Food & Drink

Bay Area’s Best Non-Traditional Sandwiches

February 28, 2012 10:00 AM

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The lobster roll at the Old Port Lobster Shack (credit:

The lobster roll at the Old Port Lobster Shack (credit:

Reporting Brian Hackney

oldportlobster Bay Areas Best Non Traditional Sandwiches

Lobster roll at the Old Port Lobster Shack (credit:

Eye on the Bay’s Brian Hackney filled his stomach as he traveled to all parts of the Bay Area searching for some new sandwich flavors.

Rather than debate the best of the traditional subs, Brian looked for exotic options that most readers probably haven’t tried before. He picked nine spots that received great reviews by staff, fans and food enthusiasts from the website Yelp. For fun, we rated each tasty sandwich on taste, value and appearance, (up to 10 points for each) for a total score of up to 30.

Here are the top three scorers:

First Place – “Brazilian Tri Tip”

Brazil Fresh Squeeze Cafe

2161 University Ave
Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 845-8011

24 points – Price: Under $10
The Tri Tip is the best seller at this tiny corner Brazilian eatery. The #84 is topped with cilantro, garlic sauce, peppers, cheese, olives, pineapples, onions and more on fresh bread. Make sure to grab some napkins, you are going to get messy.

Second Place – “Menage a Trois”

Ike's Place

3489 16th Street
San Francisco, CA
(415) 553‑6888

22.5 points – Price: $11.11
This relative newcomer has quickly become a hit in San Francisco’s Castro District. Ike says the aioli “dirty sauce” that lends a unique flavor to their breads. The Menage a Trois layers chicken breast, barbecue honey mustard sauce, honey, swiss, havarti, and gouda. Don’t be surprised if you have to wait in line.

Third Place (Tie) – “Meatball with Jalapenos and Jack Cheese”

Paradiso Italian Deli

791 Auzerais Ave
San Jose, CA 95126
(408) 295-6459

21 points – Price: $6.75
This shop was once the landing spot of a Babe Ruth home run, but now it is better known for it’s Italian-inspired delights.

Third Place (Tie) – “Lobster Roll”

Old Port Lobster Shack

851 Veterans Boulevard
Redwood City, CA 94063

21 points – Price: $18.75
For an upscale sandwich, try the four ounce Lobster Roll. It may not be as massive as some of the other opinions, but it has the rich flavor to satisfy your hunger.

Now let’s be clear, the following places all scored just under the third place score of 21 points, because after all, we picked places with great sandwiches to begin with. If you’re looking for sandwiches that have an incredible value for what you get, try these:

“Pulled Pork Sandwich”

Joaquin Deli

275 Joaquin Ave
San Leandro, CA 94577

Price: $5.95
A former tech professional opened up this East Bay hangout and never looked back. The pulled pork sandwich is among their most popular creations. The heaping sandwich comes with a side of potato salad.

“Mortadella, Salami, Ham & Swiss”

Lorenzo's Sandwich Shop

911 Villa Ave
Belmont, CA 94002
(650) 592-4321

Price: $4.50 to $5.50
The fresh garlic sauce is the secret at this Belmont favorite.

“Thit Nuong”

Huong Lan Market

1655 Tully Rd
San Jose, CA 95122
(408) 258-8868

Price: $2.50
If you are looking for great value, this San Jose shop won’t disappoint. Pick from a variety of Vietnamese-style sandwiches.

“Little Lucca Combo”

Little Lucca Specialty Sandwich Shop

1809 El Camino Real
Burlingame, CA 94010

Price: $5.50
Channel 5 employees say this is the place to go for a sandwich around Burlingame. The Little Luca combo is the most traditional looking sandwich in our rankings. It a massive ball of meat and cheese. That will fill you up for the day.

“Pollo Milanese”

Tortas Los Picudos

2969 24th St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 824-4199

Price range: Under $10
This south-of-the-border style sandwich shop offers a wide range of options that are sure to satisfy any hungry luncher.

View Comments
  • Rick

    good job at finding places all around the bay!

  • Jonis

    there’s a new place called munchboxx in the fidi that serves banh mi on a buttery croissant, it’s so delicious and cheap too! I usually bring lunch to work but I their prices are low enough that I can afford to treat myself a few times a week.

  • Diane

    How about Petaluma, Novato, Santa Rosa?

    • jdog

      those aren’t in the bay area sweetie.

  • Speck

    Sonoma County and Marin County ARE a part of the Bay Area. They are in the North Bay section. Re-check your facts jdog.

  • lisa

    Little Luca in South San francisco is the TRUE and original! please please truly the best sandwich in the bay!!

  • laurie

    Genova Deli in Napa

  • Daniel

    I agree! Their sandwiches are the best. And the charm of going into a little cramped house.

    Prepare to wait, but the wait is worth it. Ask for the garlic spread, you will not regret it. Enjoy!

    • Daniel

      Little Lucca’s in South San Francisco!!!!

  • Mike

    Darby Dan’s SSF, Roxie Deli San Jose Ave., SF

  • Maggie

    Nick’s in Pacifica, their crab melt sandwich is ‘to die for’. It’s not cheap but soooooo YUMMY!



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