The Best Sandwiches in Portland to Order Right Now
The perfect picnic food.
Whether it’s the simple pleasure of a peanut butter and jelly, a towering, multilayered monstrosity of meats and cheeses, or a bacon, egg, and cheese, a sandwich is a hard thing to beat for literally any meal of the day. This is especially true in the pandemic-ridden world of 2020, as their portability and the fact that counter shops that serve them are still open means you can take them home to safely eat or bring them to a park or yard. And, luckily, Portland is rife with sandwich shops from the artisanal market with house brined meats, to the workhouse deli sandwiches doled out over busy countertops.
For whatever reason, Portland doesn’t tend to be much of a sub town, though there are a few exceptions. One of these is The Baker’s Mark, a classic submarine sandwich deli with bread made fresh daily in house. The menu is equally split between hot sandwiches like French dip, pastrami, and meatball sandwiches, and cold, deli-style ones. The latter come in classic styles including turkey and cheese, ham and cheese, and tuna, and all come with “the works,” which means mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, Italian dressing, and hot or mild pepper salad. For those looking for a working-class, Italian-style sub, this is the spot.
Takeout only. Order online to schedule pickup.
The argument that Portland doesn’t have good, authentic bagels has been pretty much put to rest at this point, and Bernstein’s Bagels is the chewy, delicious nail in that coffin (to really mix metaphors). While the bagels here are perfectly good with just some schmear, they’re even better when sandwiching cream cheese, eggs, prosciutto, and arugula between the breads. A fair number of other sandwich offerings including vegetarian options, lox and cream cheese with capers and onions, and regular daily specials.
Takeout and limited delivery only. Call 503-883-1222 to place pick-up orders. Saturday-only delivery orders to North and Northeast Portland are available here.
This casual, colorful spot is all about the torta, including a killer Mexican street burger and a juicy pollo pibil with achiote-marinated roasted chicken. One draw is the incredibly messy ahogada -- the shop’s version of the Jalisco classic with pork, habanero slaw, and cilantro on a grilled bun. The beast gets drenched in a spicy achiote tomato sauce, which means it’s not available for delivery, only takeout. It’s best paired with a margarita, and while the shop currently isn’t making margs, it is selling margarita kits for some easy home bartending.
Takeout and delivery only. Call (503) 887-9258 to place an order for takeout or visit Caviar for delivery.
A cute, cozy bistro and market up in the sleepy Woodlawn neighborhood, Ps & Qs offers a modest but lovingly crafted menu of deli sandwiches, with dining on the patio as well as for takeout. The menu changes a lot, but usually has fun and creative offerings like a crispy polenta sandwich; jerk chicken with cilantro slaw and jalapeño jam on a hoagie; turkey and hummus with olives and arugula; or a fun vegetarian chickpea salad sandwich. The whole thing feels a bit like a French cafe meets an American bodega. Go see for yourself.
Takeout and outdoor seating. Call 503-894-8979 to place orders for takeout.
A classic tale of the Portland food cart turned brick and mortar (and then opening two more food carts), Fried Egg I’m In Love serves its musically punny sandwiches (Huevo Mutilation, Free-Range Against the Machine, etc.) daily in its subway-tiled space, as well as its food carts downtown and at the Prost! marketplace. Its signature sandwich, The Yolko Ono, remains its best -- a greasy, satisfying amalgamation of egg, parmesan, pesto, and housemade sausage patty on toasted sourdough -- it’s even better with the addition of a crispy hash brown patty. The downtown food cart location is open (and no, downtown is not a warzone by any means), as is its location at the Prost! food cart pod on Mississippi, both for takeaway.
Takeout only. Order online for takeout here or through Postmates for delivery.
One of two sandwich shops to make it all the way to our national list, Stacked Sandwich Shop comes from chef Gabriel Pascuzzi, who spent time at Copenhagen’s Noma, one of the most lauded restaurants in the world. Despite his fine-dining background, Stacked is a pretty casual affair, a counter service restaurant in a busy industrial space that serves hearty, home-cooked sandwiches. Everything here is prepared in house, save the bread -- meats are brined, smoked, roasted, and carved, vegetables are preserved or pickled, and even the chips are hand-fried. Much of the menu changes seasonally, but favorites like the smoked turkey reuben or the beloved oxtail French dip remain year round.
Takeout and delivery only. Visit the online store or drop in for takeout orders. Visit Caviar for delivery. Cash-free.
Since the pandemic, Laurelhurst Market has reopened with a new model; the steakhouse and butcher shop now has a full lunch menu, but the hearty deli sandwiches remain, and can now be enjoyed out on the newly constructed patio or taken to go as before. A few of the sandwiches stay on daily, like the cold corn beef on baguette; hot pastrami and swiss on a hoagie; or the truly excellent turkey with bacon and arugula on levain, while others are offered as a daily special, like a fried chicken sandwich or steak melt with sauteed peppers.
