We enjoy a good sandwich as a perfectly self-contained, hand-held meal or a decadent indulgence accompanied by a stack of napkins. These Peninsula sandwiches satisfy from bread to filling, layer by layer. Have others you love? Email us at [email protected] — we’d love to try!
Apple Fritter: Pigs Gone Wild Brekky
This San Mateo eatery offers breakfast and brunch with donuts, burgers, sandwiches and more. On the menu is a “brekky sandwich” spread that includes the Yoga Mom Brekky (grilled spinach, mushroom, egg, cheddar cheese, pesto) and the Pigs Gone Wild Brekky (grilled mushrooms, bacon, cheddar cheese, scrambled eggs, arugula, chipotle mayo).
The brekky sandwiches come with your choice of bread (sourdough, egg, brioche, gluten-free, wheat, rye, or English muffin). But if your choice of bread happens to be a glazed donut, get a donut burger. Yup, there’s a special section on the menu dedicated to donut burgers! Try the Donut Luther with a beef patty, bacon, American cheese and a fried egg.
applefrittereatery.com, 1901 South Norfolk St., San Mateo; 650-525-9125.
B Deux Go: Croque Poivrons
B Deux Go’s croque-style sandwiches with ham or peppers, Gruyere cheese and bechamel sauce are perfectly packaged to eat on the run.
To make it easier to eat while out and about, the sandwiches’ buttermilk bread is baked with no oil on the outside, and served in a paper envelope with a napkin neatly tucked within.
Pick up your sandwich to go in Palo Alto from the restaurateurs behind the fine-dining restaurant Baumé — in fact, the team serves orders from Baumé’s kitchen door. The Chemel family launched their to-go sandwich concept in the fall of 2021.
bdeuxgo.com, 201 California Ave., Palo Alto (pick up from kitchen door on Park Boulevard); 408-900-8000.
Cafe Bunn Mi: Crispy Duck
This South San Francisco cafe offers baguettes served with crisp pickled carrots, onions and daikon, and your choice of combination pork, five-spice chicken, grilled pork, lemongrass steak, crispy duck, vegetables, tofu and more. Also very satisfying to go with that crispy duck sandwich? A side of garlic fries.
yelp.com/biz/cafe-bunn-mi-south-san-francisco, 226 Grand Ave., South San Francisco; 650-745-8883
Greedy Ant: Artichoke Art
This Belmont eatery has a tightly curated sandwich selection with a focus on fresh ingredients.
Among the menu’s seven sandwiches are the Artichoke Art (artichoke hearts with fennel pollen, melted brie, roasted red peppers, greens, tomato and garlic pesto), Ham I Am (with choice of shaved truffle ham or rosemary ham, plus havarti, marinated onion, greens, tomato and their magic mayo) and Disco Chicken (roasted chicken breast with herbs, sauteed red onion, jack cheese, tomato, greens and lime-basil mayo).
Each sandwich comes with your choice of side. Choose between marinated chickpeas in dill or pickled beets.
thegreedyantgourmet.com, 932 Ralston Ave., Belmont; 650-832-1136
La Casita Chilanga: La Super Aguila
La Casita Chilanga has been in the community for more than 20 years. At an eye-catching location painted half green and half white with a red fence on Middlefield Road in Redwood City, you’ll find tortas with fresh-baked talera, housemade aioli, xipoctli salsa, avocado, cheese and caramelized onion along with your choice of other toppings.
Circumstances were difficult when Juan Zamora and his partner first decided to open their own restaurant. They set out to achieve their goal shortly after 9/11.
“In that time, it was a hard time — like right now (during the pandemic),” Zamora says.
But they weren’t deterred. “We say, ‘You know what? We should put tortas here, like Mexico City-style.'”
He and his partner found a small place that could fit three tables, developed their own recipes and set up shop with tortas to go. The menu was inspired by their Mexico City hometown, different from the menus at the Asian and Italian restaurants that Zamora had previously worked at.
“There’s little jokes in the menu,” Zamora says.
Some tortas are inspired by football clubs, like La Super Aguila (breaded chicken breast, smoked turkey leg sausage, chorizo, ham, yellow and Monterey cheese) and La Mega Chiva (pastor, caramelized pineapple, chorizo, turkey sausage, Monterey cheese), and celebrities like Sofia Vergara (breaded chicken breast) and Raul de Molina (pork head cheese). La Cubana is the most popular, with thin-cut breaded beef, ham, chorizo and smoked turkey leg sausage.
