Toasted bread stacked with all sorts of glorious things — who doesn’t love that? When it comes to my favorite foods, I’m more of a comfort food gal myself. For me, sandwiches are up there with pizza, medium rare steaks, curry, and ramen.

Here’s my list of the best places for sandwiches in Shanghai.

Co. Cheese

Address: 32 Yuyuan Dong Lu, near Changde Lu 愚园东路32号, 近常德路
Tel: 13032118036


Co. Cheese Melt Bar on Yuyuan Lu, Shanghai. Grilled cheese sandwich shop and bar in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk.

If you want a grilled cheese sandwich, look no further than Co. Cheese.

Co. Cheese is my favorite neighborhood bar/sandwich shop, and I don’t even live in the neighborhood (Jing’an). Despite being a tiny bar on a quiet street, Co. Cheese is often seen brimming with regulars. Be it 5pm on a weekday, Friday evening, or weekend brunch time (they don’t even serve a brunch menu), people are often seen spilling out onto the cramped yet cozy terrace.

Co. Cheese Melt Bar on Yuyuan Lu, Shanghai. Grilled cheese sandwich shop and bar in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk. Co. Cheese Melt Bar on Yuyuan Lu, Shanghai. Grilled cheese sandwich shop and bar in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk.

It’s the brainchild of Toronto native Greg Jurksztowicz. He’s usually at the bar and he always has great tunes on play, from your favorite sing-a-long 80s rock songs to Johnny Cash and the odd pop hit. 100% cool vibes.

Here, they serve 25 variations on the grilled cheese. Sandwiches are made with sourdough bread, and are pressed and toasted in the cubicle of a kitchen behind the bar. As much as I am a fan, I have yet to sample the entire menu. Really, I’m looking at long-term goals here, and so should you.

Grilled cheese at Co. Cheese Melt Bar on Yuyuan Lu, Shanghai. Grilled cheese sandwich shop and bar in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk.

What they have is variety and consistency. I’ve ordered the Chicken Caesar (#20 on the menu) countless times, and that first bite has always induced the same orgasmic reaction. For carb-on-carb, go for the Kraft Mac & Cheese (#9). Other favorites include #14 Tuna Melt and #3 Duck Breast with Red Onion Marmalade. Another favorite was the Ramen Kimchi Grilled Cheese, currently not on the menu. Here’s to hoping it’ll make a comeback.

Philly Cheese Steak at Co. Cheese Melt Bar on Yuyuan Lu, Shanghai. Grilled cheese sandwich shop and bar in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk.

If 25 grilled cheeses weren’t enough, there are hoagies, too. The Philly Cheesesteak (¥100) is a killer, stuffed with shaved beef, layered with provolone or American cheese. There are also soups, cereals, cheeseboards, and more.

Line your stomach with a regular (¥50) or large (¥65) grilled cheese, and then proceed to down copious amounts of picklebacks. The Bloody Caesars and Bloody Marys (¥50) are also fabulously on point, garnished with olives and house-pickled chilies.

Co. Cheese Melt Bar on Yuyuan Lu, Shanghai. Grilled cheese sandwich shop and bar in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk. Co. Cheese Melt Bar on Yuyuan Lu, Shanghai. Grilled cheese sandwich shop and bar in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk.

Extra points for the army of hot sauces that clutter the bar and for allowing orders of half-and-half large portions of grilled cheeses (only when they’re not busy).

Co. Cheese has a Monday deal: Two large cheese melts, four standard drinks, and two pickleback shots for ¥200. Partay.

Latin Woo

Address: 1262 Yan’an Xi Lu, near Panyu Lu 延安西路1262号, 近番禺路
Tel: 13501689458


Latin Woo, restaurant in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk.

Located in the newly opened Columbia Circle in Changning District, Latin Woo is the latest from the makers of Spanish tapas restaurant Pirata. Latin Woo serves from 11am to 5pm, and shares the space with the new location of Pirata (6pm-11pm), and 6-seater omakase Hulu Sushi (entrance around the back).

