10 Must-Try Sandwiches in San Francisco

By Tamara Palmer  |  March 31, 2014
Credit: Ike's Place

A great sandwich is the sum of its parts: the perfect amount of delicious meats, vegetables, cheeses and spreads and, of course, excellent bread - be it fresh-baked Bar Tartine sourdough or a customized Pinkie's roll. Here in SF, we have many iconic sandwiches - from meaty subs (Molinari's) to banh mi (Saigon Sandwich). We recently canvassed the city's best delis, restaurant sandwich boards and to-go shops to bring you a current list of 10 Must-Try Sandwiches in San Francisco, including old favorites and new wild cards. See how our picks stack up against your own favorites and let us know what sandwiches you can't live without in the comments.

  • Credit: Tamara Palmer

    Italian combo, Merigan Sub Shop

    A West Coast take on a classic East Coast Italian hoagie or sub, this cold sandwich layers up mortadella, salami, prosciutto cotto, provolone, shredded lettuce, onion, a simple oil-vinegar dressing and hot peppers.

    Price: $13

    Insider tip: Owner Liza Shaw makes almost all of her meats in-house.

    636 Second St.; 415-536-2991

  • Credit: Rhea's Market and Deli

    Katsu sandwich, Rhea's Market and Deli and Rhea's Cafe

    Your choice of a pork or chicken cutlet is dipped in Japanese panko flakes, fried to a light crisp and served on an organic Acme roll with coleslaw, pickled red onions and jalapenos, spicy aioli and sweet, barbecuelike katsu sauce.

    Price: $9.45-$11

    Insider tip: Hit up the market location on Valencia for the cheaper sandwich but understand that you'll be getting it to-go.

    800 Valencia St.; 415-282-5255
    2200 Bryant St.; 415-875-9481

  • Credit: Tamara Palmer

    Two crab sandwich at Sutro's at Cliff House

    A soft and lightly griddled torpedo bun is layered with warm local Dungeness crab salad and a crispy fried soft-shell crab from Maryland; it's one of the restaurant's best-sellers despite the steep price tag.

    Price: $29

    Insider tip: Hit up Sutro's for lunch for the best chance of nabbing a window seat and prime Pacific Ocean views without a reservation.

    1090 Point Lobos Ave.; 415-386-3330

  • Credit: Tamara Palmer

    Reuben at Bar Tartine

    A tangle of rich corned beef on world-famous bread (usually sourdough or rye) is enhanced by sweet and sour elements like charred onions and sauerkraut and a generous amount of farmer's cheese.

    Price: $13

    Insider tip: This item is available as a special at Bar Tartine's daytime sandwich shop, which is open Wednesday through Friday from 11 AM to 3 PM. Call ahead to make sure it's on offer on a particular day.

    561 Valencia St.; 415-487-1600

  • Credit: Caviar

    Smoked trumpet mushroom Reuben at Wise Sons Deli

    The familiar Reuben trappings of sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Russian dressing pair perfectly with meaty trumpet mushrooms for a robust vegetarian alternative to the Jewish delicatessen classic.

    Price: $10.50

    Insider tip: This sandwich can be made vegan upon request.

    3150 24th St.; 415-787-3354
    736 Mission St.; 415-655-7887

  • Credit: Tamara Palmer

    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 with a little bit of chef's salad and spicy slaw in an edible tribute to San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

    Price: $10.50

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

    293 Bayshore Ave.; 415-550-2492

  • Credit: Ike's Place

    Kryptonite at Ike's Place

    Ike's is the king of stuffed sandwiches and with six meats and lots of extras, this is the Superman of them all. It's got corned beef, roast beef, pastrami, ham, salami and turkey, all layered with avocado, bacon, beer-battered onion rings, extra pepper Jack cheese, mozzarella sticks, pesto and jalapeno poppers.

    Price: $19.91

    Insider tip: Sandwiches are to go; for minimal wait, call in your order in advance before you head over.

    3489 16th St.; 415-553-6888

  • Credit: Flickr/kneoh

    Banh mi at Saigon Sandwich Shop

    A cult classic in the Tenderloin: a choice of roasted pork, roasted chicken, pork meatball or marinated tofu is put in a crispy-soft French roll and intermingled with lots of cilantro, jalapenos, pickled carrots and daikon. It may still be the best value around.

    Price: $3.25

    Insider tip: Prepare to wait in line during lunch hours, but don't worry: it moves quickly. Alternatively, you can hit it up for breakfast when it opens at 7:30 AM.

    560 Larkin St.; 415-474-5698

  • Credit: Flickr/niallkennedy

    Smoked brisket at Deli Board

    Customize your sandwich by choosing a wheat, sweet French or Dutch crunch roll and one of eight cheeses to go with this renowned thinly sliced slice of beef heaven.

    Price: $12

    Insider tip: If you're willing to plunk down a dollar more, you can also try the $$$, a sandwich with brisket, corned beef, kosher salami, Muenster and cheddar.

    1058 Folsom St.; 415-552-7687

  • Credit: Tamara Palmer

    Chocolate mochi waffle ice cream sandwich at Q•Moffle

    A messy dessert sandwich that's worth the sloppiness; the waffles taste crisp and slightly chewy due to the use of mochi flour in the batter. Pick your favorite flavor of Dreyer's Ice Cream to go in between (we love macadamia nut).

    Price: $4

    Insider tip: If you're feeling adventurous, try the new fried chicken mochi waffle sandwich, which is made with plain mochi waffles.

    2110 Irving St.; 415-665-1000