Not going to lie, my favorite sandwich might be a classic PBJ with creamy peanut butter and strawberry jelly.
Nevertheless, Philadelphia has so many delis, delicatessens, and sandwich shops that I rarely have to open my cabinet and make my own.
Who would’ve known that something as simple as assembling ingredients in between two slices of bread could have so many combinations of meats, cheeses, vegetables, and spreads? From hearty Italian hoagies to savory Vietnamese subs, Philly has it all!
Best Sandwiches in Philadelphia
248 S 11th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Phone: (267) 930-8344
Middle Child is almost as iconic in Philadelphia as the Liberty Bell. But it’s also ironic because unlike a middle child, you’ll never forget one of their sandwiches.
Their extra fluffy eggs have been coined “the best eggs in Philadelphia,” and I can definitely see why. Sandwiched between two thick slices of potato bread with cooper sharp and arugula, their breakfast sandwich is a greasy boy.
This is one of the few times you won’t mind waking up before 11:15 am on a weekend to snag yours before they stop serving breakfast.
If you do oversleep, however, their lunch sandwiches are just as good, such as the “Surfer” (turkey, swiss, blueberry masala jam, and mayo on ciabatta) or the vegan “Phoagie” (eggplant, avocado, onion, cilantro, and pho sauce on a Sarcone’s roll).
John’s Roast Pork
14 Snyder Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148
Phone: (215) 463-1951
John’s Roast Pork is a household name in Philadelphia. If you’ve ever watched a food critic review this James Beard award winner, you’ve probably seen John the owner, whose passion for providing quality ingredients is prevalent in his sandwiches.
John’s pretty much put provolone on the map. It’s bold to suggest sharp provolone over whiz or American, but it’s a risk that really pays off.
The hot roast pork is their specialty, but if you went to John’s Roast Pork and didn’t order one of their ultimate cheesesteaks, did you really go?
Better yet, get both! Come hungry and come early because they usually sell out by mid-afternoon.
Poe’s Sandwich Joint
1710 N 5th St, Philadelphia, PA 19122
Phone: (215) 454-2654
If you go to Temple University, Poe’s Sandwich Joint, located just a few blocks away from Main Campus, should be your newest go-to for a quick bite.
While their sandwiches aren’t as cheap as Wawa, they’re worth splurging a few extra bucks. Get their homestyle sandwiches like the Uncle Tony, a fancier rendition of a Philly cheesesteak, and the Skinny Joey, an Italian style pulled pork.
Or try one of their other eccentric sandwiches, like the “Gabbygool” and the “Sal Bonpensiero.” Want to know what they are/what they mean? Check out their website and watch “The Sopranos.”
1244 N Front St, Philadelphia, PA 19122
Phone: (215) 309-2241
Come over whenever (except Tuesdee when they’re closed) to Liberty Kitchen, a South Kensington and Fishtown deli, bakery, and grocery store.
On top of their commissary and “pop-down” kitchen for aspiring chefs and bakers, they’re slinging some of the most hyped up hoagies in the city.
The “Mortabella” with mortadella, burrata, pistachio pesto, and arugula tossed in calabrian chili oil is a top seller, as well as “Veggie Jawn” and “Della Cassa.” If a hoagie isn’t enough for you or you’re just not feeling a sandwich, they also have some bomb mac and cheese and tomato pie.
But if that’s the case, then why are you reading this list?
2204 Washington Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19146
Phone: (215) 545-2939
Porchetta, a savory, boneless pork roast, is still an untapped resource in Philadelphia, so Porcos Porchetteria is breaking new ground in Graduate Hospital/Point Breeze.
Despite the fact that they are a casual counter shop, Porcos does not sacrifice quality for speed. Surprise surprise, their three most popular sandwiches – the OG, the Philly, and the Spicy Porker – are all made with their herbed porchetta on house ciabatta.
The latter two are just variations of the former. If you like them enough, you can buy their porchetta by the pound, in addition to their desserts from Small Oven Pastry shop as a sweet complement to your salty meal.
736 S 9th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Phone: (215) 922-0000
Angelo’s Pizzeria in South Philly is infamous for being a pain in the a** to get a hold of. Seriously, there are pictures on Instagram of 250 unanswered calls before someone miraculously picks up the phone and lets you place your order.
