Superlative Sandwiches: Where to Find the Best Sandwiches in NYC

The divine beauty of the sandwich is that you can take any kind of bread and any ingredients and put them together and you’ve got something wonderful and edible to eat. The possibilities are endless.  And in New York City, the sandwich options pretty much are limitless. Nearly every culinary culture has a version of the sandwich. There are old-school varieties, new riffs on classics, and new inventions. Here are some of the best Sandwiches in NYC and where to find the best versions of them. 

sandwich slice with meat and melted cheese
Little pieces of heaven between two slices of bread are dotted all around NYC. We share the best ones. Photo credit: Polina Tankilevitch

Chicken Parmigiano 

A classic of Italian-American cuisine, the chicken parm is a menu staple in many old-school Italian spots around the city. And one of the best Italian sandwiches in NYC can be found at Rubirosa, an Italian-American restaurant on Mulberry Street.

The pizza here is outstanding, but so is the chicken parm on a roll. Smothered in mozzarella, parmigiana, and tangy tomato sauce, it’s one of the best sandwiches in NYC.

B.E.C. 

It stands for bacon, egg, and cheese (on a roll) and it’s a classic New York City breakfast bodega sandwich. The BEC is pretty much ubiquitous. Every corner deli makes one. But where to find one of the best breakfast sandwiches in NYC? 

Court Street Grocers, a superlative sandwich shop with locations in Carroll Gardens and Greenwich Village, makes a few variations on the BEC, including the B+B: soft scrambled eggs, smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, and arugula on a soft roll. If you want your BEC on a bagel, head to Tompkins Square Bagels (165 Avenue A) in the East Village. One of the best bagel shops in the city, we recommend a Weezer, which comes crammed with bacon, cheddar, chorizo, and cream cheese.

sandwich with bacon eggs and cheese
You’ll find several classic NYC sandwiches at Court Street Grocers but the star is their B.E.C. Photo credit: Angele J

Chopped Cheese

The origins of the chopped cheese sandwich are murky. We only know that it’s a bodega sandwich and that it originated somewhere in Harlem or northern Manhattan (though some argue the Bronx). There’s also a general consensus that it may have originated from Blue Sky Deli, aka Hajji’s, on the corner of E. 110th Street and First Avenue in Harlem. 

Whatever the case, the chopped cheese at Hajji’s is the best version out there. Put some ground beef on the griddle, add in onions, and melty American cheese, and then slap it all on the hero and you’ve got comfort on bread. 

Banh Mi

The brisket banh mi at Hanoi House is a riff on the classic French dip sandwich. Think ultra-tender and flavorful brisket stuffed into a hero roll. It comes with a side of pho broth for dipping. 

At the moment this East Village Vietnamese spot doesn’t have a classic banh mi on the menu, which is a northern-style sandwich, eschewing vegetables for more pork. But trust us, the brisket banh mi is one of the best sandwiches in NYC. For a more classic southern-style banh mi, the kind that is more of a balance between pork cold cuts, paté, and vegetables, head to Ba Xuyên in Sunset Park (Eighth Avenue and 43rd Street).

Close up of a banh mi sandwich, a baguette cut lengthwise and filled with meat and vegetables
Banh Mi is a must-try at Hanoi House. Photo credit: Amy Tran

Katsu Sandwich

There’s katsu, a Japanese version of the Wienerschnitzel or Milanese cutlet and then there’s the katsu sandwich. You can bread nearly anything and stick it between two slices of bread. But at Emilia by Nai, a creative Spanish restaurant in the East Village, the mushroom katsu is a divine sandwich. Breaded and fried shiitake mushrooms, flavor-exploding curried onions, and garlic aioli between two slices of soft brioche make for one of the best sandwiches in the city. 

Cuban Sandwich

They don’t call it a Cuban at Fiacco’s, an old-school, Italian-flavored specialty food shop on Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village, but the smoked ham and roast pork hero is basically just that. It’s crammed with porky deliciousness. Accompanying the meat is Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard. It’s a Cuban sandwich in all but name. Regardless, this beast is its own massive masterpiece of a sandwich. 

cuban sandwich with a side of slaw
The Cuban sandwich originated in Florida before making its way to NYC and becoming a local staple. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Fried Chicken Sandwich 

With locations on the Lower East Side, Williamsburg, Prospect Heights, and Long Island City, Sweet Chick’s hot Nashville fried chicken sandwich isn’t far from wherever you are. The crispy, juicy chicken with a slight cayenne kick to the palate is perfectly placed on a soft and unobtrusive potato bun. It’s a Southern fried masterpiece. 

Mexican Torta

At the Torta Neza (104-58 Roosevelt Ave) food truck in Corona, Queens, you can find the best torta sandwiches in NYC. If you have to choose just one, opt for the signature Beast, where owner and torta wizard-maker-in-chief Galdino Molinero assembles a nearly two-pound beast of a sandwich that is over-stuffed with breaded chicken Milanesa, ham, sausage, egg, and cheese. 

sandwich milanesa
Come hungry to Torta Neza because their tortas are known for being delicious and super-sized. Photo credit: Edsel Little

Roast Beef Sandwich

Since 1938 Brooklynites have been patronizing Brennan & Carr for its excellent roast beef sandwich. It’s served on a kaiser roll and then doused in pan drippings. If you love roast beef, try this to experience one of the best sandwiches in NYC. 

Pastrami on Rye 

Yes, legendary Lower East Side smoked meat mecca, Katz’s Deli is something of a tourist trap. But yes, it’s a tourist trap that’s worth your time and money, and calories. The smoked pastrami on rye here is everything it’s made out to be. And it’s huge. Come hungry or share one with a friend or three. The runner-up goes to Pastrami Queen on the Upper East Side. 

pastrami-on-rye
Katz’s Deli has been run by the same family since 1888. Photo credit: Akhil Pawar

Pulled Pork Sandwich

No surprise here that New York’s best barbecue spot, Hometown Bar-B-Que, has the best pulled-pork sandwich in town. On a soft sesame roll, the unctuous, ultra-flavorful, and slow-cooked pork is tangled with spicy ranch, while the pickles, fried onions, and coleslaw give lovely textural snap and crunch to the whole thing. 

Rib Sandwich

The Smoking Fox at Foxface in the East Village packs a lot of flavor between two pieces of bread. There’s a reason this is the only sandwich that isn’t rotated on and off the menu. It’s a permanent star of the show. Tender smoked boneless rib is buttressed with the textural crunch of coleslaw and the snap of pickles, giving way to the kick of habañero sauce. A close second goes to the Cha Siu McRib sandwich, a fun play on the McDonald’s classic at Bonnie’s, an impossible-to-get-into Chinese spot in Williamsburg. 

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