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Hands hold two banh mi over pavement
The banh mi from Ba Le just might be the best sandwich in Boston (or anywhere).
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

18 Essential Sandwiches in and Around Boston

Eat banh mi in Dorchester, Chilean sandwiches downtown, Cuban sandwiches in Jamaica Plain, tortas in Medford, and more

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The banh mi from Ba Le just might be the best sandwich in Boston (or anywhere).
| Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Boston doesn’t exactly have an iconic type of sandwich, at least not in the same way some cities do — Philly has the cheesesteak, Chicago has the Italian beef, and New York has pastrami on rye, for example. Sure, there’s the lobster roll, but if hot dogs aren’t sandwiches, lobster rolls aren’t sandwiches either (and are thus excluded from this map; find the best of the best here).

The dearth of a definitive sandwich type notwithstanding, an eater can absolutely find a lot of very good sandwiches of various types in and around Boston. These are 18 of the best in and around the city, listed from north to south.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here. For updated information on coronavirus cases in the area, please visit the Massachusetts coronavirus website.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Dom's Sausage Co Inc.

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10 Riverside Park
Malden, MA 02148
(781) 324-1310
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You can walk into any pizzeria or sub shop in Greater Boston and find a steak tip sub, but the version at Dom’s in Malden is an exemplar of the genre. While there, be sure to pick up some extra steak tips to grill up for another meal, not to mention a sausage or two.

A long sub, cut in half, is stuffed with saucy steak tips. It sits on white butcher paper.
A steak tip sub from Dom’s Sausage Co Inc.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

2. Tenoch Mexican

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24 Riverside Ave
Medford, MA 02155
(781) 395-2221
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This Medford Square staple first opened its doors in 2012 and has since expanded to include a fleet of food trucks and other brick-and-mortar locations in Boston’s North End and Somerville’s Davis Square. Tenoch serves a variety of Mexican street food — by all means, try one of its many exceptional tacos — but it specializes in and is best known for its tortas. Its torta al pastor is packed with crispy, slightly smoky chunks of pork, which is topped with grassy, citrusy cilantro and a slice of tooth-achingly sweet pineapple. A trip to Medford must include a trip to Tenoch.

A Mexican torta — a round sandwich a little bigger than a standard hamburger — sits on a white plate on a wooden table.
A torta from Tenoch.
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

3. Bob's Italian Foods

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324 Main St
Medford, MA 02155
(781) 395-0400
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Most people will tell you to get the Italian from Bob’s Italian. (Makes sense!) But you should definitely get the 50/50 chicken parm/meatball combo instead. A seeded, braided roll is packed with chicken parm on one half and meatballs on the other, and it’s all topped with cheese and Bob’s classic red sauce.

Closeup on a sub stuffed with meatballs and chicken parm, sitting on aluminum foil
The 50/50 chicken parm and meatball sub from Bob’s Italian.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

4. Pennypacker's

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514 Medford St
Somerville, MA 02145
(857) 523-8053
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The porchetta sandwich from Pennypacker’s is served on ciabatta, with accompaniments changing by the day, and it’s essential Boston eating. If you’re there, you might as well order some duck fat roasted Brussels sprouts too, if available, or whatever else looks good on the ever-changing menu.

Closeup on a simple porchetta sandwich with a side salad on a blue plate
The Pennypacker’s porchetta sandwich is exceptional.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

5. P & K Delicatessen

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244 Beacon St
Somerville, MA 02143
(617) 868-0772
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Like Bob’s (see above), fans of P & K — an unassuming little convenience store with a killer deli counter in the back — will recommend the Italian, but the real magical choice is the meatball sub, the best in the area. It features bread with a just-right texture; it’s soft, but it doesn’t get soggy from the generous red sauce.

A meatball sub and an Italian sub on white deli paper
The meatball sub and Italian sub from P & K Deli in Somerville.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

6. Hot Box

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1 Bow Market Way
Somerville, MA 02143
(617) 284-9600
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The North Shore-style roast beef sandwich is — in all of its sloppy, messy glory — an iconic Massachusetts bite. The classic version (or, the “super beef,” as it’s known in most shops) consists of an onion or seeded roll piled high with rosy-pink roast beef shaved impossibly thin and topped with mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, and a slice of white American cheese. It’s known colloquially as a “three-way,” and that’s exactly how Hot Box prepares its version. This Union Square shop’s beef compares favorably to all the best spots north of the city, from Revere Beach to North Beverly.

