Philadelphia may be best known for the cheesesteak, but that does not mean it’s the only sandwich in town. In fact, many locals claim that the roast pork sandwich, a South Philly tradition, is actually the city’s best and most iconic sandwich and has recently been attracting national attention. Philly also has a great ethnic food scene, including some of the best Vietnamese restaurants on the East Coast, which serve the deliciously cheap Banh Mi, a vietnamese hoagie usually made up of meat such as pork belly, bbq pork, chicken or tofu for vegetarians and topped with vegetables, cilantro, pickles, all served on a french baguette. As a vegetarian-friendly city, Philadelphia offers a large selection of vegetarian options, including great falafel sandwiches. And for those who crave ridiculously large, monster sandwiches, check out Paesano’s and Famous 4th Street Deli. Whatever you’re in the mood for, whether you’re looking for simple or fancy, healthy or gluttonous, there is a sandwich for everyone. Check out the list for some of the best sandwiches in Philadelphia, other than the cheesesteak.
What is your favorite sandwich in Philadelphia?
Roast Pork Sandwich, Dinic’s
Named “Best Sandwich in America” by Travel Channel’s Adam Richman, Dinic’s, located in the iconic Reading Terminal Market, offers a juicy roast pork sandwich with thinly sliced pork, and your choice of sharp provolone, broccoli rabe, sautéed spinach or roasted peppers, and topped with a splash of au jus. Be prepared to wait in line, as the secret is out. 51 N. 12th St
John’s Roast Pork
This tiny South Philly corner spot, serving roast pork since 1930, gets very crowded especially at lunch time, but it’s worth the wait. They recommend topping their heaping amount of juicy roast pork with provolone, hot peppers and onions, and therefore, do not offer broccoli rabe, only spinach as a topping. Only open daytime (weekdays 7a-3p, Sat 9a-4p). 14 East Snyder Ave.
Paesano’s, featured on Bobby Flay’s Throwdown and Anthony Bourdain’s The Layover, is known for their huge sandwiches and has locations in the Italian Market and Northern Liberties. The namesake sandwich is made up of slow cooked brisket, pepperincino, sharp provolone, horseradish mayo, roasted tomatoes and a fried egg, on a scooped out Sarcone’s roll. 1017 S. 9th St., 152 W. Girard Ave., 202 S. 13th St.
Lobster Roll, Luke’s Lobster
Before this NY-based spot opened up, it was hard to find a lobster roll in Philly and those that were available were expensive. Luke’s fills a needed void, with a delicious selection of lobster, crab and shrimp rolls or combo meals with all three, with all the seafood coming direct from Maine. At $15, the lobster roll may not look huge, but it’s full of lobster meat and very little filler, making this sandwich worth the price. 130 S. 17th St.
Chicken Cutlet Italiano, Shank’s
Serving sandwiches for over 50 years, Shank’s is most known for their Chicken Italiano, made with breaded chicken cutlets, sharp provolone and broccoli rabe. Consistently named one of the best sandwiches in Philadelphia, the chicken achieves the perfect balance of crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. 901 Columbus Blvd.
Banh Mi, Ba Le
Ba Le, a bakery located in a busy shopping plaza, offers bubble tea, premade packaged foods, and desserts in addition to the Banh Mi. For only $3.50-$4, they offer a wide selection of sandwiches, such as BBQ pork, shredded chicken, meatball, kabob and the special combination (pork roll, ham, roast pork, pate) served on a flaky, soft roll. 606 Washington Ave.
Banh Mi, QT Vietnamese
In Philly, the majority of the pho restaurants and Vietnamese supermarkets are congregated on Washington Ave, so there are few places to get a Banh Mi in Chinatown. Service at QT is friendly and most employees speak English. The house special ($4.50 for a large sandwich) is made with Vietnamese ham, Vietnamese pork, bbq pork and topped with pickled carrots, cucumber and cilantro. 48 N. 10th St.
Train Wreck Po Boy, Beck’s Cajun
Located in the Reading Terminal Market, Beck’s offers inexpensive, quick and authentic Cajun food, including gumbo, muffallettas, etouffee and beignets. This sandwich is Beck’s Cajun twist on a cheesesteak, consisting of steak, cheese, onion, chopped salami, andouille sausage and topped with creole mayo.
Falafel, Mama’s Vegetarian
Mama’s, a Kosher Middle Eastern restaurant offers quick, inexpensive and healthy food. The falafel sandwiches are made up of delicious crispy fried falafel balls, stuffed into a regular or whole wheat pita and covered with vegetables and hummus. The pitas and falafels are made fresh daily. Available in small or large sizes and include access to the salad bar. 18 S. 20th St.
Corned Beef Reuben, Famous 4th St. Deli
This traditional jewish deli has been serving overstuffed giant sandwiches for over 80 years and maintains its old school atmosphere. Prices may seem high but that’s because everything including the Corned Beef Reuben comes in giant portions, enough for 2-3 people or for leftovers to take home for another meal. Meals start with complimentary pickles and end with free chocolate chip cookies. 700 S. 4th St.