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Feb 25, 2008 07:34 AM

Meatball Sandwich Hunt

For the last few months I've had a craving for a meatball sandwich with marinara. So I've sampled several, and I list my rankings below. Are there other places in SF that 'Hounds recommend?

1. The Gold Standard: Pasta Gina on Diamond near 24th. Wonderfully seasoned, huge meatballs, perfect texture, cut in half on an Acme roll. The marinara is thick and deeply flavorful. Mozzerella is the highest quality. With tax it's a bit over $9, and you have to sit outside on a bench, but this is one of the best sandwiches I've ever had, bar none.

2. Morty's Deli, in the Tenderloin. Also obviously homemade meatballs, with hints of fennel and oregano. Good, substantial roll (MAY have been sourdough), marinara tasty, cheese unremarkable.

3. Mastrelli's Deli in SF Ferry Building. Also homemade meatballs, but spicing not as delicious as Pasta Gina or Morty's. Marinara tasty. Choice of rolls. On the clerk's recommendation, I got the ciabatta roll. Mastrelli's puts the sandwich in a press, which I don't care for - and the roll dissolved before I was done with the sandwich. I don't remember the cheese.

4. Marina Submarine on Union St. I'm pretty sure these are factory meatballs. "Homemade" marinara is unremarkable. Cheap roll that disintegrates after the first bite.

5. Subway. The meatball is the sandwich of the day on Tuesdays, when it's only $2.99. Cheap bread, toasted, factory meatballs, but not bad at all for the price.

On my list to try:
Mario's Bohemian Cigar Store
Mozzarella de Buffula
Giorgio's Pizzeria.

Any other suggestions/favorites?

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  1. On nasty rainy days, I crave meatball sandwiches as well. There was a place I liked on Union Street in Cow Hollow--a little Italian deli that was only open weekdays during regular business hours, so I only visited a few times when I was home sick.

    I think it is Corsagna's?

    1668 Union St, San Francisco, CA 94123

    1. Try Bigfoot Subs on the east side of Divisadero, north of Haight (I think). Also try Gambino's, on the street level of One Embarcadero Center.

      3 Replies
      1. re: DavidT

        I second Gambino's. Haven't tried their meatball sub, but the sausage & pepper sub just like I remember from childhood in NJ/NY Metro area

        Gambino's New York Subs
        301 Clay St, San Francisco, CA 94111

        1. re: Concetta

          Gambino's is where I go (although now I must try Pasta Gina)
          I always ask for extra sauce, and they are happy to accomodate.

        2. re: DavidT

          As noted below by Gordon Wing, I believe it is King Foot (not Bigfoot) Subs, on Divisadero, near Haight.

        3. I like the meatball sandwich at Amici's (I've only had the sandwich at the King St. branch near the ballpark.) The only problem here is that they stop serving it at 3:00 pm every day. I wish that they'd put it on their dinner menu. It's very delicious.

          I also like the take-out only meatball sandwich at Roxie's on San Jose Ave. (I think that they also serve it at their branch on Kirkham in the Inner Sunset.

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

          Amici's East Coast Pizzeria
          216 King St, San Francisco, CA 94107

          Amici's East Coast Pizzeria
          2200 Lombard St, San Francisco, CA 94123

          Roxie's Market & Deli
          500 Kirkham St, San Francisco, CA

          1. I used to be a fan of the meatball sandwich at the old US Restaurant. I haven't been since it moved and now I hear the restaurant has been sold. It was a great sandwich back in the day....maybe worth checking out if you're in the neighborhood.

            1. It's been awhile since I've been there but I used to enjoy the meatball sub at King Foot Subs - 258 Divisadero Ave. SF ( near Haight ) Couldn't find any old posts on Chowhound but did come up with some others.....

              1 Reply
              1. re: gordon wing

                The meatball sub is as good as ever at Kingfoot. I have it about twice a month.