The Hands-Down Best Italian Subs In The US, According To Reviews

If you walk into any delicatessen in the United States today, you will find some version of an Italian sub. Most of the time, they're going to be fine. However, for a number of very discerning sandwich creators, "just fine" doesn't cut it. There are some truly special sandwiches out there, and we're going to share the highest rated and most deeply revered with you. 


The Italian sub's most accepted creation story takes us to Portland, Maine, around the turn of the 20th century. A baker and Italian immigrant named Giovanni Amato made the smart decision to offer an affordable lunchtime solution to the road workers in the area. He sold a sandwich from a cart that was stuffed with meats, cheeses, vegetables, and other toppings — thus creating the Italian sub

Though the Italian sub is now a quintessential American sandwich, there are certain examples that stand out across the country. We consulted sandwich connoisseurs, best-of lists, and, of course, tried some ourselves to create a list of top-notch Italian subs (or grinders, or hoagies — the name can vary based on your geographical location). These are examples of the classic version Amato made all those years ago, with some creative modifications reflecting the particular delicatessen's interpretation. You can read more about our methodology at the end of the article.


The Italian Special Sandwich - Faicco's Italian Specialties in New York City

Like many of the delicatessens on this list, Faicco's story begins with an Italian immigrant opening a shop. Eduardo Faicco grew up in Sorrento, Italy, and learned how to butcher meats in his village. He immigrated to New York in 1896 and opened the first Faicco's location on Elizabeth Street four years later. Over the years, Faicco's has moved to Brooklyn and back to Manhattan and now is located on Bleecker Street. The store also stocks Italian specialty food items and makes a number of other highly rated subs, like the Grilled Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Sandwich.


The Italian Special Sandwich is the star at this West Village institution. Made with ham, capicola, prosciutto, soppressata, mozzarella, lettuce, tomato, roasted peppers, oil, and red wine vinegar, this sandwich is massive and magnificent. Food bloggers make special journeys for this sub — and in a city that's teeming with Italian delis, that's pretty spectacular.

(212) 243-1974

260 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

The Godmother - Anthony & Son Panini Shoppe in Brooklyn, New York

This popular Williamsburg eatery opened in 1994 and has been serving high-quality sandwiches ever since. It's become a destination spot; folks will put some miles on their car for a taste of Anthony & Son's food. "This place 100% lives up to the hype probably seen some other sandwiches go viral on social media and it's easy to see why! I literally drove over an hour to get here just to get a sandwich and it was incredible," wrote one reviewer on Google


The classic sub here is called The Godmother, and it's made with spicy soppressata, prosciutto cotto, fresh mozzarella, lettuce, tomato, red onions, spicy cherry peppers, oil, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, and mayo. But remember: Not all prosciutto is the same. Prosciutto cotto is different from prosciutto crudo (which people most popularly know from prosciutto di Parma, but there are other types of prosciutto). Prosciutto cotto is bright pink and lighter in flavor. It's also more tender and can be seasoned and brined. This will change the taste of your Italian sub, so make sure you order the right kind of prosciutto for you.

Other customers at Anthony & Son rave about the FDNY sub, which is chicken cutlet, vodka sauce, and fresh mozzarella on garlic bread. You can't go wrong here.


(718) 383-7395

433 Graham Ave, Brooklyn, NY

The Little Italy - Lioni Italian Heroes in Brooklyn, New York

With over 150 sandwich offerings, Lioni is one of the most popular Italian specialty stores in Brooklyn. It even makes its own mozzarella, which Zagat has named "the creamiest fresh mozzarella in town," according to Lioni's website. The shop's sandwiches are praised for being hefty and also a good value in comparison to other Italian subs, which can be extravagantly expensive. 


You can't go wrong with anything here, but if you're looking for that classic Italian sub, order the Little Italy, which is made with salami, sweet capicola, mortadella, lettuce, tomato, olive oil, and vinegar. According to one reviewer on Yelp, Lioni's sandwiches have the perfect marriage of ingredients: "I especially enjoyed the Italian one. So many different meats and everything blended together perfectly. The bread they used was nice and fresh; but also crispy."

