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Photograph: Virginia Rollison

The 10 best sandwiches in NYC

From classics like pastrami on rye to experimental newcomers, these are our top ten sammies in the city now.

By Will Gleason, Anna Rahmanan and Shaye Weaver
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Now more than ever, we're looking for delicious food we can eat on-the-go or outside in NYC. Put simply: This is the sandwich's golden hour. Luckily, the city doesn't disappoint when it comes to irrestible meals that happen to be contained within two slices of bread. (We'll save the argument over the exact definition of sandwiches for a later date, but no, we didn't include hot dogs.) From gut-busters in Queens to new classics in the East Village and inventive bites in Prospect Heights, these are our top ten favorite sandwiches in New York right now. You're gonna want to pack some extra napkins! 

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The best sandwiches in NYC

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sandwich
Photograph: Courtesy Foxface

The Smoking Fox from Foxface

What’s on it? Cherrywood smoked boneless ribs, coleslaw, pickled onions and house spicy sauce on ciabatta

In a year of constant innovation, one sandwich spot in NYC leads the pack for its sheer boundless creativity: Foxface in the East Village. Operating out of a small pop-up window on St. Mark’s Place, the sandwich wizards here produce new and exciting handhelds every single day, utilizing rare meats like elk and camel. But the star of the show is the Smoking Fox, the only sandwich that remains on the menu daily – and for good reason. Like a McRib that’s gone to grad school, this stacker flawlessly balances spicy and sweet flavors, thanks in part to the house hot sauce, which is crafted with orange vinegar and tongue-tingling habaneros. It’s playful and inventive, just like NYC’s current can-do, DIY attitude.—Will Gleason

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sandwich
Photograph: Courtesy Chela & Garnacha / Imanol Loaeza

The Chicken Tinga Torta at Chela & Garnacha

What’s on it? Shredded chicken breast marinated with chipotle, tomato and onion with avocado, lettuce, tomato, onion, sour cream, crispy cheese and jalapeños or chipotle.

Substantial and flavorful, this torta delivers a delightful kick in the tastebuds. It's a hearty Mexican sandwich, but it's also a celebration of flavors packed into an easy-to-chow-down-on package. Want to bump it up a notch? It's a meal that can only be made better with a side of Chela & Garnacha's amazing guac and chips.—Shaye Weaver

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sandwich
Photograph: Courtesy Ciao, Gloria

The Italo Disco Club at Ciao, Gloria

What’s on it? Turkey breast, crispy prosciutto, avocado, tomato compote, provolone, greens, Calabrese aioli on a house-made focaccia.

This turkey club is amped up with an Italian twist that'll create a disco of flavor in your mouth. Biting down into the flaky focaccia and sinking your teeth into the layers of meat, cheese and other goodies is just so, so good. This café and bakery has other tasty treats you'll want to try as well (the BEC, the chocolate chunk cookie, and the oatmeal cream pie) but if you're looking for a hearty lunch, make sure you get this perfectly balanced sandwich!—SW

Courtesy Sal, Kris and Charlie's the bomb sandwich
Courtesy Sal, Kris and Charlie's the bomb sandwich
Photograph: ms.qafterhours

The Bomb at Sal, Kris & Charlie's

What’s on it? Salami, pepperoni, roast beef, ham, turkey, pastrami, mortadella, chicken and American and provolone cheese on a 14-inch-long hero roll.

The word "sandwich" doesn't do The Bomb justice. When you order this baby from "The Sandwich King of Astoria," don't expect to down the whole thing in one sitting. No, it'll take at least two, if not three, meals to demolish it yourself. Luckily it's also great to share with friends and family. The staff actually cuts The Bomb into quarters because they know just how gigantic it is. As you might expect, with so many meats and cheeses stacked on it, it tastes divine—it's your ultimate hero.—SW

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Miznon
Miznon
Photograph: Courtesy Miznon

Falafel burger in a pita from Miznon

What’s on it? Falafel, tahini, green spicy sauce, tomato, pickles, sour cream, green chili peppers on pita bread.

