Little Lucca is what makes their sandwiches so good.

                                          1. re: DavidT

                                            So happy to see Little Lucca listed here! I don't have the perspective needed to declare it "the best," but I'll be back! I stopped in totally by chance and was pleasantly surprised even beyond the expectations I formed while I was there watching them do their thing. (Went to the Burlingame store). Also liked their potato salad. (Didn't particularly care for the dill pickle.) This place, plus Shanghai Dumpling shop made a recent business stay in Millbrae worthwhile!

                                        2. No, no, no. The best sandwich is in the least likely place. Pete's BBQ on Mission and 19th (or is it 20th?). Even then there is only one sandwich to get... the Turkey Sandwich. Meat sliced directly off the roasted bird onto toasted bread (you can have all white meat or all dark meat or of course some of both) with mayo, sliced tomatoes, lettuce, salt and pepper, and, best of all, some of the roasted Turkey skin. Mmmmmmmm. Heaven. Very old fashioned, but big and fresh and tasty. I used to live near there from 1981 until 2001. In 2005 I returned to SF and went there before Jardiniere, Zuni, Gary Danko, and Fleur de Lys and I happy to report that in all that time NOTHING has changed about the way the sandwich is made. The side dishes are mediocre but I'd recommend the tomato salad. Everyone should know about this. If anyone goes, let me know what you think.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: WC2HLondon

                                            Thanks for what sounds like a great tip.

                                            1. re: rworange

                                              another turkey sand: at Arguello Market; I request all-dark meat on a Dutch Crunch roll - sliced fresh and hot off the rotiserie, salt and pepper, cranberry sauce.
                                              Arguello Market at 782 Arguello @ Cabrillo

                                            2. re: WC2HLondon

                                              Is Pete's still there!!?! It's been years, I'd almost forgotten about Pete. NE
                                              corner of Mission and 20th. The turkey sandwich is great but hard to order because
                                              ordering the sandwich means you can't get a half rotisserie chicken with a baked
                                              potato roasted in the dripping chicken fat. I used to live near there too. I'm probably
                                              going to die a year or two earlier as a result. I mean that in a good way.

                                            3. Roxie's and West Portal Sub Center. Ok, now I know what I want to eat this week!

                                              There's a certain way my friends who are SF natives from the Excelsior, Bernal Heights, and Mission neighborhoods say "Roxie's." Their eyes roll back into their heads and it comes out breathy, almost worshipful. When I moved to SF many years ago my friends took me to Sub Center and Roxies for true SF experiences, and regaled me with stories of eating these sandwiches while waiting for the bus to Balboa High School, or while going to Catholic school in the Sunset. Perhaps not the most innovative sandwiches in the city, but certainly they are the stuff of great childhood memories of many generations of San Francisco natives. And yes, there is magic in them ovens over at Sub Center.

                                              5 Replies
                                                  1. re: adrienne156

                                                    Talk about childhood memories! We lived three doors down when that market at 9th and Kirkham was McCambridge Market.

                                                  2. re: Rina

                                                    The Roxie's that I was talking about is Roxie Food Center on San Jose Ave. near Santa Ynez in SF. The same folks own the Kirkham Ave. store, but this was the first Roxie's.

                                                    Roxie Food Center
                                                    1901 San Jose Ave, San Francisco, CA 94112

                                                    1. re: Nancy Berry

                                                      I'm SO sorry! I googled it and came up with the wrong address.

                                                1. I'm surprised no one has mentioned the venerable Quincy's on Market between Polk and Van Ness. I've always thought it must be a great business (if you want/need some leisure time). They're open about 3 hours a day max and they have a crew that just makes one fresh sandwich after another. Corned beef and pastrami are kept warm and moist in large rice cookers. The standard choices in breads, meats, cheeses and condiments are available but everything is very fresh and the sandwiches are carefully constructed. The cash register is some ancient manual thing and you always get a piece of fresh fruit in the bag. I used to call it the no-name sandwich place because there was only a small wooden sign in the bottom of the window. There are a few seats but 90% of the business is to go. Seems like it's been around forever.

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: cwujd1

                                                    May (14th St.) and Quincy are brother and sister. They both use the rice cookers to steam the cb and pastrami.

                                                    1. re: cwujd1

                                                      The cheese sandwich is out of control. Get it with avocado.