The other popular choice on the menu is called the Alyssa Milano. With breaded chicken cutlet, prosciutto di Parma, pesto, and mozzarella, this sandwich gets rave reviews.

Two locations in Brooklyn

The Big Mike Combo - Mike's Deli in the Bronx, New York

Little Italy in the Bronx is a special place. It's a small neighborhood, but you can get anything from exquisite olive bread to specialty cheeses and, yes, mouth-watering Italian subs. For over 75 years, Mike's Deli has been giving Arthur Avenue some of its best sandwiches. 


Before owner Mike Greco passed away in 2019, he was as much an institution as his delicatessen. The story goes that Greco was kicked out of a seminary in Calabria, Italy, and came to America in 1947. The deli started hopping in the 1960s, and Greco's charisma and outgoingness made him well-liked with celebrities and chefs. 

If you're looking for a classic Italian sandwich, the Big Mike Combo is your best bet. It has mortadella, ham, salami, soppressata, and provolone — and you can add the other stuff you love or make it "fully loaded" with lettuce, tomato, onion, salt, pepper, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.

(718) 295-5053

2344 Arthur Ave, Bronx, NY 10458

The Import Mix - Rosticceria Rossi & Sons in Poughkeepsie, New York

A lot of the best Italian subs might be in New York City, but don't knock the upstate New York food scene, where there exists a thriving Italian American community passionate about creating unforgettable meals. With a family history beginning in Calabria and spanning more than 40 years in the Hudson Valley, Rossi's in Poughkeepsie is an absolute gem. In fact, Yelp named Rossi's one of the 100 best restaurants in the United States in 2023. 


"This amazing Italian deli makes their own bread, sides, pastas and even some cheeses. We got their muffuletta sandwich and it was one of the best sandwiches I've ever had. I would eat there once a week if I lived nearby," praised a Yelp reviewer. Try The Import Mix, which comes with capicola, soppressata, mortadella, prosciutto, pecorino, mozzarella, roasted red pepper, arugula, olive oil, sun-dried tomato vinaigrette, and Sicilian olive salad on a semolina roll.

(845) 471-0654

45 S Clover St, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

The White House Special - White House Subs in Atlantic City, New Jersey

Since 1946, White House Subs has been consistently providing some of the most famous Italian sandwiches in the U.S. to Atlantic City visitors. This shop isn't just a national treasure; the James Beard Foundation even named it an American Classic. Celebrities such as Frank Sinatra, Oprah Winfrey, the Beatles, and more have stopped by to sink their famous teeth into sandwiches and other Italian delicacies. 


White House Subs has two locations in gritty and glamorous Atlantic City: one on Arctic Avenue and another in the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. So if you get bored of playing the slot machines, get a sandwich and bring it to the beach to enjoy with the other sun worshippers. The most popular item on the menu? The White House Special, an 18-inch sub that comes with extra Genoa salami, provolone, imported ham, capicola, lettuce, and tomato. The bread is made from a local baker and draws accolades. Add your own sides, of course. Also? White House Subs is Guy Fieri-approved.

Two locations in Atlantic City

The Soprano - Andrea Salumeria in Jersey City, New Jersey

In Jersey City, New Jersey, Andrea Salumeria is an unassuming, tiny delicatessen that serves one of the best Italian subs in the country. In 2016, it won's "best sub shop showdown" and continues to impress visitors with its Soprano sub, made with soppressata, prosciutto, mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes, and extra virgin olive oil. The owner, Pete Soriano, makes the mozzarella fresh every day. He's been holding down the family business for over 35 years. 


