Must-Try

15 Must-Try Sandwiches Across America

By Zagat Staff  |  April 1, 2014

From Texas-style 'cue in Austin to a smoked meat specialty in NYC, here are 15 of the tastiest sandwiches in the land. Did we leave out your favorite? Let us know in the comments.

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  • Credit: Flickr / barney

    Atlanta: Catfish Sandwich at Star Provisions

    Westside's high-class market sells tons of knickknacks, cheeses, baked goods, jellies, coffee and more, and the sandwich counter is just as rich a resource. Their catfish comes cornmeal-crusted and topped with refreshing pickled fennel, crisp lettuce and a tangy, spicy aïoli.

    Price: $8.95

    Insider Tip: Think those cookies and cupcakes all the way at the left of the deli case look enticing? Careful - those are gourmet dog treats. People food is to the right.

  • Austin: Tipsy Texan at Franklin Barbecue

    Can Aaron Franklin make his already amazing barbecue any better? Why, yes, friends, he can. Franklin piles chopped brisket and sausage onto a fresh-baked bun and then adds a crunchy layer of purple coleslaw and pickles for an out-of-this-world, enormous meal.

    Price: $6.50

    Insider Tip: The sandwich is named after David Alan, aka the Tipsy Texan, one of our bartenders to watch.

  • Boston: Crab Cake on Brioche at Legal Crossing

    The new, one-off upscale entry in the Legal Sea Foods family takes its long-famous crab cake and gives it a spin. Its lunch menu boasts a succulent cake on brioche with Sriracha aïoli, fried egg and avocado. Just like that, an old favorite feels new - and delicious. 

    Price: $17

    Insider Tip: Downtown parking is notoriously hard to find, but Legal Crossing validates in a nearby garage for a bargain rate: a discount of two bucks an hour for the first two hours. Cheaper than a T ride. 

  • Chicago: Carne Enchilada Cemita at Cemitas Puebla

    Not your average taco stand, this off-the-beaten-path restaurant specializes in the cemita sandwich. The creation is made with avocado, chile guajillo-marinated butterfly pork chop, adobo chipotle peppers, fresh Oaxacan cheese and papalo on sesame seed bread.

    Price: $6.50

    Insider Tip: The popular Humboldt Park sandwich shop will be expanding to trendy Fulton Market this spring, according to Eater.

  • Dallas: The Southern Hospitality at The Butcher’s Son

    Any sandwich that pairs buttermilk fried chicken with, well, almost anything is generally winning. Sandwich and slider food truck The Butcher’s Son perches the tender on garlic potato spread and ladles country gravy on top. Hospitable indeed.

    Price: $2.89

    Insider Tip: This slider screams for an order of crisp, citrusy lime tots.

  • Credit: Christopher Cina

    Denver: Fleischkäse at Continental Deli

    The name translates, amusingly enough, as “meat cheese,” but the definition of this German classic may be even more surprising: ground veal, pork, bacon and onions that are shaped into a loaf and baked until it develops a crust. At this beloved Cherry Creek market and deli, run by the owners of decades-old Continental Sausage, the fleischkäse is then grilled and served atop a bun from a fellow institution for European fare, Wimberger’s Old World Bakery in Colorado Springs. Think of it as a flattened frankfurter - only much better.

    Price: $4.50; $6.50 with choice of side

    Insider Tip: Don't come here in a rush. The opportunity to browse shelf after shelf of pantry goods imported from all over Europe, as well as German-language dime-store reads, is all part of the charm. 

  • Houston: The Morning Glory at BB's Cafe

    As you make your way through the mountain of sausage, scrambled eggs, queso and BB’s special sauce slathered on French bread, sandwich runoff drips down your forearms and you can’t help but feel...like you definitely should have worked out today.

    Price: $7

    Insider Tip: This sandwich is only available at the BB’s Montrose location.

  • Credit: Ryan Tanaka

    Los Angeles: Pho Banh Mi at East Borough

    Forget soup and a sandwich. Here, the ingredients for pho are stuffed inside a baguette. Brilliant. The banh mi has beef brisket, basil, onions, hoisin and Sriracha aïoli, plus the requisite cucumber, cilantro, jalapeños and pickled vegetables.

