Here's Our Travel Guide to This Nation of Over 7,000 Islands
Japanese Katsu Sando
NueAddress and Info
This international street food joint quickly became a favorite for rare meals of all kinds, but especially for sandwiches. This is all thanks in part to this deceptively simple katsu sandwich, made with a panko breaded pork loin on crustless white bread with Kewpie mayo (sweeter than the usual stuff) and Tonkatsu sauce (basically a BBQ sauce) that absolutely defies a simple description.
El CamionAddress and Info
As much as we love the Mexico City-style sandwiches at Tortas Condesa -- the walk-up window is a must after a late night on Capitol Hill -- or the fried flank steak torta at Fonda La Catrina in Georgetown, this particular classic gets our pick for Seattle's best torta, in part for the simple satisfaction that comes with pulling into the parking lot at one of their three food trucks and finding your hands filled with a pile of carnitas (or one of 10 other meats) lettuce, mayonnaise, avocado, tomato, jalapeño, and pico de gallo, all on soft fresh bread.
Ballard Annex Oyster HouseAddress and Info
It is rich, yet delicate. It is served on wonderfully soft bread and with handcut fries. It is a classic but is actually pretty hard to find in Seattle and is almost rebellious in its use of a shellfish that isn't crab… and isn't local. It is without doubt one of Seattle's best sandwiches. What it isn't is cheap. This roll sells at "Market Price" so be prepared to shell out 40-50 bucks. Or more.
Santa Maria Tri-Tip
Nickerson Street SaloonAddress and Info
Luckily, one of the people behind this canal-adjacent alehouse used to own Martino's Smoked Meats (RIP), which means he was able to put this seriously good sandwich on the menu, giving us all a chance to enjoy grass-fed tri-tip sirloin, red oak smoke, roasted poblano, tomato salsa, and chimichurri on a Macrina roll, all of which combine to make a sandwich so amazing you'll think it was an early present from the other Santa.
Wagyu beef sandwich
The Butcher's TableAddress and Info
South Lake Union
This retail arm of what might be Seattle's swankiest steakhouse specializes in Wagyu beef. From 11:30am to 3pm this seatless spot serves a small selection of sandwiches including a brisket roll with slaw and BBQ sauce that's not to be missed.
The Super Deluxe
The Grilled Cheese ExperienceAddress and Info
Roving All Around Seattle
This wildly ambitious grilled cheese is topped with aged chipotle cheddar, house-smoked bacon, caramelized onion, sun dried tomatoes, and avocados. It’s so good you should have tried it years ago... or at least as soon as they opened in 2012. Lucky for you, you can still get it if you go right this minute… or in the next few days or months. Whenever you have the time, really.
Fried Oyster Po' Boy
Taylor ShellfishAddress and Info
As much as we love The Peacemaker that came from Roux/Where Ya At Matt, you'll find our favorite fried oyster po' boy at Taylor's Pioneer Square outpost, where they brine (and then inject) their oysters right before lightly frying them, so they come out plump and tasting like the sea. Then, they put 'em on a baguette with the usual fixings (tomato, pickle, lettuce) and a side of fries.
The Bad Lieutenant
Valhalla SandwichesAddress and Info
What started as an ironically named food truck called Now Make Me A Sandwich has recently added a permanent location on Greenwood. It’s here you can get find the same gravy-topped items they serve from their food truck, including The Bad Lieutenant, which comes with pulled pork, chipotle BBQ sauce, and apple jalapeño slaw... plus bacon, ham & provolone, but thankfully, unlike the sequel, no Nicolas Cage.
Fried Chicken Sammy
SkilletAddress and Info
Capitol Hill (& Multiple Locations)
After the demise of Pinky's Kitchen, the ever-expanding Skillet empire has taken over Seattle's top spot when it comes to fried chicken sandwiches: Skillet’s boasts a savory fennel seed crust, pickled and charred jalapeño aioli, and kale on a potato roll. And you don't even have to stand on the side of 45th Street to get one.
