The verdict on the best New York sandwich is as fiercely contested as the best New York slice. There is a seemingly endless supply of notable sandwich spots throughout the city, which fuels seemingly endless debate over which one should wear the carb-encrusted crown.
Your Guide to the Best Sandwiches in NYC
Basically what we’re saying is when it comes to narrowing down the best sandwiches in NYC, it’s harder than trying to catch a taxi during rush hour. Fortunately, we’ve got you covered. Scroll through our guide to the best sandwiches in NYC below to find the best saucy heroes, spicy hoagies, grilled Cubans, crispy cutlet clubs, and more.
The latest project of Schaller & Weber, a reigning Upper East Side institution since 1937, this restaurant can be a little tricky to find. First, because the entrance hides behind and underneath Schaller’s Stube Sausage Bar. Secondly, because its name changes by the season. In fall and wintertime, you’ll find Hutte, but come spring and summer, Blume takes over. While best known for fondue and charcuterie, you can also count on the double-smoked bacon BLT to remain a menu all-star no matter the season. The toasted baguette comes with bibb lettuce, chive aioli, smokey bacon, and a tomato that tastes like the sun, forming a shocking burst of flavors. In other words, exactly what you’d expect from one of the best sandwiches in NYC.
Established back in 1986, Alidoro is an Italian specialty sandwich shop with locations in Bryant Park, Rockfeller Center, Noho, and Soho. They make 40 different sandwiches fresh daily and boast only the finest Italian ingredients. It’s not surprising that the shop has built up quite a fanbase, which is particularly evident during the lunch rush. While you’re sure to enjoy any of the various cold-cut formations, make sure to try the Pinocchio. It comes with soppressata, prosciutto, spongey mozzarella, and sweet roasted peppers atop crusty sesame bread. Plus, a secret ingredient: an ultra-savory, briny olive paste that ties everything together.
A contemporary tri-state deli, Cutlets offers some of the best sandwiches in NYC by blending tradition with a little innovation. You can choose between a number of different meat bases, but there’s a reason this place is called “Cutlets.” Keep it classic and go with the Number One: a perfectly baked chicken cutlet with thick-cut bacon, white cheddar, and the Cutlets special sauce. The chicken is juicy as can be, the sauce and cheddar are zingy and full of flavor, and the bacon is a powerhouse. The high-quality ingredients (all-natural and non-GMO) turn a simple design into something really special.
9. Murray’s Cheese
Discover one of the best sandwiches in NYC at the grilled cheese counter at the legendary Murray’s Cheese. Dubbed the Murray Melt, their grilled cheese and main attraction features a mix of New York cheddar, fontina fontal, and red-wax gouda between two slices of Orwashers sourdough (another NYC staple). Oh, and rest assured, Murray’s doesn’t skimp on the butter. The result is a pillowy, melty bite of pure happiness. From the butter that is pan-seared to a golden crisp across the bread, to the gooey cheese that invokes memories of childhood whimsy. If there was such a thing as a nostalgic sandwich, this would be it.
8. Cheeky Sandwiches
If you blink, you just might miss this literal hole-in-the-wall. With a New Orleans-inspired menu that serves diverse items like braised short rib on challah and an oyster po’boy, Cheekys brings some Louisiana flair to the Lower East Side. And their fried chicken on a buttermilk biscuit (name a more iconic duo) definitely makes this place home to one of the best sandwiches in NYC. Freshly fried upon order, the chicken, along with some tangy slaw and very dense gravy, stacks on top of a crumbly, buttery biscuit. No frills, no gimmicks, just a really, intensely satisfying—and messy—sandwich.
7. Café Habana
Turns out you don’t need to go to Cuba for an excellent Cubano. Voted as the best Cuban in New York, the Cuban sandwich at Café Habana makes a fine contender on our guide to the best sandwiches in NYC. Famous for its elote (Mexican-style street corn) and a slew of other menu items, Café Habana has been a landmark restaurant in NoLita for decades, and for good reason. The pulled pork that makes up the heart of their classic Cuban sandwich is juicy to the point of sumptuous. Plus, layers of savory ham, melty cheese, whisper-thin pickles, and spicy chipotle aioli elevate it to new heights. All of these flavors soak elegantly into the bread, which is always fresh, and create a truly lavish tasting experience.