                                                      1. re: cwujd1

                                                        Wow... Quincy's brings back some memories. When I was sick, my pops would always bring me an enormous salami and cheddar sandwich from Quincy's.

                                                        1. re: a_and_w

                                                          I drove by last week and there was paper over all the windows. I don't know if it is closed or (fingers crossed) they are just on vacation or renovating, but it did fill me with a bit of trepidation.

                                                      2. John Campbell's Irish Bakery at 5625 Geary Blvd. btw 20th and 21st Avenue
                                                        for a breakfast sandwich; Belfast Bap - Irish sausage, Irish bacon, Cheddar cheese with scrambled egg on an Irish roll

                                                        John Campbell's Irish Bakery
                                                        5625 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121

                                                        1. After extensive searching (yes, the quest actually was to find the best sandwich in SF - and I tried just about everything listed here) the best in the bay area that I found were 2:
                                                          Colombo's deli in Pacifica - www.colombosdeli.com. Italian deli. Cold cut sandwiches. Just right in terms of bread, savory and acid (the pickled stuff).
                                                          Bakesale Betty's in the east bay- http://www.bakesalebetty.com. A bakery not a sandwich shop. And they don't have a consistent menu. But the fried chicken sandwich with peppery cole slaw was outstanding.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: mewho11

                                                            The pastrami sandwich at Wood Tavern is also worth a trip across the bay.

                                                            Wood Tavern
                                                            6317 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

                                                          2. I'm really surprised no one has mentioned Super Subs on Gough (close to Market).
                                                            Steak, mushrooms, onions, on a toasted (with cheese) Acme baguette. Phily doesn't do it as good.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: mikeylikesit

                                                              Any other sandwiches you would recommend at Super Subs ?

                                                              1. re: mikeylikesit


                                                                Super Subs Sandwich Shop
                                                                100 Gough St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                                                              2. Gambinos at One Embarcadero has a tasty sub called the Gambino #11.

                                                                5 Replies
                                                                1. re: Johnny E

                                                                  Could you possibly describe the sandwich ?

                                                                  1. re: osho

                                                                    Their menu says ham and cheese with, east coast style, lettuce, tomato, onion, oil, vinegar, salt,pepper and herbs. I want to know about #19.
                                                                    Everything Else. Ham, Turkey, Hot Coppa, Mortadella,
                                                                    Cappicola, Mozzarella, Basil, Roasted Red Peppers, Olives

                                                                    1. re: osho


                                                                      I attached the menu. First off, the roll is soft and chewy. Meats of Mortadella,Salami, and Hot Coppa. Besides the roll, the best part of the sandwich is the "east coast or west coast" prep. I've only had east coast - a combo of peppers, vineagar, onions, oil and herbs. Drippingly tasty good. Long lines at lunch because the financial district folks hit the place hard. They are only open for lunch during the week.

                                                                      I have seen a lot of people ordering the cheese steaks - which look very good. I haven't tried one because I have a hard time going back to work after eating a pound of beef....

                                                                      1. re: Johnny E

                                                                        Sorry John my mistake, misremembered the #.

                                                                        1. re: wolfe

                                                                          no prob! Evenything looks good. I'm looking forward to hearing how you like it.

                                                                  2. I can't get enough of the sandwiches at Mastrelli’s Delicatessen in the Ferry Building. They specialize in cured meats and Italian, however the turkey basil can't be beat either!

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Gabatta

                                                                      When I jones for a good Italian sandwich I go to IGA and get hot coppa and salami on a roll with all of the usual fixings. They use Boar's Head deli meat and it's under $7.00 for a good size sandwich. I also really like the hot ham and gruyere sandwich at Bi-Rite-- Acme roll and excellent ham and cheese with a bit of Dijon.

                                                                    2. I'd drive the extra 1/2 hour over to Berkeley to Sea Salt for their Unagi Baanh Mih(sp.) and ask for avocado on it. Every year that I visit from Boston, I go THERE for that best sandwich (and many other tasty treats.)

                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                        I have to weigh in against this much-lauded sandwich. I made a special trip to Berkeley to try it and was disappointed. They use a crumbly, soft roll that offers no contrast to the eel, so the whole thing is mushy and kind of disintegrates in your mouth. The idea sounds so good that I keep meaning to buy myself a meatless banh mi at some place like Saigon and fill it with my own unagi. But the execution at Sea Salt is unappealing.

