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.
Made using this Grey Lynn bakery’s famous, freshly-made loaves, the sandwiches and toasties at Florets are tasty and wholesome. Here, you’ll find fillings like danbo and mozzarella cheese, pear, mustard and pickle, or cheese and Doris plum jam, or even fennel salami with banana blossom, green olives and rocket. These are made even better when enjoyed in Floret’s sun-filled upstairs room with a perfectly-made coffee and one (or two) of the housemade cookies.
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 at 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.
While the Ponsonby Road outpost is humble but mighty, Dedwood Deli’s sandwiches honestly make your workday a little better. You’ll be forgiven for falling into the trap of burgers, toasties and a side of waffle fries, but these sangas are what see us returning more often than we would like to admit. The chipotle chicken, with smokey chipotle tomato relish, lemon miso aioli, maple walnuts and salad, all wedged between two chunky slabs of sourdough, is a sandwich that shouldn’t be looked past — we’d gladly eat it every day if we could.
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.
Tucked alongside the popular all-day restaurant, Amano, is its dedicated bakery, where hungry downtown punters have long turned for utterly delicious and satiating morning juices, lunchtime snacks, afternoon sweet treats and more. But it’s the sandwich offering here that has made Amano one of our favourite lunch drop-ins. Offering a range of freshly-made rolls filled with succulent meats and vegetarian delights (whatever your tastes require), Amano Bakery’s sammies are always tasty, always fulfilling and some of the very best in town.
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 Cuban, a swoon-worthy creation with pork, ham, pickles, mustard and melty cheese, is a hard one to beat.
At Oji Sushi, you’ll find a distinctly Japanese take on classic sandos, where an array of tasty fillings are nestled between two slices of soft, fluffy milk bread called shokupan. Honestly, few places do it better than Oji, where the sando offering includes spicy lobster with celery leaf and togarashi, Japanese egg with spring onion and aji Amarillo and katsu chicken with shredded iceberg and bulldog sauce. Conveniently found in the heart of Commercial Bay, this is the ideal spot for those seeking a workday lunch.
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 O-Fush 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 the ultra-soft Japanese milk bread, and toasted for a bit of crunch.
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 One sandwich has become something of an icon, boasting homemade kahawai fish fingers, mushy peas and tartare sauce, our other favourites are The Reuben, with salt-beef brisket, homemade sauerkraut, Russian dressing, mustard, pickles & Swiss cheese on Fort Greene New York rye and the Kimchi Grilled Cheese, boasting a mix of four cheeses, grilled, with homemade kimchi on Fort Greene’s delicious sourdough.
Since Omni opened, there is one particular dish that continues to capture the hearts and taste buds of Auckland 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 or a crisp sake and you’re in for a treat.
It would be remiss not to make mention of Gloria’s, the K’Road deli that hasn’t stopped humming since opening. Of course, we should expect such popularity from the team, also behind Bar Celeste and Star Superette. Gloria’s however, is a more pared-back offering that keeps homely, delicious foods at its core — and its crown jewel is a delightful daily rotation of fresh, seasonal sandwiches. The salt beef here is unparalleled if you can get your hands on one. Made in-house and presented as an iteration of a classic Rueben, we couldn’t think of a better sammy if we tried. Wash it all down with a glass of homemade lemonade — a drink that tastes just like summer.
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 SkyCity 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 a number of 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.