Where to Order the Best Sandwiches in Boston

By Jacqueline Cain
Roast beef 1000 from Cutty's

Sandwiches are a staple for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Great for an outdoor picnic, quick lunch, or catered party alike, they're also infinitely riffable with plenty of options for every taste. Sandwiches also cross cultural borders, from banh mi to chicken parm — and Boston shops stack up with the best. Next time only a sandwich will satisfy, check out these 10 spots for the best sandwiches in Boston.

Exterior of Cutty's
Brian Samuels Photography

What looks at first sight like another humble, hole-in-the-wall deli is actually a hidden gem of Brookline’s culinary scene. The husband-and-wife duo behind Cutty’s met while studying at the Culinary Institute of America, then spent five years at America’s Test Kitchen (which used to be based down the street from the Brookline Village sandwich shop). The couple’s institutional knowledge informs sandwiches of the highest order, such as Roast Beef 1000, their take on a Massachusetts staple with house-roasted beef and crispy shallots. Fans of the fry, take note: One Sunday each month is a designated Super Cluckin’ Sunday, the only time to savor Cutty’s buttermilk fried chicken sandwich.

Ba Le

Where to Order the Best Sandwiches in Boston
Brian Samuels Photography

Is it the light roll of French bread, the bright pickles and herbs, or the rich mayo and meats that make a banh mi so deliciously craveable? Whichever element stands out for you when it comes to this Vietnamese sandwich, Ba Le sets the standard in Boston. For more than two decades, the busy Dorchester shop has assembled countless BBQ Beef and Combination Pork banh mi for legions of Vietnamese food fans. Every sandwich is enriched with house-whipped mayo, umami fish sauce, and scallion oil, and comes on a crispy baguette freshly baked that morning. The sweet-and-savory flavors match perfectly with a cold cup of Vietnamese iced coffee and a sesame ball, one of many “banh,” or Vietnamese pastries and snacks, on the robust takeout menu.

Vinal General Store

Vinal General Store Sandwich
Brian Samuels Photography

This newcomer to Somerville’s Union Square feels like it’s been there forever, thanks to a menu and vibe inspired by a New England general store. Central to such a place is the lunch counter, and Vinal General Store does not disappoint: This quaint bar staffed by friendly locals serves up classics like a Spuckie, or an Italian sub in old-school Boston dialect. On Iggy’s ciabatta bread, the Vinal Spuckie combines thinly sliced mortadella, salami, provolone, smoked ham, pepperoni, red onion, tomato, dill pickles, and “shrettuce” with a signature Hots Mayo and a smoky maple vinaigrette. It’s our new lunchtime favorite. When we’re hungry for breakfast sandwiches, however, we head next door to Vinal Bakery for egg-and-cheese on house-baked English muffins.


M&M BBQ Sandwich | The Best Restaurants in Dorchester
Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

When M&M BBQ began as a food truck more than 30 years ago, it was called M&M Ribs, and those meltingly tender morsels of meat are a menu mainstay for good reason. But since opening up a counter-service outpost inside Dorchester Brewing Company, the third-generation family business has added several sandwich options, showcasing their ’cue and more. Order up the Geneva Ave for shredded beef brisket with smoked cheese sauce; or try the pitmasters’ take on fried chicken sandwiches. Then get yourself a house-brewed beer—Neponset Gold golden ale goes great with the brisket, and the crushable Galaxy Lights Session NEIPA would pair well with hot honey-drizzled chicken—and claim a seat on the roof deck.

Brian Samuels Photography

Another food truck-born Boston favorite, Roxy’s Grilled Cheese elevates the tried-and-true American snack to the realm of memorable meals. Now with locations in Allston and Cambridge as well as the mobile unit, Roxy’s has us reconsider the humble grilled cheese with innovations like the Green Muenster, featuring crispy bacon, fresh guacamole, and the namesake cheese oozing in the best way. What’s their secret to such a crisp and satisfying sandwich? It’s actually mayonnaise spread on the bread before toasting. (We learned that trick in The Food Lens cookbook!) Whether you find the food truck at a frequent festival appearance, or need something to sop up all the cocktails at Roxy’s Arcade, these grilled cheese sandwiches are always a treat.

Monica's Mercato & Salumeria

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

You’ll find no shortage of fresh pastas, cured meats, and salty cheeses at family-run, North End market Monica’s Mercato & Salumeria. But one item in particular has us returning lunch after lunch: the Italian Sub. This version of the classic sandwich is gloriously decked out with thin slices of prosciutto, mortadella, and Genoa salami. All of that meat—plus provolone, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, hots, and drizzles of olive oil and balsamic vinegar—is piled between a roll freshly baked on-site. This well-proportioned stack is a generous portion, and a perfect picnic to take on the nearby Greenway.

Hot Box

Hot Box one of the Classic Roast Beef Sandwiches Around Boston
Brian Samuels Photography

A day-one dining option at Somerville’s eclectic Bow Market, Hot Box is a one-stop shop in Union Square for two regional specialties: lacy-edged South Shore-style bar pizza and hulking North Shore-style roast beef sandwiches. From the minds behind the masterful breakfast sandwich at Mike and Patty’s, the walkup shop’s beefy three-way lights up all the right boxes. Layers of thinly sliced Angus are doused in piquant BBQ sauce, melding with melty American cheese and mayo, all atop a soft, onion-flecked roll. Two sizes are traditional; choose Junior or Super Beef, depending on how many other Bow Market vendors you’re set to sample.

Sandwich from Hi-Rise Bread Company
Brian Samuels Photography

Hi-Rise Bread Company in Cambridge offers customers a bevy of loaves, jams, and decadently thick slices of Vanilla Bean Loaf, but don’t let all the goodies distract you from the gourmet sandwiches. Toasted whole wheat, sesame-speckled buns, and more freshly baked breads await to be stacked to order with creative riffs on classic sandwiches. There are plenty to choose from, whether you’re feeling like egg salad, salami, or roasted sweet potato with basil pesto. We love Fern’s Problem Solver, a roasted turkey combo on grilled sourdough with Monterey Jack cheese, avocado, and Russian dressing. Go for a half-size or the whole thing—though you may feel a strong urge to nap afterwards. Luckily, Hi-Rise brews plenty of coffee to help you get over the afternoon slump.

Michael's Deli

Michael's Deli Latkes one of the best Best Delis in Boston
Brian Samuels Photography

For nearly 40 years, Michael’s Deli has offered authentic New York corned beef and more in the heart of Brookline. The Coolidge Corner deli remains as busy as ever, with locals and visitors alike coming in to sample the award-winning corned beef sourced straight from the Bronx, cooked and thinly sliced in-house to be piled high between soft slices of cissel (Jewish rye bread) or pumpernickel. Besides the signature from the so-called Corned Beef King, we love the beefed-up Reuben with tangy sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Russian dressing; and the extra-lean Romanian Pastrami.

Flour Bakery
Chris McIntosh / C. McIntosh Photo

Boston’s beloved Flour Bakery + Cafe might be best-known for gooey, pecan-studded Sticky Sticky Buns, thick slices of Banana Bread, and TCHO Chocolate Chip Cookies, but the eight-location bakery chain does incredible savory stuff, too. We love hearty salads like the summery Heirloom Tomato + Farro bowl—but who are we to pass up bread by a James Beard award-winning baker? So many sandwiches tempt on the menu, from Homemade Hummus on focaccia with pickled daikon, cucumber, cilantro, and vegan sriracha aioli; to the North Country Applewood-Smoked Bacon BLT with peppery arugula and a memorable drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette.

Eric Twardzik contributed reporting.

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