Yes, they’re one of those old school Italian joints that are cash only and don’t believe in online ordering. Yes, you’ll be pulling your hair out wondering if this is even worth it. But I promise you, the hassle is worth it.
There’s a reason why Barstool ranked their cheesesteak as the best in Philadelphia (John’s Roast Pork was in second place, and Dalessandro’s was in third by a slim margin).
While you’re at it, you should also order a pizza before they inevitably sell out, since they are a pizzeria after all.
Famous Fourth Street Delicatessen
700 S 4th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Phone: (215) 922-3274
This corner delicatessen has kept its 20’s charm with its vintage white tiles and antique sign, but it’s also adapted with the times, appearing in several movies and serving notable patrons, including former president Barack Obama.
Located on 4th street (duh) in the Queen Village neighborhood of Philadelphia, Famous Fourth Street is famous for smoking the pastrami and pickling the corned beef in their overstuffed sandwiches.
And when I say overstuffed, I mean stacked so tall that you can’t even get your mouth around half of it. Bring an army because you’re going to need it to finish any of their gargantuan portions.
Hershel’s East Side Deli
51 N 12th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Phone: (215) 922-6220
This traditional Jewish cuisinere inside Reading Terminal Market has been called “the best Jewish deli outside of New York” by many locals.
And while there are several delicatessens in Philly with a fighting chance at that title, this one is definitely a contender.
Their sandwiches are piled high and served on six types of bread: rye (regular, seeded, and marble), challah, pumpernickel, or wheat.
Sadly, they close early, so stop in during your lunch break for a brisket or whitefish salad sandwich.
And don’t forget to add sauerkraut and Russian dressing or you’re doing it wrong.
32 S 18th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: (445) 544-8025
Huda just won Philadelphia Insider’s Best in Philly Award for best sandwiches, so it would be a crime if I didn’t include them on my list.
If you’ve ever had Mac Mart’s brisket mac with dijonnaise, that was from Huda next door, and that was probably my favorite flavor of all time.
But aside from their mouth watering brisket and notorious short rib grilled cheese (with pepper-jack brie and apple mustard, might I add), they’re so highly esteemed because they serve all of their sandwiches on house made milk buns.
If you’ve never had milk bread, this is your sign to stop reading and try it right now, preferably from Huda.
Bad Brother Bar
726 N 24th St, Philadelphia, PA 19130
I love sightseeing in this historical city, but when I’m hungry for a quick meal, I want to find the best sandwiches in Philadelphia.
Bad Brother Bar is a casual spot that looks like a house on the corner of North 24th and Meredith Street, blocks from the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
As I expected from the “bar” in the name, this place is only open for dinner. They have the juiciest cheeseburgers I’ve ever had, but I love the sausage roll with chorizo, queso, pickled poblano, and onion on a sturdy roll.
Their fries are thick cuts that go perfectly with the hearty sandwiches.
3400 J St G1, Philadelphia, PA 19134
Càphê Roasters is at the confusing intersection of East Ontario, Kensington, and J Streets, a few blocks from Harrowgate Park.
The interior is casual and rustic, with exposed brick and stone and plenty of windows. While it’s known for its coffee, they also serve delicious sandwiches during breakfast and lunch hours.
For breakfast, I love the Spring sammie. The egg whites include cheddar cheese, scallions, and spring pickled relish with a tangy Creole remoulade on homemade ciabatta.
For lunch, I can never resist the Banh mi, which comes in three options: fried chicken, crispy tofu, or Vietnamese pork ham.
Bodega 856 in Pennsauken
5051 Westfield Ave, Pennsauken Township, NJ 08110
Bodega 856 in Pennsauken is at the corner of Lexington and Westfield Avenues in Pennsauken Township.
It’s across the Delaware River in New Jersey but is a short drive from Philadelphia and worth the time for a delicious meal. They’re open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so you’ll always have great menu options available.
I like to build my breakfast sandwich because I can choose any bread, including pancakes, waffles, or French toast.
For lunch or dinner, I like hot sandwiches like a classic cheesesteak or a back cheeseburger. The sandwiches are filling, but I always get a side of cheese fries or mozzarella sticks.
