20 work day lunches in June means 20 different opportunities to find the best sandwich spot in the metro area. Scroll through to see a review of each and go to the bottom of the blog to see our top choices!
Day 1: Rubicon Deli – Mission Hills
Day 1 of sandwich in San Diego month has us at Rubicon Deli which many of you had raved about. Get there early to avoid the lines, go hungry; a full-size sandwich can feed 2 people! Nice unexpected extras like crisscut chips or cookie. I hear they do salads but We don’t…. 😉 Freshly baked bread and unique offerings make this a local fave. I went for the super Mario with jalapeño cheese bread.
Day 2: Con Pane Rustic Breads and Café – Liberty Station
Day 2 of sandwich in San Diego month has us at Con Pane Rustic Breads and Cafe in liberty station. Get there early to avoid the lines, or better yet call ahead 10-15min as they have a separate line for phone orders in case you’re on the go like yours truly. The bread is the STAR here. So good! You can order a 1/2 size sandwich but you’ll wish you’d ordered the other half. Easy to access. Lots of parking. Definitely worth a try. They also Offer fresh baked bread, cookies and more. I went for their most popular sandwich, which is a turkey Cobb on Rosemary Bread. So good!
Day 3: T Deli – Hillcrest
Day three of sandwich in San Diego month has us at T deli in Hillcrest. Local fave, you probably haven’t heard of T’s Deli but they will treat you like an old friend upon arrival. This place doubles as a juicing and tea shop. They will offer you the freshly brewed tea of the day to sample as well as some of their amazingly delicious homemade soup. We had the BLT, which is their most popular sandwich as well as the turkey sandwich. Sandwiches are served on rustic sourdough bread on a Panini press, the fresh ingredients and the crunch of the bread makes for an amazingly delicious sandwich. We also had a cup of their black bean soup which they ought to package and sell. Addicting. Do yourself a favor and check out T deli on University and normal street in Hillcrest.
Day 4: Ironside Fish & Oyster – Little Italy
Took a hiatus today for Jessica’s 35th bday!! Or did I? We went to Ironside in little Italy for lunch. One of our favorite places to go in San Diego. We had freshly shucked oysters, octopus la plancha, halibut for Jessica, and for me, the fresh yellowtail tuna sandwich. The atmosphere is wonderful, the casual service during lunch is much preferable to the anxious and rushed dinner ambiance in our opinion and for a special occasion lunch in San Diego, there’s no better spot. We’ll try to replicate the octopus for dinner tonight. This place won’t make it on the final sandwich spot top list, but true to word, I did have a sandwich for lunch today 😜 😜 😜 Happy birthday Jessica! Cheers!
Day 5: Big Front Door – Hillcrest
We find ourselves at the BFD (Big Front Door) in Hillcrest. My Sandwich (Cali Cubano) was a melty tasty messy delicious revelation. You can taste the difference in the actual meat of the sandwich. It tastes bright & fresh with a full spectrum on your palette from the house-cured and roasted pork loin. Everything (except for the bread) is made in-house. All meats are cured and either smoked or roasted on site…and you can taste it! They are not subway, so the sandwich won’t be ready in 30 seconds it takes a hot minute for the sandwiches to made to order for your enjoyment. Went for the Cali Cubano sandwich and with a macaroni salad additional side – On both: some of the best I’ve ever had. I have no control when it comes to a sandwich place offering a Cubano and BFDs Cubano was glorious. I’ve driven past this place many times not really knowing what it was all about. Now that I know, I’ll be back….often!