The team is a mainstay in the Peninsula sandwich scene. In addition to Middlefield Road, La Casita Chilanga has locations on El Camino Real as well as in San Mateo and San Jose (watch for different items on these menus).
Other credits include the Sandwich Bug in Palo Alto, offering deli sandwiches with house-baked bread and special mayo “buggy” sauce, Snacks in San Mateo serving tortas and street foods, and The Patty Shack, offering burgers in Redwood City.
lacasitachilanga.com, 2928 Middlefield Road, Redwood City; 650-568-0351
Jood: Taook Sandweesh
The Harbali family has a decadeslong history of building food businesses with prized beef, sheep, poultry, and lamb. Their most recent addition to their restaurant repertoire is Jood in San Carlos, showcasing barbecue.
Try a sandwich made with slaw and pickles on lavash, with fries on the side. The Minced and Kneaded Sandweesh is made with meat or vegan kafta, hummus and tahini, and the bestselling Taook Sandweesh is made with marinated grilled chicken breast, creamy garlic sauce and ketchup. Heaven’s Sandweesh offers a vegan option with eggplant, cauliflower, pesto and tangy housemade sun sauce.
The online menu has a handy chart with allergen information.
eatjood.com, 635 Laurel St., San Carlos
Dad’s Luncheonette: Mushroom sandwich
Served out of a bright red caboose off Highway 1 in Half Moon Bay, the hamburger sandwich previously made the Peninsula Foodist’s chef’s bucket list. Served on grilled bread from Rosalind Bakery, the sandwich is made with beef, soft egg, cheese, red onion pickles, “Dad’s Sauce” and red oak lettuce.
Also not to be missed is the mushroom sandwich, made with the same ingredients as the burger except for the beef. In place of the patty are maitake mushrooms.
The eatery was opened by co-owners Alexis Liu and Scott Clarke in 2017. After the birth of their daughter, Clarke left his role as a chef de cuisine at the three Michelin-starred Saison as the family sought balance.
dadsluncheonette.com, 225 Highway 1, Half Moon Bay; 650-560-9832
Little Lucca: Egg salad on Dutch crunch, with everything
Little Lucca has been on the Peninsula since 1980, expanding from South San Francisco to Burlingame. Choose between a roll (sour, sweet, wheat, Dutch crunch or ciabatta) or sliced bread (rye or white).
If you get a roll, the Little Lucca team scrapes out the middle, creating a pocket of crust for maximum filling.
You choose — there are crab and shrimp sandwiches, meatballs, liverwurst, cured meats (including salami, soppressata, coppa and prosciutto), combos like the Chicken Cordon Bleu (breaded chicken, ham, Swiss cheese) and Veggie Delight (cream cheese, tomato, cucumber, avocado and creamy Caesar dressing), and more.
Order your sandwich with “everything” (mayonnaise, mustard, pickles, red onion, lettuce, tomato), and especially one (or both!) of the housemade hot pepper and original garlic sauces for extra spice and savoriness.
littlelucca.com, 724 El Camino Real, South San Francisco; 650-589-8916; 1809 El Camino Real, Burlingame; 650-697-8389
Just My Toast: Char Siu Toast
Order ahead so your favorite doesn’t sell out, then pick up street toast at this newly opened eatery in San Bruno.
Choose from Pimi & Cheese (roasted red bell pepper, cream cheese, cabbage slaw), the J.M.T. Signature (prosciutto cotto, egg, cheese, cabbage slaw), Char Siu Toast (char siu, egg, cabbage slaw) and the Chicken Melt (diced chicken, celery, mayo, onion, cheese, cabbage slaw). As a side, get crispy mini smashed potatoes with onions and garlic.
instagram.com/jmttoast, 1212 El Camino Real Suite F, San Bruno
Breakwater Barbecue: Brisket sandwich
On the menu at Coastside destination Breakwater Barbecue is the Gold Rush Pulled Pork Sandwich (topped with apple cilantro slaw and Gold Rush sauce), a Reuben (house-smoked pastrami, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, pickles) and a banh mi that features a daily smoked meat selection.
