While one of the most humble and homely eats around, there’s no denying there’s an art to the perfect sandwich. From the bread-to-filling ratio, to condiments and accoutrements, there’s plenty to consider when it comes to crafting a tasty sammie. Luckily, we’ve done the hard work for you and narrowed down the best places in Auckland to find an excellent sando, and which signature creations are worth sinking your teeth into.
Hero Sandwich House
Serving up a mouthwatering selection of sandwiches, buns, bagels and rolls, Hero Sandwich House’s approach to sandwiches is simple but never boring. Try irresistible iterations of classics such as the Philly cheese or bacon and egg, or go for our favourite — the Szechuan Sando. Layered with crispy fried chicken, dill cabbage and a dollop of lemon mayo for good measure, this thick and tasty number requires two hands for eating.
While they may look uncomplicated, one bite of the delectable sandwiches from the Allpress Caffetteria on Drake Street will quickly teach you not to judge a book by its cover. Some of the fillings change on a daily basis but the tuna, egg and mayo, along with the Reuben, are the staples we’ve come to rely on come lunchtime. The fillings in the vegetarian sandwiches change seasonally, but when you see the pumpkin with pecorino cheese and walnut, don’t think twice before ordering.
Tucked away in the back streets of Eden Terrace, Coffee Pen’s team are masters in the art of sandwich making. The offering changes daily with popular flavours making regular appearances such as the delicious poached chicken with mashed peas and cheese, and an eggplant with red sweet peppers and halloumi option for all the vegetarians out there.
Pastrami & Rye
Ellerslie deli and sandwich house Pastrami & Rye has been on our radar since it opened, serving up truly drool-worthy sandwiches since 2017. Inspired by the bustling delis of New York City, Pastrami & Rye proudly cures its own meats and churns out homemade preserves and pickles. It’s tough to pick just one sandwich from its star-studded line-up, but the Cubano, a swoon-worthy creation with pork, ham, pickles, mustard and melty cheese, is a hard one to beat.
The folks at Fort Greene make some of the best loaves in town, so it’s no surprise they’re also responsible for some of the city’s most impressive sandwiches. Its recognisable Karangahape Road storefront (painted a pleasing shade of green) is the ideal place to settle in for a lunchtime sandwich and grab a loaf of sourdough to go. While the fish sandwich, boasting homemade kahawai fish fingers, mushy peas and tartare sauce, has become somewhat of an icon, the vege one is not to be missed. Its combination of tofu cream, homemade kimchi, pickled wakame and sesame rye lavosh cracker, for added crunch, is a vegetarian dream.
Lowbrow’s sando selection is a thing of glory — an expertly curated list rooted in nostalgic flavours from childhood (but done way, way better than you remember). A cheeky take on fast food favourites, creations like the Mac Daddy (complete with brisket patty, iceberg lettuce, melty cheese and mac sauce) have all the comfort of a classic drive-thru meal — with chef-made patties, sauces and restaurant-worthy ingredients, mind you. Our favourite, however, is the fish sando with hot spiced tempura fish, iceberg lettuce, tartare sauce and cheese on a seedy sesame roll. Yum.
This humble hidden gem has got a solid following for its selection of sandos and top notch coffee. Tucked away in a tiny block of shops in the Mt Albert suburbs, Young George serves up some of the best sandwiches we’ve sampled, seven days a week. The chicken sando is unmissable, comprising juicy crumbed chicken slathered with tonkatsu sauce and deliciously tangy ‘special sauce’ (reminiscent of Big Mac sauce or something similar) sandwiched between ultra-soft Japanese milk bread, and toasted for a bit of crunch.
Luna Cafe & Eatery
When a bánh mì craving strikes, best scamper down to Luna Cafe & Eatery, a popular inner-city lunch spot that’s home to one of the best bánh mì in Auckland. This traditional Vietnamese roll is what sandwich dreams are made of — filled with chicken pâté, pickled vegetables and plenty of herbs. Whether beef, chicken or tofu (complete with vegan pâté) is your speed, there’s an option to suit your tastes. Plus everything is made from scratch, from the bread to the pâté. What more could you want?
Since opening in 2020, there is one particular dish that has captured the hearts and taste buds of Omni diners — the katsu sando. The only sandwich on its menu peppered with a delectable variety of chicken skewers and various sharing plates, Omni’s iteration is the ultimate ode to this quintessential Japanese street food. The pairing of juicy, panko-coated hand-ground chicken patty with perfect circles of fluffy white bread and crunchy cabbage is simplicity at its most delicious. Pair with a frosty craft beer and you’re in for a treat.
Little French Cafe
This neighbourhood gem, with outposts in both Point Chevalier and Mount Albert, is best known for its crispy baguettes and buttery rolls that are packed to the brim with tasty fillings. Little French Cafe favourites include the sirloin steak baguette, which includes perfectly cooked sirloin steak from Grey Lynn Butchers, caramelised onions, rocket and a house-made black pepper sauce nestled in the generous roll. Other variations include the ultimate breakfast bap with free-range eggs, organic bacon and house-made basil aioli and the chicken baguette with delicious free-range smoked chicken and bacon with avocado and slow roasted capsicum.
If there’s one thing we can trust in these uncertain times, it’s The Fed’s ability to turn out a damn good sandwich. The Federal Street institution’s chicken salad sandwich has reached cult status — for both its consistency and its undeniable deliciousness. Composed of a magical chicken-mayo mixture, crunchy iceberg lettuce and crispy bits of chicken skin for good measure, this sandwich famously comes with gravy on the side for dipping. Available from lunch until late, this sandwich is here to satisfy cravings at all hours.
Daily Bread is no slouch when it comes to sourdough, with six locations around town to keep fans of its loaves, pastries and pies well-fed. Fittingly, its sandwiches are in just as high demand, with fresh baguettes, hot milk bun sandwiches, sourdough toasties and ciabatta sammies all up for grabs. While offerings differ at each site, you can rely on finding the chicken baguette wherever you go — its combination of chicken, cream cheese, artichoke, herbs and jalapeño is too good to miss.