Day 6: Sandwich Emporium – Clairemont
A Neighborhood fixture since 1979, the Sandwich Emporium seems to have been “the” spot at some point in time in the past. In need of a facelift in either, it’s signage, interior decor, or overall location, it has a quality of being a solid local hole in the wall for the Clairemont community. I’ve driven by this place several times without even knowing it’s here. All sandwiches are made to order. Sandwiches are made in the back; Unsure of how much is made in-house and how much isn’t. Excellent spot for a sit-down lunch. It feels like you’re meant to chill here for a prolonged period of time. This is one of the few places that I’ve been to that actually serves beer. I went for the Spicy Julio – roast beef avocado spicy chipotle aioli, jalapeños, tomato, and lettuce on a roll – overall solid sandwich. Best value overall as the sandwich and side potato salad was less than $12. Full rating at the end of the month.
Day 7: Chesapeake Plaza Building Deli – Clairemont
Just off the 15 and Clairemont Mesa is the Chesapeake Plaza building deli. catering to the local area and in the building that it sits in, there’s ample parking, centrally located access and easy parking. Deli provides breakfast and lunch with their own signature sandwiches. Even during the lunch rush, it took less than five minutes in and out. I went for the San Diegan, which is basically a glorified grilled cheese with bacon and turkey. For what it’s worth I Really thought that I was going to find a gem in some nondescript commercial building’s deli; although it looked promising and there is nothing bad about the service, sandwich, etc. it’s utterly average in every way and it’s not anything worth coming back again for. Not everyone’s going to be a shiny star, right?
Day 7: Ike’s Place – Hillcrest
Ike’s place in Hillcrest – Upon arrival, you get the sense that you’re dealing with a top-notch sandwich place when they’ve done such a great job professionally branding and establishing a unique culture in sandwich making. I’ve driven by Ike’s hundreds of times without thinking of eating here, but so glad I stopped to check it out. All sandwiches have whimsical naming rights with Northern California flair. I had the Matt Cain on their “famous” Dutch crunch bread. Although this is one of the more expensive places I have frequented, it is one of the best. Just looking at my sandwich made my mouth water before taking the first bite and overall, the taste of the sandwich, crunch of the bread, tasty juicy freshness made for a symphony in my mouth 😋. Highly recommended, and definitely will be returning in the future.
Day 8: The Gourmet Bagger – Point Loma
We checked out the Gourmet Bagger today, voted as point Loma’s best sandwich shop. This place offers delicious gourmet sandwiches, made to order. With each sandwich, they even throw in a cookie and mint-love the nice unexpected extra, always a nice touch! I had the “sea bagger” switching it up with charbroiled albacore. We also did the gourmet grinder bagger and a side of macaroni salad. This place has it all together-everything is deliciously fresh, juicy and satisfying. There are several options to please anyone’s pallet. If you haven’t been, we highly recommend! Full rating at the in the month.
Day 9: Deli Llama – Hillcrest
We hit up the deli llama in Hillcrest. Another joint that we’ve passed by hundreds of times without ever having the opportunity to check it out. They’ve got their eclectic menu of signature sandwiches and because we were in a rush we ordered ahead of time and was easy in and out within 2 min. Excellent location, Great value, and a delicious sandwich. I had the “fire eater” which is a roasted turkey sandwich with jalapeños, pepper jack, chipotle aïoli, and the works, on toasted sourdough. Although it’s not the top top it’s very good.
Day 10: Chez Nous – Scripps Ranch
Upon entering you get the sense that this is a family run business. This is evident in the personal service, the atmosphere, and speed of delivery. I was suggested to go with their most popular sandwich which is their spicy chicken melt on grilled sourdough bread. I’ve never had a sandwich quite like it, it’s definitely worth trying! Great value, easy to access location and as good as this was, their other offerings will lead me to stop here again in the future. I was in and out with the sandwich in less than five minutes although I was slightly after lunch rush hour. Pro tip-they only takes cash.
Day 11: K Sandwiches – Linda Vista
They serve banh mi here as a specialty so I went with their number one, figuring it’s #1 one for a reason. As far as banh mi goes, it’s one of the best I’ve ever had. The sandwich itself is so simple but its simplicity executed brilliantly is what makes it so good. The crunch of the perfectly fresh baguette, the sweetness of the jicama and saltiness of the meat, the freshness of the greens, OMG. The sandwich cost less than five dollars and I was in and out in less than five minutes. Good deal and well worth a visit. We will be coming back again in the future.
