The Most Iconic Sandwiches In Manchester: 9 Of The Best



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Firstly, sorry for the use of the word ‘iconic’. We don’t know what came over us. 

We’ll tell you what came over us, actually; a comprehensive money shot of oozing cheese, kewpie mayo and melted butter, all after too enthusiastic a bite. Has anyone got a napkin?

Weird introductory statements aside, it feels like the city of Manchester is going through something of a moment in the bread and filling department right now, with the website Eat MCR recently declaring that ‘Manchester’s Golden Age of Sandwich Is Upon Us’

As we wipe down our shirt and order yet another, we can’t help but agree. But in a city more stacked than a DiLusso Deli Company Mustard and Salami, sometimes it can be hard to separate the good from the great in the world of sarnies. 

We’ve done the hard work for you, enduring the bread comas and spiking blood sugar, raking over premium sandwich platters and wrestling with well meaning foil sheaths, all to bring you this; our 9 of the best, most iconic sandwiches in Manchester.

The Mac Attack from Northern Soul Grilled Cheese, Northern Quarter

Known for its indulgent grilled cheese sandwiches, Northern Soul has carved a niche for itself in Manchester’s food scene for their harmonious blend of tunes of toasties, both of which, we’re pleased to report, are on point on this sunny stretch of Tib Street. 

Their Mac Attack toasted sarnie is without doubt the headliner, an absolute delight featuring gooey mac and cheese sandwiched between thick slices of golden, buttery bread. Presented in a two stack with melted cheese cascading down its cliff face, and topped with a comically large gherkin to cut through all the richness, it’s the ultimate comfort food. Add pulled pork if you’re feeling mental.

Image via Northern Soul Grilled Cheese

And with a soundtrack of old school soul (plus a few Happy Mondays and Oasis tunes, thrown in for good measure), it’s a place that feels like Manchester to its soul (or, should that be ‘to its crusts’?).

Address: Unit G20, 21, 44 Tib St, Manchester M4 1LA

Website:  ​

The Pork Banh Mi With Pate from Ca Phe Viet, Oldham Road

We’ve waxed lyrical about our love for banh mi so many times that you could stick a wick in our mouth and call it a candle. 

At Ca Phe Viet, just outside the ring road on Ancoats’ Oldham Road, you’ll find Manchester’s best version of a banh mi. It’s an unassuming place to approach, with its single alfresco dining table out front and the rest of the seating randomly collected between shelves of Vietnamese larder items (they’ve got premium Phu Quoc fish sauce here, by the way), but this is where the vast majority of the best Vietnamese food in the UK is found, no?

And so it is at Ca Phe Viet, where the banh mi are crisp but light, and the fillings properly proportioned. Our go-to order here is the pork banh mi with pate, a gorgeously balanced number where the homemade, peppery af pate shines through, with slices of char siu pork bringing fat and mouthfeel. House pickles and a piquant, close-to-bracing chilli sauce both help cut through the richness.

They also do a decent pho.

Address: 80-86 Oldham Rd, Ancoats, Greater, Manchester M4 5EB


Read: Where to eat the best street food in Hanoi

La Regina from Ad Maiora, Kargo Market on The Quays, Salford

First things first; the bread used to make Ad Mairoa’s genuinely iconic (just ask Erling Haaland) isn’t focaccia, as we keep reading. It is, in fact, schiacciata, a crisp but airy Tuscan bread that’s perfectly suited for stacked Italian sandwiches. Which is good news, because that’s exactly what Ad Maiora specialises in.

It’s been quite the meteoric rise for these sandwich slingers. Just a year ago, Sardinian owners Daniela Steri and Enrico Pinna were selling their premium Italian schiacciata sandwiches from their Northern Quarter flat, with folk queuing up around the block for a fix, like a scene played out on the streets of Gomorrah’s Secondigliano. 

Image via @AdMaiora

Such was the buzz generated that they’ve now moved into more stable premises in Salford’s Kargo Market. We’re so glad they did, as the impeccable Regina sandwich is more accessible than ever. This one features folds of mortadella, burrata DOP, green pesto, rocket and a pistachio. The crunch of that superb Tuscan bread collapsing into the creamiest of centres, all with a little freshness and verve from the pesto… It really is one of Manchester’s best sandwiches. 

You know what? It might simply be one of Manchester’s best eating experiences, period. 

Address: Unit 32, Quayside Media City, Kargo MKT, Salford M50 3AG

Instagram: @admaioramcr

The Chip Butty from The Edinburgh Castle, Ancoats 

It’s time to hit the pub. But it’s not frothy flagons of ale we’re after (well, not just frothy flagons). Instead, we’re heading to popular Ancoats boozer The Edinburgh Castle in search of chef Shaun Moffat’s immaculate Chip Butty, which he has elevated to something genuinely innovative.

We get it; the humble chip butty isn’t in need of refinement or improving. We agree; it’s perfect just the way it is. But the Edinburgh Castle’s version is just too good to turn down, even if we wouldn’t actually call it a ‘chip butty’.