                                                                        1. re: BaraXan

                                                                          FWIW, you can get an eel sandwich at Good Luck Sandwiches on Kearny St. in SF. It's a generous amount of eel on a whole wheat roll, and probably cheaper than Sea Salt's (I think it was about $4.00 when I had it). It may not be listed on the daily board, just ask for it.

                                                                          Good Luck Market
                                                                          621 Kearny St, San Francisco, CA

                                                                          1. re: Xiao Yang

                                                                            The Banh mi at Sea Salt was $14 with a side of housemade chips last I checked.

                                                                            And, BaraXan - I'm sorry you had a bad experience, but I think that must have been an off day for the roll because I've had it 4 or 5 times and it's been the usual crusty on the outside, light on the inside banh mi roll. Aside from that, I do agree that the eel makes it a much softer sandwich on the whole though...

                                                                            1. re: Xiao Yang

                                                                              I tried the eel sandwich today, on this recommendation It was $5.00, very good sized piece of fairly mild eel, not mushy at all, and I had it on toasted Dutch Crunch so there was definitely a nice contrast between the fish and the bread, not to mention the crispy lettuce. It's listed on the board as Eel. The eel was hot, the veggies cold. I would order it next time with avocado, too . . . am completely stuffed - half would have been plenty!

                                                                        2. Hazel's Kitchen on Potrero Hill

                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                          1. re: bbulkow

                                                                            I havent been the HK n a while [i've shifted my cafe dollars
                                                                            from Farley's to Ritual] but I thought HK wasn't that special
                                                                            and not really a great deal. I thought AK Subs much better
                                                                            within a mile of Pot Hill.

                                                                            i'm not alone diskliking Hazel's kitchen:

                                                                            has anythng changed there in the last year?

                                                                            For non-posh sandwiches, the place across 3rd from the
                                                                            Bayview Lib Branch isnt bad ... decent price-performance
                                                                            for basic deli sandwich.

                                                                            Had a couple of good sandwichs at the store/deli a block down
                                                                            Guerrero from Tartine [@19th]. But they are often out of stuff,
                                                                            it seems.

                                                                            I dont know of a lot of sandwiches worth a crosstown
                                                                            trip ... I am more likely to file away "what's a decent place
                                                                            in the neightborhood" ... AK Subs in SOMA/PH, couple of
                                                                            places in Bernal, Roxie off 280 when closer to glen park
                                                                            area, AK subs other branch in the Richmond, Healthy
                                                                            Spirits sandwich in the Castro/Duboce Triangle, Saigon Saigon
                                                                            in the 'Loin, a few shawerma places here and there etc.

                                                                            OK TNX.

                                                                            1. re: psb

                                                                              Now there are lots of great suggestions in here -- but is it really possible no one here has mentioned ike's Place, in the Castro? This place is SF's veritable temple to the form. They have somewhere between 100 and 140 sandwiches on the menu at any given time (and those are just the ones with names), and -- astonishingly -- they all seem to be drool-inducing beasts of wichery. It's tiny, so you need to be on the ball to secure one of the sidewalk tables, but man -- this is honestly as good as they get. Their Reuben (the "Paul Reubens") is as good a one as I;ve ever had, and they do infinite variations on beef -- they have an Obama-named one right now with gouda and BBQ sauce that is practically sexual. They have over twenty kinds of vegan sandwiches (their "Awful Falafel" is anything but), and even more veggie-wiches. Purists may kvetch, but this place is definitely worth a trip, hounds.

                                                                              About the only complaint I've ever heard is that they're messy. And if you think that's a strike against it, I don't know you.

                                                                              1. re: uberslop

                                                                                Most of this post started before Ike's opened on Halloween in 2007.

                                                                                Do you like the dirty sauce?

                                                                                They also use halal chicken if anyone is interested in that.

                                                                                I think the sandwich that is calling out to me is ... For a Gouda Time Call Tiffany B.–Thinly Sliced RibEye Steak, TONS of Horseradish, Gouda ... or maybe ... FORTY!? - Chicken Fried Steak, Choice of Ranch, BBQ or Honey Mustard Sauce and Cheddar Cheese

                                                                                Ike's Place
                                                                                3489 16th Street, San Francisco, CA 94114

                                                                                1. re: rworange

                                                                                  I just had the "For a gouda time call Tiffany B" two Sundays ago and it was awesome. It did have alot of horseradish on it, which was good for me. Some people might not enjoy the nose-burn as much as I did. My husband and I live in Glen Park/Noe Valley and there aren't many good sandwich options. We decided to check out Ike's and we are glad we did. Great sandwiches. I just heard of another place to check out that is closer to us than Ike's, Roxie Food Market on San Jose. Maybe tomorrow...