A three-way junior roast beef sandwich on a sesame bun sits on aluminum foil
An honest-to-goodness North Shore-style roast beef sandwich from Hot Box.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

7. All Star Sandwich Bar

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1245 Cambridge St
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 868-3065
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Beef on weck is a whole Buffalo vibe, so it may seem like a strange decision to put a version of it on a map of Boston’s most essential sandwiches. But All Star Sandwich Bar’s take on it — one of the only beef on wecks to be found in the Boston area — is too good not to make the list. Warm, thinly sliced roast beef is piled high on a kimmelweck roll, topped with spicy horseradish and au jus. It’s outstanding.

Thinly sliced, rare roast beef is served on a kimmelwick roll with a side of fries on a plate with dark blue wavy lines. A can of Springdale beer Ginger & Juice is visible in the background.
Beef on weck from All Star Sandwich Bar.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

8. Molti on Moody

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468 Moody St
Waltham, MA 02453
(781) 216-8732
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The restaurant formerly known as Moody’s has changed a bit in the past several years, but it’s still offering an excellent pastrami sandwich. Order the Katz (an homage to the quintessential New York deli), which comes with house-made pastrami, pickled peppers, coleslaw, Swiss, and special sauce served on seeded rye.

9. Bricco Salumeria & Pasta Shop

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11 Board Alley
Boston, MA 02113
(617) 248-9629
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Bricco Panetteria is broadly regarded as one of the best bakeries in Greater Boston, so it’s not surprising that its sibling, Bricco Salumeria, combines that great bread with prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, and olive oil to make a damn fine panino.

10. Sam LaGrassa's

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44 Province St
Boston, MA 02108
(617) 357-6861
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It wouldn’t be a Boston sandwich map without Sam LaGrassa’s. The downtown restaurant’s menu is vast — like, 50 sandwiches vast — but the move at LaGrassa’s is the corned beef on pumpernickel with Swiss and spicy brown mustard. The corned beef is salty and tender and a little fatty, which is balanced by the sweet-and-sour dance of the pumpernickel and the sharpness of the mustard. (The chicken parm, pictured, is a hit as well.)

A sesame-studded bun loaded with chicken parmesan cut diagonally
Chicken parm sub from Sam Lagrassa’s.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

11. Chacarero

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101 Arch St
Boston, MA 02110
(617) 542-0392
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The signature sandwich from Chacarero is unlike any other sandwich in the city. This Chilean sandwich consists of grilled steak or chicken (or both — get both), fresh tomatoes, steamed green beans, a slice of Muenster, avocado spread, salt, and pepper, and it’s all stuffed into a soft, freshly baked round roll. (Note: Chacarero is closed on weekends.)

12. Fiya Chicken

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1024 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
(617) 208-8659
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Boston is teeming with great fried chicken sandwiches, but Fiya Chicken might have the best version. The chicken used in its Korean fried chicken sandwich is brined with buttermilk and kimchi, which gives the final product a slightly fermented taste. Diners can choose from four different glaze options: soy garlic, spicy garlic, Fiya sauce (which is spicy), and cider honey mustard. The soy garlic glaze is the play here — it is sweet and salty, and it pairs well with the house-made kimchi and pickles that top the sandwich. It’s all served on a toasted brioche bun.

13. Michael's Deli

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256 Harvard St
Brookline, MA 02446
(617) 738-3354
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This is a twofer, and diners at Michael’s Deli should feel free to choose their own adventure: either the corned beef Rachel, or the corned beef Reuben. The Rachel comes with coleslaw, the Reuben comes with sauerkraut, they both come with Swiss cheese and Russian dressing, and they’re both served on toasted pumpernickel.

14. Cutty's

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284 Washington St
Brookline, MA 02445
(617) 505-1844
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Virtually every sandwich on this Brookline Village shop’s menu was in the running for this list, but there could only be one, and that one is the Roast Beef 1000. It’s not a North Shore-style beef, but it doesn’t matter. The roast beef is cooked in-house to a tender pink, and it is topped with Thousand Island dressing, sharp cheddar, and crispy shallots. It’s all served on a black pepper brioche bun and griddled ever so slightly in a panini press for a bit of textural variety. This sandwich is a miracle.

