I love sandwiches.
For me, lunch time = sandwich time.
After all, I am the guy who once ate 9 Vietnamese sandwiches in 5 days. (More on that later…)
From classic clubs to cubanos, and everything in between… Over the past decade of living here, I’ve tried nearly everything you can get between two buns.
Here’s this local’s picks for the 13 best sandwiches in Minneapolis and St. Paul. (Listed in no particular order, because they’re all amazing.)
- Map of the Best Sandwiches in the Twin Cities
- 1. The Uncle Pete at Marty’s Deli
- 2. The Cubano at El Cubano
- 3. The Banh Mi at Trung Nam
- 4. The Reuben at Cecil’s Deli
- 5. The Buttermilk Chicken Sandwich at Lake & Irving
- 6. The No. 1 South Philly Cheesteak at Tono Pizzeria
- 7. The Classics at Nelson’s Deli and Cheese Shop
- 8. The Arepas at Hola Arepa
- 9. Nikki’s Club at Buon Giorno
- 10. The T-Chut at the St. Paul Cheese Shop
- 11. Tortas at Manny’s Tortas
- 12. The Porketta at Iron Ranger
- 13. The Focaccia Sandwiches at Due Focacceria
Map of the Best Sandwiches in the Twin Cities
1. The Uncle Pete at Marty’s Deli
BLT lovers, this one’s for you!
Marty’s Deli is one of the best hidden gems in the Twin Cities. This sandwich popup roams around town, announcing via Instagram and their mailing list which event or location they’ll be at next.
They’ve developed a cult-like following for their small, but out-of-this-world menu of just five sandwiches. I’ve tried them all, and my personal favorite is that Uncle Pete. It comes with locally raised bacon (and lettuce and tomatoes, of course) plus a fantastic pimenton aioli and perfect bread.
- Address: Pop up locations.
- Website: Marty’s Deli
2. The Cubano at El Cubano
Any time a restaurant is named after a menu item, you know it’s gotta be good.
At least that’s the case at El Cubano. This awesome little Cuban restaurant is buried within a West St. Paul neighborhood, but insider, they’re serving one of the best Cuban sandwiches I’ve eaten. (For the record, Lily agrees it’s the best she’s ever had outside of Florida.)
Their version is the traditional variety – which means perfect slow roasted pork, ham, swiss cheese, pickles and mustard. It all goes on classic Cuban bread that’s been pressed, nice and hot, so everything comes out melted together for maximum flavor. My mouth is watering just thinking about it…
- Address: 870 Dodd Rd, St Paul, MN 55118
- Website: El Cubano Restaurant
3. The Banh Mi at Trung Nam
Yes, once upon a time I was on a mission to find the Twin Cities best banh mi sandwich, and I did so in only the most reasonable way – going to nearly every shop in town and trying 9 different sandwiches in 5 days.
For me, that perfect simplicity of Trung Nam came out on top. (It was mostly thanks to their bun, which is the best and flakiest you’ll ever taste.)
- Address: 739 University Ave W, St Paul, MN 55104
- Website: Trung Nam
4. The Reuben at Cecil’s Deli
This neighborhood institution in St. Paul will transfer you to New York City. Cecil’s is a classic deli that’s been running strong since 1949, and the atmosphere has that mom-and-pop diner feel that you know is gonna make those sliced meats taste better, somehow.
And if there’s one menu item that’s been keeping the crowds coming back to this legendary spot for the past 70 years, it’s the Reuben sandwich. You can actually get six different flavors, ranging from a traditional classic, to a spicy version, to a turkey or even vegetarian option.
- Address: 651 Cleveland Ave S, St Paul, MN 55116
- Website: Cecil’s Deli
5. The Buttermilk Chicken Sandwich at Lake & Irving
This sandwich might have single-handedly lead us to wonder if Lake & Irving has the best bar food in the entire Twin Cities. (See our full review here.)
It’s a perfectly crispy fried chicken sandwich on a sourdough bun, with bacon, melted cheese, and a sriracha mayo sauce. I’ll just let our review’s initial impressions do the rest of the talking:
“It’s one of the most unique sandwiches around. I loved it, and Lily loved it even more – one bite in and she re-confirmed it as one of her absolute favorites in the entire metro.”