This indulgent sandwich (really, it’s a burger – let’s call it a ‘beef fat brioche butty burger’) features triple-cooked chips, a beef fat mayonnaise, and raw beef tartare, all held together by a soft brioche bun. For a touch of opulence, it’s topped with a Burford Brown egg yolk Hollandaise which oozes everywhere under the most gentle of compressions. It’s god damn delicious.

Stick around; the whole menu here is brilliantly executed. The Edinburgh Castle has made it into the Good Food Guide and onto this year’s Top 50 Gastropubs list. It sits at 24.

Address: 17 Blossom St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 5EP


The Chorizo Sandwich from Federal Cafe & Bar, Deansgate 

For those seeking a Spanish twist (hey, why not try flamenco?), then Federal Cafe & Bar will have your palate pirouetting with their Chorizo Sandwich.

Blessed with chorizo whose spicy fat has spaffed all over its ciabatta bedding invitingly, melted manchego cheese, a real pokey aioli and caramelised onions, it’s a wildly good sarnie, promising a culinary trip to the Mediterranean without ever having to leave Manchester.

Also excellent was Federal’s recent special sausage sando, a laughably indulgent affair of sausage patty, egg, bacon, cheese, and fed sauce, the latter of which had a pleasingly Big Mac tang. If it’s on, order it.

There are three Federals across the city, but our favourite of the trio is in Spinningfields.

Address: 17 Blossom St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 5EP


The Philly Cheesesteak from Fat Pat’s, Portland Street 

Fat Pat’s has gained plenty of publicity recently for serving what might be the best Philly cheesesteak in Manchester (hell, it might be the only Philly cheesesteak sandwich in Manchester, owing to our myopic vision when it comes to Fat Pat’s).  

Though it’s on the pricier side, clocking in at £16, the size of this thing makes it absolutely worth it – a meal for two, to be perfectly honest, which works because it’s presented halved. Crammed into a 10 inch milk roll, thin strips of generously seasoned ribeye bed down with a tangle of caramelised onions, green peppers and loads of melted cheese (we think Fat Pat uses provolone). A few thinly sliced chives are thrown in with your health in mind. 

Wow, this is a good sandwich, but one you’ll have to fight through hoards of Instagram documentarians to sample. Oh, and that £16 does get you a complimentary soda or water included in the price. Which, we’ll be frank, you’ll need; this is one salty boi.

Address: 88 Portland St, Manchester M1 4GX


The Kroissant Royale from Albert’s Schloss, Peter Street 

Over on Peter Street, Albert’s Schloss presents a unique breakfast experience with its standout dish, the Kroissant Royale. This Bavarian-style restaurant and bar is renowned for its lively, apres-ski like atmosphere and indulgent dishes, and the Kroissant Royale is no exception. 

Introduced as part of their new Alpine-inspired breakfast menu, which runs seven days a week, from 9am to midday, this dish redefines morning indulgence (and writes off the rest of your day) with its exquisite combination of textures and flavours. A fresh, haus-baked croissant serves as the foundation, its buttery and flaky layers providing the perfect contrast to the sumptuous fillings within.

Those fillings are slow-cooked sweet onions, melted gouda cheese and shallots, all brought together with the richness of a fried Burford Brown egg. If that doesn’t sound quite stacked enough, fear not; you can customise your Kroissant Royale with either smoked back bacon, Schloss’ famous bratwurst, or the vegan-friendly Moving Mountains sausage. It’s bloody gorgeous, this.

Address: 27 Peter St, Manchester M2 5QR


The Salt Beef Bagel from Smoak Coffee, Chorlton 

If you’re a fan of classic deli sandwiches, Smoak in Chorlton should be on your list. It’s certainly on our list of Manchester’s best sandwiches, all because of their gorgeous salt beef bagel.

Made with hunks of fall-apart brisket brined for up to 30 days, then braised, smoked and sliced, this sandwich is simplicity at its finest. Piled high with sauerkraut, mustard and pickles, it’s a true deli delight. Sure, you’ll have to head south of Old Trafford to find this superb bagel, but it’s well worth the journey. 

Address: 105 Manchester Rd, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9GA


Read: Where to eat near Old Trafford

We end with something a little different. A unique dining experience in Wilmslow, 40 minutes south of Manchester, The Clink Restaurant doesn’t just serve food; it provides hope through rehabilitation. 

Situated within the working prison of HMP Styal, The Clink’s meals are cooked and served by the students in training who are working towards gaining their City & Guilds NVQs in Food & Beverage Service, Professional Cookery and Food Hygiene, helping them find meaningful work and a sense of stability once released.

The Clink’s afternoon tea offering (keenly priced at just £21.95 a person) has four nicely made sarnies, scones and sweets. Lovely stuff. 

Address: HMP, Styal Rd, Wilmslow SK9 4HR


The Bottom Line

Manchester’s sandwich scene is filled to the crust with diverse flavours and culinary creativity. Whether you’re in the mood for an elevated chip butty (not a mood that strikes that often, admittedly) or a Philly cheesesteak, this city has something to offer every sandwich aficionado. Now, excuse us; we need to sleep off this food coma for the next few days…

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