A roast beef sandwich on brioche, topped with crispy shallots, a slide of cheddar, and Thousand Island dressing.
Not North Shore-style, but not bad either.
Cutty’s

15. Joe's Famous Steak Subs

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140 Dudley St
Roxbury, MA 02119
(617) 442-8824
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Sub shops in Greater Boston are often measured by the quality of their steak and cheese, and Joe’s version is one of the best — the roll is pillowy, the shaved steak is tender, the cheese is abundant and melty, and the peppers and onions add a sweet and zesty zip. This Roxbury shop is not to be missed.

16. M&M BBQ

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1250 Massachusetts Ave
Dorchester, MA 02125
(617) 307-7674
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M&M BBQ has been doing its thing since 1982. The Dorchester restaurant has taken on many forms over the past four decades — food truck, catering business, pop-up — but it recently found a permanent home inside Dorchester Brewing Company. Its ribs are certainly worth your coins, but the Geneva Ave. sandwich — shredded beef brisket topped with pickled onions, barbecue sauce, and smoked cheese sauce — is absolutely the play here. Grab a four-pack of Dorchester Brewing’s Neponset Gold to wash it all down while you’re there.

17. El Oriental de Cuba

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416 Centre St
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
(617) 524-6464
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The Cuban sandwich at El Oriental de Cuba in Jamaica Plain is compulsory Boston sandwich eating. The exterior is crispy, and the interior is filled with savory pork and tangy pickles dressed with a gooey amalgamation of Swiss cheese and mustard.

A Cuban sandwich on a counter in a restaurant kitchen, served in a plastic black basket and covered with lots of mustard
The Cuban sandwich at El Oriental de Cuba.
El Oriental de Cuba

18. Ba Le Restaurant

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1052 Dorchester Ave
Boston, MA 02125
(617) 265-7171
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Boston has a spectacular banh mi scene, but the best of the best can be found at Ba Le in Dorchester. Its barbecue beef banh mi may just be the best sandwich in the entire city. The bread, which is baked in-house, has a shatteringly crisp exterior and a pillowy interior, and it is packed with fresh vegetables and sweet, charred strips of beef. Pick up some Vietnamese pantry staples and a Vietnamese iced coffee while you’re there.

Hands hold two banh mi over pavement
The perfect sandwich most certainly does exist, and you can find it on Dorchester Avenue
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

1. Dom's Sausage Co Inc.

10 Riverside Park, Malden, MA 02148
A long sub, cut in half, is stuffed with saucy steak tips. It sits on white butcher paper.
A steak tip sub from Dom’s Sausage Co Inc.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

You can walk into any pizzeria or sub shop in Greater Boston and find a steak tip sub, but the version at Dom’s in Malden is an exemplar of the genre. While there, be sure to pick up some extra steak tips to grill up for another meal, not to mention a sausage or two.

10 Riverside Park
Malden, MA 02148

2. Tenoch Mexican

24 Riverside Ave, Medford, MA 02155
A Mexican torta — a round sandwich a little bigger than a standard hamburger — sits on a white plate on a wooden table.
A torta from Tenoch.
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

This Medford Square staple first opened its doors in 2012 and has since expanded to include a fleet of food trucks and other brick-and-mortar locations in Boston’s North End and Somerville’s Davis Square. Tenoch serves a variety of Mexican street food — by all means, try one of its many exceptional tacos — but it specializes in and is best known for its tortas. Its torta al pastor is packed with crispy, slightly smoky chunks of pork, which is topped with grassy, citrusy cilantro and a slice of tooth-achingly sweet pineapple. A trip to Medford must include a trip to Tenoch.

24 Riverside Ave
Medford, MA 02155

3. Bob's Italian Foods

324 Main St, Medford, MA 02155
Closeup on a sub stuffed with meatballs and chicken parm, sitting on aluminum foil
The 50/50 chicken parm and meatball sub from Bob’s Italian.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Most people will tell you to get the Italian from Bob’s Italian. (Makes sense!) But you should definitely get the 50/50 chicken parm/meatball combo instead. A seeded, braided roll is packed with chicken parm on one half and meatballs on the other, and it’s all topped with cheese and Bob’s classic red sauce.