                                                                                  1. re: srr

                                                                                    For Glen Park there's two great options with the cheese shop and Canyon Market. Roxie's in Mission Terrace is a real gem though.

                                                                                  2. re: rworange

                                                                                    I was in the neighborhood and not particularly hungry but i had to try Ike's Place. I love that the place is about the size of my walk-in closet. I ordered a "non-original" (not one of their named combos) - rib-eye with jack cheese, with everything, on wheat (they were out of dutch crunch. pretty simple, but the flavors were delicious - the rib eye comes thinly sliced, is VERY tender. I didn't love the wheat, not crunchy enough when toasted, but it was ok. coudn't make out exactly what consitutes the "dirty sauce" but it was really tasty. AND the best part was i'd arrived at 6:15, no line at all, waited only 15 minutes, AND between i think 4 and 7 p.m., on sandwiches that are $6.50 and under, i believe, they have happy hour, which means with your humongous sandwich they throw in a drink and a bag of chips! so my rib eye steak sandwich, which i could only eat half of at one seating, with chips (still have those too) and a soda was a total of $6.79.! Next time i'll get there hungry and get the Paul Rubens.

                                                                                  3. re: uberslop

                                                                                    Thank you! Yes, IKE'S wins! The only sandwich i have ever had that was better, is the Godmother from Bay Cities Deli in LA. Mmmmm . . deli. Why so few good ones up here, anyway?

                                                                                    Duuu-rty sauce! Duuu-rty sauce!

                                                                                    1. re: Jordancc

                                                                                      Love Bay Cities, but Genova and Lucca both do better sandwiches than the Godmother -- and that's just off the top of my head.

                                                                              2. Although they are a relative new comer to the bay area scene, i believe the Refuge in San Carlos (of all places!) has the best sandwiches. Their thick cut, melt in your mouth pastrami is amazing. Also, i've head many people say great things about their french dip as well, but the pastrami is soo good i can never order anything else.

                                                                                I did also enjoy the Eel Bahn Mi at Sea Salt (although I thought the fried oyster sandwich with egg and bacon to be more memorable).

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: tipatat

                                                                                  I'm gonna toss if a vote for La Spiaggia Delicatessen's meatball parm. These delicious homemade meatballs are made with Niman Ranch beef. I usually order mine on the soft roll with some hot pepper spread and pepperocinis. This is easily one of the best meatball parm subs I've had anywhere. It's about $8, but it's a hefty sandwich that I can't always finish.

                                                                                  Neighborhood: North Beach/Telegraph Hill
                                                                                  1556 Stockton St
                                                                                  (at Union St)
                                                                                  San Francisco, CA 94133

                                                                                  1. re: brian j


                                                                                    Palermo Delicatessen
                                                                                    1556 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94133

                                                                                2. Giordano Bros Hot Cappicola is a great sandwich. Lately though Yat's half Crawfish po-boy with a side of corn maque-choux has risen to the top of the list.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: pininex

                                                                                    since we're including berkeley in this discussion:

                                                                                    i thought the OYSTER PO'BOY from Gregoire [in Sept?] was vastly better than the YATS SHRIMP POBOY. The Gregoire item might be slightly smaller but was higher quality and comparably priced. The Gregoire BLT (also from Sept I believe) was really really good. If you're not looking for a giant sanwiches (Togo's/Subway footlong) in the $7-$8 rangeI think Gregoire lunch sandwiches are often pretty good [so i'm not just reminiscing about sandwiches past].

                                                                                    If you dont succumb o the lure of the insanely expensive potato items, the lunch there is reasonably priced.

                                                                                    OK TNX

                                                                                  2. Quick shut out for El Tonayense Taco Truck's torta al pastor...it was the best sandwich I've had in the past 6-9 months.

                                                                                    1. Grilled MAC at Le Croissant in San Rafael.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. Pete's Deli and Café on Divisadero and Sutter makes good Philly Cheesesteak.

                                                                                        I have not been to Freddie's sandwich shop in years but they make a good sandwich, in North Beach on Francisco at Stockton.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: Lori SF

                                                                                          Interesting. I wonder if this place is connected to Roxie somehow. Same bread and cheese selection, and not too many places shred the lettuce anymore. Looks kinda similar with Freddie's having a more extensive menu.

