The 17 Best Sandwiches in Boston Right Now

The city's most creative combinations of juicy roast beef, crispy fried chicken, spicy meatloaf, and everything else that's best between bread.

Big Papi at Blunch. / Photo by TA via Yelp

Sometimes it helps to be specific—which is why we’ve already assembled A-plus guides to Boston’s best breakfast sandwich, roast beef sandwiches, grilled cheese, and lobster rolls to name a few. But sometimes you’re not sure exactly what you want between your bread, and for those moments, here it is: Boston’s best sandwiches, a comprehensive selection of iconic menu items to guide you through every indecisive lunch ahead.

Atomic Meatloaf Meltdown at All Star Sandwich Bar

If you’re gonna call yourself an “all star,” you better live up to the hype. Well, by gum, this Inman Square mainstay certainly does—especially when it comes to the Atomic Meatloaf Meltdown, an explosive sourdough sammie that presses grilled house-made meatloaf with jack cheese and red onion jam. It’s spiked with Inner Beauty Hot Sauce, a spice-bomb of flavor developed by chef Chris Schlesinger, whose “Hell Night” dinners of fiery foods at the late, great East Coast Grill are a thing of local legend. (It also has a pizza parallel at All Star Pizza Bar.)

1245 Cambridge St., Cambridge, 617-868-3065,

Bánh mì at Ba Le

At Ba Le, the best bánh mì is whichever one you’re eating. The Dorchester favorite is beloved for its Vietnamese sandwiches: fresh-baked baguettes filled with pickled veggies, fish sauce, mayo, and your choice of pork (skin, bologna, belly…), fish patty, barbecued beef, and more. It doesn’t matter which one you’re in the mood for—sink your teeth into one of these, and you’ll find you’re feasting on exactly what you need.

1052 Dorchester Ave., Dorchester, 617-265-7171,

Big Papi at Blunch

He’s no longer on the Fenway ball field, but Big Papi is still on the menu at Blunch, a spectacular little South End shop for breakfast and lunch sandwiches. Chef Nikki Christo Leo is always coming up with creative daily specials, but the item that bears Ortiz’s name is a longtime regular on the roster. You’ll understand why when you try this crusty, hot-pressed baguette filled with seasoned Black forest ham, pickles (for snap), spicy house-made aioli (for zing), and Swiss cheese (for a little nuttiness to round things out). Home run.

59 E Springfield, Boston, 617-247-8100,

Chacarero. / Photo by Katie Chudy for Boston magazine

Chacarero at Chacarero

Chacarero knows what it’s all about, and that is—well, chacarero, a Chilean sandwich that Time magazine considers one of the 13 sliced-bread wonders of the world. The straightforwardly named Boston restaurant fills fluffy bread rolls with grilled steak and chicken, plus steamed green beans, a luscious avocado spread, tomato, and Muenster cheese; it’s a revelation, and a reason to hit up the weekdays-only downtown lunch spot even during telecommuting times. A trip to Santiago sounds a bit trickier at present.

101 Arch St., Boston, 617-542-0392,

Farmer’s Lunch at City Feed and Supply

It’s a simple rule of sandwich-making: Use the best ingredients, get the tastiest result. (Imagine!) The Farmer’s Lunch at City Feed, a pair of fantastic neighborhood food markets in JP, is a perfect example of this. Here, an Iggy’s-baked baguette cradles a harvest of sliced Granny Smith apples, pickled green tomatoes, red leaf lettuce, New England cheddar, and swaths of a zesty grain mustard-mayo. It sounds simple but it tastes spectacular, because everything is of the same top-shelf quality as the local farm-filled market shelves.

672 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, 617-524-7400; 66 Boylston St., Jamaica Plain, 617-524-1657,

Roast Beef 1000 at Cutty’s

The Boston area (especially the North Shore) is not wanting for spectacular roast beef sandwiches. But believe us: You haven’t had one that racks up as many points as the 1,000 at Cutty’s, where those juicy slices—sidled inside a spectacular, slightly toasted black pepper brioche bun—are topped with Thousand Island dressing, crispy shallots, and sharp cheddar. This is how you do it, people.

284 Washington St., Brookline, 617-505-1844,

Torta at Chilacates

We’d be remiss to not shout out the tortas at Tenoch, a local quartet of Mexican spots where the telera bread-based sandwiches are particularly beloved. But we have to give credit where due to Chilacates, an upstart local mini-chain where the terrific burritos and tacos have a way of overshadowing the torta—which, truth be told, is actually our favorite way to experience Chilacates’ fantastic fillings (like chipotle-smoky chicken tinga or pineapple-marinated pork) with refried beans, melted jack cheese, guacamole, pico de gallo, and jalapeño mayo.

224 Amory St., 617-522-6000; 658 Centre St., 617-522-4500, Jamaica Plain; 1482A Tremont St., Mission Hill, Roxbury, 617-238-5437; 275 Shawmut Ave., South End, Boston, 857-350-3292; 4257 Washington St., Roslindale, 617-477-9094; The Street, 33 Boylston St., Chestnut Hill, 617-608-3356,

Double Mushroom “Steak” & Cheese at Earnest Drinks

Some of your friends in Philly are about to have a heart attack, but we’d put this vegetarian sub right up there with any meat-filled version of a steak and cheese sub. In this case, that “steak” is actually seasoned maitake & honshimeji mushrooms, sautéed alongside onions and peppers, and positively doused with house-made pimento cheese sauce in a sub roll. It’s an experience, and to any naysayers from the City of Brotherly Love, we can only say: haters gonna hate.

