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Maine's signature sandwich, the Italian from Amato's.
Amato's

16 Superb Sandwiches to Seek Out in Maine

Why does everything taste better between slices of bread?

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Maine's signature sandwich, the Italian from Amato's.
| Photo by Amato's

Delis and restaurants across Maine turn out epic sandwiches every day. Here's a guide to 16 of the truly worthwhile options, new and old, bound to satisfy anyone who tries them and upset anyone whose local favorite was neglected. Looking for the state's essential lobster rolls? There's a map for those, too.

Note: map points are ordered south to north.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Bennett's Store

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200 Sea Rd
Kennebunk, ME 04043
(207) 967-5401
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Bennett's is known for its huge sandwiches served on soft, dense white sub rolls. The local favorite is the "steak bomb," the steak and cheese combo loaded with shaved steak, American cheese, and grilled onions, peppers, and mushrooms. The large, at nearly 2 feet long, is suitable only for the truly famished.

2. Palace Diner

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18 Franklin St
Biddeford, ME 04005
(207) 284-0015
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Practically everything that comes out of this diminutive kitchen is the Platonic ideal of itself. The tuna melt is no exception: "The raft of iceberg lettuce makes it," as Eater critic Bill Addison noted.
Bill Addison/Eater

3. Home Catering Company

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129 Spring St
Portland, ME 04101
(207) 536-0260
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The opening of this young Spring Street deli was followed closely by rave reviews of its Reuben. Housemade corned beef is stacked high on rye bread, covered with Morse's sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Thousand Island dressing, then grilled in a panini press. Grab plenty of napkins.

4. Tandem Coffee + Bakery

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742 Congress St, Portland
ME, 04102
(207) 899-0235
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This bakery's breakfast sandwiches and sweet treats may get all the love, but its lunch offerings are stealthily gaining a following. The unusual crowd-pleaser is the egg and pickle sandwich: sliced eggs, pickled beets, mayonnaise, and herbs on focaccia.
Corey Templeton/Eater

5. Foodworks

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59 India St
Portland, ME 04101
Foodworks must be a contender for Portland's best-kept secret. Fans of this India Street deli particularly love the tuna salad sandwich with celery, red onion, and sprouts on housemade bread, preferably of the Anadama persuasion.

6. Amato's

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71 India St
Portland, ME 04101
(207) 773-1682
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Like it or not, the Italian is Maine's unique regional specialty, and Amato's, "Home the of the Real Italian," is the place to try the now-ubiquitous ham and cheese sub on a soft white roll.

7. Fishermen's Grill

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849 Forest Ave
Portland, ME 04103
(207) 699-5657
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Maine is full of fried fish sandwiches, but it's the haddock "slammer" at this unassuming roadside seafood grill that has fans foaming at the mouth. The huge portion of fish comes fried to perfection, accompanied by tartar sauce and a soft bun comically undersized relative to the haddock. "Green and red vegetables" are optional.

8. Rosen's Deli

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650 Main St
Westbrook, ME 04092
(207) 887-9755
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Chopped liver fans had their hearts broken when news broke of Full Belly Deli's closing — but not for long, as the deli relocated to Westbrook with a new name. The same classic hot pastrami on rye can be found at the new location.

9. Po'Boys & Pickles

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1124 Forest Ave
Portland, ME 04103
(207) 518-9735
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Busy outer Forest Avenue is not the easiest place to run a sandwich shop, but that doesn't stop loyal followers from repeatedly recommending these po'boys as some of the best sandwiches in Maine. The classic fried oyster po'boy on a characteristic crackly sub roll is a must.

10. Clayton's

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447 Route 1
Yarmouth, ME 04096
(207) 846-1117
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Fans of Clayton's love its unique sandwich fillings and housemade soups and baked goods. The most popular item is the chicken salad in a variety of styles; try it with blue cheese and red grapes.