Founder Wyatt Fields has a particular passion for brisket. The brisket sandwich features slices of smoked and seared Black Angus brisket, caramelized onions, pickles, ancho coffee barbecue sauce and mayo, all on thick cut country sourdough from Rosalind Bakery in Pacifica.
breakwaterbbq.com, 30 Avenue Portola, El Granada; 650-713-5303
Mendocino Farms: Mrs. Goldfarb’s Unreal Reuben
Founded in Los Angeles, Mendocino Farms has locations in Palo Alto, San Mateo and Mountain View. The menu clearly marks vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free items, as well as which items contain nuts.
For those who crave a meaty sandwich without the actual meat, try a Reuben on rye made with plant-based corn beef, apple and celery root slaw, bread and butter pickles and Thousand Island dressing. Get it with havarti cheese for a vegetarian option, or plant-based smoked provolone cheese for a vegan option.
The menu also has options for gluten-free sandwiches, including chimichurri steak and bacon or chicken pesto caprese (these both have meat), a plant-based burger and more.
mendocinofarms.com, 401 San Antonio Road, Suite 64, Mountain View; 650-209-3987; 167 Hamilton Ave., Palo Alto; 650-543-8135; 1060 Park Place, San Mateo; 650-332-8300.
New England Lobster Company: Lobster Roll (Dressed)
Head to Burlingame for a luscious lobster roll with a side of crunchy chips and coleslaw. If you want pure meat, order the Naked option, served with a side of butter, or get mayo, salt and pepper with the Dressed option. The menu also offers a seasonal choice.
The company started out as a wholesale distributor in Maine in 1987 before opening up a market for the public in South San Francisco in 2002. Its brick and mortar eatery has been in Burlingame for about a decade.
newenglandlobster.net, 824 Cowan Road, Burlingame; 650-443-1559
Respectable Bird: The Sandwich (Spicy)
At a South San Francisco ghost kitchen or food truck, the Respectable Bird team makes their regular or spicy fried chicken sandwiches available via pickup or delivery.
Each is served on a Martin’s potato roll. Also used by Shake Shack, the bread holds up to a hefty half-pound of thigh meat, as well as sauce and juicy pickles.
If you’re feeling especially bold when it comes to spice, try a level 4 hot chicken sandwich from the group’s Love Burn brand. If you do, you’ll be required to sign a waiver. Served with a complimentary side of milk.
respectablebird.com, 312 Swift Ave., South San Francisco; 650-754-6258
Plaza Gourmet Delicatessen: The Godfather
The Peninsula has no shortage of excellent cheesesteak establishments. At Plaza Gourmet in Foster City, you’ll find an assortment, including the Famous Philly (grilled sliced beef, onions, peppers, provolone), the Slim Philly (turkey breast, light Jarlsberg) the Pizza Philly (grilled sliced beef, marinara sauce, pepperoni, onions, peppers, melted provolone and mayonnaise) and the Vegetarian Philly (grilled bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, artichoke hearts, melted provolone and mayonnaise).
You’ll also find other sandwiches like the Godfather (prosciutto, salami, mortadella, coppa, provolone, olive oil, vinegar, artichoke hearts, pepperoncinis, lettuce, onions, oregano) and Shrimp Supreme (shrimp salad, avocado, mayonnaise, mustard, lettuce, tomato pickles, onion), as well as imported meats.
fostercitydeli.com, 929 Edgewater Blvd., Foster City; 650-666-8813
San Benito House Garden Deli: Cheese and avocado on olive-walnut bread
This 116-year-old Half Moon Bay outpost moved out of a temporary location at Pizza Pie and reopened in the fall, following a devastating fire in April 2021.
The San Benito House Garden Deli’s homemade breads are velvety smooth, complimenting hearty slices of turkey, ham, hot pastrami, cheese or avocado, topped with extra fresh and crisp tomato, onions, lettuce and pickles, and just the right amount of mayo and mustard.
Try olive-walnut bread for a briny crunch (especially tasty with a scoop of egg salad), or whole wheat for subtle sweetness.
If it’s really bread you crave and not all the sandwich fixings, take home French bread or a Portuguese loaf.
sanbenitohouse.com, 356 Main St., Half Moon Bay; 650-726-9507