Where to Find the Best Italian Subs in Boston

By Emily Millian
09/22/2022
Where to Find the Best Italian Subs in Boston
Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

Submarine. Grinder. Hoagie. Spuckie. Simply an Italian sub. Whatever you call it, we are all speaking the same love language. This salty, spicy sandwich of thinly sliced cold cuts, provolone cheese, pickles, and hots is classic for a reason. Boston knows its way around an Italian sub, with North End sandwich shops to thank and plenty of new-school subs stacking up. Bite by bite, make your way through our top 10 Italian subs in the city.

Monica's Mercato & Salumeria

Italian sandwich from Monica's Mercato & Salumeria
Brian Samuels Photography

Slinging sandwiches in the North End since 1995, Monica’s Mercato & Salumeria could arguably be the city’s most iconic and sought-after Italian Sub. All tucked in soundly on freshly baked bread, the sub is piled high with imported prosciutto, mortadella, Genoa salami, and provolone—all sliced and assembled to order—and dressed with lettuce, tomato, onion, olive oil, balsamic, hots, and pickles. There’s often a line at this counter-service shop, but it’s always worth the wait.

American Provisions
Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

Unpretentious yet undeniably a beacon of change in a sea of no-frills packies, American Provisions is a small shop brimming with natural wine, cheese, charcuterie, and other specialty food items from local makers. The sandwich menu never disappoints, either, especially the Italian. Filled with the tried-and-true trio of salami, prosciutto, and morty-d along with provolone, hots, and pickles, there’s something about the freshness and lightness of this sammie that you just have to try. Visit either location in South Boston or Dorchester for this made-to-order marvel.

Vinal General Store

Vinal Spuckie at Vinal General Store
Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

Spuckie, a moniker unique to the Boston area, comes from the Italian word “spucadella,” meaning “long roll.” From the team that brings us Vinal Bakery and its swoon-worthy English muffins, Vinal General Store puts a spin on the spuckie at its Somerville sandwich shop. The Vinal Spuckie heaps mortadella, salami, smoked ham, and pepperoni atop an Iggy’s roll: Beast mode activated. But it’s the Hots Mayo—yes, you read the correctly—and smoky maple vinaigrette that really sends this sandwich over the edge. If you still have room after indulging in one of these, get a cone of soft serve for the road. 

P&K Deli

Where to Find the Best Italian Subs in Boston - P&K Delicatessen
Credit: Chris McIntosh

Located on the Somerville-Cambridge line, this family-owned deli has been serving up subs for three generations, since 1952. It’s safe to say, there are reasons P&K Deli has been around this long—and one reason is the Italian. Served on a braided sesame roll with the perfect ratio of ingredients to be just overstuffed enough, this sub is an archetypal example of the form. This old-school takeout spot is open bright and early at 5:30 a.m. on weekdays only, so be sure to snag one to be your commuting companion, and look forward to lunch.

Coppa Italian Subs
Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

Implied by the name (not to mention, the pig decor on either side of the entrance), you know Coppa’s meat game is strong—so of course it’s going to put together a dynamite Italian Grinder. The version by chef-owners Jamie Bissonnette and Ken Oringer loads up Iggy’s ciabatta bread with the holy trinity of sandwich meats—salami, prosciutto, and mortadella—along with provolone and pickled cherry peppers. It’s dressed just right with oil and vinegar, and finished with a little lettuce; you can consider it your salad for the day. Perfetto! Pro tip: Grab a bar seat at this South End spot for a front-row look at the gorgeous Berkel slicer in action, hand-cranked to produce paper-thin cured meats that melt in your mouth. 

Formaggio Kitchen
Credit: Molly Ford

Formaggio Kitchen is typically known for extensive cheese and charcuterie cases, as well as an unmatched selection of imported and artisan provisions. So it only makes sense to put it all together: Sandwiches are prepared on-site weekdays at the original Cambridge location and in the South End. The Spicy Italian features the finest cured meats, including smoked ham, mortadella, salami, prosciutto, and spicy salami, as well as provolone, red peppers, olives, and cherry peppers. Formaggio also caters, so as many head back to the office, be that hero who rolls in with a platter of these Spicy Italians. 

Bricco Panetteria

Where to Find the Best Italian Subs in Boston
Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

Down a quiet, narrow alley, tucked away from bustling Hanover Street, follow the scent of freshly baked bread and the gentle cloud of flour into Bricco Panetteria. This elusive spot is often shared by word of mouth by people who appreciate bread baked fresh daily—as well as what goes on it. A true North End hidden gem, Bricco Panetteria has a small but mighty sandwich menu, including Eggplant and Chicken Parmigiano; and an Italian with mortadella, Genoa salami, sopressata, and the fixin’s piled high.

Bob's Italian Foods

Bob's Italian Foods
Credit: Chris McIntosh

Bob’s Italian Foods has been enticing Italian sub connoisseurs out to Medford since 1936. Our most senior spot on the list, the business deals in imported Italian goods, catering and prepared foods, and a variety of Italian sandwiches. The Deluxe Italian Caprese is marked on the menu as Bob’s favorite: It stacks prosciutto, sopressata, capicola, and mortadella along with buffalo mozzarella, EVOO, tomato, and fresh basil. The Deluxe Imported Italian Sub upgrades the standard version with the addition of prosciutto di Parma and sweet soppressata. Bob’s is also where to go for Supreme Subs, aka party-sized, whole loaves of French bread filled with cold cuts, chicken parm, or meatballs.

Salumeria Italiana

Salumeria Italiana | Where to Find the Best Italian Subs in Boston
Credit: Chris McIntosh

Salumeria Italiana is a North End institution. Since 1962, Salumeria has been selling a wide range of Italian groceries as well as prepared foods and made-to-order panini. These aren’t your typical Italian sub, but there are two pressed sandwiches that hit the right notes—and there is no wrong choice. The Italiano Panini laces layers of house-favorite salami, provolone, lettuce, tomato, and hots with oil and vinegar. The Original Panini is another instant classic: A signature muffaletta spread from founder Erminio Martignetti amps up this mix of salami and provolone.

Si Cara

Si Cara Italian Subs
Credit: Chris McIntosh

New kid on the block, Si Cara in Central Square does all things dough. The latest from chef Michael Lombardi of SRV, the concept is built around fast-fired pizza canotto, a Neapolitan-like style of airy sourdough. But Si Cara also makes plenty of handheld options come lunchtime, using house-baked focaccia and ciabatta. Daily between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. only, you’ll want to make a date to try the Italian Sandwich, with a fresno aioli that really makes it sing. Si Cara translates to an accommodating “yes, dear,” which is something we’ll say to this rendition any day.

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