The most daring aspect of the extraordinary falafel sandwich served at all Miznon locations is the fritter itself. Chef Eyal Shan opts to serve a big, fat falafel patty instead of the traditional balls that lovers of Israeli food are accustomed to. And that's all for the better: the burger is more evenly distributed than its smaller counterparts, perfectly soaking in the delightful tahini, sour cream and spicy green sauce that it's drenched in. The tomato and the pickles add a nice crunch and fresh respite to any bite. The only problem? One falafel burger isn’t enough—you’ll likely want to indulge in a second one before feeling satisfied.—Anna Rahmanan

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sandwich
Photograph: Courtesy Alidoro

Ortoletto from Alidoro

What’s on it? Sun dried tomatoes, artichokes, sweet roasted peppers and arugula on ciabatta bread.

We know what you must be thinking: a sandwich solely filled with veggies? But trust us on this one: even hardcore carnivores will delight in Alidoro’s vegan-friendly Ortoletto—the destination is an Italian specialty sandwich shop, after all, and when do Italians ever get it wrong? The spot, which first opened in SoHo back in 1986 (it was called Melampo back then), now boasts three locations around town, each one with a similar menu. You can order the Ortoletto, served on always-wonderful ciabatta bread, and a slew of other vegan-friendly options, at all three. Panini master and Italian native Walter Momentè took over the shop alongside partner Jon Streep back in 2001, but, before then, he studied the craft of sandwich making under the guidance of the store’s original owner. His training has clearly paid off: every single one of the about 40 options on the menu will tickle your culinary senses.—AR

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cod sandwich
cod sandwich
Photograph: Mary's Fish Camp

Cod sandwich from Mary’s Fish Camp

What’s on it? Cod, tartar sauce, lettuce, tomato and red onion on ciabatta bread.

“It’s an ode to the many fish sandwiches I consumed growing up in Florida,” says Mary's Fish Camp owner and chef Mary Redding about the shop's fish-filled sandwich. And what an ode it is. Served on a gigantic ciabatta bread from the legendary Balthazar, the treat boasts a seasoned piece of cod lightly dusted in flour and cracker meal, then sautéed and slathered with a house-made tartar sauce (capers, red onions, cornichons and lemon). Each bite also features a mixture of tomato, lettuce and more onions, a punch of flavorful indeed. Add to that the hand-cut French fries served with all sandwiches and you’ve got yourself a truly phenomenal—and easily remembered—meal.—AR

Chopped Cheese
Chopped Cheese
Photograph: Noah Fecks

Chopped cheese from Blue Sky Deli (Hajji's)

What’s on it? American cheese, peppers, onion, lettuce, tomato, ketchup and mayor on a hero

Many say that Blue Sky Deli in East Harlem was the actual birthplace of this NYC sandwich staple. The creation’s long been attributed to Carlos Soto, who worked at the deli for over 20 years before passing away in 2014. Whether or not it’s the iconic sammie’s official founding location, you’re still not going to find a better example of the delicious, melty masterpiece. A hero roll oozes melted cheese and ground beef with onions in this classic that may just be the most comforting thing you can eat while on the go. (Philly Cheesesteak, who?)—WG

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sandwich
Photograph: Ali Garber

Fried chicken sandwich at Cheeky Sandwiches

What’s on it? Fried chicken, cole slaw and gravy on a buttermilk biscuit

You can get a taste of New Orleans without having to leave downtown Manhattan at this New Orleans-inspired sandwich shop. The popular, Big Easy-inspired destination is best known for their shrimp and oyster po’boys, but we can’t get enough of their decadent fried chicken with gravy sandwich. Dripping, rich gravy tops crispy fried chicken between two pillowy, biscuity layers in this treat which would pretty easily elevate any country picnic.—WG

sandwich
sandwich
Photograph: Virginia Rollison

Pastrami on rye from Katz’s Deli

What’s on it? Pastrami and mustard on rye bread (with a sour pickle on the side)

There are countless things that tourists come to eat in New York that are actually awful. The pastrami at Katz’s Deli is not one of them. (And no best sandwiches in NYC list would be complete without it.) You can either sit down for a bite in the deli’s cavernous, frame-lined cafeteria or get one to-go for the first time in 132 years. Put simply, when it comes to pastrami in the city this is still the best of the best. (Bonus: It’s a sandwich that you can absolutely get two or three meals out of.)—WG

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