399 Binney St., Cambridge, 617-631-9113,

Fried chicken sandwich at Highland Kitchen

The fried chicken here is kinda famous: What started as a Monday-night special at Highland Kitchen eventually inspired a separate restaurant, nearby Highland Fried, devoted to fried birds and barbecue (and scorpion bowls). Unsurprisingly, then, that Highland Kitchen’s fried chicken sandwich, still being served for takeout and delivery, is a standout that piles a pickle-brined breast with pickles and lettuce, and let you choose from seven sauces—including Sriracha mayo, buttermilk ranch, and pineapple sweet-and-sour.

150 Highland Ave., Somerville, 617-625-1131,

Cookie sandwiches and tacos abound at Honeycomb Creamery. / Photo by Amanda G. via Yelp

Ice cream cookie sandwich at Honeycomb Creamery

Sandwiches are for dessert too, damn it. Why else would heaven have invented the ice cream cookie sandwiches at Honeycomb Creamery? The delightful parlor slams scoops of small-batch flavors—like honey lavender, orange creamsicle, lemon ginger, and malted vanilla—in between chocolate-chip, peanut butter, and other cookies of your choice. The build-your-own possibilities are endless, but we also enjoy letting Honeycomb take the wheel with its rotating releases of ice cream tacos (gasp!), offered in caramel corn and other varieties.

1702 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-714-3983,

Geneva Ave at M&M Ribs

A great BBQ sandwich is a thing of beauty, and you’ll find fine examples of pulled pork-bearing models at other top ‘cue joints, to be sure. But the Geneva Ave at M&M Ribs, a decades-spanning food truck that recently set up a Best of Boston-winning shop at Dorchester Brewing Co., is an absolute stunner: shredded beef brisket with pickled onions and smoked cheese sauce in a toasted brioche bun. Pair it with a worthy view from the brewery’s rooftop patio, once spring has sprung.

1250 Dorchester Ave., Dorchester, 617-307-7674,

Mei Mei’s Double Awesome scallion pancake egg sandwich / Photo provided by Mei Mei

Double Awesome at Mei Mei

We’ll say it twice: The Double Awesome at Mei Mei is delicious. (The Double Awesome at Mei Mei is delicious.) So delicious, in fact, that the cult-famous Boston sandwich—scallion pancakes wrapped around an over-easy eggs, cheddar, and pesto—is still available even though Mei Mei has pivoted from traditional restaurant operations to a prepared-foods model offered via takeout. Its meal kits include everything you need to make five Double Awesomes (one for every workday lunch); they even throw in spicy ketchup dipping sauce and, for a little extra, add-ins like local bacon and kimchi.

506 Park Dr., Boston, 857-250-4959,

Corned beef Rachel (or Reuben) at Michael’s Deli

Michael’s deems itself the “corned beef king”; we just call it one of the best delis around. Both titles are well earned, you will find, when you meet Michael’s Rachel (corned beef with coleslaw) and Reuben (corned beef with sauerkraut), both of which come with Russian dressing and Swiss cheese on pumpernickel. Besides the classics, Michael’s also mixes things up with so-called “dirty” sandwiches: notions like the “disheveled brisket” and “messy mango chicken salad” that come with Maui onion, mesquite BBQ, and other flavored potato chips on top. Kiss the ring.

256 Harvard St., Brookline, 617-738-3354,

Carolina Caviar at Mike & Patty’s

When you’re sending someone to Mike & Patty’s, you could suggest any sandwich without hesitation. Do we think you’ll like the famous, fried egg-anchored Fancy? Absolutely. Will the béchamel-covered Hot Croque make you squeal “Mon dieu!” But of course. The Carolina Caviar, though, is the under-heralded entry on the menu, a standout breakfast (or lunch) sandwich that gifts an English muffin with a sausage patty, fried egg, and pimento cheese. It’s waiting for you every day at Mike & Patty’s original, walk-in-closet-sized home on a Bay Village street corner—or at sibling spot Hot Box, a takeout window in Somerville’s Bow Market courtyard, where Mike & Patty menu items are available on weekends only.

12 Church St., Boston, 617-423-3447,

mike's city diner

Pilgrim at Mike’s City Diner/ Photo by Chelsea Kyle

Pilgrim sandwich at Mike’s City Diner

Thanksgiving only comes once a year (sad!) which means that amazing sandwiches made with Thanksgiving leftovers also only come once a year (sadder!). Ah, but wait: You can always head to this classic, landmark diner in Boston’s South End, where the Pilgrim sandwich, made of house-roasted turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce, is available year-round (There’s an option to add gravy. Take it). It’s one of the whoppers that has made Mike’s a hit with Guy Fieri, and let’s be honest: If you’re looking for endorsements of a Thanksgiving-leftovers sandwich, Guy Fieri is the right guy.

1714 Washington St., Boston, 617-267-9393,

Pennypacker’s. / Photo by Katie Chudy for Boston magazine.

Porchetta at Pennypacker’s

This fast-casual eatery has expanded its repertoire of sandwiches since the days when it started out life as a food truck: Now you’ll find a lamb meatball sandwich with fermented chilis, charred broccoli with roasted red pepper tahini, and plenty of other destination-worthy options. But it’s Pennypacker’s porchetta that we first fell in love with, and it has us smitten still. The super-flavorful, skin-on pork—lovingly marinated with garlic and herbs—gets a slightly different treatment every day, and reliably offers us pleasant surprises even after all these years.

514 Medford St., Somerville, 857-523-8053,

Green Muenster at Roxy’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese / Courtesy photo by Zac Wolf Photography via Roxy’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese

Green Muenster at Roxy’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese

How to choose from the menu at one of the best grilled-cheese spots in Boston? Option A: Close your eyes and point at the menu. Option B: Simply pinch yourself the signature Green Muenster of applewood smoked bacon with guacamole. The name sells it alone.

485 Cambridge St., Allston, 617-202-5864,