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San Diego's Essential Sandwiches, Mapped

14 sandwiches to try right now.

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Ah, the sandwich...the possibility of greatness between two slices of bread.

If these must-try San Diego sandwiches have one thing in common, it's that they're all delicious, and most of them have been around long enough to have reached iconic status. There are a few new sandwiches sprinkled in too, that have become popular enough to secure a place on the list.

What are your all-time favorite sandwiches? Let us know in the comments.

Note: Map points are not ranked.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Tiger!Tiger!

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Of all their wood-fired sandwiches, the one that's reached iconic status is the banh mi, a baguette spread with chili aioli and stuffed with crisped pork belly and pickled vegetables, garnished with cucumber, cilantro and jalapeño. Get it with the optional fried egg and housemade pate add-ons, because you deserve it.

Bread & Cie

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Exceedingly craveable, the brie and honey sandwich hits all the right notes. Between grilled slices of the bakery's levain bread (a rustic sourdough) lies a perfect marriage of melted cheese, sweet honey, crunchy walnuts and salty bacon.

Con Pane Rustic Breads & Cafe

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The sandwich: Turkey Cobb. All the goodness of a cobb salad, plus bread. The turkey's layered with applewood-smoked bacon, gorgonzola, avocado, house-roasted tomatoes and lettuce. A half-sandwich is plenty, but you'll be glad you ordered a whole one. Honorable mention goes to the Almost Grilled Cheese, a melty mix of brie and gorgonzola on the bakery's rosemary olive oil bread.

El Gallito Tortas Ahogadas

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The sandwich: The Original #1. Available with a customizable level of spice, this "drowned sandwich" is smothered in a tomato and chile sauce, filled with carnitas and topped with pickled onions. Bizzare Foods' Andrew Zimmern stopped at this Chula Vista food truck during the filming of his episode on San Diego.

Mona Lisa Italian Restaurant

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Skip the adjacent restaurant but don't miss the deli for Italian groceries and delicious sub sandwiches. The Caprese dresses mozzarella, tomato and basil with olive oil and balsamic; add some slices of spicy soppressata for an extra kick.

El Pescador Fish Market

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They may have moved to bigger and fancier digs, but their grilled fish sandwiches, served on a torta roll, remain pure and simply delicious. Get whatever fish is fresh and local (sea bass, halibut, grouper); ask for it to be basted with lemon butter and olive oil and garlic.

Carnitas' Snack Shack

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The now-famous "Triple Threat" is trifecta of pork stacked on a Kaiser roll from Sadie Rose Bakery: a chicken-fried pork cutlet, slow roasted pulled pork and slices of applewood-smoked bacon, topped with home made pepperoncini and pickle relish. It could be overkill; it's not.

The Cheese Store

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A gourmet cheese shop's grilled cheese sandwich should be perfect, and this one's pretty close, with an oozy blend of aged cheddar and French comte that's nutty and sharp. Tomato soup is the ideal accompaniment; The Cheese Store's version is smoothed with a touch of cream.

Point Loma Seafoods

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Its a no-frills sandwich, but there's something deeply satisfying about this combo of pillowy-soft sourdough swaddling a generous pile of lightly-breaded scallops, all bound together with housemade tartar sauce.

Big Front Door

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BFD's most popular sandwich, dubbed ‘Loins of Fire’, piles slices of house-roasted chili pork loin with roasted poblanos, pickled onions, cilantro, and lettuce on a garlic aioli-smeared torpedo roll.

Saigon Sandwiches & Deli

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The sandwich: Banh mi dac biet. Layered with sliced pork, headcheese and pâté, this is the classic version of a Vietnamese sandwich. Saigon's has just the right proportion of bread, meat and pickled vegetables. Cash only.

SuperNatural Sandwiches

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The sandwich: The "Siren". Toasted brioche is a buttery cradle for this sea-to-sandwich shop's signature, stuffed with garlicky sauteed shrimp, a bit of melted cheese, tomato relish, fried garlic bits and a squirt of hot sauce and garlic mayo.

Coop's West Texas BBQ

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The sandwich: The Small Boy. Filled with Coop's beef brisket or pulled pork, smoked low and slow over hickory and oak, or his fine housemade sausage. A heartier Big Boy sandwich is offered, but get the small version so you can also try the pork ribs.

