Seattle's 48 Best Sandwiches: The Delicatessens

OK, this isn’t New York, but it’s not impossible to find a decent deli in the Great Northwest
| Updated: November 27, 2018

Buffalo Deli
When the clock strikes noon, you can count on a horde of hungry Belltowners standing dutifully in line at this tiny New York–style shop with mustard-colored walls. If you can move past the excellent beef on ’weck (a kummelweck roll—essentially a kaiser roll with pretzel salt and caraway seeds), Buffalo Deli also offers a “build your own” subs option, with an array of Boar’s Head meats and cheeses, plus condiments like sun-dried-tomato cream cheese and different mustards, all on sourdough, wheat, old-fashioned white or rye bread ($8.95 whole, $5 half).

(Pioneer Square)
Co-owner Derek Shankland’s near-eponymous sandwich, the ShankLamb ($8.75), is a lamb lover’s messy delight: pulled, braised lamb shank slathered with chive aioli and hot peppers (lettuce and tomatoes, too) packed onto hearty Scala bread. Along with local, seasonal produce from Frank’s in the Pike Place Market, Shankland uses breads from The Essential Baking Company and Brenner Brothers Baking Company, and meats from Zoe’s Meats and Bavarian Meats. Seating is on two levels; sandwich prices range from $7.75 to $9.

George’s Sausage and Delicatessen
(First Hill)
The blond ladies fixing the sammies (a mere $5.45 each) at George’s are known to pile on their deli meats. Choose from basics like turkey, salami and roast beef, or give liverwurst a try. Ask for “everything” and they’ll top your sandwich with fresh lettuce and tomatoes, onions, pickles, cheese and a tangy mayo-mustard sauce. Don’t leave without a side of the signature potato salad—it’s legendary. Expats feeling nostalgic for the Eastern Bloc might find comfort in George’s array of smoked meats, pickled mushrooms, European chocolate-nut candies, Polish magazines, Bulgarian vermouths, Polish beer and mead.

I Love New York Deli
(U District, Pike Place Market)
With five types of bread baked daily—four of them rye—I Love New York Deli’s slices are sturdy enough to support the heaps of meat being piled onto each sandwich. Try the light rye, with ground caraway seeds that give the loaf an anise-fennel flavor. On the side, choose from pasta salad, potato salad, coleslaw or chips. Most sandwiches range from $8.85 to $10.95, and every plate comes with a crunchy sour pickle spear. And the name is no lie: All meats, pickles, cakes, mustards, sodas and chips come from New York.

Pear Delicatessen & Shoppe

(Pike Place Market)
Formerly the Pike Place Deli, Pear makes a sensational lineup of sandwiches, but the two that stand out most are the Downtown Duck ($8.99), made with five-flavor duck breast slices, Sriracha aioli, Asian slaw and ginger-mango vinaigrette on brioche; and the Salumi Palermo ($7.99), with gamy sliced Salumi salami, spicy roasted-tomato-oregano spread, provolone cheese and Mama Lil’s spicy-sweet peppers on grilled olive bread. Also worth checking out: tossed-to-order salads with your choice of ingredients.

Originally published in August 2010