6. Num Pang Kitchen
First opened in 2009, Num Pang Kitchen introduced New York City to Cambodian-inspired dishes and some outrageously delicious sandwiches. Similar to a Vietnamese banh mi, Num Pang Kitchen sandwiches specialize in bold, Southeast Asian flavors. They offer six regular sandwiches in addition to a variety of seasonal specials, each following a similar format: highly flavorful meat and brightly pickled veggies encased in a perfectly crunchy-on-outside, fluffy-on-inside semolina baguette. While any selection here is bound to be delectable, you will want to try the Coconut Tiger Shrimp. Thinly sliced cucumber and zingy grated carrots temper sweetened shrimp, all slathered with a signature spicy chili mayo.
5. Faicco’s Italian Specialties
Faicco’s Italian Specialties is a true old-world Italian deli in the heart of Greenwich Village that manages to fit a massive selection of cured meats and aged cheeses in a very narrow, busy space. And it’s been in business since 1900, which feels as legitimate as you can get, especially when it comes to the best sandwiches in NYC. When ordering, you can’t go wrong with the chicken cutlet parm hero. It’s a freshly breaded and fried chicken cutlet smothered with house-made mozzarella and an unbelievable marinara sauce professionally assembled on a large roll. The final creation is simply colossal, loaded to the brim with oozing, saucy goodness. Just one bite and you’ll know why they’ve been going strong for over 100 years.
4. Katz’s Delicatessen
Arguably the most iconic establishment on the Lower East Side, and a rare New York cornerstone that actually lives up to its considerable hype, Katz’s has been on the receiving end of lavish praise for over a generation. So let’s cut to the chase: you’re here to have what she’s having—aka the pastrami on rye. What makes it one of the best sandwiches in NYC? The meat is pickled for three weeks in a brine solution and rubbed down in their secret spice blend, smoked for another three days, steamed behind the counter, and carved by seasoned professionals. When it’s finally plated, the fatty, thick-cut, juicy pastrami is stacked to the sky on two plush pieces of rye bread, and it’s a sight (and taste) to behold.
3. Court Street Grocers
Court Street Grocers was designed to offer up some of the best sandwiches in NYC from its inception. The gourmet deli, now with a location just off Washington Square Park, sources their breads from celebrity-tier bakeries throughout the city, including Balthazar, Caputo’s, and Orwashers. Their menu is a veritable compendium of sandwiches, from breakfast selections to plentiful Reuben, turkey, and vegan combinations. According to the shop’s cult following, try The Delight. You get your choice of tender corned beef or turkey plus swiss, crunchy slaw, full sour pickles, and come-back sauce (a combo of chili sauce and mayo) on rye bread. While “corned beef” might give off some old school energy, at Court Street Grocers, it’s avant-garde.
2. Banh Mi Saigon
The pork banh mi sandwich at Banh Mi Saigon in China Town is nothing less than a work of art. While it is quite accessible through a small storefront on Grand Street versus on display at the MET, their BBQ pork banh mi sandwich is an exhibition you won’t want to miss. The delicate, crackly baguette, made in house, comes with generous slices of marinated pork and crumbly pâté, sweet julienned cucumber, pickled daikon and carrots, a sprig of cilantro, and fresh jalapeños (if you ask for it spicy). Resolutely one of the best sandwiches in NYC, it is the ultimate interplay of flavors: sharp, salty, rich, and sweet.
1. Pastrami Queen
When it comes to the best sandwiches in NYC, Pastrami Queen is king. And like true royalty, this tiny Upper East Side establishment upholds tradition. In this case, top-secret and heavily guarded family recipes. The World Famous Hot Pastrami sandwich is their signature, with piles of tender, pink, marbled pastrami stuffed between two pieces of Orwashers’ fluffy rye bread. Despite the sandwich’s monstrous size, every bite goes down like butter. The pastrami is perfect as is, but it’s also worth trying some of Pastrami Queen’s house-made slaw or Russian dressing. While you won’t be knighted upon leaving, your mouth will surely never be the same.