Latin Woo, restaurant in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk. Cubano sandwich at Latin Woo, restaurant in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk.

You won’t find a better Cubano (¥35/68) anywhere else in Shanghai. (There are few places that make Cubanos anyhow.) Latin Woo’s Cuban Sandwich has all the essential components, nothing more, nothing less: Cuban roll, sharp mustard, pickle, cheese, salty ham, and roast pork. The cutlet of pork looks thick, but it’s suitably tender and doesn’t pull when you bite into it. Toasty bun, melted cheese, and served with crisps or plantain chips.

Torta Ahogada at Latin Woo, restaurant in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk.

Sandwich #2 is the Torta Ahogada (¥65) aka the “drowned sub”. It’s a crusty bun stuffed with chunks of pork, avocado, and cheese, that sits in a spicy sauce made of chargrilled tomato, onion, garlic, and chili. It’s messy—toppings flop out as you sop up the sauce—but that’s half the fun.

With seven sandwiches on the menu, you’d think that would be plenty. But there are entrees as well, from steaks to this thing called Mexican Chicken Ramen aka Sopa de Fideo. (I must come back for this.)

Highline

Address: 6/F, 282 Huaihai Zhong Lu, near Huangpi Nan Lu 淮海中路282号雅诗阁公寓6楼, 近黄陂南路
Tel: 63330176


Highline is my go-to brunch spot. It’s an upscale American restaurant with an expansive outdoor terrace, great playlist, and a menu that’s always rotating. Come brunch time, I usually opt for sandwiches to share in between the eggy mains.

Philly Cheesesteak at Highline, restaurant in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk.

The Philly Cheesesteak (¥158) is a heart attack on a plate, but in a good way, of course. It is made with slices of M5 ribeye, roasted peppers and onions, American and provolone cheese, and is served on a toasted baguette. It’s a sadistic portion for one, an agreeable serving for two to share. Comes with fries or salad, and a tiny cup of pickles.

Crab and shrimp roll at Highline, restaurant in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk.

Fairly new is the Shrimp and Crab Roll (¥128), presenting a toasted milk bun overflowing with plump garlic buttered shrimp and crab egg salad.

RAC

Address: No. 14, 322 Anfu Lu, near Wukang Lu 安福路322弄14号,近武康路


Breakfast Sandwich at RAC Bar and Cafe in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk.

Head through to an office complex on Anfu Lu and you’ll find RAC, a café, creperie, and wine bar that has been racking up fame on social media. During peak hours, it’s impossible to get a seat without waiting. If it’s a less hectic meal you seek, go during off peak hours. In addition to the crepes and galettes, get the Avocado, Egg & Cheese (¥55) breakfast sandwich.

Spread The Bagel

Currently serving out of Al’s Diner: 2/F, 174 Xiangyang Nan Lu, near Fuxing Zhong Lu 襄阳南路174号2楼, 近复兴中路
Tel: 54251930


Spread The Bagel is Shanghai’s favorite homegrown bagel brand. Founder Christine Asuncion started STB in 2010, vowing to perfect her recipe and to bring a taste of authentic New York bagels to Shanghai. If you’re eating a bagel right now in Shanghai, chances are it came from STB.

Bagel sandwich at Spread The Bagel in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk.

They have plenty of bagelwiches on offer, rotating topping combos seasonally. Usually served out of their Nanchang Lu store, STB has now bunked in with Al’s Diner on Xiangyang Lu until the shop gets up and running again. Still available via delivery, of course.

Tock’s

Address: 221 Henan Zhong Lu, near Fuzhou Lu河南中路221号, 近福州路
Tel: 63463735

Address: 1/F, Bldg F, No. 16, 281 Maoming Bei Lu, near Wujiang Lu 茂名北路281弄16号F栋1楼, 近吴江路
Tel: 62253835


This Canadian deli was just about the only place in town where you could get Montreal-style smoked meat when it opened on Henan Lu in 2014. You can customize your sandwich by choosing lean, medium, or fatty cuts of meat. Served with skinny fries, pickles, and vinegar slaw.