                                                                                        2. I can't believe no one's mentioned Molinari's Delicatessen in North Beach. They have the best Italian sandwich I've ever had. When I worked in the Financial District, every few months I'd have a pilgrimage out there to have one of their great sandwiches. They include marinated roasted peppers which makes them even better. Their sister deli, Mastrelli's, is good but for some reason never as great as Molinari's.

                                                                                          My co-workers liked Gambino's a lot, but I was ultimately disappointed with their Italian sandwiches the two times I went there.

                                                                                          1. I like all the Vietnamese sandwich places with Baguette Express up near the top (on Larkin). I also really love Little Lucca (Burlingame location seems a lot cleaner than the S. SF location in the house). Their standard subs (lettuce, tom, pickle, onion, mustard, mayo) are made by the addition of the garlic sauce and the hot pepper sauce. I get prosciutto on Dutch Crunch. Get a giant "small" for a buck less. The shredded lettuce and tomato don't really keep with the oil from the garlic and pepper sauces so if you don't finish their gigantic regular, the sandwich goes downhill for later (not that it would ever stop me). Their Toscano salami is good too, and the hot salami is OK, but I wouldn't get it by itself. Dutch Crunch seems just as SF to me as sourdough and I think it, combined with the garlic and pepper sauces, are what puts Little Lucca over the top into a craver spot and not just a decent local sub place.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: P. Punko

                                                                                              I second the recommendation of Vietnamese sandwiches on Larkin. Lee's and Baguette Express--tasty, good bread, generous meat AND generous vegetable, and very inexpensive.

                                                                                            2. All good recommendations above . . . i just NEED to throw CJ's in Burlingame into the ring here. I thought it was good, but my buddy from NYC who claims to KNOW sandwiches loves this joint. I live in Potrero Hill and still make the drive to Bulingame for this place. Check it out you won't be disappointed. Of course a bunch to pick from with a variety of breads and ingredients and toasted at your discretion.

                                                                                              Cj's Gourmet Delicatessen
                                                                                              (650) 348-3117
                                                                                              290 Primrose Rd, Burlingame, CA 94010


                                                                                              16 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: bcitchon


                                                                                                Cj's Gourmet Delicatessen
                                                                                                290 Primrose Rd, Burlingame, CA

                                                                                                1. re: bcitchon

                                                                                                  The best sandwiches I've had in my life were on the West Coast.

                                                                                                  Not that this reflects on the CJ's suggestion, and your buddy probably does know sandwiches, but in general you couldn't find this kind of assortment of good suggestions on the NY board. Aside from hand cured pastrami, "NY deli" barely exists.

                                                                                                  1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                                    Well, I agree and don't ... they are just different on both coasts. We are not only talking Deli, we are also talking Italian. And the thing that probably scratches the East Coast sandwich itch is the toasted roll. It is why IMO so many East Coast people like the sub shop in the West Portal area despite average ingrediants, they toast the subs and it elevates them.

                                                                                                    One thing I've been noticing in the Burlingame area is the number of places that use garlic sauce on there sandwiches. I wonsnder who started that. I don't see that in SF or anyplace else I remember. I have a number on my to-try list to compare garlic sauces.

                                                                                                    Now the East Coast doesn't compare in the artisan sandwich category ... you almost want to kill yourself with some of the bread, lettuce and tomato that is used ... though Boston kind of rises above the rest as a good sandwich town old school and new school.

                                                                                                    1. re: rworange

                                                                                                      I could be wrong, but I think Darbey Dans was the first to use the garlic spread. I remember buying sandwiches from them in the early 70's.

                                                                                                      1. re: rworange

                                                                                                        Not to get into the comparison debates again, but you can't find a Lucca, a Roxie, a a Fererara, a Molinari, etc. in NY. If you want a chicken parm, a pastrami, an egg sandwich, or a Vietnamese thing, you're in good shape, but as for deli meats, and Italian style deli? San Francisco has ruled the school for a long time. They tried this same thread on the NY board and it was...well, it mostly covered fancy pants chef made concoctions and places like Wichcraft got mentioned.

                                                                                                        1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                                          I'm not sure you can get a decent torta (Mexican sandwich) on the East Coast either.