324 Main St
Medford, MA 02155

4. Pennypacker's

514 Medford St, Somerville, MA 02145
Closeup on a simple porchetta sandwich with a side salad on a blue plate
The Pennypacker’s porchetta sandwich is exceptional.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

The porchetta sandwich from Pennypacker’s is served on ciabatta, with accompaniments changing by the day, and it’s essential Boston eating. If you’re there, you might as well order some duck fat roasted Brussels sprouts too, if available, or whatever else looks good on the ever-changing menu.

514 Medford St
Somerville, MA 02145

5. P & K Delicatessen

244 Beacon St, Somerville, MA 02143
A meatball sub and an Italian sub on white deli paper
The meatball sub and Italian sub from P & K Deli in Somerville.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Like Bob’s (see above), fans of P & K — an unassuming little convenience store with a killer deli counter in the back — will recommend the Italian, but the real magical choice is the meatball sub, the best in the area. It features bread with a just-right texture; it’s soft, but it doesn’t get soggy from the generous red sauce.

244 Beacon St
Somerville, MA 02143

6. Hot Box

1 Bow Market Way, Somerville, MA 02143
A three-way junior roast beef sandwich on a sesame bun sits on aluminum foil
An honest-to-goodness North Shore-style roast beef sandwich from Hot Box.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

The North Shore-style roast beef sandwich is — in all of its sloppy, messy glory — an iconic Massachusetts bite. The classic version (or, the “super beef,” as it’s known in most shops) consists of an onion or seeded roll piled high with rosy-pink roast beef shaved impossibly thin and topped with mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, and a slice of white American cheese. It’s known colloquially as a “three-way,” and that’s exactly how Hot Box prepares its version. This Union Square shop’s beef compares favorably to all the best spots north of the city, from Revere Beach to North Beverly.

1 Bow Market Way
Somerville, MA 02143

7. All Star Sandwich Bar

1245 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139
Thinly sliced, rare roast beef is served on a kimmelwick roll with a side of fries on a plate with dark blue wavy lines. A can of Springdale beer Ginger & Juice is visible in the background.
Beef on weck from All Star Sandwich Bar.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Beef on weck is a whole Buffalo vibe, so it may seem like a strange decision to put a version of it on a map of Boston’s most essential sandwiches. But All Star Sandwich Bar’s take on it — one of the only beef on wecks to be found in the Boston area — is too good not to make the list. Warm, thinly sliced roast beef is piled high on a kimmelweck roll, topped with spicy horseradish and au jus. It’s outstanding.

1245 Cambridge St
Cambridge, MA 02139

8. Molti on Moody

468 Moody St, Waltham, MA 02453

The restaurant formerly known as Moody’s has changed a bit in the past several years, but it’s still offering an excellent pastrami sandwich. Order the Katz (an homage to the quintessential New York deli), which comes with house-made pastrami, pickled peppers, coleslaw, Swiss, and special sauce served on seeded rye.

468 Moody St
Waltham, MA 02453

9. Bricco Salumeria & Pasta Shop

11 Board Alley, Boston, MA 02113

Bricco Panetteria is broadly regarded as one of the best bakeries in Greater Boston, so it’s not surprising that its sibling, Bricco Salumeria, combines that great bread with prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, and olive oil to make a damn fine panino.

11 Board Alley
Boston, MA 02113

10. Sam LaGrassa's

44 Province St, Boston, MA 02108
A sesame-studded bun loaded with chicken parmesan cut diagonally
Chicken parm sub from Sam Lagrassa’s.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

It wouldn’t be a Boston sandwich map without Sam LaGrassa’s. The downtown restaurant’s menu is vast — like, 50 sandwiches vast — but the move at LaGrassa’s is the corned beef on pumpernickel with Swiss and spicy brown mustard. The corned beef is salty and tender and a little fatty, which is balanced by the sweet-and-sour dance of the pumpernickel and the sharpness of the mustard. (The chicken parm, pictured, is a hit as well.)

