Best Sandwiches in Philadelphia
Old Original Nick's Roast Beef
Look for the neon sign hanging on the corner of 20th and Jackson and you'll find one of the best sandwiches in Philly. Since 1938, Old Original Nick's Roast Beef has been a corner institution, serving hot sandwiches to neighbors and tourists alike in South Philly. It's a no-frills kind of place, with bar seating up front and tables in the back. The roast beef comes on a classic kaiser roll, complete with gravy. Consider ordering your sandwich with sharp provolone, broccoli rabe and a bit of horseradish to cut the richness. nicksroastbeef.com
DiNic's Roast Pork
Inside Center City's Reading Terminal Market sits DiNic's Roast Pork. The namesake sandwich is a hearty go-to, with tender slow-roasted pork piled on a fresh roll. If it's your first time, order the sandwich with provolone and broccoli rabe, but it's also amazing plain, with the pork juices seeping into the roll. tommydinics.com
Tucked on the corner of 8th and Dickinson in South Philly is Cosmi's Deli, known for some of the tastiest hoagies and cheesesteaks in all of Philadelphia. A true mom-and-pop institution, Cosmi's is no-frills, with staff that's patient and friendly. Try the mushroom cheesesteak with onions and two cheeses: mild provolone and American. Best eaten as soon as it's handed to you. cosmideli.com
Ba Le Bakery
At this minuscule bakery-sandwich shop, the fresh baguettes alone are good enough to cry over. The crust is crunchy, with a pillowy interior dabbed with air pockets—the ideal base for any of the Vietnamese banh mi. Ba Le Bakery is an unassuming spot marked by a colorful neon-lit sign, and it's well worth the trip into South Philly. Order the grilled pork banh mi with everything, accompanied by an avocado or taro smoothie.
Located in the Italian Market section of Philadelphia (with a second location on North Broad Street), Santucci's is best known for its square pie. But the salads and especially sandwiches are just as delicious. Try the Mama's Meatballs sandwich, served with marinara, provolone and Parmesan cheese on a hearty seeded Italian roll. Get the fries, too, to sop up the extra sauce. santuccispizza.com
This deli serves updated takes on classic Italian hoagies. Its best might be the Junkyard Special Hoagie, served with slices of turkey, prosciutto, sauteed spinach, roasted red pepper, sharp provolone and fresh mozzarella cheeses. The hoagie is dressed with vinegar, oil and herbs, and served on a fresh seeded roll, baked just a few doors down at the bakery that shares the deli's name. sarconesdeli.com
Joe's Steaks + Soda Shop
This Philadelphia stalwart (formerly, and controversially, known as Chink's Steaks) began in 1949, humbly serving steak sandwiches with or without onions. Now rebranded and grown to two locations, Joe's has one of the city's more perfected cheesesteaks. It's topped with provolone or American, and you should definitely get a side of cheese fries. Hit the toppings bar for long hots, pickles and banana peppers, then settle down to enjoy with a milkshake, egg cream or ice cream soda. joessteaks.com
Sit at the counter for full immersion in this Roxborough neighborhood classic, frequented more by locals on their lunch breaks than tourists with cameras. Their steaks are tender, not fatty, with just the right amount of toppings. Order a classic cheesesteak with onions and provolone, and a birch beer. dalessandros.com
Fu-Wah Mini Market
Amid rows of noodles, fresh produce and specialty chocolates in this West Philly market, you'll find a tiny deli counter dispensing some of the city's best banh mi sandwiches. Fu-Wah's tofu banh mi satisfies cravings for both omnivores and vegetarians alike. Get it with everything, which means jalapeños, cilantro, pickled daikon, carrots, and salt and pepper.