"Culinary excellence in every sense of the word. Most delicious Italian sandwiches I've had, and I lived in [Brooklyn] for 10 years. I wake up thinking about these sandwiches," said a Google reviewer of his experience at Andrea Salumeria. The Combo, with ham, salami, soppressata, capicola, sharp provolone, and sweet peppers, is another popular sandwich. The store also has a reputation for excellent imported goods from Sicily, especially olive oil, truffle oil, and balsamic vinegar, that you can't get anywhere else.

(201) 653-1666

247 Central Ave # A, Jersey City, NJ 07307

The Famous Muffuletta - DiMartino's in New Orleans, Louisiana

In New Orleans, the Italian sub takes on a slightly different form unique to the area. Called a muffuletta, the sandwich was created by a Sicilian immigrant named Salvatore Lupo. In 1906, Lupo ran a shop in a part of town called Little Palermo and sold sandwiches made with ham, cheese, salami, and zesty olive salad. The bread he used was called muffuletto — a spongy, round loaf with a crisp, light crust usually made during Catholic religious holidays like All Souls Day. They were often wrapped in labeled bread paper — a tradition some shops still maintain today. 


DiMartino's is arguably the most famous purveyor, serving up its version called The Famous Muffuletta. The founder of DiMartino's, Peter DiMartino, opened the restaurant in 1975 after a childhood spent working in his family's small store and an adulthood in corporate America. Today, there are four total locations that are all consistently highly rated for their muffulettas and po boys

Four Locations in the greater New Orleans area

The Italian - Bari Foods in Chicago, Illinois

Fans of "The Bear" know Chicago has a thriving food scene and a strong Italian American community. While Chicago's classic Italian beef sandwiches are often a highlight when talking about the award-winning TV show and the city's food scene, many delis also serve Italian subs. Bari Foods is one of the highest rated and most popular sandwich shops in the Windy City to do a traditional Italian sub; Bari's is made with capicola, salami, mortadella, provolone, and hot or mild giardiniera. (Giardiniera is an Italian relish made with pickled vegetables.)


Bari Foods opened in 1973, when Joseph and Grace Pedota emigrated to Chicago from a small Italian town called Bitritto, which is near the city of Bari. They sold Italian imports and groceries until the 1980s, when their son Frank started making subs for friends. Now, eating a sub from Bari Foods is one of the most delicious activities you can partake in when visiting the Grand Avenue area of Chicago. Lovers of this sandwich rave about the quality of the meat and the flavors of the giardiniera.

(312) 666-0730

1120 W Grand Ave #1, Chicago, IL 60642

The Italian - Monica's Mercato & Salumeria in Boston, Massachusetts

Monica's Mercato & Salumeria in the North End of Boston isn't just a sandwich shop — it's an experience. This family-owned business has been in operation since 1995 and offers Italian food products as well as one of the country's best Italian sandwiches. Made with freshly baked bread, Monica's Italian sub comes with prosciutto, mortadella, salami, provolone, lettuce, tomato, onion, oil, balsamic vinegar, and hot pickles. "You get a huge two portion sandwich with fresh cut meat and cheese imported from Italy inside of a crispy but pillowy piece of bread. I don't know what they put in this sandwich but the flavors meshed together so well," enthused one reviewer on Yelp


With raves like that, it's no shocker that the shop is legendary and consistently appears on best-of lists, including Mashed's "The 15 Absolute Best Italian Subs In The US." Beating out more than 200 restaurants in Beantown and beyond, Monica's also won a reader poll conducted by for the best place to get a classic Italian sub. "There is no other right answer," declared one reader.

(617) 742-4101

130 Salem St, Boston, MA 02113

The Molinari Special Italian Combo - Molinari Delicatessen in San Francisco, California

Since 1896, Molinari has been serving Italian subs. Apparently, it's the oldest delicatessen west of the Rocky Mountains. The deli's Molinari Special Italian Combo is consistently touted as one of the best in the country. The highly rated San Francisco shop is now on the fourth generation of family members running it — so when you order a sandwich here, you're ordering some California history. 