Takeout and patio seating. Call (503) 206-3097 or visit the butcher counter for sandwich orders.
Devil’s Dill serves Italian and American-style sandwiches with unique flair on crusty, fluffy ciabatta bread from the excellent local bakery Fleur De Lis. Meatier options include things like grinders, pulled pork, and red wine-braised beef with grilled onions and peppers, while the less meat-inclined diner can find grilled cheese with vegetables or barbecue seitan. The shop is no longer open until 3am, what with restaurants across Portland required to close by 10pm in accordance with COVID-19 restrictions; however, it still offers its own delivery service, as well as takeout.
Open for takeout, delivery, and dining. Order takeout and delivery at the site.
Downtown and Buckman
Nowadays, it’s hard to think of a sandwich shop more iconic to Portland than Lardo. One of two Portland shops to make it to our best in the US list, the two Lardo shops are always busy, with lines out the door even before social distancing guidelines spaced everyone out. Here, it’s all about overindulgence, with rich, greasy pork and beef sandwiches going out alongside towering fried chicken sandwiches and pho-spiced French dips. Adding a side of dirty fries -- golden fries topped with parmesan, herbs, peppers, and pork bits -- is the most delicious way to get your weekly sodium intake in a single meal.
Takeout and delivery only. Order online for takeout or delivery via Caviar from both locations.
A cozy cafe and sandwich shop, Meat Cheese Bread is all about using high quality, locally sourced ingredients from its meats and cheeses to its breads. Equally split between hot and cold sandwiches -- as well as a few breakfast specials -- the shop rocks elevated takes on classics, like a turkey and cheese kicked up with some havarti, bacon, and sweet onion on a rustic white bread, or a solid BLT with heirloom tomatoes, thick, local bacon, and lettuce on a crusty ciabatta. Its simplicity makes it a neighborhood favorite in Buckman, especially with its picnic tables out front.
Takeout and patio seating. Drop in for counter orders.
Boise and Laurelhurst
Sammich’s Chicago-style Italian beef sandwich may be the first item on the menu at this charming shop housed in a warehouse space, but it’s the pastrami zombie -- which gives the food cart offshoot its name -- that’s the real show-stopper. Owner Melissa McMillan brines, smokes, and steams the meat in a process that takes days, and the results are clear with a smoky, tender, juicy Montreal-style pastrami that gets swiss, slaw, and Russian sauce on sour rye. It’s not a New York pastrami, nor is it trying to be. It’s simply damn delicious.
Takeout and delivery only. Order online for takeout from both spots or delivery via Caviar from Sammich only.
At the moment, Bunk Sandwiches has only its cavernous Water Avenue location open, complete with a patio. The industrial shops offer a wide variety of meaty and vegetarian dishes, but the mainstay is the Cubano made with pork belly and shoulder roast. Bunk also offers a very straightforward but satisfying breakfast sammie in the form of an egg and cheese, or bacon, egg, and cheese, served on a fluffy toasted bun. And the return of dining service means a return to the slushy margaritas, as well as the iceberg, a frosty Rainier topped with frozen marg.
Dine in, takeout, and delivery. Call (503) 328-2865 for takeout orders or visit the website for delivery options.
A cramped space meant that this Vietnamese bakery was primarily take-away service before the plague years, so the An Xuyên didn’t have to pivot too hard to adapt. Generally, pork is the way to go here, either as BBQ, pate, shredded, Vietnamese ham, or combination, but all the sandwiches are served piled with cilantro, shredded carrots, cucumber, and jalapeno on a tender, flaky Vietnamese baguette. Rarely will they break $5, which leaves plenty of cash leftover for the numerous sweet and savory baked treats, from moon cakes to Chinese style bao.
Takeout and delivery only. Order both via Postmates.
Jojo, a food cart in the newly developing Johns Marketplace food cart pod on Powell, is about three things: incredibly juicy, crispy smoked and fried chicken sandwiches; thick, golden-fried jojos; and outrageous Instagram posts. The first two parts are what make this food cart pod one of the best sandwich spots in town, and while newcomers should start with the classic Southern fried chicken sandwich, items like the bacon ranch or spicy chicken don’t slouch, either. Finishing a full chicken sandwich and order of jojos with jojo sauce is a bit of a challenge, but one that deserves rising to.
Takeout and delivery only. Order online or call (971) 331-4284 for takeout, visit GrubHub for delivery.
A Southern food cart in downtown Portland, PoBoyz has a lot more to offer than just sandwiches, but its namesake is still the primary reason to visit. Served on fluffy rolls dressed with tomato, shredded lettuce, pickles, and remoulade, the po-boys come with a variety of options including familiar styles like fried shrimp, fried oysters, and fried catfish, as well as a killer hot honey chicken.
Takeout only, drop by for orders.
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