Cheese Shop

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The sandwich: Roast pork loin. Sliced wafer-thin and meltingly tender, the house-roasted pork is seasoned with cilantro and spices and complemented by sweet and spicy mustard and melted cheese. The La Jolla Shores shop's rendition always tastes better than its downtown counterpart, maybe because you can walk the sandwich over to the beach and eat with your toes in the sand.

Tiger!Tiger!

Of all their wood-fired sandwiches, the one that's reached iconic status is the banh mi, a baguette spread with chili aioli and stuffed with crisped pork belly and pickled vegetables, garnished with cucumber, cilantro and jalapeño. Get it with the optional fried egg and housemade pate add-ons, because you deserve it.

Bread & Cie

Exceedingly craveable, the brie and honey sandwich hits all the right notes. Between grilled slices of the bakery's levain bread (a rustic sourdough) lies a perfect marriage of melted cheese, sweet honey, crunchy walnuts and salty bacon.

Con Pane Rustic Breads & Cafe

The sandwich: Turkey Cobb. All the goodness of a cobb salad, plus bread. The turkey's layered with applewood-smoked bacon, gorgonzola, avocado, house-roasted tomatoes and lettuce. A half-sandwich is plenty, but you'll be glad you ordered a whole one. Honorable mention goes to the Almost Grilled Cheese, a melty mix of brie and gorgonzola on the bakery's rosemary olive oil bread.

El Gallito Tortas Ahogadas

The sandwich: The Original #1. Available with a customizable level of spice, this "drowned sandwich" is smothered in a tomato and chile sauce, filled with carnitas and topped with pickled onions. Bizzare Foods' Andrew Zimmern stopped at this Chula Vista food truck during the filming of his episode on San Diego.

Mona Lisa Italian Restaurant

Skip the adjacent restaurant but don't miss the deli for Italian groceries and delicious sub sandwiches. The Caprese dresses mozzarella, tomato and basil with olive oil and balsamic; add some slices of spicy soppressata for an extra kick.

El Pescador Fish Market

They may have moved to bigger and fancier digs, but their grilled fish sandwiches, served on a torta roll, remain pure and simply delicious. Get whatever fish is fresh and local (sea bass, halibut, grouper); ask for it to be basted with lemon butter and olive oil and garlic.

Carnitas' Snack Shack

The now-famous "Triple Threat" is trifecta of pork stacked on a Kaiser roll from Sadie Rose Bakery: a chicken-fried pork cutlet, slow roasted pulled pork and slices of applewood-smoked bacon, topped with home made pepperoncini and pickle relish. It could be overkill; it's not.

The Cheese Store

A gourmet cheese shop's grilled cheese sandwich should be perfect, and this one's pretty close, with an oozy blend of aged cheddar and French comte that's nutty and sharp. Tomato soup is the ideal accompaniment; The Cheese Store's version is smoothed with a touch of cream.

Point Loma Seafoods

Its a no-frills sandwich, but there's something deeply satisfying about this combo of pillowy-soft sourdough swaddling a generous pile of lightly-breaded scallops, all bound together with housemade tartar sauce.

Big Front Door

BFD's most popular sandwich, dubbed ‘Loins of Fire’, piles slices of house-roasted chili pork loin with roasted poblanos, pickled onions, cilantro, and lettuce on a garlic aioli-smeared torpedo roll.

Saigon Sandwiches & Deli

The sandwich: Banh mi dac biet. Layered with sliced pork, headcheese and pâté, this is the classic version of a Vietnamese sandwich. Saigon's has just the right proportion of bread, meat and pickled vegetables. Cash only.

SuperNatural Sandwiches

The sandwich: The "Siren". Toasted brioche is a buttery cradle for this sea-to-sandwich shop's signature, stuffed with garlicky sauteed shrimp, a bit of melted cheese, tomato relish, fried garlic bits and a squirt of hot sauce and garlic mayo.

Coop's West Texas BBQ

The sandwich: The Small Boy. Filled with Coop's beef brisket or pulled pork, smoked low and slow over hickory and oak, or his fine housemade sausage. A heartier Big Boy sandwich is offered, but get the small version so you can also try the pork ribs.

Cheese Shop

The sandwich: Roast pork loin. Sliced wafer-thin and meltingly tender, the house-roasted pork is seasoned with cilantro and spices and complemented by sweet and spicy mustard and melted cheese. The La Jolla Shores shop's rendition always tastes better than its downtown counterpart, maybe because you can walk the sandwich over to the beach and eat with your toes in the sand.

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