The Italian sub was invented in Portland, Maine by Giovanni Amato in 1903. Since then it has only grown in popularity. Below is my pick for the three best Italian subs near you right now. This is based on research from millions of internet users who have provided opinions on their favorite Italian subs.
I believe the best Italian sub near you is at…
(Using detected location of Ashburn, VA 20149)
If you change your mind and want pizza instead, I can also tell you the best pizza near you.
What makes a great Italian sub?
As long as it’s delicious, there is no wrong way to make an Italian sub. But, having eating many, many Italian subs in my life I believe the following items are what make a truly great sandwich.
Freshly cut, high quality cold cuts
The best Italian subs use cold cuts that are sliced to order. After cold cuts are sliced, they dry out and lose flavor. I’ve had bad subs where the only problem is tasteless cold cuts. So disappointing!
It takes a lot of time to slice cold cuts just for one sandwich, so many shops slice ahead of time. Ideally, the cold cuts are sliced the same day. Most supermarkets slice to order at their deli counter, which is why you can get a surprisingly good sandwich from there!
There is a full list of common cold cuts in my Italian Sub Recipe.
The bread is almost as important as the cold cuts. The ideal bread for an Italian sub is a roll that has a slightly crisp crust and tender inside. You want enough crust to hold up to wet toppings like dressing and tomatoes. But, if the crust is too chewy it will cause your fillings to squirt out when you take a bite.
French bread works well. Baguettes are a little too firm, but also work if that’s all you have.
The best dressing for an Italian sub is some combination of vinegar and oil. The vinegar provides a sour kick that cuts through the richness of the cold cuts. My favorite is an Italian dressing. Here is a recipe for my homemade sub dressing.
Mustard is also a great dressing because it also contains vinegar. I usually avoid mayonnaise because the cold cuts have enough fat, but it can help provide moisture if you have mostly dry ingredients.
Toppings can make or break a sandwich. I look for toppings that bring texture as well as taste. For example, pepperoncini bring a tart, slightly spicy flavor, but also a great crunch. My favorites are:
- Pepperoncini – Tart and spicy with a nice crunch. Best sliced thinly.
- Raw onions – Aromatic and sharp with a nice crunch. Best sliced super thin.
- Roasted red peppers – Sweet and juicy.