Sometimes there really is little better in life than a great sandwich. And, if you know where to look, London has some of the very best examples of putting wonderful things between two slices of bread. Let us guide you to sandwich nirvana.
Best creative combos - Max's Sandwich Shop
Stroud Green - 19 Crouch Hill, London N4 4AP
Not since John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich came up with an innovative snack to keep any time he spent away from the gaming tables to a minimum, has one man made such a contribution to London’s sandwich game. Through his Crouch Hill restaurant, Max Halley has turned the sandwich into an art form - all without losing his sense of humour.
We’ve pretty much worked our way through most of his repertoire (although he’s always putting new sandwiches on the menu) but we keep coming back to the Ham egg ‘n’ chips - that winning mix of slow-cooked ham hock with shoestring fries and a fried egg served up with piccalilli malt vinegar and mustard mayo.
Pic by Ed Smith
- Bodega Ritas in King's Cross have some of the best sandwiches in the area, including The Tony - that's salami, prosciutto, pesto, smoked cheddar, pickled chilli mayo, giardiniera, oregano oil and - wait for it - cheese dust.
Best sando - Ta Ta Eatery
The City - 152 Old Street, London, EC1V 9BW
London went a bit batshit crazy for this sando when it first came out. Mind you, given its combination of toasted brioche, slow-cooked panko crusted deep fried Iberian pork neck, shredded cabbage and raspberry brown sauce, who could blame them? The good news is it’s going on the permanent menu at this new Old Street cocktail bar.
- Bright in London Fields do a mean chicken katsu sando. But it's currently off the menu there and available at their sister restaurant Peg.
- Two Lights in Shoreditch for the Crisp Prawn Sandwich with Yuzu Mayonnaise & Thai Herbs
- Elizabeth Haigh is currently doing an amazing sounding Buttermilk fried chicken and caviar Katsu Sando at her Kaisen House popup at Mortimer House
Best bocadillo - Jose Pizarro
The City - 36 Broadgate Cir, London EC2M 1QS
Showcased at Meatopia last year, Jose’s City version of this is a miniature one, featuring Pluma ibérica, Cinco Jotas Jamón, manchego cheese and toasted pepper.
- Sabor for Nieves Barragan's amazing chicken oyster boccadillo
Best bacon sarnie - Dusty Knuckle
Dalston - Abbot St, London E8 3DP
Finding anything in London that brings you joy for a fiver or under is an achievement in itself, but this wonderful breakfast special at the Dusty Knuckle bakery, hidden down a backstreet in Dalston does just that. The bacon’s great, of course, but we’re very much in love with their potato sourdough bread which is what makes this so special.
See also: our guide to London’s best bacon sandwiches
Best Reuben - Monty’s Deli
Hoxton - 227-229 Hoxton Street, London N1
If you're making the trip to Monty's Deli for their Reuben you may as well upgrade to the Reuben Special featuring pastrami AND salt beef along with the perfect combination of swiss cheese, mustard, russian dressing, sauerkraut all on toasted light rye.
- Zobler’s Deli at The Ned who also do a mean Reuben
- Black Axe Mangal in Islington, where the weekend brunch menu puts an excellent Reuben on the menu (not to mention an amazing BLT)
Best toasted cheese sandwich - The Cheese Truck
A toasted cheese sandwich is a glorious thing and there’s no doubt that Kappacasein at Borough is the grandaddy of those we now enjoy in London, but here at Hot Dinners, we reserve our No 1 slot for The Cheese Truck and their more outre combos. And if you have trouble tracking down the truck - then head to The Cheese Bar in Camden for more toasted cheese goodness.
- Kappacasein for the classic option with Ogleshield
- Gunpowder for their cracking cheese chutney sandwich
Best subs - Sub Cult
The City - 82 Watling Street, London EC4M 9BX (from June 2019)
As the name suggests, Sub Cult specialise in subs and they do that very well, having won numerous awards. Their veggie Subterranean sub features Portobello mushrooms, truffle mayonnaise, stilton, roast garlic and thyme and is hands-down one of the best vegetarian sandwiches in London. Look out for their new City spot opening this summer where they’re planning to take on the Cuban sandwich with their Subano.
They're opening a permanent site in June, and their van roams London in the meantime - so check their site for details.
- Passyunk Avenue for the very best Philly cheesesteak sandwich in London.
Best Scandi open sandwich - Etke
The City - 2 -8 Bloomberg Arcade, London EC4N 8AR
There are those that would say this is missing a crucial second slice of bread before it can be truly classified as a sandwich. But we’re happy to welcome the open sandwich or smorrebrod at Ekte to our best of list and this veggie special of sliced potato, smoked mayonnaise, capers and crisp-fried onions at Ekte is the business.
- Aquavit in St James does a mean line of sarnies too - particularly the Blood pudding with lingonberries, bacon and lard.
- Nordic Bakery on Golden Square does lovely round open sandwiches on dark rye worth trying.
Best Banh Mi - Banh Mi Hoi-An
Hackney - 242 Graham Rd, London E8 1BP
If you’re searching for that unbeatable Vietnamese mix of brittle baguette crunch with pork char siu and crispy pickles, then you need to head east. Opt for the classic at this Hackney establishment, with their cold cut pork roll and pork char siu.
Pic by @martinaeatsworld
- Carrots and Daikon in Kentish Town for their honey caramelised pork banh mi at
- Keu Deli (sister cafe to Cay Tre) also has highly recommended banh mi, particularly the duck roast
- Bar Douro has a Piri Piri chicken sandwich with blistered peppers, only to be found on the lunch menu as part of a two-course deal for £9.50
- Beigel Bake - if you're after a salt beef bagel in London, there's only one place to go - this shop on Brick Lane.
- Two Lights in Shoreditch not only has sando game, but there's also some serious sandwich action going down at lunchtime - we’re taken with the idea of the veal parma sandwich on their set menu as well as the meatloaf, cheddar and jalapeno sandwich.
- At Quo Vadis in Soho, Jeremy Lee's smoked eel sandwich is one of London's iconic dishes
- I Camisa and Son in Soho is the place to go for top Italian sandwiches on focaccia.
Subscribe to hear the latest from Hot Dinners