Café y Chocolate
1532 Snyder Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19145
Café y Chocolate is near the corner of Snyder Avenue and South Mole Street, a block from the cool park and Guerin Recreation Center, which feature stunning street art.
The Mexican cafe serves standard tacos, burritos, and quesadillas. I like trying some of their unique toppings, like shrimp or mole verde pork chops.
My favorite item from Café y Chocolate is a torta, which is a Portuguese roll with refried beans, queso, tomato, lettuce, onion, and mozzarella cheese, like a hearty sandwich.
They serve a cheesesteak a la Mexicana, which I feel I have to order when I’m in Philadelphia. It packs a punch with seasoned steak sauteed with Serrano peppers and topped with pico de gallo.
Castellino’s Italian Market
1255 E Palmer St, Philadelphia, PA 19125
Castellino’s Italian Market is at the intersection of East Thompson and East Palmer Streets, down the street from the Hetzel Playground.
The market sells traditional Italian ingredients, so I can make outstanding sandwiches even when I don’t want to go out to eat.
If I don’t want to make my lunch, I pick up ready-made sandwiches from this store. They have a unique sandwich that I tried on a whim, and it quickly became my favorite: the Fig Pig.
It’s prosciutto, mascarpone, and sweet roasted peppers topped with fig jam on a Ciabatta roll.
Lil’ Nick’s Deli
1311 W Moyamensing Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148
Lil’ Nick’s Deli is a few blocks from Marconi Plaza, making it my favorite spot to grab sandwiches to take to the park for a picnic.
The deli has one of the most filling meatball sandwiches I’ve ever had, but I love their twist of using fried meatballs to add some crunch.
They have an entire menu section of specialty hoagies. I’d recommend Nicky’s Special Hoagie, with provolone, di lusso salami, and cured sweet capicola.
They also have lighter sandwiches, like turkey or tuna, plus meatless options. I also recommend getting a side of homemade pasta or cheese tortellini salad instead of chips.
2113 E York St, Philadelphia, PA 19125
Phone: (215) 867-8881
Martha’s cozy neighborhood bar and homey outdoor patio is a refreshing change of scenery, especially since most of these sandwich shops are takeout only.
This Kensington-based “locally sourced and fermentation focused” restaurant has all sorts of “foodz” besides just sandwiches, like a pickle boat or XO noodz. But their logo is a hoagie, so naturally the sandwiches are their pride and joy.
Vegans can opt for the literally named “vegan” hoagie with fermented radish, marinated eggplant, lettuce, and giardiniera relish.
Vegetarians can choose between the heirloom tomato or Martha mi (a tofu banh mi). And meat eaters can go for the classic Italian.
Woodrow’s Sandwich Shop
630 South St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Woodrow’s Sandwich Shop is on the bustling South Street, in the middle of the block spanning South 6th and 7th Streets.
Since it’s a classic Philadelphia sandwich shop, I always recommend their take on a cheesesteak: Woodrow’s Whiz Wit.
However, they also serve a wonderfully seasoned Cubano with spiced pork, prosciutto cotto, swiss, and dijonnaise.
For people who want something unique and flavorful, I recommend the coffee BBQ brisket sandwich. The BBQ is unlike anything I’ve had before, and the sandwich elevates the taste by adding caramelized onions and jalapeno.
Sides include house-cut fries, with or without cajun seasoning. I like to dip mine in truffle whiz, which they make fresh on-site.
333 Spring Garden St, Philadelphia, PA 19123
Museum Deli is in a shopping center that spans Spring Garden Street between North 4th and North Orianna Streets.
They serve classic Italian hoagies and a spicy buffalo chicken hoagie that makes my mouth water.
However, their extensive sandwich menu makes it hard to choose just one item for lunch or dinner.
Their corned beef Reuben is one of the best I’ve had, but I love the flavors of their Capicola ham panini, topped with roasted peppers and lettuce.
In conclusion, Philadelphia has a whole lot more to offer than just cheesesteaks (but we are also the only city that does them right.) Whether you’re craving a fried chicken sandwich, a reuben, a turkey club, a grilled cheese…I forgot where I was going with this, but now I’m hungry.
Prefer bagel sandwiches? I purposefully excluded them from this list because they’re in a league of their own, so check out my best bagels article to see my picks!
Did I miss your favorite sammie in Philly? Let me know in the comments below.