Day 12: SuperNatural Sandwiches – Miramar
Fantastic open air concept restaurant that has legit offerings for beers on tap and amazing looking sandwiches all seafood oriented. I had the siren which is a spicy shrimp sandwich on a grilled bun. There are too many amazing looking things on the menu it leaves us wanting to come back. We recommend!
Day 13: Lit’l Pepper Gourmet – Kearny Mesa
If you’ve gotten a traffic ticket before, then you know where the courthouse is… 😉 This is across the street from that. This is a mom-and-pop joint, something I’m partial to. in terms of their quality and the specialty offerings that they make each day, this is exactly what I am looking for and happy to share online. Good food that goes unnoticed by the passersby in a nondescript strip mall off Clairemont Mesa Blvd. I went with one of their signature sandwiches, the jalapeño chicken. Reading the list of ingredients would make you think that these things wouldn’t go well together but it’s a cacophony of taste in my mouth! And I like it. Super Central, reasonable on price, delicious food, easy parking. I was in and out of the building within five minutes. Pro tip; I let them know it was my first time here, and they threw in a soup and a cookie! It pays to try new things. Thanks to Noel Acosta for the solid recommendation.
Day 14: Brothers Provisions
We check out Brothers provisions, a cool spot up in Rancho Bernardo. This is more of a sit down joint, with full-on deli and beer market, it’s a legit restaurant perfect for a sit-down meal but this is all about quick meals, so ordering ahead is recommended. They prepare, smoke or roast all of their meats in-house. Their popular sandwich includes a Ruben style pastrami, brisket with jus and smoked turkey. Because I didn’t want to nap after lunch today, I went with the turkey sandwich which is grilled on sourdough bread. Although I don’t recommend this for a quick lunch, this is certainly a great place to check out with friends in the future.
Day 15: Mona Lisa Italian Foods – Little Italy
We checked out the Mona Lisa restaurant and deli in Little Italy. Something special about this experience reminds me of going to an Alimentari in Tuscany and ordering my sandwich from the deli counter direct. This place is what jersey mikes wishes it could be (and nothing against jersey Mike’s which is an amazing sandwich in its own right but they won’t be on this sandwich tour). I got the #8 deluxe sub. Fresh, crunchy bread, and perfectly accompanied with the right amount of oil, vinegar, Salt, and pepper. It’s a big sandwich for less than eight bucks. It takes a little bit of time to order and get out during the lunch rush -Overall I was in and out in less than 10 minutes. This is the place we certainly would recommend.
Day 16: Sandwich Spot – Encinitas
We find ourselves up the coast in Encinitas at the sandwich spot off of Coast Highway 101. They’ve got good things going on at this place which has all custom-made to order sandwiches on their famous, “Dutch crunch” bread. I think I’m forever a fan of any place that serves their sandwiches on this bread. It’s funny because any place that serves it calls it their “own” famous Dutch crunch bread, but seriously though who wouldn’t if it tasted that good. Their most popular sandwiches are the #1 & #2, the swine and the standard, respectively. I went with the standard with everything on it which includes something they call the “bomb” sauce. All I’m going to say is if they offer the ability to bathe in the bomb sauce I’d probably take it – It was a thoroughly satisfying sandwich experience. If you’re up this way this is a “spot” I would recommend checking out.
