We’re big fans of sandwiches - they’re versatile, dependable, and, if done right, have been known to pump serotonin directly into our bread-and-meat-loving brains. And with more restaurants pivoting to takeout and delivery, we’ve been seeing tons of exciting, new sandwiches in the Bay - meaning you no longer have an excuse to suffer through another stale PB&J. Here are 12 of the best new ones in San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley.
Lucinda’s is a small deli with excellent sandwiches that are perfect for a quick lunch, or for having at a picnic at nearby Alamo Square Park. Each sandwich is made with a soft, yet crispy roll, and packed with tons of fillings. They have a Baja turkey with avocado, a soppressata with artichoke cream cheese, a classic BLTA and tuna melt, and more. They’re all delicious and well-made. Our favorite right now, however, is the mortadella, which comes with tapenade, bagna cauda mayo, provolone, hot pepper chili relish, and other garnishes. It’s a flavorful, well-balanced masterpiece.
The hoagies from this new wine shop in the Sunset are as long as the arm of an average-sized adult - which is to say, they’re massive. Get the Italian American, a sesame roll overflowing with paper-thin mortadella, salami, mozzarella, onion, arugula, and freshly shaved parmesan. But what makes the sandwich particularly special is the creamy, spicy ’Nduja mayo. They also have a garlic roast pork hoagie and a BLT, all of which pairs well with their salads, snacks, and excellent spicy garlic cheese spread. Also, you’ll want to grab a bottle from their extensive wine selection while you’re there.
Flour + Water’s new shop in the Mission does more than sell excellent fresh pasta - they also make some of the best sandwiches in the city. The sandwiches and specials change up occasionally, but one that’s usually on the menu (and keeps us coming back) is the Calabrian fried chicken sandwich. It’s messy, delicious, and comes on a toasted sesame roll with spicy aioli, creamy slaw, and pickled banana peppers. Their cold salumi sandwich is great, too, and travels better if you’re planning on eating it at the park.
The 10-month old Japanese-style cafe in North Beach specializes in katsu curry and katsu sandwiches served on milk bread. We gravitate toward the colorful veggie sandwich they call the King George, a rainbow of fresh, julienned vegetables, house-made mustard, and a delicious cashew cream and herb pesto. The last time we had it, the sandwich was served on milk bread, but they’re now making it with activated charcoal vegan sour loaf slices.
Cali Alley is a new takeout window in Berkeley, and a spin-off of a catering company. They make burgers, rice bowls, and beef barbacoa plates. But what got us hooked on this to-go spot is their fried chicken sandwich. The Fat Cat is a work of art - a crispy buttermilk chicken breast layered with sweet marinated peppers, swiss cheese, fried shallots, coleslaw, and tomato. It is massive, messy, and perfect.
Devil’s Teeth Baking Company
Yes, the breakfast sandwich from Devil’s Teeth isn’t new. But it makes this list on a technicality since the Sunset bakery opened a second location in the Outer Richmond earlier this year. And, plus, we’ll take any excuse to write about one the best breakfast sandwiches in the city. It’s a flaky, buttery home-made biscuit, combined with perfectly scrambled eggs, melted pepper jack cheese, a lot of bacon and avocado, and garlicky lemon aioli.
Japanese sandwich spot Masabaga opened in June, bringing their excellent deep-fried tuna belly burger to Uptown Oakland. They make it with a lean yellowfin tuna belly (as opposed to the bluefin usually used for sashimi), which, when fried, becomes juicy and tender. It’s topped with a yuzu kosho aioli, mixed herbs and greens, and pickled onions. Masabaga also has a grilled mackerel sandwich, a wagyu burger, and their most recent addition, a yakisoba pan - but the toro burger is still our favorite. Also, every sandwich comes with a side of crunchy black sesame tapioca crackers that we think about daily.
Regardless of whether you think a burger is a sandwich (debate among yourselves), the smashburgers from this new pop-up at Cookiebar Creamery in Oakland are so good it doesn’t matter what you call them. You can’t really go wrong with your order here. We like The Signature: two crispy, caramelized patties, grilled onions, pickles, and their house sauce. Two other things from Smish Smash that are great: a fried chicken sandwich that’s juicy, crunchy, and heavy on the dill, and one with ground bacon that’s flattened into a patty and made crispy on the grill. Smish Smash is open Thursday-Sunday, from 5-9pm. Make sure to check their Instagram for weekly specials.
World Famous Hot Boys should be synonymous with greatness - or, at the very least, their Nashville hot sandwiches should be. The former pop-up is now a brick-and-mortar spot in Uptown Oakland, and their perfect, crispy sandwich is what we order when we want to feel spice, heat, and joy. You can choose from various heat levels that range from no spice to training wheels to painfully spicy. There’s even a Hot Hot sandwich that requires you to fill out a quick questionnaire when you order. Serious sandwich stuff.
The Bay Area loves a fried chicken sandwich (can you tell by this list?), and one we can get behind is from Hetchy’s Hots, a takeout-only spot in SoMa from The Square Pie Guys. Our go-to is made with a massive chicken thigh that’s doused in house-made chili oil and dusted with spice mix, and then topped with calabrian spices and a lemon aioli. But you won’t be disappointed with whatever you choose, whether it’s the one with ranch powder and pickled onions, or the one stuffed with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. But FYI, their sandwiches are actually pretty mild if you like some heat. Consider ordering some more chili oil on the side.
The Humble Sandwich
The upscale New American restaurant on Piedmont Avenue recently launched a casual spin-off called The Humble Sandwich. The menu includes a $14 cubano with smoked ham and chile-roasted pork shoulder, an herb-rubbed grilled steak sandwich ($16), and a roasted turkey sandwich with avocado, sprouts, and cheddar ($13). On a recent visit, we got the Italian classic with coppa, salami, soppressata, pickled chile, and provolone. The sandwich is served on an Acme roll (full disclosure: it does feel a tad small for $15), but it’s still a great choice if you’re looking to fill your basic cravings for meat, bread, and cheese.
Augie’s Montreal Deli
Augie’s is technically over two-years-old, but we’re in a new era. And time is meaningless, hazy, and a flat circle. Plus, this Montreal-style deli in Berkeley is offering some of the most beautiful, juicy smoked brisket sandwiches around. Order L’Original, which comes with 8 ounces of smoked meat that’s layered between two slices of rye bread. That’s it. The sandwich is deceptively simple (it comes with a side of coleslaw and a pickle), and definitely seems small for $15.95. But consider this the old/new sandwich you need now.