                                                                                                          The other place not mentioned on this thread is Ratto's in Old Oakland. They've been around for 100+ years. I think their sandwiches are right up there with places like Lucca...just different. You can get an artisan roll for .30 cents extra and for some sandwiches it makes a big difference.

                                                                                                          1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                                            The East Coast is more than NY. In CT and MA you can get sandwiches that make those seem like something from Safeway, especially in CT. Every time I go home I have to get my real Eye-talian grinder ... and Jersey ... not my territory as much, but I've had some amazing sandwiches there. It is the reason I've always been underwhelmed by Molinari. For me, SF has always been a second rate Italian deli town. The delis here are about equal to the Italian bakeries, ok but there are better.

                                                                                                            1. re: rworange

                                                                                                              My sentiments exactly. There are more than cheesesteaks in Philadelphia and I suspect more in New York City than just in Manhattan.

                                                                                                              1. re: rworange

                                                                                                                Now we're talking Tri-State and Mass. ? Well sure if you put in the mileage, there are great sandwiches all over the US of A. ... but within the small confines of San Francisco, I've found no equal in NYC when it comes to our vast selection here...and tried. I'm not nostalgic for hoagies on a soft italian bread though. I grew up in SF and when I wanted to replicate the kind of sandwich being discussed in this thread, it just didn't exist, and the closest specimen would be twice the price.

                                                                                                                We really should celebrate the sandwich as an underlooked San Francisco specialty.

                                                                                                                1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                                                  Well, there you go. These are the sandwiches you grew up with and set certain expectations on what is good to you. That's is why you can't find anything comparable in NYC and East Coasters can't find anything comparable here from what they favor. Can't address the Italian sandwich situation in NYC, as trips there were more dedicated to Jewish deli. My little hometown had a large Italian immigrant population and the sandwiches so good, no need to seek them out elsewhere.

                                                                                                                  1. re: rworange

                                                                                                                    Sure, I was just addressing the idea that someone from NY would have superior sandwich credentials and know their deli... we do pretty okay out here without all the fanfare.

                                                                                                                    1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                                                      Yeah, but try to get a decent tomato, herring and onion on rye out here...

                                                                                                                      1. re: Xiao Yang

                                                                                                                        And yet East Coasters keep moving to the West Coast. To me that's the irony.

                                                                                                                        Any way, there's great food on the East Coast, memory invoked and real. Doesn't really matter when you're on the West Coast. We of course just don't know any better. I'm happy with the full Cali combo - weather, food, people, attitude.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Xiao Yang

                                                                                                                          Not exactly the hallmark sandwich of Jewish deli, but we know San Franciso is tapped out in that department... mind you there are only a couple places left in NY you'll see that sandwich recommended, and don't expect the tomato in it to be "decent". All the elements are here. SF has good white fish, good rye bread... there's just no demand for it.

                                                                                                                    2. re: sugartoof

                                                                                                                      Jersey Joe's in San Carlos has a hoagie on soft italian bread. Very vinegar and oily, but pretty east coast (not toasted) but the Italian cold cuts on it are good. They also have pretty authentic cheesesteaks. I don't like cheesesteaks a ton, but that place seems legit.

                                                                                                                      Added: their hot pepper mix seems very east coast too, I think it is the usual mix of red and green hot cherry peppers. It was hard to tell because they didn't put that much on there.

                                                                                                                2. re: rworange

                                                                                                                  You are right if you have a very narrow conception of what a "sandwich is" but on the other hand,


                                                                                                                  And that was written before the Xi'an Famous Eats guy introduced Flushing to the Roujiamo.

                                                                                                            2. Two more really good sandwich places and a question about a third:

                                                                                                              I've always liked Sorrento Deli on Mission near Russia in the Excelsior, but thought that their sandwiches were just okay. Now, however, since the next generation has taken over the shop, their sandwiches are just terrific. There's a blackboard on the counter that lists their special sandwiches (all of which are great,) but you can also pick your own meats, cheeses and toppings.

                                                                                                              And Mollie Stone's Tower Market in the Miraloma/Twin Peaks area of SF also makes wonderful sandwiches -- I particularly like the shrimp salad on a soft roll, but their other sandwiches are great, too, because of the quality of their meats, cheeses, produce, etc.

                                                                                                              Now for the question. Has anyone been to the new sandwich shop next door to Tower Burger on Portola in SF -- near Tower Market?

