San Francisco's 10 Best Sandwiches

Categories: Top Ten

Arguello_Market_Turkey_Sandwich.JPG
Jonathan Kauffman
Arguello Market's roast turkey sandwich.
​Given the care that San Francisco cooks lavish on the humblest of vegetables, it's no surprise that sandwich-making in this town qualifies as an artisanal pursuit. Even journeyman makers hunt down the perfect bread for their masterpieces and whisk together small-batch mayonnaise. In fact, we're surprised that no one has come up with a sandwich-making certification program. Or a guild. Or at least a manifesto. Then again, that's what we love about sandwiches. You can make a sandwich fancy, you can charge $14 for it, but in the end, it's still a food meant to be eaten with your hands. Here are our 10 favorite right now:

10. Turkey sandwich from Arguello Super Market (pictured above)
782 Arguello (at Golden Gate), 751-5121


This small grocery in the Richmond backs its roast turkey sandwich up with a big marketing push: 'World's best turkey sandwich." World's best? We can't judge that claim, but it's certainly San Francisco's best, layered with fat slices of meat sliced off a freshly roasted bird. The grocery store can roast up to a dozen birds a day, just to keep up with demand. With good meat in the middle, there's no need to zhoozh it up, though if you're feeling Novemberish, you can add cranberry sauce for an extra 75 cents.

MandL_pastrami_sandwich.jpg
Jonathan Kauffman
M&L's turkey and pastrami sandwich.
9. Turkey-pastrami sandwich at M & L Market
691 14th St. (at Market), 431-7044
Over the course of its 32 years, this mom-and-pop market, now more of a mom-and-daughter market, has developed rules so stringent they rival the U.S. Customs Service's. As numerous signs instruct, you must order the sandwich in a certain order -- bread first! -- and it helps to speak slowly and clearly, showing Judy and May deference rather than fear. The sandwich you get in return isn't just cheap, it's unique to the market, stuffed with sliced turkey and M&L's signature meat, a mild, fat-streaked pastrami that heats and crinkles up in two rice cookers.

Boos_Voni_Milanesa2.JPG
Jonathan Kauffman
Boos Voni's chicken milanesa torta.
8. Chicken milanesa torta from Tortas Boos Voni.

5170 Mission (at Geneva), 585-5880
American tortas are like American, well, everything: bigger, louder, cheesier than the Mexican original. The breaded chicken cutlet -- freshly fried -- at the center of Boos Voni's milanesa torta is padded out with an inch-thick layer of shredded lettuce, tomato, onion, and avocado, glued to the telera bread they're pressed between with fat doses of cotija cheese and crema. That girth, though, guarantees that the torta balances out the tang of the sour cream with the fresh crunch of the vegetables. Just make sure to split it with a friend.



Jablows_pastrami.JPG
Jonathan Kauffman
Pastrami sandwich from Jablow's Meats
7. Pastrami sandwich from Jablow's Meats

Various locations; check the Facebook page

For the past year, Dan Jablow, a former Fatted Calf butcher, has been selling his smoked meats at popup restaurants around town. And if his pastrami sandwich is hard to come by, it's worth the hunt. Jablow brines and smokes Piedmontese beef over apple and cherry wood, and it comes out is smokier and less salty than the stuff in your average deli sandwich. When the cooks slather the pastrami in whole-grain mustard, cover it in a vinegary slaw, and mount it between slices of thick-crusted rye, you get an excellent package, not a mediocre vehicle for good meat.

Location Info

Venue

Map

Tortas Boos Voni

5170 Mission, San Francisco, CA

Category: Restaurant

Outerlands

4001 Judah, San Francisco, CA

Category: Restaurant

Pal's Takeaway

2751 24th St., San Francisco, CA

Category: Restaurant

Little Vietnam Cafe

309 Sixth Ave., San Francisco, CA

Category: Restaurant

Roli Roti Gourmet Rotisserie

San Francisco, San Francisco, CA

Category: Restaurant

Queen's Louisiana Po-Boy Cafe

3030 San Bruno Ave., San Francisco, CA

Category: Restaurant

Ironside

680 Second St., San Francisco, CA

Category: Restaurant

M and L Market

691 14th St., San Francisco, CA

Category: General

My Voice Nation Help
112 comments
Jan Simone
Jan Simone

Not a roast beef in the whole lot. :(

Edward Beltran
Edward Beltran

Edward Beltran Still have not found a decent hot pastrami sandwich in SF. I must say, my first was in Oxnard. I do not remember where and don't laugh, yes, Oxnard, CA. Then it was a NYC Hot pastrami from Katz's http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bd9ilxMnnv8 OXN was just as good as the one in NYC, but I cant seem to find one in SF that even compares? What gives?

Hew Burney
Hew Burney

I have not even made it to Blue Bottle Coffee Co.

jmberrysonoma
jmberrysonoma

You missed the Hot pastrami from Golden Gate Meats in the Ferry bldg.. It's amazing..

Hannah Cherkassky
Hannah Cherkassky

Only 2 vegetarian sandwiches--one just a grilled cheese, obviously thrown in for good measure--in this entire list? Come on...

