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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.

1. El Gallito Tortas Ahogadas

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1008 Industrial Blvd
Chula Vista, CA 91911
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.

2. Tiger!Tiger!

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3025 El Cajon Blvd
San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 764-5475
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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.

3. Mona Lisa Italian Restaurant

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2061 India St
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 234-4893
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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.

4. Point Loma Seafoods

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2805 Emerson Street
San Diego, CA 92106
(619) 223-1109
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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.

5. Carnitas' Snack Shack

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2632 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 294-7675
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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.

6. Saigon Sandwiches & Deli

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4133 University Avenue
San Diego, CA
(619) 284-3034
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.

7. Bread & Cie

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350 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92103
(619) 683-9322
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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.

8. Con Pane Rustic Breads & Cafe

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2750 Dewey Road
San Diego, CA 92106
(619) 224-4344
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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.

9. Cheese Shop

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2165 Avenida De La Playa
La Jolla, CA 92037
(858) 459-3921
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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.

10. SuperNatural Sandwiches

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1735 National Ave.
San Diego, CA 92115
(619) 356-1992
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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.

11. Coop's West Texas BBQ

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2625 Lemon Grove Ave
Lemon Grove, CA 91945
(619) 589-0478
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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.

12. Big Front Door

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4135 Park Blvd
San Diego, CA 92103
(619) 255-4100
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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.

13. El Pescador Fish Market

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627 Pearl St
La Jolla, CA 92037
(858) 456-2526
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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.

14. The Cheese Store

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1980 Kettner Blvd
San Diego, CA 92101
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.

1. El Gallito Tortas Ahogadas

1008 Industrial Blvd, Chula Vista, CA 91911
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.
1008 Industrial Blvd
Chula Vista, CA 91911

2. Tiger!Tiger!

3025 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92104
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.
3025 El Cajon Blvd
San Diego, CA 92104

3. Mona Lisa Italian Restaurant

2061 India St, San Diego, CA 92101
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.
2061 India St
San Diego, CA 92101

4. Point Loma Seafoods

2805 Emerson Street, San Diego, CA 92106
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.
2805 Emerson Street
San Diego, CA 92106

5. Carnitas' Snack Shack

2632 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104
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.
2632 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92104

6. Saigon Sandwiches & Deli

4133 University Avenue, San Diego, CA
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.
4133 University Avenue
San Diego, CA

7. Bread & Cie

350 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92103
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.
350 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92103

8. Con Pane Rustic Breads & Cafe

2750 Dewey Road, San Diego, CA 92106
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.
2750 Dewey Road
San Diego, CA 92106

9. Cheese Shop

2165 Avenida De La Playa, La Jolla, CA 92037
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.
2165 Avenida De La Playa
La Jolla, CA 92037

10. SuperNatural Sandwiches

1735 National Ave., San Diego, CA 92115
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.
1735 National Ave.
San Diego, CA 92115

11. Coop's West Texas BBQ

2625 Lemon Grove Ave, Lemon Grove, CA 91945
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.
2625 Lemon Grove Ave
Lemon Grove, CA 91945

12. Big Front Door

4135 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92103
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.
4135 Park Blvd
San Diego, CA 92103

13. El Pescador Fish Market

627 Pearl St, La Jolla, CA 92037
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.
627 Pearl St
La Jolla, CA 92037

14. The Cheese Store

1980 Kettner Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101
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.
1980 Kettner Blvd
San Diego, CA 92101

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