Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Dec 24, 2007 07:52 PM

Hot Sandwich Hunt

OK, I really need some help here. I've been in the Bay Area for about a year now and I'm missing some of the things I used to be able to find in LA. To wit, certain hot sandwiches, like the classic Beef Dip at Phillippe, the real carved Pastrami at Langer's, the Meatball at Bay Cities Deli, etc.

So where are the best hot sandwiches in the Bay Area, on the order of the above kinds of places? I'm talking about places that don't use microwaves (like Kinder's does) and not wannabe upscale places that are actually fairly mediocre (i.e., stale bread joints like Wichcraft). No, I mean places that specialize in one thing, owner-run, walk up stands, etc.

Anybody got some tips (or Tri-tips for that matter)?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. This is not an area known for delis or pastrami, so I'd suggest you recalibrate a little.

    A few places I would go for a great hot sandwich:
    Wrap Delight for bbq pork banh mi with pate
    Tommy's Joynt for fresh turkey or other hofbrau meats served with gusto
    On the upscale end, Birley sandwiches in the Embarcadero Center has excellent rare roast beef and pressed sandwiches
    the Lone Star special at Memphis Minnie's, half brisket, half pork
    eggplant sandwich on foccacia at Mario's Bohemian Cigar Store
    Mexico City style tortas at La Casita Chilanga in Redwood City; the chorizo is worth the drive.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Windy

      A 2nd on Tommy's Joynt, a place often over looked. Lots of good choices. I usually get the turkey but bbq brisket is very good. They do serve a good french dip. There's other stuff, like the buffalo stew.

      Another option is the fresh roast pork sandwich at Ted's Market at Howard around 10th. There's other hot sandwiches but I've never tried them but I wouldn't doubt them. During lunch you can walk in and find a line of 40 people but it moves very fast, big sandwiches, everything around $5-6 bucks. Lots of you know there's value.

      1. re: ML8000

        Tommy's also serves hot pastrami with a side of jus for a pastrami dip, which I like as a changeup for usual pastrami.

      2. re: Windy

        Re eggplant sandwich on foccacia at Mario's Bohemian Cigar Store

        I've long loved Mario's eggplant sandwich, but while I haven't experienced this personally, long time North Beach friends told me a couple of months ago that the Cigar Store is under new management and that the food has taken a huge dive.

        Anyone been there recently?

        1. re: TopoTail

          Here's Chuckles' downhill alert from March,

          I'd like to hear a more recent report for further confirmation or any upticks.

      3. you make me cry, I miss all three of those places!! I would drive from Santa Monica across town when I got the craving.
        I have lived here for 9 years and yet to find anything close, I don't understand why it is so hard.
        Mario's Bohemian Cigar Store does make a pretty good presssed style sandwich.
        I did not care for the sandwiches at Birley.
        The best Tri-tip sandwiches are down in San Luis Obispo in parking lots in the middle of town.
        There is a tiny sandwich shop in Oakland on Lake Shore at Mandana Ave. I use to live around the corner about five years ago, so not sure if the lady owns the place is still there. She made a hot chicken sandwich that rocked.

        I heard that Houston's on the Embarcadero makes a great French Dip, this is a chain and I have never been.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Lori SF

          I don't care for Tommy's Joynt turkey - it tastes like frozen turkey that's been boiled - and the one time I had it they had just brought out a whole, just-cooked bird that my turkey was cut from. Also, they have cheap commercial bread.

          I think the turkey at the Lee's Deli's that are all over the Financial District tastes better, though they don't have good bread either.

        2. Brazil Fresh Squeeze Cafe, Berkeley can't be any more walk up than the parking lot at the
          top of University. Very good Tri tip and great street atmosphere

          16 Replies
          1. re: wolfe

            yes, great, cheap, and unbeatable atmosphere

            1. re: Windy

              Yeah, that tri-tip is great. They have a second location two blocks away on Shattuck.

              As someone mentioned, the thing out here is to go on the strengths. In that light, Gregoire, up the street from Brazil Cafe makes some nice sandwiches on good bread at lunch time. Nothing remotely East Coast about it though.

              The best pastrami like back East is going to come from the few remaining hofbraus. Another good one besides Tommy's is Chick 'n' Coop.

              The of the best deli pastrami I've found is at Saul's in Berkeley, but I haven't had it since there was a change in the kitchen. I did have some really good latkes there recently though.

              This is a stupid place, but the closest I've come to my East Coast meatball fix is at The Submarine Center in the West Portal section of SF. As I say in this link there is not one exceptional thing about the ingrediants, but they are masters of putting the sandwich together and they toast the bun really nicely in their oven.

              One place I once liked a lot was AK subs in SOMA. Then they went downhill. I've read some good things about them lately and they have a second location now in the Richmond which has an attached meat market. Haven't tried it yet. It's on my to do list.

              I'm blanking on the name, but the market on the Embarcadero across from DeLancy's has a nice turkey sandwich. They roast the turkey daily. The usual sandwich is cold, but they sell pieces of turkey so you can buy a piece of turkey and have them make a sandwich out of it. That is still one of the things I miss about living in that area. That was my comfort food fallback ... that turkey sandwich with cranberry sauce ...plain old, jellied canned cranberry sauce ... like God meant it to be ... no fancy stuff going on.

              1. re: rworange

                Brazil Cafe has the best chicken hearts of palm COLD sandwich.

            2. re: wolfe

              Yes, yes, yes! And they have an indoor cafe on Shattuck just around the corner.

              But I want a hot turkey with gravy/mash/and cranberry sauce. Yes, non-gourmet. Yes, diner-trash. BUT I WANT ONE. Where to get?

                1. re: Glencora

                  Great rec. The senior crowd during the day suggest solid food and good value.

                  1. re: Glencora

                    Thanks--do they have that old-fashioned tan library paste turkey gravy? I want the works! Cranberry sauce too?

                    1. re: Glencora

                      I thought Brennan's closed down ... great news if it's still operating.

                      1. re: Sarah

                        Was there last night. Had hot roast turkey. Can't say if good--leftover from cold is total lack of sense of taste. But was very comforting to have that sandwich. Husband's roast beef was allegedly great.

                        1. re: lintygmom

                          My fave from way back was the Tues special of Ham Hock w/Limas -- not that it was great, but it is what it is. My husband loved their roast beef sandwich -- somehow it works. Glad to hear it's still there.

                          1. re: Sarah

                            I have to also admit, it's still kind of disgusting.

                            1. re: Sarah

                              They still have daily specials but maybe we should start a thread on "faves from way back." Mine was on Tuesday as well: turkey giblets and gravy on mashed potatoes with mixed veggies. I think it was $1.95.

                      2. re: lintygmom

                        Harry's Hofbrau in Redwood City = you are describing their food to a "T"
                        Try their open-face hot turkey over bread with mashed potatoes, gravy and cranberry.They also have retro carrot salad with raisins and pineapple.


                        1. re: lmarie

                          seconded. they have several other locations too.

                          1. re: lmarie

                            The carved meats at HH are good for the price but the gravy (canned) is bad, very bad. The mashies weren't much better. Could be an off day, but I would proceed with caution.

                            1. re: ML8000

                              Don't disagree, but it delivers exactly what it promises.

                              One other idea that came to mind is that people tend to like the turkey sandwiches at Pete's Barbeque on Mission near 20th.

                      3. Moishe's Pippic in Hayes Valley has some of those. Also, if you want to go for a good Cuban sandwich Sol Food in San Rafael is good. I love their Pollo sandwich.

                        1. You might want to check out these threads on West Side Cafe (fka Gumbah's) and meatball sandwiches.