New York obviously has a proud Italian heritage—we have a neighborhood called Little Italy, for crying out loud—so it’s no surprise that we have some of the best Italian sandwich shops around. Whether you’re looking for a lunchtime sub from delivery restaurants or simply an alternative to your usual pizza and pasta, get your hands on an Italian sub from some of the city’s best sandwich shops.
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Best Italian sandwich shops in NYC
This old-school Italian sub shop—a Soho institution since 1986—was known as Melampo before an ownership change in 2001. Of the 40 plus-size grinders, crowd favorites include the Romeo: smoked chicken breast on Italian bread, slathered with Bel Paese (a semisoft Italian cheese) and hot-pepper dressing. Former owner Alessandro Gualandi was famous for his temper, and a bit of Gotham tude still prevails: A posted sign delineates the things you may not ask for (coffee, tomato sauce and bathrooms, among them), and regulars know to order their selections by name.
Imported and house-made salumi, including sopressata and cacciatore, are the specialties of this Italian deli and café. Mozzarella, ricotta and the dried mozzarella scamorza are also made fresh daily, and the spot stocks pedigreed provisions, like Delverde pasta and San Marzano tomatoes. Hell's Kitchen lunchers can snag one of the Carrera-marble tables for a quick salad, pasta or panino on Pain d'Avignon bread. Look for the VIP (Very Italian Panini), which layers prosciutto di Parma, fresh mozzarella, olive oil, fig spread and arugula on ciabatta.
If you’re lucky enough to live or work near this legendary Red Hook sandwich shop, you know the secret of its success: massive, old-school Italian heros. Buns are layered with ingredients like ham, provolone, salami, roast beef, mozzarella and fried eggplant. In the Gramercy location, prepared dinners (macaroni with vodka sauce, chicken parmigiana) in microwaveable containers are available to go.
Parm is the Italian-American deli the daytime Torrisi Italian Specialties strived to be, with more sandwiches and sides, new starters and mains, and a full-service bar with house wines and cocktails. The decor pays kitschy homage to the old-school venues that inspired this cooking, with wallpaper from the 1950s, neon, Formica and red swivel barstools. But while the menu reads as well-worn as the space, the food is new and exciting, prepared by grease-spattered cooks in white paper caps who happen to have high-end restaurant résumés.
This venerable delicatessen, overstocked butcher and café is located in the city’s most beloved food-and-kitchen-supplies market. The glossy menu may paralyze your family with indecision; it lists more than 50 sandwiches, plus platters, pastas, soups, salads, stromboli and sides. Ingredients are of high quality, including Mike’s own soppressata and filet mignon bresaola. Let your kids try a little Italian nougat, if they’re feeling adventurous; and don’t miss peeking at the guys hand-rolling cigars out front.
This long-standing Little Italy bakery has been peddling crusty loaves to New York restaurant clients and consumers since 1903. Among the many carby offerings, we love the cultish provolone bread. Cheese-filled nooks and crannies run the length of this submarine-style loaf, making each airy slice a stand-alone snack. Look for the bread with the most golden cheese clinging to the crust—the melted provolone spills from the dough while baking and cools into rich sheets of crispy curds.
This homey West Village deli has been crafting sandwiches since 1984. The decor hasn't changed much (it's distinguished by light-yellow walls and a stainless-steel sandwich counter), and neither has the house specialty—freshly roasted and smoked turkey served with herb mayo on a crusty baguette.
Upper East Siders frequent this family-owned market for Italian staples. In addition to bread and cheese from local artisans like Tom Cat Bakery and Di Palo, shoppers can stock up on prepared foods, including homemade lasagna and the Milano Special, a ham-salami-provolone hero. Imported terra-cotta tiles and a copper ceiling add European flair to the neighborhood shop.