This classic cheesesteak destination has multiple locations, but visit the original on Oregon Avenue in South Philadelphia. The roast pork and chicken cutlet sandwiches are well worth a try, but go for the cheesesteaks, which use thin-cut Rib-eye, never chopped. Top it with Whiz and onions and grab a seat on the patio, then listen to the sounds of spatulas clanking, cooks shouting out numbers, and patrons mumbling with full mouths and stomachs. tonylukes.com
Restaurants along North Philly's "Golden Block" on North 5th Street serve an amazing variety of hispanic foods, but one of the biggest draws is this Puerto Rican shop. Any of their menu items will leave you well-satisfied, but order the pork sandwich: tender cuts of slow-cooked pork, pulled apart and served on a long hoagie roll. Get it with either barbecue sauce or hot sauce, or a combination of the two, with a side order of fried plantains or mofongo. Seating options nearby aren't plentiful, so plan to eat in your car or take it home.
George's Sandwich Shop
This Italian Market walk-up shop has the classics—the roast pork, the cheesesteaks and other Italian sandwiches—but none are more interesting and tasty than the tripe sandwich. The tripe is slowly stewed in tomato sauce and served on a Sarcone's roll. Try it with rabe and provolone, topped with a long hot for some kick.
Famous Fourth Street Deli
No sandwich tour of Philadelphia would be complete without a sit-down experience at the Famous Fourth Street Deli in Queen Village. Everything in this landmark institution says history, and it's frequented by politicians after every Election Day. Order the corned beef special: a sandwich stuffed with massive amounts of tender corned beef, coleslaw and Russian dressing. It comes with a latke and pickles. famous4thstreetdelicatessen.com
John's Roast Pork
Traveling down Columbus Boulevard along train tracks and the Delaware River, look for a painted anthropomorphic pig with a bib around its neck, smiling down on John's Roast Pork. Come here for one of the best pork sandwiches you will ever eat, with tender pieces of slow-roasted pork butt sliced thin and served on a long roll with rabe and provolone. Grab your pickled toppings of your choice and take a seat outside. johnsroastpork.com
Shank's Original Pier 40
Down by the Delaware waterfront, Shank's Original serves Italian-style sandwiches to pier workers and tourists alike. Grab a seat at one of their picnic tables and order the famous Chicken Cutlet Italiano. It comes with fried pieces of chicken cutlet, provolone, broccoli rabe and parmesan cheese on a hearty seeded roll. shanksoriginal.com
Paesano's makes some of the best Italian-inspired sandwiches anywhere. Chef-owner Peter McAndrew puts care and thought into each item, and the sandwich names add some fun to the ordering process. Head to the original Italian Market location for the Daddy Wad, their take on the classic Italian hoagie with hot copa, sharp provolone, sweet and hot peppers, tomato, onion, pickles and arugula. Best eaten while strolling through the market on a buzzy Saturday afternoon. paesanosphillystyle.com
Trendy fried chicken sandwiches are popping up all over the country, but this Loft District beer bar has a classic one that's just plain good. The chicken, brined in pickle juice, comes with beer mustard, lettuce and pickled green tomatoes. prohibitiontaproom.com
Center City's Lolita deserves big recognition for this updated take on a classic pork Cubano. It has tender roasted pork shoulder, bacon, country ham, grainy mustard, caciocavallo cheese, pickles, chipotle aioli and cabbage. It's perfect with a margarita on a lunch date in beautiful downtown Philadelphia. lolitaphilly.com
Pub & Kitchen
Chef Eli Collins makes this elevated take on a classic, the Pork Roll "Schnitzel" sandwich, with braised red cabbage, a sunny-side-up egg and mustard. It's amazing at brunch. thepubandkitchen.com
High Street on Market
As New Yorkers are about to discover (at the new location in Manhattan), High Street offers some of the best sandwiches you'll ever eat. There are two particular winners, roast pork and pastrami on rye, but equally as impressive are the house-made chow-chow (pickled relish) and fermented broccoli rabe. highstreetonmarket.com
Located in Northeast Philadelphia's Mayfair neighborhood, Marinucci’s Deli gives customers great value for their dollar—any of its sandwiches can easily feed two. Specialities are the Nucci Italian (a hoagie with prosciutto, sharp provolone and roasted peppers) and the Brous Street (roast pork with sharp provolone and roasted peppers). Meats are sliced thin, with crisp lettuce, onions and tomatoes.