- Address: 1513 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55408
- Website: Lake and Irving
6. The No. 1 South Philly Cheesteak at Tono Pizzeria
I’m a Philly Cheesesteak fiend, once eating 7 different varieties in a 5 day trip to Philadelphia. (I seem to have a habit of going overboard on sandwich tasting…)
The best I’ve found so far in the Twin Cities sits at Tono Pizzeria. It’s served classic Philly style – with nothing more than gooey cheese, grilled onion, sliced up beef, and a perfectly authentic hoagie roll.
- Address: Four Twin Cities Locations
- Website: Tono Pizzeria
7. The Classics at Nelson’s Deli and Cheese Shop
Some places just know how to make a sandwich, and that’s exactly what’s going on at Nelson’s Deli. I come here whenever I’m craving “the classics” – which to me translates to thin sliced meats, fresh cheese, and simple bread.
For quintessential deli options, I’m not sure anyone does it better than Nelson’s.
- Address: 1562 Como Ave, St Paul, MN 55108
- Website: Nelson’s
8. The Arepas at Hola Arepa
See my previous rule of thumb about restaurants named after menu items…
An Arepa is a South American sandwich with corn-maize buns and a variety of interesting fillings.
At Hola Arepa, I don’t have a specific recommendation for you, because all of their options are amazing. Whether you’re looking for slow roasted pork, chimchurri chicken, some sweet plaintains, or delicious veggie options, these sandwiches have been blowing us away years.
- Address: 3501 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55408
- Website: Hola Arepa
9. Nikki’s Club at Buon Giorno
The first time I went to Buon Giorno, I asked the lady working the counter for any sandwich recommendations. Without even a second of hesitation, she told me to get the Nikki’s Club, explaining that it was all the employees’ favorite.
I took her advice, and I’ve never been able to order a different menu item since. (Although for what’s it’s worth, Lily swears the Caprese is even better…)
So, what is it? It’s a hot sandwich with three different types of deli meat mixed with banana peppers, onions, melted cheddar, and plenty of red-pepper sauce. For me, it’s total sandwich perfection.
- Address: 981 Sibley Memorial Hwy, St Paul, MN 55118
- Website: Buon Giorno
10. The T-Chut at the St. Paul Cheese Shop
A turkey sandwich with… cranberry chutney, anyone? I mean c’mon!
These folks are taking thanksgiving leftovers to a whole new level!
To be fair though, all the sandwiches at St. Paul Cheese Shop are out of this world. For me, it’s a perfect lunch-time spot when I want one of the best sandwiches in town.
- Address: 1573 Grand Ave, St Paul, MN 55105
- Website: St. Paul Cheese Shop
11. Tortas at Manny’s Tortas
Manny’s Tortas and their “gourmet Mexican sandwiches” have some rabid fans around the Twin Cities, thanks to popular locations in both the Midtown Global Market AND one of the bets food options at the Minnesota State Fair.
These tortas come out on nice, big, soft bolilo bread, and you can get them in nearly every flavor imaginable, including the most authentic variety – Milanesa (breaded steak). My personal favorite is the pollo… that tender chicken compliments the bread so well!
- Address: 920 E Lake St #125, Minneapolis, MN 55407
- Website: Manny’s Tortas
12. The Porketta at Iron Ranger
I was surprised to learn that the Porketta (not to be confused with the more common Porchetta) is a Minnesotan specialty. Apparently, this sandwich’s roots date back to the days of Iron Mining in Northern Minnesota, when Italian immigrants brought Porchetta recipes over, and then Midwesterners somehow swapped the pork belly for pork loin and added extra garlic and fennel seasonings for good measure.
For my money, this fall-apart tender pork sandwich is THE menu highlight at Iron Ranger. (No surprise, given the restaurant’s name and this sandwich’s origins in Minnesota’s Iron Range.)
This Porketta reminds me of a unique take on a Philly Cheesesteak, where the beef is replaced with tender pork, the whiz is replaced with stringy provolone, and the onions swapped with zippy giardiniera peppers. I absolutely love it, and it’s an easy choice for one of the Twin Cities best sandwiches.
- Address: 1085 Grand Ave, St Paul, MN 55105
- Website: Iron Ranger
13. The Focaccia Sandwiches at Due Focacceria
I don’t think anyone in the Twin Cities is doing focaccia better than the aptly named Due Focacceria, so it’s no surprise that all of their focaccia sandwich options are out of this world.
I’ve tried these with everything from smoked turkey to proscuitto to tuna, and they’ve all impressed. If you’re looking for a different spin on the usual sandwich, these “southern street sandwiches” at Due are where it’s at!
- Address: 475 Fairview Ave S, St Paul, MN 55105
- Website: Due