Made with a combination of Molinari's cold cuts, mayo, mustard, vinaigrette, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pepperoncini, and your choice of cheese, the sub is frequently lauded by critics. Reviewers on Google sing the deli's praises: "Awesome authentic Italian deli! The Molinari special Italian combo may be one of the best sandwiches we've ever eaten! We went back three times during our time in San Francisco," enthused one customer

(415) 421-2337

373 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

The Real Italian - DiPasquale's Marketplace in Baltimore, Maryland

In 1918, Italian immigrant Luigi DiPasquale Sr. opened a corner store with the goal of bringing Italian food and culture to the Highlandtown neighborhood of Baltimore. He and his family butchered chickens and goats to provide fresh meat and also made household products. Now, DiPasquale's Marketplace has three locations and a reputation for incredible subs. Current owner Joe DiPasquale told CBS Baltimore in 2023 that over the six days a week the stores are open (counting catering orders), they will serve up to 3,000 Italian sandwiches. 


DiPasquale's Real Italian sub comes with salami, peppered ham, mortadella, capicola, and provolone. You should, of course get it "with everything," which includes oil, vinegar, DiPasquale's blend of spices and cheese, hot peppers, onion, lettuce, and tomato.

DiPasquale's has been featured on Food Network's "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" and on the Travel Channel's "The Zimmern List" — introducing even more customers to the store that prides itself on being "your place for everything Italian." The business was even name-checked by Lidia Bastianich in one of her cookbooks.

Three locations in Baltimore

The V&S Special - V&S Italian Deli in Boca Raton, Florida

One of the most popular and well-reviewed Italian subs in the country isn't found in New York City or Chicago but, in fact, Boca Raton, Florida. V&S Italian Deli has been in business since 1985. Co-founded by two brothers, Vinny and Sal Falcone, the shop is in a quiet strip mall on the North Federal Highway. Still, once you go inside, you know you're getting the real deal. 


The deli's signature sub is called the V&S Special and contains soppressata, mortadella, provolone, lettuce, tomato, and onion. "Authentic and absolutely delicious," said one reviewer on Google. "You can taste and appreciate just how fresh all the ingredients are." Another reviewer raved about the perfect Italian bread: "Been going to this deli about 15 years now and they just get better and better! Best Italian bread in all of FL, authentic Italian!"

(561) 395-5206

2621 N Federal Hwy, Boca Raton, FL 33431

The Italian Combo - DeFalco's Italian Deli in Scottsdale, Arizona

With a reputation for the best fresh ingredients, DeFalco's Italian Deli is highly rated and always in demand. But the store didn't always produce sandwiches, and it wasn't always so big. DeFalco's opened in 1973 as a smaller shop and restaurant — now, it's an Arizona institution. 


"We started off in a little shop that was mostly an Italian grocery," general manager Anthony DeFalco explained to the Scottsdale Progress. "We had maybe two or three sandwiches on our menu and spaghetti and meatballs. That's how it all started back in the olden days." 

Now, DeFalco's serves about 40 different types of sandwiches, including its popular Italian Combo, made with ham, salami, mortadella, pepperoni, and provolone. You can add on whatever you want, including giardiniera and olive relish. DeFalco's also stocks Italian specialties, particularly during the holidays, and over 300 different types of wine. And all of its prepared food is made on site.

(480) 990-8660

2334 N Scottsdale Rd a133, Scottsdale, AZ 85257



We chose these sandwiches based on a number of factors. Firstly, we took into account the reviews for each delicatessen from both professional and non-professional critics, focusing on details such as the flavor, freshness, and quality of ingredients, as well as fidelity to the concept of the original Italian sandwich. Secondly, we studied best-of lists over a range of years to establish consistency and noted if any shops won awards. Then we tried some of the sandwiches that were available to us. Geographical location was also taken into account, as we wanted to include a country-wide representation and not focus solely on areas traditionally known as Italian sandwich hot spots.