What’s the best sandwich in New York?
This debate, like all great New York debates, usually hinges on cocksure bravado and outrageously specific beliefs about pastrami quality, which is part of what makes it so eternally compelling. But one aspect that’s too often missing is context—particularly when it comes to cost.
To compare a bodega bacon-egg-and-cheese to a $25 French dip at Minetta Tavern is an argument for fools. What we’re interested in is not so much which sandwich reigns supreme above all, but rather which dominates at its price point. From the budget-friendly bánh mì of Chinatown, to the cheffed-up stackers at some of the city’s hottest restaurants, the sandwich economy is one that requires laser focus on direct competitors, not anything that comes between two pieces of bread (and certainly not a hot dog). And so, in the spirit of our best burgers by budget treatise, we bring you our take on New York's finest sandwiches, from dirt-cheap to only-in-NYC expensive.
A couple of notes: These prices are pre-tax and tip, which are certainly relevant expenditures, but would make this whole exercise a bit too confusing (the main point is that you don’t have to tip at counter-service spots like Sophie’s, but you do at sit-down restaurants like Parm; get it to go if you want to minimize cost). And, of course, there are other economic concerns that can come into play, like the fact that some sandwiches might require spending $5 in subway fare, or god forbid, going to brunch. But all other things remaining equal, we believe these are the finest sandwiches you can score in New York, based on the amount of money you’re willing to spend on any given day.
Here are the best sandwiches in NYC at every budget, from $2 to $20.