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16 of the Best sandwiches in Dublin for your next awesome lunch

by Roberto
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Irish sandwiches have come a long way over the years. Gone are the days when a toasted special in a pub, or a chicken fillet roll from Centra were the highlight of this culinary niche. Not to knock either but things have moved on. The sandwich sector has seen a major resurgence of late, and the offerings on the Dublin scene are as good as anywhere. I have taken it upon myself, through much hardship, to sample the best sandwiches in Dublin City. It’s been a long road, through thousands of calories (luckily I’ve had six months of lockdown to walk it all off), but I think I’ve finally arrived at the definitive list.

The Irish have always had a love affair with the sandwich and its the staple of many lunches here. It’s never destined to be the healthiest food, and in part I theorise this is why it has grown so popular here again. With the movement towards veganism and healthy dining over the last decade or so, it’s natural that a counter-culture would develop, celebrating food stuffed with meat, pickled veg, and calorie rich sauce. This has been the resurrection of the sandwich! Let’s celebrate it!

The Best Sandwiches in Dublin

147 deli – The Breakfast Buttie

147 deli is a special place. A strong contender for Dublin’s best sandwich, it’s in the happening foodie area of Parnell Street. While it doesn’t necessarily fit with the string of oriental restaurants surrounding, it stands out for its perfect home baked sandwich bread (and I mean perfect), and top quality ingredients. The selection isn’t huge but with mouthwatering options such as the cheese steak sandwich, BBQ pork, and breakfast buttie (pictured), there’s definitely something for die hard sambo fanatics. They do daily specials too if you want to mix it up, so 147 deli is worthy of more than a few return visits.

Bunsen – Best Burger in Dublin

So the question can be asked – is a burger a sandwich? Two slices of bread and meat and veg in the middle; I think it is. However if you disagree you can take it up when I don’t include any sandwiches in my best burger in Dublin post (which probably won’t happen). Undoubtedly the best beef and cheese sandwich in the city is Bunsen, who have been spreading quicker than I can eat a burger. They now have restaurants in Ranelagh, South Anne Street, Baggot Street, Wexford Street, Dame Street, Temple Bar, and in Belfast and Cork if you are away and miss them too much.

It’s in their simplicity that they bring perfection, the menu is short and sweet, so short in fact it fits on a business card. Burger, cheeseburger, double burger, and a selection of fries. You don’t need anymore. Their burger meat is sourced from FXB, and they keep the ingredients sparse, to give a full appreciation of the meats quality. Burgers are cooked medium well for the ultimate juicy taste explosion when you bite into them. My mouth may be watering as I write this. GO TO BUNSEN!!!

Bunsen - The Best Burger in Dublin
Bunsen – The Best Burger in Dublin

Hush Rathmines – The Chosen One

Hush is a relatively newcomer on the scene, but with its catchy sandwich names and posh looking offerings it deserves its place on the list. The catchy sandwich names include Yer Saucy Ma (Cajun chicken), Rude Boi (pastrami), The Notorious BLT, Sing to me Paulo (caprese) and our chosen recommendation, err, The Chosen One. The Chosen One contains Porchetta, Salsa Verde, Kohlrabi, Apple Sauce & Celeriac, and it’s a pretty sandwich to behold. But you’ll be holding it to eat it, and it doesn’t disappoint. Strong flavours from the veg and apple sauce perfectly compliment the crispy pork bits that fill the large offering. The suburb of Rathmines performs really strongly on sandwich offerings and Hush is another feather in its cap.

Hush Rathmines - The prettiest sandwich in Dublin
Hush Rathmines – The prettiest sandwich in Dublin

Umi Falafel -The Best Falafel and Vegan sandwich in Dublin

Falafel. For most of my life I didn’t knew what it was, let alone ate it. Now that it’s one of the highlights of my sandwich article, and my personal favourite vegan food. I don’t know how I lived without it. As a meat substitute, there is no better in my book. Of course Falafel restaurants have exploded in Dublin of late, and you will find Umi Falafel scattered around the south city centre on Dame Street, Rathmines, Mary Street, and the Georges Arcade. If your path leads you through its doors, can I suggest the Palestinian Falafel. Palestinian bread: pocket full of hummus, tomato, pickles, fried aubergine, flat parsley and chilli and tahini sauce- basically everything on. They also offer halloumi sandwiches, though hands up, I’ve never tried. It’s impossible not to order the Palestinian Falafel, it’s so damn tasty. I probably never will, but I’ll be visiting Umi Falafel as long as I still have teeth.

