Some accolades in life hold great esteem. Best actor at the Oscars. Olympic Champion. Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. But no honour comes close to the title of best sandwich.

See, in a country where around 80% of lunch options come served between two pieces of bread, it really takes a big shot to rise to the top. The value of a good sandwich cannot be underestimated. A medical necessity that’s prescribed to get you through that 2 pm meeting. The slayer of hangovers. The motivation to leave the house when working from home in an expired pair of tracksuit bottoms. The fuel that powers your keyboard tapping fingers, ensuring every email sent does, in fact, find the recipient well.

That said, not all sandwiches are born equal, so we’ve been on a quest to scout out the best. Come rain or shine, we’ve ventured out into the concrete jungle in search of the ultimate sando, from the simple grilled cheese and leaning towers of mortadella and focaccia to a trusty bacon sarnie.

These sandwiches are way more than you sad supermarket offering. Gourmet fillings are packed between proper bread, a simple and significant difference. And thanks to bakeries' burgeoning gluten-free wizardry, nearly everyone can get in on the action. From roast beef to the gooiest grilled cheese, here's your hit list of London's best sandwiches. Crust us, they’re drop bread gorgeous.

The best sandwiches in London

Doms Subs

262 Hackney Road, E2 7SQ

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Thank god sandwich kings, Doms Subs, have swooped in and saved us from the only other subs on the market – which we can all agree aren’t exactly a taste sensation. On the menu are sandos packed with inches of filling – think the best Italian deli goods like ruffles of mortadella, salami, bresaola and provolone, served in soft, crusty semolina rolls that make for some enviable cross-sections. Even better, there’s a vegan Dom stuffed with chilli roasted aubergines, green beans, mint, vegan mayo and sticky roasted cashew – so you can dominate your plant-based desires.

Mondo Sando

26 Camberwell Grove, SE5 8RE

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Founded during lockdown and perhaps one of the better things to come out of the pandemic, Mondo Sando slings some of the capital's best sandwiches from the kitchen of Camberwell’s Grove House Tavern. These are sangers with girth – think hunky slabs of bread filled with juicy merguez and sumac fries, fish fingers and sauce gribiche, gigantic bhajis and even deep-fried lasagne. There’s a high chance one of these big boys might put you in a carb coma for hours after, but it’s worth the journey to flavour town.


167 Junction Road, N19 5PZ

Norman's menu reads as if it were created by our brain when we've got one hell of a hangover. Think Macca's, but gourmet: battered haddock and tartar sauce; juicy chicken escalope with a slice of cheddar, mayo and 'Wally' the pickle; sausage, egg, red Leicester and brown sauce; all served in a perfect English muffin. Order an extra hash brown and stick it in the sando for a custom-built treat, then amble up to Waterlow Park and Highgate Cemetery to gawk at Karl Marx's grave.

Mangal II

4 Stoke Newington Road, N16 8BH

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Stoke Newington Road's Mangal II has its roots in a traditional Istanbul ocakbasi, but done hipster: during more normal times, there's a natural wine list and the restaurant is packed out with the great and the trendy of East London – pork pie hats and Doc Martens abound. But this is far from your usual casual Dalston kebab joint: run by two enterprising brothers, it's become so cool that the team has even done a takeover at P. Franco. Get the menu to takeaway, or pop in for a lunch on the hoof – the charcoal-grilled mackerel pide with dill aioli is quite rightly spreading like widlfire over Instagram, as is the latest creation: the MangMuffin, with two sourdough grilled pides sandwiched around a Turkish sucuck patty (cured beef sausage), a fried egg, and hot sauce.


18-20 Southwark Street, SE1 1TJ

Borough Market at lunchtime might be equivalent to fighting in the trenches, so why not bypass armageddon and head to Brindisa Chorizo Grill just outside the market? The beauty of this spot is that there is only one sandwich on the menu, eliminating a queue of undecided punters and removing difficult decisions from your already-fried work brain. On the menu is the world-famous Brindisa chorizo roll, made with artisan Riojan chorizos sizzling hot from the grill, juicy piquillo peppers and crisp rocket leaves stuffed into a soft ciabatta roll. It’s meaty, spicy and satisfying – what more could you want for a lunchtime carb? And don’t just take our word for it – this sandwich was voted best street eat by Timeout.

Fortitude Bakehouse 

35 Colonnade, WC1N 1JD

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Maestros of Viennoiserie, Fortitude Bakehouse, know a thing or two when it comes to laminating croissant dough, so it comes as welcome news that the range extends to croissant sandwiches. Yep, you heard us right. Think parma ham, brie, caramelised onion tomatoes, and rocket sandwiched between two crispy, glossy rectangles of croissant dough. They say Elon Musk is the pioneer of innovation, but we beg to differ.