Un BienAddress and Info
Ballard & Shilshole
Yes, this is the same sandwich -- arguably Seattle's favorite thanks to caramelized onions, slow-roasted pork, aioli, cilantro, and romaine lettuce on Macrina bread -- that they used to make (and kind of still do) at Paseo. And yes, one of UB's locations is the same seaside shack where Paseo got its start... but this isn't some copycat operation. It's run by two of Paseo's former owner's sons using family recipes. And say what you want about that guy: he could make one damn fine sandwich.
Salumi Artisan Cured MeatsAddress and Info
One of Seattle's most important restaurants, the retirement project of Armandino Batali (Mario’s dad) is best known for its cured meat, but smart diners take that to-go and order the beastly porchetta -- with huge chunks of rich, juicy pork bathed in a garlic sauce -- for lunch. It IS one of the 33 you have to do in Seattle before you die, after all.
Rain Shadow Meats SquaredAddress and Info
Rain Shadow Meats Squared, which is a wholly inaccurate description since it's more like cubed the size of the original location, and the selection is more like to the 10th… 11th power? Why are algebraic expressions so hard? Anyways, the point is they make some extraordinary sandwiches like this cold combination of house-made roast beef and mortadella, Fra' Mani salami, soppressata, provolone, Mama Lil’s peppers, red bell pepper, cucumber, arugula, and dijonnaise… all on a ciabatta roll.
Signature Xplosive Bánh Mì
Xplosive Mobile Food TruckAddress and Info
Roving All Around Seattle
The couple behind this food truck are fusing together the Filipino and Vietnamese food they grew up with, adding in some Spanish touches, and serving the results from a classic taco truck. This includes their signature bánh mì, which comes with one of a handful of meats and all the traditional toppings on a 12-inch French roll. It may very well be one of the city's most underrated sandwiches.
Try your hand at some of the best street foods from around the world at this Capitol Hill spot, which offers a menu that touts tasty international dishes like Latvian Smoked Sprats, Trinidad Goat Curry, and Romanian Mititei. A must-try sandwich is the Japanese Katsu: panko-breaded pork loin on crustless white bread with Kewpie mayo and Tonkatsu sauce. With Nue, you have the chance to nosh on rare global eats -- without a passport.
The crew behind Kickin' Boot Whiskey Kitchen and The Matador took over the old Thaiku and turned it into the Ballard Annex Oyster House, where they're serving scratch-made chowders and soups, fresh seafood, and tons of oysters either on the half shell or as shooters. The modern, wood-paneled space is complete with an oyster bar, tanks of Maine lobsters, and three steam kettles. You'll want to load up on shellfish and wash them down with some happy hour drinks while you're here.
This location is the brick & mortar spot of the popular taco trucks, serving up breakfast burritos (all day!), gorditas, tamales, and some of the best and most authentic tacos in the city. Be sure to load 'em up with one of the fresh options at their salsa bar. Another solid pick is their classic torta, filled with a meat of your choosing, plus plenty of flavorful accompaniments, including avocado, tomato, jalapeño, and pico de gallo.
A swanky, modern steakhouse, The Butcher's Table will have you feeling luxurious as you dine on some of the finest meats in town, including Mishima Reserve Wagyu beef, their specialty. They boast a fine dining room, a spirited bar, and live music every night. You'll also want to hit up their retail arm, which offers house-smoked meats and gourmet to-go sandwiches made with tasty skirt steak, brisket, and more.
Opened in a former vegan shoe/chocolate shop (seriously!) by the Nickerson Street Saloon guys, Martino's Smoked Meats is a gleaming 14-seat deli serving up a handful of Seattle's most meat-tastic sandwiches, the occasional BBQ special, and sides so meat heavy that the potato salad is mostly bacon. There's a small but mighty breakfast menu available on weekends, complemented by mimosas and Herkimer drip coffee.
Un Bien serves tasty Caribbean-inspired sandwiches, like the Smokin' Thighs (marinated and grilled boneless chicken thighs) and the Caribbean Roast (slow roasted, marinated pork shoulder). Sandwiches at this vibrant island shack spot are served on a toasted baguette, smothered with aioli, and topped with fresh cilanto, pickled jalapeños, and caramelized onions. They can (and should) be ordered with sides of fire-roasted corn and rice & beans.