Umi Falafel - The best vegan sandwich in Dublin
The best vegan sandwich in Dublin

Five Points – Buttermilk Chicken

3fe have long been revolutionizing coffee in Dublin, and now they are working on the sandwich. Five Points have a quality offering in the suburb of Harolds Cross blessed with good humoured staff and a versatile menu. But one item stands out from the rest. The Fried Chicken Breast on Brioche Bap, with Crunchy Slaw, Sriracha Mayo, and Pickled Onion, is the chicken fillet roll, reinvented. Similar to the buttermilk chicken breast offered in other locations around the city, they just seem to do it better. A lot like their coffee.

Five Points - Buttermilk Chicken

Oxmantown -ham and cheese

So let’s be honest ham and cheese is hardly reinventing the sandwich. But! There’s nothing boring about the sandwiches at Oxmantown. With two locations in Dublin 7, at Smithfield and St Mary’s Abbey, this business has gone from strength to strength. Take a look at the ham and cheese. Braised Ham hock, that super tasty part of pork leg, grilled gruyere, bechamel, slow roast tomato, pickles + rocket on Firehouse Bakery granary, I mean how good does that sound. Revelation, it tastes so good too. The menu in Oxmantown is small, but daily specials offer something new for the pallet. On my next visit, I’ll be ordering the roast pork or ruby, featuring star performers pork shoulder and pastrami.

Oxmantown -ham hock and cheese

Meltdown – Cajun Chicken

Meltdown is downright ugly experience. Opening their biodegrade packaging, you are met by a messy sight. Cheese sticks everywhere (that’s where the Meltdown comes from). Pulling it away from the packaging, you become the next victim, latching onto you like a leech. It makes you wonder if it’s all worth it. One bite, and all those frivolities float away. Meltdowns’ sandwiches are seriously scrumptious. Take the Cajun chicken; the perfect blend of spice with Cajun sauce, jalapenos, and stringy cheese. I’m going to be honest here, I ate every piece off that stuck to the wrapper. If it weren’t for the sensitivities over touch surfaces, I may have eaten the whole wrapper. I mean its biodegradable, right? Meltdown is so so naughty, but so good. I’ve yet to be back for more, but the Ballymaloe and Bacon, Smoked Fungi, and Rib melt all look ravishing. All sandwiches take 7 minutes to prepare due to the ridiculous amount of cheese that needs to be melted in there. Who doesn’t need a treat like that every so often? You’ll find a Meltdown on Leeson St and Montague street opposite Green Bench café.

Mama’s Revenge – Best Burrito in Dublin

Burritos’ have been the rage in Dublin for well over a decade and while some chains grow and grow, one little Tex-Mex restaurant has stayed true to themselves. That restaurant is Mama’s Revenge on Leinster Street, who’s offering is superior to all of those I won’t bother to mention. Look for the queues outside, with many of them Trinity College students spending their hard earned cash on a few minutes of bliss. Or more likely Daddy’s money. The menu covers burritos, quesadillas, tacos, chilli con carne and nachos, and doesn’t differ much from the rest. it’s all in the taste, and good quality ingredients. There are bowls too for those looking for a slightly healthier offering. Extra points are earned for the humorous instructions on how to eat a burrito.

The Lovely Food Co – Brisket

Brisket is another one of those things that has only reared its lovely head in the last decade in Ireland. It’s massive stateside, with people queueing for hours for the best going. Here we love to stuff it in a sandwich like anything else we can find. I mean if food doesn’t work in a sandwich, then it’s not worth eating, is it? The best brisket stuffers I’ve come across are The Lovely Food Co.

They have two Dublin based cafes, one in Drumcondra, and the other in Terenure. With a nice alfresco area in Drumcondra, people watching is on the menu too. But people come and go, and we here to stay for the sandwiches. The menu reads Tender brisket of beef, caramelised onion and wholegrain mustard aioli. Yes it’s easily as good as it reads. A huge sambo that goes down even better when paired with their unbelievably tasty chips.