Sandwich at Tock's Montreal Deli in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk.

They have a new location in Feng Sheng Li, opened July 2018, where they serve addictive strips of crispy maple syrup bacon. They also do great Bloody Marys, garnished with a slice of smoked meat. Outdoor seating available!

Deli Boys

710 Dingxi Lu, near Yan’an Xi Lu定西路710弄, 近延安西路 // Tel: 62121722


Before Columbia Circle, there were few options for Western fare near the Dingxi Lu and Yan’an Lu nexus of Changning district. Deli Boys opened at the end of 2017 as a welcome addition to the neighborhood. It’s tucked away in one of the lanes down Dingxi Lu. It’s worth stopping in if you’re hankering for Montreal-style brisket sandwiches.

Sandwiches at Deli Boys, deli in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk.

The Classic Montreal (¥73/88) or the New York Reuben (¥85) are both excellent choices. The meats are served on challah bread, a pillowy contrast to the traditional rye bread. The fries could be better, but they make up with it excellent pickles and slaw.

Madison Kitchen

Currently serving out of Pirata: 1/F, 9 Dongping Lu, near Hengshan Lu东平路9号1楼, 近衡山路
Tel: 54042327


Madison Kitchen comes by way of celebrity chef Austin Hu (Diner, Union Trading Co.). Think chunky yet refined sandwiches for an exceptionally affordable price. Madison Kitchen first opened on Huaihai Zhong Lu and has since had to move two more times before serving out of Pirata on Dongping Lu. This will not the last move since the lease of this location of Pirata is up at the end of the year.

Sandwiches at Madison Kitchen by Austin Hu in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk.

The sandwiches are fantastic though, so go go go. There are plenty of new sandwiches on the menu, including limited specials. From previous visits, my favorite is still the Green Eggs & Ham (¥55), made with chunky egg salad, slices of Cola-smoked ham, a heavy spread of fresh, garlicky pesto, and cheddar.

Sandwiches at Madison Kitchen by Austin Hu in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk. Sandwiches at Madison Kitchen by Austin Hu in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk.

The Molten Oppa Love (¥55) lives up to its name and oozes with cheesy goodness, accentuated with the zing of kimchi. Great Balls of Fire (¥55), the meatball sub, and the Big Girl (¥85) with house smoked and cured pastrami and ham are also excellent.

Also worth mentioning…

Liquid Laundry

Address: KWah Centre, 2/F, 1028 Huaihai Zhong Lu, near Donghu Lu淮海中路1028号, 嘉华坊2楼, 近东湖路
Tel: 64459589


Sandwich at Liquid Laundry, restaurant in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk.

Buffalo chicken grilled cheese sandwich (¥68) with pepper-jack and Gorgonzola cheese doused in Red Hot.

Stone Brewing

Address: 1107 Yuyuan Lu, near Fenggang Lu愚园路1107号, 近凤冈路
Tel: 62262510


French Dip at Stone Brewing Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk.

French Dip (¥88) – thinly shaved New York strip loin on an Italian roll with horseradish sauce and crispy onions, and comes with a side of gravy. Dip, bite, and double dip. Apparently it’s a California thing.

Roujiamo

Address: 175 Dongzhu’anbang Lu, near Jiangsu Lu 东诸安浜路175号, 近江苏路
Tel: 13816341114


Definitely have to drop roujiamo 肉夹馍 into this list. A roujiamo is essentially a Chinese pita-pocket. Originally from Shaanxi Province, this street sandwich is found all over China.

Roujiamo, shanxi street food sandwich. Photo by Rachel Gouk.

Xian Mo Roujiamo (鲜馍肉夹馍) is a hole in the wall that I usually order from. The bread is crispy on the outside with a doughy center, and is packed with juicy, shredded meat. Roujiamo here is available as fatty pork belly (¥12) or lean meat (¥15) with green peppers.

 


Yo… there are so many places with excellent sammies. If you have a recommendation, please leave a comment below!