Chester Wayne Wong
Chester Wayne Wong

You should update your list because there's a new sandwich spot in town Mission Picnic that blows all these places away. Their sandwiches are sooooo gooood! Try their picnic club or cubano!

MadBro
MadBro

The 3rd sandwich is the best sandwich. 

Drew Medina
Drew Medina

Boy's Deli on Polk St - the City Girl

Dabin Foodie Lo
Dabin Foodie Lo

No mention of IKEs, Darby Dan, Little Lucca, Miss Tomato, etc..... hummmmm

Brandy Schirato
Brandy Schirato

How about a list for 2013? Maybe add a sandwich from Deli Board?

Jonas Heineman
Jonas Heineman

There are sandwiches, and there are sandwiches. Arguello Super is the ONLY one on this list that qualifies as a legit sandwich from a sandwich place. Any list of sandwiches that doesn't include something from Ted's Market on Howard is bunk.

Monica Tzeng
Monica Tzeng

Good Luck Sandwich in Chinatown - a hole in the wall, but definitely gives more than what you pay!

Rebecca Palermo
Rebecca Palermo

It's been awhile since my SF days, but the Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese sandwich at Tartine and the tuna melt at the Dolores Park Cafe were two of my favorite things...

Michael Davidson
Michael Davidson

and Il Canne Rosso makes a roast beef that I would kill for.

David Oliver
David Oliver

Yes! Pal's Takeaway! Jeff's bahn mi is outta control! Best sandwich shop in the city!!

Annie Southworth
Annie Southworth

French Dip at Clare's Deli, Home for the holidays (Turkey and Sriacha Cranberry) at Ike's, Roast Beef Bi-Rite Market

Robert Tye
Robert Tye

i am in shock and awe that you failed to mention any sammich from Lou's Cafe

Katie Casey
Katie Casey

Elaine Ordiz hoping to live vicariously through you and this list!

Arielle Kelly
Arielle Kelly

i know this list is inaccurate because both molinari's and Soul Groove are not on it!

citysando
citysando

Nothing from morty's? They deserve to have something on this list along with Lou's in the richmond and Java beach in the outer sunset. I haven't seen anyone mention twilight cafe. Might not be the best sandwich u ever had but it's tasty, so is the one at grove st market. I tend to like the cheaper sando spots  

IMO
IMO

imo: negative: glad ike's was left off the list: simple is better and long lines are gay.

              wise sons is overpriced: wtf but i guess that includes gentrification.

positive:              rhea's deli isn't mentioned: their valencia st. is epic!               yay for mays & pals!

ps:  what is up with dutch cruch bread anyway?

basil
basil

I LIKE IKES!Granted the grilled cheese looked tasty, but I doubt there is a line of people wrapped around a City block to get one

SFoodie
SFoodie

Dude, go to the 7x7SF 2012 list for the real deal about what's good in SF.

Sandwich
Sandwich

This blog is a joke...if Ike's isn't on any sandwich top list in SF, they these writers don't know jack.

FriscoEddie
FriscoEddie

plilly cheese stake is better than all @ divisidero/ sutter

Monedog
Monedog

Ahhh, where's Deli Board, Rhea's Deli or Ike's??  My holy sandwich trinity!!!

Steven
Steven

Why no offering from Ted's market?  The best sandwiches in the city!

Eclipse
Eclipse

Sorry, but if Mr. Pickle isn't on this list I can't take it seriously.

Also where's the Saigon Sandwich? Best banh mi in town by a mile.

SO over the hipster reinventions of sandwiches..

Waybackgiant
Waybackgiant

A couple of pointers on the Cuban sandwich at Ironside. First of all, it's the wrong bread. Secondly I don't see any swiss cheese, the pickles shouldn't be chopped and where's the mustard? Other than that, it looks delicious.

Jbernsteiniii
Jbernsteiniii

The Original El Faro    20th & Folsom ..Carnitas Tota

George's Zoo  RJ's invention  2560 Sloat blvd

The Original Philadelphia Cheesesteak shoppe  Divisadero & Sutter..Spinach & Mushroom with sweet & hot, grilled onions ( 10 inch please)

Tommy's Joynt- Turkey Sandwich

The Yellow Submarine _ pepper steak & cheese (ask for the secret hot sauce)

Original Joe's Hamburger ( A hamburger IS a sandwich)

Lucca's deli ( Chestnut st)  A Mortadella, Prosciutto, Salami &  Provolone  will make you whack your grandma.

Miller's east Coast west- Corned Beef on Rye, Yellow mustard and a pickle- leave me alone, I'm eating.

The House of Bagels bakery and shop at 5030 Geary Boulevard- House of Bagels’ Special

Hot Corned Beef, Chopped Liver, Swiss Cheese, Cole Slaw, Russian Dressing on Rye ( What's not to like?)

The last place is a secret. I'm not telling but, the sandwich is meatloaf done the right way. Besides, Mom doesn't like it when i bring people home.

jab
jab

sorry by leaving off Wise Sons Pastrami and incudling Jablow's pastrami instead you have NO credibility for taste!

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