11. Big Top Deli

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70 Maine St
Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 721-8900
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It's no joke that the best sandwich at this circus-themed deli in downtown Brunswick is the Hoax: a breaded, fried chicken breast with American cheese, tomato, and lettuce. Big Top is also one of the places in Maine to find an Italian cold cut sub (not to be confused with the Maine Italian made famous by Amato's).

12. The Landings Restaurant

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1 Commercial St
Rockland, ME 04841
(207) 594-3011
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Diners love "Not Your Mom's BLT," where the classic sandwich is elevated with slab bacon, Bibb lettuce, and red pepper aioli. The waterfront restaurant closes for the season at the end of October, so hurry up and try this midcoast favorite.

13. 'Wich, Please

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421 Main St
Rockland, ME 04841
(207) 390-5679
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Food blogger-turned-food trucker Malcolm Bedell successfully launched his sandwich cart in Rockland's Buoy Park this summer. For the winter, Bedell has shacked up at nearby restaurant Comida to offer lunch service, so you can still try The Reubenesque: roasted sliced beets, Morse's sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and house Russian dressing on rye.

14. Maine Street Meats

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461 Commercial St
Rockport, ME 04856
(207) 236-6328
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Located in the State of Maine Cheese Co., this butcher shop's one-day-only Vietnamese banh mi makes Mondays worth getting out of bed for. Housemade meat spreads and baguettes seal the deal; sub in a locally-made tofu for a vegetarian version.

15. Big G's Deli

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581 Benton Ave
Winslow, ME 04901
(207) 873-7808
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Big G's has been serving its oversized sandwiches in the central Maine area for almost 30 years. While everyone has her favorite, it's the Gobblin Gourmet (chicken salad, cranberry sauce, lettuce, and cheddar cheese) that has captured the hearts and stomachs of most diners.

16. The Coffee Pot

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652 Broadway
Bangor, ME 04401
(207) 990-2633
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The favorite here, simply called The Coffee Pot, is a soft split top roll filled with onions, peppers, and tomatoes, then layered with salami, American cheese, and pickles. The trademarked original was served at here and inspired a lawsuit when several neighboring cafes attempted to sell copycat versions.

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1. Bennett's Store

200 Sea Rd, Kennebunk, ME 04043
Bennett's is known for its huge sandwiches served on soft, dense white sub rolls. The local favorite is the "steak bomb," the steak and cheese combo loaded with shaved steak, American cheese, and grilled onions, peppers, and mushrooms. The large, at nearly 2 feet long, is suitable only for the truly famished.
200 Sea Rd
Kennebunk, ME 04043

2. Palace Diner

18 Franklin St, Biddeford, ME 04005
Bill Addison/Eater
Practically everything that comes out of this diminutive kitchen is the Platonic ideal of itself. The tuna melt is no exception: "The raft of iceberg lettuce makes it," as Eater critic Bill Addison noted.
18 Franklin St
Biddeford, ME 04005

3. Home Catering Company

129 Spring St, Portland, ME 04101
The opening of this young Spring Street deli was followed closely by rave reviews of its Reuben. Housemade corned beef is stacked high on rye bread, covered with Morse's sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Thousand Island dressing, then grilled in a panini press. Grab plenty of napkins.
129 Spring St
Portland, ME 04101

4. Tandem Coffee + Bakery

742 Congress St, Portland, ME, 04102
Corey Templeton/Eater
This bakery's breakfast sandwiches and sweet treats may get all the love, but its lunch offerings are stealthily gaining a following. The unusual crowd-pleaser is the egg and pickle sandwich: sliced eggs, pickled beets, mayonnaise, and herbs on focaccia.
742 Congress St, Portland
ME, 04102

5. Foodworks

59 India St, Portland, ME 04101
Foodworks must be a contender for Portland's best-kept secret. Fans of this India Street deli particularly love the tuna salad sandwich with celery, red onion, and sprouts on housemade bread, preferably of the Anadama persuasion.
59 India St
Portland, ME 04101

