Seattle's 9 Most Spectacular Sandwiches

By Leslie Kelly  |  March 31, 2014

There are dozens of candidates for a list of Seattle's best sandwiches, but these nine stand out for providing the perfect balance of stuffings, condiments and - of course - bread, while going extra large in the flavor department. From the juicy Paseo pork to the earthy savoriness of Cafe Flora's Portobello French dip, all of these sandwiches have one thing in common: when you eat one, you'll be hooked.

  • Croque Madame from Le Pichet

    At this bistro near Pike Place Market, the classic open-faced ham sandwich gets an added advantage with bubbly Gruyere and just the right amount of creamy béchamel. The perfectly cooked egg on top turns the croque monsieur into a madame.  

    Price: $7.25
    Insider Tip: To balance out that ultrarich sandwich, order the salad verte on the side, the best dressed Bibb lettuce in the city and, at $5, one of the best deals too.

    1933 First Ave.; 206-256-1499

  • Smoked salmon Reuben from Elliott's Oyster House

    We love the Northwest twist on this old-fashioned favorite. It's built around house-cured and smoked wild keta from the Yukon River in Alaska, topped with Swiss cheese, housemade sauerkraut and Russian dressing - all sandwiched between thick-cut Alsatian rye bread and toasted. The succulent salmon stacked high might make you forget about the corned beef version. Served with fries.

    Price: $17
    Insider Tip: If Elliott's dining room is packed - as it often is - you can also order this sandwich at the neighboring Cafe 56, the restaurant's casual little sister.

    1201 Alaskan Way; 206-623-4340

  • Schnitzel sandwich from Brave Horse Tavern

    A generous slab of pork loin, breaded and fried golden, is tucked into a pretzel roll with a whole lot of personality and a pleasantly chewy bite. The apple-cabbage slaw adds a sweet crunch, with melted Swiss fusing to the schnitzel. Just crying out for one of the beers on the long list of locals and imports.  

    Price: $10
    Insider Tip: Tom's tomato soup was just added to the menu, making a bright accompaniment to this rich dish.

    310 Terry Ave. N.; 206-971-0717

  • Portobello French Dip from Cafe Flora

    The meaty mushrooms are sautéed until they're tender and combined with caramelized onions with Swiss on top. A crusty seeded baguette provides a fine platform for those well-seasoned ingredients. A dip in the garlicky mushroom au jus is a complex finish to this satisfying sandwich. 

    Price: $13
    Insider Tip: Gluten-free and vegan versions are available.

    2901 E. Madison St.; 206-325-9100

  • Meatball sandwich from 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: $7 or $8.50 with cheese
    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.

    309 Third Ave. S.; 206-621-8772

  • Pressed pork from Paseo

    What a hot mess! And we mean that in the best possible way. This pileup of slow-roasted pork, ham, Swiss, fat rings of grilled onions and tart banana peppers isn't exactly a Cuban sandwich, even though the menu describes it as pressed. On their own, those ingredients are simple and tasty enough, but together, on a baguette, they're a magical combo that causes people to stand in long lines to grab one. The kitchen tosses at least a half a dozen napkins into each to-go bag with each order and you're likely to need most of them. 

    Price: $9
    Insider Tip: The lines at the Ballard location are often not as long and - unlike the original Fremont shop, which has no seating - there are picnic tables at the Ballard walk-up window, which is now open Sundays. Also, cilantro haters need to ask the kitchen to hold that green, which shows up on sandwiches even though it's not mentioned on the menu.

    7410 Greenwood Ave. N., 206-397-4689; and 6226 Seaview Ave. NW, 206-789-3100

  • Pork belly confit banh mi from Matt's in the Market

    This is one of the best uses of pork belly: cooked slow until quiveringly tender, the fatty pieces are perked up by a shower of pickled daikon radish, shredded carrots, Fresno chiles, hoisin, cilantro and sambal mayonnaise on baguette. So many colorful textures and that great pairing of sweet and heat make this lunch staple such a treat.

    Price: $16
    Insider Tip: This is a good one to split, especially if you start your meal with an order of the outstanding deviled eggs.

    94 Pike St.; 206-467-7909

  • Prawn smörgås from Swedish Cultural Center

    Served only at the Friday Kafé, this open-faced sandwich is a lovely tribute to the city's Scandanavian heritage. It's served on the top floor of a club that opens to the public every Friday, a bright, cheerful place that has a spectacular view of Lake Union. The shellfish are plump and sweet and lightly dressed in a citrus-y mayo that's got a hint of dill. Prawns are piled onto a hearty rye bread, with hard-cooked eggs on the side. 

    Price: $10
    Insider Tip: Check out the dessert case in the bar and claim one of the rotating selection of goodies when you order lunch. Those sweets go fast at this popular weekly event. 

    1920 Dexter Ave. N.; 206-283-1090

  • Oyster po' boy from Blueacre Seafood

    Louisiana-born chef Kevin Davis was one of the first to introduce an oyster po' boy to Seattle when he opened this inviting Downtown dining room and it was love at first bite. Fat, fried oysters are the star, of course, but this sandwich is properly dressed, just like they'd do in New Orleans, with crunchy fresh iceberg lettuce and juicy sliced tomatoes and housemade tartar sauce smeared on the crusty bread. Love the cherry peppers stuck on top, holding the jaw-testing sandwich together.   

    Price: $16
    Insider Tip: Skip the typical french fries and try the crispy broccoli fries instead, drizzled in hot pepper sauce with blue cheese sauce on the side for dipping.

    1700 Seventh Ave.; 206-659-0737