44 Province St
Boston, MA 02108

11. Chacarero

101 Arch St, Boston, MA 02110

The signature sandwich from Chacarero is unlike any other sandwich in the city. This Chilean sandwich consists of grilled steak or chicken (or both — get both), fresh tomatoes, steamed green beans, a slice of Muenster, avocado spread, salt, and pepper, and it’s all stuffed into a soft, freshly baked round roll. (Note: Chacarero is closed on weekends.)

101 Arch St
Boston, MA 02110

12. Fiya Chicken

1024 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

Boston is teeming with great fried chicken sandwiches, but Fiya Chicken might have the best version. The chicken used in its Korean fried chicken sandwich is brined with buttermilk and kimchi, which gives the final product a slightly fermented taste. Diners can choose from four different glaze options: soy garlic, spicy garlic, Fiya sauce (which is spicy), and cider honey mustard. The soy garlic glaze is the play here — it is sweet and salty, and it pairs well with the house-made kimchi and pickles that top the sandwich. It’s all served on a toasted brioche bun.

1024 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215

13. Michael's Deli

256 Harvard St, Brookline, MA 02446

This is a twofer, and diners at Michael’s Deli should feel free to choose their own adventure: either the corned beef Rachel, or the corned beef Reuben. The Rachel comes with coleslaw, the Reuben comes with sauerkraut, they both come with Swiss cheese and Russian dressing, and they’re both served on toasted pumpernickel.

256 Harvard St
Brookline, MA 02446

14. Cutty's

284 Washington St, Brookline, MA 02445
A roast beef sandwich on brioche, topped with crispy shallots, a slide of cheddar, and Thousand Island dressing.
Not North Shore-style, but not bad either.
Cutty’s

Virtually every sandwich on this Brookline Village shop’s menu was in the running for this list, but there could only be one, and that one is the Roast Beef 1000. It’s not a North Shore-style beef, but it doesn’t matter. The roast beef is cooked in-house to a tender pink, and it is topped with Thousand Island dressing, sharp cheddar, and crispy shallots. It’s all served on a black pepper brioche bun and griddled ever so slightly in a panini press for a bit of textural variety. This sandwich is a miracle.

284 Washington St
Brookline, MA 02445

15. Joe's Famous Steak Subs

140 Dudley St, Roxbury, MA 02119

Sub shops in Greater Boston are often measured by the quality of their steak and cheese, and Joe’s version is one of the best — the roll is pillowy, the shaved steak is tender, the cheese is abundant and melty, and the peppers and onions add a sweet and zesty zip. This Roxbury shop is not to be missed.

140 Dudley St
Roxbury, MA 02119

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16. M&M BBQ

1250 Massachusetts Ave, Dorchester, MA 02125

M&M BBQ has been doing its thing since 1982. The Dorchester restaurant has taken on many forms over the past four decades — food truck, catering business, pop-up — but it recently found a permanent home inside Dorchester Brewing Company. Its ribs are certainly worth your coins, but the Geneva Ave. sandwich — shredded beef brisket topped with pickled onions, barbecue sauce, and smoked cheese sauce — is absolutely the play here. Grab a four-pack of Dorchester Brewing’s Neponset Gold to wash it all down while you’re there.

1250 Massachusetts Ave
Dorchester, MA 02125

17. El Oriental de Cuba

416 Centre St, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
A Cuban sandwich on a counter in a restaurant kitchen, served in a plastic black basket and covered with lots of mustard
The Cuban sandwich at El Oriental de Cuba.
El Oriental de Cuba

The Cuban sandwich at El Oriental de Cuba in Jamaica Plain is compulsory Boston sandwich eating. The exterior is crispy, and the interior is filled with savory pork and tangy pickles dressed with a gooey amalgamation of Swiss cheese and mustard.

416 Centre St
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

18. Ba Le Restaurant

1052 Dorchester Ave, Boston, MA 02125
Hands hold two banh mi over pavement
The perfect sandwich most certainly does exist, and you can find it on Dorchester Avenue
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Boston has a spectacular banh mi scene, but the best of the best can be found at Ba Le in Dorchester. Its barbecue beef banh mi may just be the best sandwich in the entire city. The bread, which is baked in-house, has a shatteringly crisp exterior and a pillowy interior, and it is packed with fresh vegetables and sweet, charred strips of beef. Pick up some Vietnamese pantry staples and a Vietnamese iced coffee while you’re there.

1052 Dorchester Ave
Boston, MA 02125

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