6. Amato's

71 India St, Portland, ME 04101
Like it or not, the Italian is Maine's unique regional specialty, and Amato's, "Home the of the Real Italian," is the place to try the now-ubiquitous ham and cheese sub on a soft white roll.
71 India St
Portland, ME 04101

7. Fishermen's Grill

849 Forest Ave, Portland, ME 04103
Maine is full of fried fish sandwiches, but it's the haddock "slammer" at this unassuming roadside seafood grill that has fans foaming at the mouth. The huge portion of fish comes fried to perfection, accompanied by tartar sauce and a soft bun comically undersized relative to the haddock. "Green and red vegetables" are optional.
849 Forest Ave
Portland, ME 04103

8. Rosen's Deli

650 Main St, Westbrook, ME 04092
Chopped liver fans had their hearts broken when news broke of Full Belly Deli's closing — but not for long, as the deli relocated to Westbrook with a new name. The same classic hot pastrami on rye can be found at the new location.
650 Main St
Westbrook, ME 04092

9. Po'Boys & Pickles

1124 Forest Ave, Portland, ME 04103
Busy outer Forest Avenue is not the easiest place to run a sandwich shop, but that doesn't stop loyal followers from repeatedly recommending these po'boys as some of the best sandwiches in Maine. The classic fried oyster po'boy on a characteristic crackly sub roll is a must.
1124 Forest Ave
Portland, ME 04103

10. Clayton's

447 Route 1, Yarmouth, ME 04096
Fans of Clayton's love its unique sandwich fillings and housemade soups and baked goods. The most popular item is the chicken salad in a variety of styles; try it with blue cheese and red grapes.
447 Route 1
Yarmouth, ME 04096

11. Big Top Deli

70 Maine St, Brunswick, ME 04011
It's no joke that the best sandwich at this circus-themed deli in downtown Brunswick is the Hoax: a breaded, fried chicken breast with American cheese, tomato, and lettuce. Big Top is also one of the places in Maine to find an Italian cold cut sub (not to be confused with the Maine Italian made famous by Amato's).
70 Maine St
Brunswick, ME 04011

12. The Landings Restaurant

1 Commercial St, Rockland, ME 04841
Diners love "Not Your Mom's BLT," where the classic sandwich is elevated with slab bacon, Bibb lettuce, and red pepper aioli. The waterfront restaurant closes for the season at the end of October, so hurry up and try this midcoast favorite.
1 Commercial St
Rockland, ME 04841

13. 'Wich, Please

421 Main St, Rockland, ME 04841
Food blogger-turned-food trucker Malcolm Bedell successfully launched his sandwich cart in Rockland's Buoy Park this summer. For the winter, Bedell has shacked up at nearby restaurant Comida to offer lunch service, so you can still try The Reubenesque: roasted sliced beets, Morse's sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and house Russian dressing on rye.
421 Main St
Rockland, ME 04841

14. Maine Street Meats

461 Commercial St, Rockport, ME 04856
Located in the State of Maine Cheese Co., this butcher shop's one-day-only Vietnamese banh mi makes Mondays worth getting out of bed for. Housemade meat spreads and baguettes seal the deal; sub in a locally-made tofu for a vegetarian version.
461 Commercial St
Rockport, ME 04856

15. Big G's Deli

581 Benton Ave, Winslow, ME 04901
Big G's has been serving its oversized sandwiches in the central Maine area for almost 30 years. While everyone has her favorite, it's the Gobblin Gourmet (chicken salad, cranberry sauce, lettuce, and cheddar cheese) that has captured the hearts and stomachs of most diners.
581 Benton Ave
Winslow, ME 04901

16. The Coffee Pot

652 Broadway, Bangor, ME 04401
The favorite here, simply called The Coffee Pot, is a soft split top roll filled with onions, peppers, and tomatoes, then layered with salami, American cheese, and pickles. The trademarked original was served at here and inspired a lawsuit when several neighboring cafes attempted to sell copycat versions.
652 Broadway
Bangor, ME 04401