Western's Laundry

34 Drayton Park, N5 1PB

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We're cheating here, and we going to write about three places in one: Westerns Laundry, Jolene and Big Jo all belong to the same North London restaurant group and have a similar vibe – great bread (made with Wildfarmed grains grown by Groove Armada's Andy Cato. Yes, really), great fillings, natural wines, beers and bottled cocktails. They do, however, all have different menus, which means you can hop from one to the other throughout the week and never get bored. The sandos are always excellent, but a recent fave has been guanciale, grilled hispi cabbage and mustard at Westerns Laundry, which has pivoted to become Westerns Market during lockdown. Warning: don't arrive after 1pm, otherwise you'll be out of luck (and sandwiches).


1 Bedale Street, SE1 9AL

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A trip to Borough Market these days is the equivalent of a holiday: most of the market stalls are operating (in a Covid-safe way, of course), and you can see a shadow of London's hustle and bustle in the food lovers queuing up for their gourmet cheese and Bread Ahead donuts. The main queue worth joining in our humble opinion, though, is outside Flor, the second site from the team behind Lyle's. Not only has it had a lockdown spin off in the form of ASAP Pizza (you can find out why you need to try its pizza here), but Flor is also doing sandwiches, a brioche bun stuffed with fried veal sweetbreads and gribiche among them.


Various locations

We’re bracing ourselves to get harpooned by the sandwich police for including a pita, but in our opinion, if there’s filling between bread, what else does that make it? Shuk is a market food stall located in both Seven Dials and Borough Market, serving killer falafel, warm beef brisket, lamb meatballs, sabich, and chicken shawarma piled into a pita with plenty of pickles, herbs and silky hummus to accompany. It’s the place to go if you want to mop up a hangover, cram in some sneaky veg and soothe the soul with Tel Aviv-inspired street food.

Quo Vadis 

26-29 Dean Street, W1D 3LL

It’s not every day you pop to a London institution on your lunch break, but if you fancy trying one of the capital's most iconic sandwiches, head to Quo Vadis. The smoked eel sandwich has been a fixture on the menu for years, a testament to its enduring popularity. This world-class sandwich is made using sourdough imported from the Poilâne bakery in Paris and filled with Mr. Beale’s smoked eel and a good lick of horseradish cream for a duct-clearing finish. Can’t get a reservation to try this guy? Here’s the recipe to make at home.


20 Dalston Lane, E8 3AZ

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Another resto that has a takeout sandwich menu reminiscent of the Golden Arches is Dalston's Snackbar, where sandwich queen Freddie Janssen has devised a lunch menu made of dreams. Our vote is for the kimchi grilled cheese sandwich with Stichelton, or the fish 'happy meal' – a truly happy meal. Then there's the Doritos fried chicken sandwich with jalapeno mayo, American cheese, pickles on a Spence bakery brioche bun, or the Toastie Hawaii grilled cheese with nduja, pickled pineapple, Montgomery cheddar on Flor sourdough.


1 Vyner Street, E2 9DG

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Ombra is usually a pastificio and alimentari, and it does both of those things exceedingly well. But what the restaurant also does exceedingly well is pork sandwiches. Prepare yourself for this: every Friday and Saturday the team bakes fresh focaccia (yes) and fill it with porchetta seasoned with sage and fennel (yes) and salsa verde (absolutely yes). On Sundays, the menu switches to serve a cotechino bun – potato bun stuffed with slow-poached pork sausage, grape mustard and pink radicchio. Now that's our kind of Sunday service.

The Dusty Knuckle

Various locations

It goes without saying that a sandwich is only as good as the bread that encases it. So, it comes as no surprise the sandos from bakery heavyweights the Dusty Knuckle are god-tier. Perfect for meat eaters and vegetarians alike, these sandwiches are filled with glorious combinations like dill and whipped feta, roast chicken and pesto and spicy pork mince with lime, galangal and sambal mayo. Not to forget the pièce de résistance – the spongey, salt-flecked focaccia that encases these infallible sandos.

Rastro Cafe

475 Bethnal Green Road, E2 9QH

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This little corner of Bethnal Green had been crying out for a good coffee shop, and Rastro answered those prayers. But, not simply content with serving up cracking cups of coffee and incredible pastries from nearby Forno (the bakery from much-loved restaurant Ombra that has already garnered legions of fans), Rastro are also doing incredible things between sliced bread. From their cubano – piles of sliced prosciutto cotto and pancetta with emmental, pickles and smoked dijonnaise on brioche and toasted until melting – to the classic combo of mortadella, buffalo mozzarella, sun dried tomatoes and rocket between fluffy focaccia, this is a lunch break you won’t forget anytime soon.