The Lovely Food Co - Brisket - The best sandwiches in Dublin

Poulet Bonne Femme- Roast Sandwich

Avoca have always produced good food, but I didn’t realise till late they did sandwiches. Major faux pas on my behalf. The sandwiches are served under the Poulet Bonne Femme name, a stand alone stall in their food stores. It’s all kept fairly simple; rotisserie chicken seems to be on a conveyor belt from the back, and a carver works overtime slicing it for the neverending queue of customers. They also do roast pork crackling. Here’s the best advice I can give on this entire article (if advice on sandwiches is even advice at all) – ask for a mix of pork and chicken. Then load it will coleslaw and stuffing, and et voila, a roast chicken sandwich of awesome proportions. The mix of the soft chicken and crispy pork is spot on, like a pimped up club sandwich.

Poulet Bonne Femme is found at Avoca in Monkstown, Rathcoole, Dunboyne, Kilmacanogue, and Ballsbridge.

Poulet Bonne Femme- Roast Chicken Sandwich
Poulet Bonne Femme has some of the best sandwiches in Dublin

Zaytoon – Doner Kebab

Often the target after a night on the town, traditionally kebabs in Dublin have a reputation for two things- Ruining your favourite shirt or causing an almighty hangover. The second one has left many a chipper with a bad reputation whether deserved or not. But one kebab house has appeal any time of day, not just after a feed of pints and jäger bombs. That kebab house is Zaytoon and the only one in Dublin truly deserving of the accolade of Dublin’s best kebab. Again its debatable if a kebab is a sandwich. I’m open to that debate in the comments below.

Zaytoon keep it simple and honest with their modern Persian Cuisine slant, everything is fresh from the meat through the veg, chilli and sauces. They have been on the Dublin scene for over 20 years, so rest assured they are doing it right. Their range of doners and shish kebabs are now availabe at four locations, Ranelagh, Camden Street, Temple Bar and Swords.

Zaytoon - Doner Kebab

Happy Out -the asparagorgeous

Easily winning the title for the sandwiches with the best names, Happy Out has two locations across the city, in Donnybrook and on Bull Island. For those that think that asparagus belongs in everything (and I know some of my readers do) then the asparagoegous (pictured below) is for you. For the other half of the population that thinks bacon does, you can add it in.

Happy Out is huge, they do great coffee too, and lines waiting outside is a constant sight. Besides the Asparargorgeous, theres the Hamazing (surprise, it contains ham) and the Clucking Unbelievable. I’ve tried the latter too, bacon, chicken, smashed avocado, and that three cheese mix that is the signature ingredient of Happy Out. But I’m happy to give a vegetarian sandwich some time on this article.

Happy Out -the asparagorgeous
Isn’t it asparagorgeous?

Brother Hubbard – Pulled Pork – one of Dublin’s best sandwiches

No self respecting sandwich guide is complete without a Pulled Pork sandwich on it. The only question is which one deserves its place there. For many years there was no contest as Brother Hubbard North on Capel St served one without parallel. Till they didn’t. It led to many years wandering the streets trying to find what was missing from my life. Once again Brother Hubbard stood up. This time it was Brother Hubbard South on Harrington Street, their sister restaurant. The new pulled pork is more “linner” than lunch, thick brioche, served with a generous amount of pulled pork, and a fried egg loaded on top. Definitely a feast in a box. Brother Hubbard is back as the king of the Pulled Pork!

Brother Hubbard - Pulled Pork - one of Dublin's best sandwiches

Ernesto’s Rathmines – New Yorker

I’ve been a loyal customer of this Cuban-New York style café for many years now, and it has always been impeccable. Ernesto’s menu is refreshing and tasty. The café is run by the friendly Jonathan and his team, and he really is a character that matches his surroundings. I nearly always go for the New Yorker- its delicate blend of chicken, prosciutto and pickle are just the ticket at lunch time. Then there’s the coffee- the flat white is the best that I’ve tried in the city. Another reason to visit the suburb of Rathmines.

Ernesto's Rathmines - New Yorker

Coronation chicken – Cinnamon Restaurant

Somehow when I think of Coronation chicken, I’m made to think of the long running British soap opera. Thankfully there’s less drama here, and it has nothing to do with it. Coronation chicken was a dish created in 1953 to celebrate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth. It’s a mixture of mayo, herbs and spices. Of course it works in sandwiches, and Cinnamon do it so well. Their take on it involves shredded chicken breast, spiced mayo, mango chutney & crème fraîche served with toasted almond, grapes & baby leaves on multigrain. Reads well? Tastes better. Cinnamon are expanding their restaurants through south Dublin, and now have outlets in Ranelagh, Monkstown and Ballsbridge.