                                                                                                              I just looked in while going to Tower Burger and it seemed interesting with heated Italian-style sandwiches and subs.

                                                                                                              Mollie Stone Tower Market
                                                                                                              635 Portola Dr, San Francisco, CA 94127

                                                                                                              Sorrento Delicatessen
                                                                                                              4763 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94112

                                                                                                              1. Especially if you like "stacked high with roast beef", I've always found Estela's in the Lower Haight to be the best. Incredible smoothies too.

                                                                                                                1. I go out of my way for lunch or early dinner at Apollo Coffee in NoPa every once in a while:
                                                                                                                  their hot-pressed panini are layered with organic cold cuts & european cheeses
                                                                                                                  - and get a garlic clove rub after toasting for an amazing aroma twist.
                                                                                                                  My favorites: the "Grilled Mediterranean Turkey" and the "Ham & Cheese" (made with real gruyere!)

                                                                                                                  Apollo Coffee
                                                                                                                  1064 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA

                                                                                                                  1. I don't see Refuge on this list. While not in SF, just south in San Carlos and excellent home made Pastrami. A Reuben to die for!

                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: wolfe

                                                                                                                      Neither does Merriam-Webster, but several Brand-X online dictionaries do:

                                                                                                                      I think it's one of those self-explanatory, common-usage-online things that hasn't made it into the mainstream. I sure wouldn't rely on spellcheck for much of anything.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Steve Green

                                                                                                                        Heck I used it and I even knew what it meant. I was just observing that my spell check
                                                                                                                        kept redlining it. My spelling is bad enough that the red line makes me nervous. Thank you for the references. I can use them next time my friendly word police get after me.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Steve Green

                                                                                                                          My spell check also dislikes Ubuntu and biodynamic.

                                                                                                                      2. I'm surprised no one has mentioned Ike's place.

                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: chuckl

                                                                                                                          mariacarmen mentioned Ike's, about 30 entries upthread. Sounds good, too.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Steve Green

                                                                                                                            Can't take credit. RWOrange mentioned it and i went on his recommendation.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                                OOPS sorry!! it's so hard to tell with these names. sorry RW! no offence meant.

                                                                                                                        2. Easy-peasy on this question. On Saturday morning, head for the Ferry Building's farmer's market. Order an egg sandwich with bacon and cheese from Rosie's. Plate full of country style fries, with thick buttery toast covering a perfect over easy with thick sliced apple cured bacon and a slice of cheddar all lathered in basil mayo.

                                                                                                                          Oh my.

                                                                                                                          1. does anybody know if wichcraft's sandwiches are any good?

                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                            1. Current fav SF sandwich: Kitchenette's smoked pork sandwich with picked onions and cockscomb;

                                                                                                                              12/7: House smoked ham sandwich marin sun farms pork, pickled red onions, cresta di gallo, dijon mustard, green onion bread $8.

                                                                                                                              It was amazing. Somewhat amusingly: I was expecting a small pasta side salad [that's what I thought the CdG was about] and was a little confused when they just handed me a sandwich [on earlier occasions they had given a little notional side, just like Gregoire does].
                                                                                                                              I only after the fact realized some of the "red stuff" in the sandwich was neither smoked ham nor pickled onion ...

                                                                                                                              1. Thought I'd help resurrect this great thread.

                                                                                                                                If you're willing to pop down just out of SF, check out Carroll's Meats in Brisbane...it's in the back of Midtown Market, a nondescript convenience store on Visitacion. They have an OUTSTANDING tri-tip sandwich...one of the best beef-based sandwiches I've had.

                                                                                                                                1. The best sandwich in San Francisco is the [port-]braised lamb cheeks at Spencer on the Go

                                                                                                                                  1. Not sure it it's been mentioned yet but I think the pastrami sandwich (Wednesday's only) @ Memphis Minnie's is a contender. House cured and smoked and hand sliced, as close as you'll get to Katz's in these parts. They also make a Reuben, I might have to run out and get one.... today is Wednesday after all.

                                                                                                                                    1. How is it possible that no one has mentioned Genova in Oakland?

                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                      1. re: Kazy Ctn

                                                                                                                                        Because Genova is in Oakland (and Napa), whereas this thread is about San Francisco.

                                                                                                                                      2. The Ahi Burger at Taylor's Refresher in the Ferry Bldg.

                                                                                                                                        Any sandwich at Tommy's Joynt on Van Ness