    Price: $13

    Insider Tip: The banh mi is only available at lunch, so you might not be able to partake in the fantastic cocktails. But don’t fret; the nonalcoholic housemade sodas are pretty amazing, including ginger limeade, blood-orange cinnamon soda and pineapple basil soda.

  • Credit: @chefryanharri

    Miami: The Big Ragout Sandwich at Blue Collar

    Inside this tiny MiMo hole-in-the-wall you'll find this monster of a sandwich made of pork and veal shoulder, brisket, mozzarella and Parmesan stuffed inside hollowed-out crusty bread. 

    Price: $13

    Insider Tip: There's a decent selection of brews that'll pair nicely, including Dales Pale Ale and Dogfish IPA ($5 each).

  • New York: Smoked Meat Deluxe at Mile End

    New Yorkers love their pastrami and corned beef, but Mile End Deli introduced locals to a Canadian wrinkle on the Jewish deli classics - Montreal smoked meat, which is a kind of pastrami-corned beef hybrid. The brisket is dry cured with a heavy dose of spices, then smoked low and slow, steamed, and then served thickly cut on slices of mustard-slathered Orwasher's rye. It's an imported deli ritual that's as good as our hometown specialties.

    Price: $14

    Insider Tip: The lines at the tiny Brooklyn location are notoriously long; instead of waiting for a table, get the sandwich to-go and pair it with a beer at the nearby Brooklyn Inn.

  • Philadelphia: Pulled Pork Italiano at Tommy DiNic’s

    GQ’s Alan Richman may have declared the roast pork sandwich at this Reading Terminal Market stand the best in all America (hence the never-ceasing lines that snake through market aisles), but those who’ve tried this alternate agree it’s better worth the pilgrimage. Provolone and rabe act as an angel-devil pair of creamy and sharp complements for the rich shreds of pork on the absorbent hoagie roll.

    Price: $8.50
    Insider Tip: Though the line does move impressively fast, if you can work it into your schedule, avoid lunchtime and get your pork fix either mid-morning (10-11 AM) or mid-afternoon (2:30-3:30 PM). Bonus: credit cards are accepted.

  • Credit: Darlene Horn

    San Diego: Aphrodite at SuperNatural Sandwiches

    Aphrodite is an appropriate name for this grilled cheese sandwich - one bite and you’ll be smitten. A combination of plump shrimp, chopped Applewood-smoked bacon and four types of cheese (pecorino, mozzarella, cheddar and goat) is melted in between two thick slices of bread from Bread & Cie. To keep things interesting, the rich sandwich is served with freshly made shrimp chips, seasoned with spicy togarashi.

    Price: $10

    Insider Tip: SuperNatural has a new brick-and-mortar location, but it's still keeping its commitment at the Hillcrest Farmers Market every Sunday from 9 AM-2 PM.

  • Credit: Tamara Palmer

    San Francisco: Kaepernicking Sandwich at Jake's Place

    A near-genius combination of overnight braised beef and tomato, crispy mac 'n' cheese, lettuce, blue cheese sauce and pickled onion bits is served on Dutch crunch in an edible tribute to San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

    Price: $9.85

    Insider Tip: This sandwich is available for delivery anywhere in the city by Caviar.

  • Seattle: Meatball Sandwich at Salumi

    Seattle's most famous charcuterie palace makes a deep lineup of sandwiches featuring those savory cured meats, but also can stake a claim to the best meatball in the 206. They're pork-y, so extra tender and juicy. Topped with the vibrant house marinara, grilled onions and peppers and cheese of your choice, these elements add up to a flavor bomb that's best eaten with a knife and fork.

    Price: $12

    Insider Tip: Better get in line before noon to make sure you land one of these saucy gems on Macrina bread. These meatballs have a loyal following and when they're gone for the day, they're gone.

  • Washington, DC: Pop’s Beef Brisket at Bub and Pop's

    Crafted by a trained chef as an homage to his grandparents' deli, this is fast becoming one of Washington's favorite sandwiches. Slow-braised beef brisket with apple-horseradish cream, shaved five-year-aged Gouda and veal jus make for a sloppy yet magical combo that's a bit pricey for a sandwich - but totally worth it.

    Price: $8 for a half; $12 for a whole (add a fried egg for $1)

    Insider Tip: Those chocolate-chip-oatmeal cookies by the cash register? They’re also used to make vanilla-bean ice cream sandwiches.