Hand-held and often easily portable, a sandwich packs complementary flavors into every bite. These Boston sandwich shops and delis know their way around fresh, delicious ingredients. Whether you’re looking for a quick lunch or a belly-busting pick-me-up, these are the sandwiches that will do the trick. From healthy, veggie-packed options to classic pastrami piled high, consider your lunch plans decided. For more hand-held options, check out our guides to these sandwich-adjacent treats: the best lobster rolls, best hot dogs and best burgers in Boston.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Boston
Sandwich makers we love so much that we welcomed them into Time Out Market
At Time Out Market Boston's BISq outpost, customers can enjoy fine charcuterie, lovingly-sourced cheese boards and gourmet sandwiches such as roast beef with scallion, cabbage, and mushroom XO on baguette, or roasted pork with sweet potato, salsa and aioli on ciabatta.
Boston has a sizable population who grew up with comforting deli staples, but in recent years most of the area’s old-school joints have vanished. Enter Kendall Square’s celebrated modern-era deli, Mamaleh’s. At Time Out Market Boston, the Mamaleh’s team brings its scrumptious smoked fish platters and juicy pastrami sandwiches—perfect for a filling meal or a quick nosh—across the river to the Fenway. Treat yourself to a freshly-prepped sandwich made with hand-made bagels and hormone-free, antibiotic-free meats (expertly cured, smoked, and roasted in-house).
James Beard Award-winning chef Tim Cushman and advanced sake professional Nancy Cushman—the culinary power couple behind o ya and Hojoko—bring you this colorfully-named eatery, which specializes in delicious twists on chicken and dumplings. Only at Time Out Market Boston, Ms. Clucks offers numerous tantalizing choices when it comes to chicken. For a 'Gram-worthy show-stopper of a sandwich, try the Cajun karaage chicken sando: Spicy crispy chicken thigh, Nueske's bacon, heirloom tomato, iceberg lettuce, dashi pickles and nori buttermilk ranch. Remember, no order is complete without the chicken, broccoli and cheddar gyoza that features a frico crust and comes with spicy miso dipping sauce.
At Time Out Market Boston, Saltie Girl's chef Kyle McClelland satisfies locals and visitors alike with lobster rolls—served warm with butter sauce or cold with house mayo—and cups of rich, pork belly-kissed clam chowder. Looking for a standout seafood sandwich? Go for McClelland's whitefish katsu sando, which features Kohlrabi and celery root coleslaw.
Best sandwiches in Boston
This Brookline sandwich shop has a menu full of top-notch specialty sandwiches and well-made classics. The Spuckie (layers of cured meats, mozz and olive salad) is a favorite, but in-the-know sandwich aficionados head to Cutty’s on Saturdays to procure the famed pork rabe sandwich. Slow-roasted pork, sautéed broccoli rabe and sharp provolone are piled inside a sesame seed roll for a juicy sandwich with bite.
If you haven't tried a Chilean sandwich, you're missing out. This Downtown Crossing spot is known for its namesake sandwich—homemade bread stuffed with grilled meat (beef or chicken) or veggies, then topped with muenster cheese, green beans and tomato. The limited menu includes empanadas, oven fried potatoes and a few desserts. It's counter service, fast and always fresh, so you'll be in and out with a filling sandwich in a jiffy.
Montreal smoked meat and New York pastrami have nothing on Sam LaGrassa’s signature deli sandwiches. The self-proclaimed World’s No. 1 Sandwich joint has been dishing out robust reubens and hearty hoagies since 1968. Test your spice tolerance with the Pastrami Diablo or keep it classic with their version of a roast beef sandwich, the Roast Beef Blues. The real kicker? Sam LaGrassa’s ships their sandwiches anywhere in the USA, so you won’t even have to leave your house to chow down.
Tortas are traditional Mexican pressed sandwich made with telera bread (like a thick French roll). Tenoch does an excellent version. The meat or veggie base is topped with beans, Oaxaca cheese, chipotle mayo, onions, avocado and tomato. Go for the Campechana. The chorizo and carnitas are full of flavor, balanced out by the toppings.
With locations all over the city, Clover is a vegetarian’s (and vegan’s) delight. Non-meat options abound, from the fried mushroom oyster sandwich to the Impossible Burger meatball sandwich. But vegetarians and omnivores alike can’t get enough of the chickpea fritter sandwich. Crispy falafel, hummus made with organic chickpeas from Connecticut, pickled veggies, tahini and fresh tomato cucumber salad are stuffed inside a fresh-baked pita.
No need to trek to New York for quality pastrami and corned beef. Michael’s Deli, otherwise known as "the Corned Beef King," has been dishing up New York style deli meats for nearly 40 years. Signature sandwiches like the Thanksgiving Feast (turkey breast with homemade stuffing) and the Big Lebowski (turkey and pastrami with sauerkraut) have locals squeezing into the narrow, no-frills delicatessen. Even the late and great Anthony Bourdain paid a visit to Michael’s and chowed down on the Howie Carr (corned beef and beef brisket) while filming an episode of No Reservations–as if there wasn’t already enough reason to pay this Coolidge Corner deli a visit.
A modern take on the Jewish delicatessen, Our Fathers is a stylish spot for deli classics near Harvard Square. The overstuffed sandwiches satisfy with fresh ingredients. The Maude may be on the less traditional side, but it’s a standout (and lighter than the no-less-tasty, hand-cut pastrami), with roast turkey, tomato, sprouts, avocado and basil aioli on wheat.
The banh mi at this Vietnamese spot in Dorchester packs a punch in a small—and very inexpensive—package. House-made French bread is crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, a delicious cradle for flavorful Vietnamese ingredients. Whether you choose grilled beef or pork marinated in lemongrass, you’ll be happy. Topped with fresh cucumber, spinach and a secret sauce, this is one exceptionally flavorful sandwich.
This Davis Square institution is fancier than it used to be, but you’ll feel right at home with the satisfying Texas Rachel in a Skirt. This variation on the classic Rachel features smoked brisket (Rosebud has quite a few notable bbq options), BBQ onions, horseradish sauce, slaw and a cheese “skirt” on rye bread. It’s creamy, tangy, cheesy, and meaty…sure to hit the spot.
Over in Bay Village, Mike & Patty’s has made a name for itself with in-demand breakfast sandwiches. You can’t go wrong with the classic egg, cheese and ham on an english muffin, but the one not to miss is the Fancy. Hop in line for this morning cure-all featuring two fried eggs, bacon, cheddar, avocado, red onion and house-made mayo on Iggy’s multigrain bread.
Locally-made charcuterie is the highlight at this classic deli in Back Bay. While all the signature sandwiches—from the Cuban to the Steak Bomb—are delicious and made with locally-sourced ingredients, The Katz is the one to try. This pastrami sandwich features “Mama Lil’s” pickle mustard and Swiss on rye. Add a side of truffle chips and you’ve got a killer lunch.
A simple grilled cheese sandwich is an easy, cheesy treat that always hits the spot. Get creative with grilled cheese and you’ve got something special. Roxy’s does just that, with a wide range of cheeses (vegan too!), organic bread and high-quality additions. The Green Muenster is a must, a perfect combo of flavors and textures: muenster, house made guac and thick bacon, all between perfectly crunchy grilled bread.