Coronation chicken - Cinnamon Restaurant

The Meatball sub at Doughboys

The meatball sub has been doing the rounds for a long time. But like most good things, a time comes when someone comes along and just does it better. In the case of the meatball sub, it’s Doughboys on Charlotte Way that do it better. Combining meatball marinara, mozzarella, and some fresh salads, they have hit the right note on this one. Tasting note anyway, it’s another that built for tastes and not looks. You’ll find a broad range of over 20 various types of sandwiches in Doughboys, and they’ll bowl them if bread doesn’t sit well with you. They have a strong focus on fresh, across their breads, sauces, veg, and meats. It’s a firm favourite with the local corporate custom, so now’s a good chance to try it while offices are still quiet.

The Meatball sub at Doughboys

The Pig and Heifer – The New York Reuben – “THE” Best Sandwich in Dublin

In the time honoured tradition of just about everything, I’ve saved the best till last. The Pig and Heifer was a life changing experience. Beata told me this was the best. “In Dublin?” I asked. No, literally the best sandwich ever! It’s quite hard to disagree. Pearse Street is somewhat out of the way for me, but the Pig and Heifer is well worth driving to. From anywhere. Maybe Michelin need to take notice of this place.

First of all there’s the menu. There are 31 different sandwiches on the menu. Yes 31!! That’s one for every day of a regular month. But it’s not all about a good menu. After this blog, I can write one. But walk through the door here, and you are met by a warm, welcoming and knowledgeable staff. I was only ever going to ask for one sandwich on my first visit; the New York Reuben. The bread looked straight from the oven, and I watched, salivating, as the pastrami was piled on with sauerkraut, swiss cheese and a spinach salad. That sandwich couldn’t get into my hands quick enough.

This one was enjoyed at the steering wheel of the car (thank you 2021). But the whole world melted away, and the incredible taste of the New York Reuben became all that mattered for five or thirty minutes. Who knows how long it really was. Time was insignificant right there and then.

Needless to say, I’m advocating the Pig and Heifer as the one sandwich joint you must try in Dublin. They have two locations, on Amiens Street and Pearse Street, which are both about 15 minutes walk from Grafton Street and O’Connell Street respectively.

The Pig and Heifer - The New York Reuben - "THE" Best Sandwich in Dublin
The Pig and Heifer - The New York Reuben - "THE" Best Sandwich in Dublin

Want to take some of those calorie burning walks that allowed me to enjoy the above and still lose kilos during the pandemic? Then here are my favourites. The best walks and hikes in Dublin.

Spending your summer in Ireland? Here’s a massive list of 21 ideas to for your staycation in 2021.

Have I missed your favourite Dublin sandwich? There’s always space on CarpeDiemEire for more suggestions. The hunt for the best sandwich in Dublin is one I’m happy to continue, trawling those city streets in search of that perfect lunch. There are some restaurants that haven’t reopened after the Irish restrictions such as the Ugly Duckling and Hatch and Sons, so hopefully when they do, they will find their place here.

Just in case I’ve upset some with my choices above, I’ll leave you with the best sandwich joke I know.

An Englishman, a Scotsman and an Irishman are all working on a construction site in London. It’s lunchtime and they’re all sat atop the building. Englishman opens up his lunchbox to see what his wife has packed him. “Ugh… Ham and cheese sandwich… again. I’m sick of ham and cheese sandwiches, it’s the same every bloody day. If I get another ham and cheese sandwich in my lunch box tomorrow I’m jumping off the top of this building.”

Next, the Scotsman opens up his lunch box. “Aackk, jam sandwich… again. I can’t go on like this eating jam sandwiches every day of me life! If I get the same again tomorrow I’m jumping as well.”

Next it’s the Irishman’s turn. “Ohh for fecks sake! Not another egg sandwich! That’s the fourth one in a row this week! I’m with you boys, one more egg sandwich and I’m jumping!”

So next day they sit at the top of the building to have lunch. One by one they open up their lunch boxes… Englishman finds another ham and cheese sandwich, so off he jumps, and splats into the ground below. Scotsman finds another jam sandwich… Off he goes…Splat. Irishman, egg sandwich… Splat.

A week or so later later the three widows are talking at the memorial service. English widow says, through tears, “I still can’t believe it, had no idea George hated ham and cheese so much, if only i’d known…”

Scottish widow says “Duncan did say he was getting a bit bored of Jam, but I didn’t realise he hated it that much, I just wish he’d have let me know how he really felt.”

Irish widow says “I… I just don’t understand… Paddy packed his own lunch.”

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