Day 17: Board & Brew – Pacific Beach
We head down to Pacific Beach to one of the Board and Brew locations in SD. I was going to get social media browbeating if I didn’t go here, and I’m super glad we did. Board and brew is a regionally famous chain, and for reason. Their quality sandwiches are top notch. Their most popular sandwiches are the turkado and Baja chicken. I want with the Baja chicken which is a delicious, juicy chicken breast based sandwich on exquisite bread and everything included. They have another great option here, and it’s been a long time since I’ve been here, so I’m happy we came and will be returning again soon. I was able to order online/over the phone and in and out in less than three minutes. Full rating at the end of the month
Day 18: Surf Side Deli – Point Loma
We ventured to Surf Side deli in Point Loma. From an unassuming strip mall off Rosecrans this gem is tucked between a regatta and a surf shop. Along with their main menu, they offer an extensive special menu. I was suggested to order the “just the tip” which is a Tri-tip sandwich special Santa Maria style with BBQ, jalapeños, and melted cheese. Also went with a side salad. Parking is scarce, call in or come Early to beat the crowd. I’ve passed by this strip mall many many times and never even knew this place existed. Happy to check it out and highly recommended. Pro tip-my sandwich was huge! I did not need to get a side salad. Out of this world deliciousness. I want to come back!
Day 19: Wich Addiction – Sorrento Valley
We checked out Which Addiction in Sorrento Mesa. This place has all the makings of a top-notch sandwich spot. Great offerings including an ever-changing weekly special. The special this week is a Mediterranean inspired leg of lamb sandwich, which felt more like a burger or dinner than anything I’ve had this month, however, I must’ve said “holy shit” 3 or 4 times while eating this immaculate mess of deliciousness. It was out of control good. You should try it too before it goes away. Highly recommended!
Day 20: Panama 66 – Bankers Hill/Balboa Park
We strolled over to Panama 66, the Gastropub style open-air eatery located right inside Balboa Park. This was a perfect spot to cap off the sandwich of San Diego tour. This is the first sit down style lunch spot of the tour, but it was necessary to have a beer and enjoy the weather on this beautiful Friday as opposed to jetting in and out, (although speed was an important component of any place that was visited this last month to address the needs of busy people on the go). That being said Panama 66 is an awesome spot for great food and an excellent selection of beer. I went with the tuna melt sandwich on toasted sourdough which was absolutely delicious and a hefewisen beer to go along with it. We showed up at 11:40 and there were zero people in line. Within 40 minutes the line was out of the entrance which would be at least 15 or 20 minutes wait just to place the order. Recommendation is to arrive early. Pro tip-park on 6th Ave., West Balboa Park and take a Lime/Bird scooter into the park. 🕺.
AND THE WINNER IS…………………………..
There is no top winner! I will say that any of the top 5 can be the winners, it should be said that any of the top 10 are absolute MUST-TRY places, and everyone on the list deserves a visit (with exception to the last 2-3) We are fortunate to live in an area so vast and diverse in terms of the offerings to please our culinary palate!
Deli List Ratings
(loosely ordered as all of these are hard to beat but here is the best attempt at ordering my overall preference of each of these excellent establishments):
1. Big Front Door (Hillcrest)
2. Con Pane Rustic Breads and Café (Point Loma)
3. Surf Side Deli (Point Loma)
4. Ikes Place (Hillcrest)
5. Supernatural Sea to Sandwiches (Miramar)
6. Gourmet Bagger (Point Loma)
7. T Deli (Hillcrest)
8. Which Addiction (Sorrento Mesa)
9. Sandwich Spot (Encinitas)
10. Lit’l Pepper (Serra Mesa)
11. Chez Nous (Miramar)
12. Board and Brew (PB)
13. K Sandwiches (Linda Vista)
14. Mona Lisa (Little Italy)
15. Panama 66 (Balboa Park)
16. Rubicon Deli (Mission Hills)
17. Sandwich Emporium (Clairmont)
18. Deli Lama (Hillcrest)
19. Chesapeake Plaza Deli (Kearney Mesa)
Most Unique – Supernatural Sea to Sandwiches (Miramar) / Which Addiction (Sorrento)
Best Customer Service – (TIE) Ikes Place (Hillcrest) & Lit’l Pepper (Serra Mesa)
Best Bread – Con Pane Rustic Breads and Café (Point Loma)
Best Meat(s) – Big Front Door