Paul Rothe Delicatessen

35 Marylebone Lane, W1U 2NN

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In a world of out-of-control TikTok sandwich insanity, Paul Rothe keeps it classic. The 123-year-old Marylebone stalwart serves no-nonsense sandwiches that evoke a distinct nostalgia for the cheese and pickle days. Choose between white, brown or wholemeal (with the occasional rye) and a range of fillings from the counter, including all the classics like pastrami, salami, tuna, coleslaw, chunky egg mayo and genuinely tasty coronation chicken. White-coated staff resembling Victorian pharmacists will assemble your sando with the utmost care, ready to devour from its waxed paper wrapping.

Dal Fiorentino

Various locations

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Five-pound lunches in London are about as common as someone smiling on the Tube, so it was tempting for us to gatekeep this marvel. But we’re feeling generous, so we’ll tell you about Dal Fiorentino, a sandwich shop in Brick Lane and Hoxton whipping up authentic Florentine flatbreads called schiacciata. These artisanal breads are sliced in half and stuffed with Italian deli heavyweights like mortadella, oozing stracciatella, artichokes, beef tomatoes, gorgonzola and finocchiona. What’s more, they serve a sweet schiacciata stuffed with unctious pistachio cream, meaning you can have a two-course lunch. Bellissima.

Sons + Daughters

Unit 119A, Coal Drops Yard, N1C 4DQ

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We have a rule for life, and it goes something like this: if in doubt, always, always mortadella. Especially when that mortadella is comes nestled with taleggio cheese (!), smoked Isle of Wight tomato (!!), rocket and Thai basil between two slices of focaccia (!!!). Stop it, we're swooning. You'll find this creation – along with many others, of course – at Sons + Daughters in King's Cross, an offshoot from the team between Magpie and Pigeon. It's conveniently placed for strolls along the canal, too.

Rogue Sarnies

460b Hackney Road, E2 9EG

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Rogue Sarnies is the brainchild of Zac Whittle and Freddie Sheen, two chefs who met cooking at Galvin La Chapelle and have translated their culinary zeal into the world of sandwiches. With the aid of a wood-fired oven, these butties are made with the best bread that’s cold proved and high hydration to make for a chewy, airy texture that soaks up all the filling while maintaining structural integrity. All the sandwich fillings come from New Covent Garden Market, so expect a constantly changing menu depending on what’s in season. With outrageous combinations like roast beef, gravy, Bovril onions and provolone, chicken curry and lime pickle and camembert, mozzarella, pecorino and a sticky marmite glaze on the menu, this is a sandwich aficionado’s paradise. Even better, you can preorder to avoid sellout disappointment.

The Cheese Bar

Various locations

Lactose lovers rejoice because you’re about to hit the milestone of consuming one of the best-grilled cheese sandwiches of your life. The maestros behind these sambos are The Cheese Bar – a pioneer of all things British cheese with a cheese shop, food truck, and spots in Seven Dials Market, Camden and Grand Union Canal. And no, this isn’t your bog-standard toastie with a flaccid cheese square and pre-sliced loaf – these are grilled cheeses with flare. Think hunks of goats cheese, walnut and honey lathered in rosemary butter, tangy Cropwell Bishop Stilton with beer fruit chutney, gooey fior di latte with smoked bacon and chilli honey – all sandwiched between two thick slices of sourdough, perfectly crisped up in a pan. Sweet cheesus.

Keu Deli

Various locations

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Many of the world’s best sandwiches carry with them a cultural story, and that’s definitely true of the banh mi. The question of what a classic baguette and pork pâté would be doing in Vietnam is answered by the nation’s occupation by France for more than 150 years in the 19th and 20th centuries, and the banh mi sandwich is the consequence. For our money, Keu Deli does the best of the many available in London, with locations in Hoxton, Soho and the City. The classic banh mi matches up crispy roasted pork belly with the aforementioned umami-rich, homemade pork pâté, ham terrine and mortadella, with a slick of spicy mayo and beautiful pickled vegetables for some much-needed acidity and texture. Put all those in a bouncy white baguette, and you’ve got yourself the perfect working lunch, weekend treat, hangover cure and more.


No.1 Stoney Street, SE1 9AA

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We challenge you to walk past Kappacasein in Borough Market and not stop to ogle the ooey, gooey golden cheese. And if you manage to resist that, you're a stronger person than us if you don't order the toasted raclette sandwiches, made with Montgomery cheddar, Ogleshield, comte, onions and leeks on sourdough. It's simple, but it's very, very good.

40 Maltby Street

40 Maltby Street, SE1 3PA

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Yes, 40 Maltby Street is good; yes its food is sublime; yes, the wine list is fantastic. Booooring. Said no one ever. So no one in their right mind would think a sandwich from the Maltby St kings is anything other than outta-this-world good. Case in point: a sando of warm roast beef, celeriac and mushroom fritter. Pick up one of the Swiss rolls while you're there and you're absolutely winning.