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February 17, 2009

Top 10 Italian Cold-Cut Sandwiches

ItalianColdCutSub.jpgI know I sprang this on you unannounced, but here's the Top 10 you've all been waiting for (judging from the number of comments we got on Sandwich Musings): Top 10 Italian Cold-Cut Sandwiches.

OK, it's actually a list of Top 10 Places to Get a Great Italian Cold-Cut Sandwich, but you get the idea.

There are about five delis on the list that I think most Baltimoreans would agree belong there; after that the list becomes much more a matter of personal opinion. I'm also not happy I couldn't come up with an Annapolis suggestion.

Most of these places didn't have their own Web sites, but I gave you some kind of link for each one that would supply you with addresses and phone numbers at least.

If you aren't a regular reader of Dining@Large, please click on this before you keep reading: ...

* Ceriello in Belvedere Square. Expensive, and a chain, but the award-winning Italian sandwich is worth it.

* DiPasquale's in Highlandtown. A fine old-fashioned Italian deli/neighborhood market with world-class sandwiches. In business since 1914.

* Fortunato Brothers Pizza in Towson. Takeout reviewer Rob gave his sandwich here a "Best Bite" and described this as "a spicy mix of ham, pepperoni, onions, tomatoes, provolone and hot banana peppers."

* Isabella's in Little Italy. How do prosciutto di Parma, mortadella, proscuittini, salami and capicollo, lettuce, tomato, oil and red wine vinegar dressing (hot peppers by request) sound?

* Maggitti's in Fallston. This Italian market and gourmet bakery is now brought to you by a former chef of the Brass Elephant downtown.

* Mastellone's Deli and Wine on Harford Road. I linked to a City Paper Web page because of the interesting comment about whether it's located in Parkville, Lauraville or Woodhome.

* Pastore's in Rosedale. Family-owned and operated Italian grocery, deli and bakery. It's been around forever, but while many of these don't even have a Web site, Pastore's has a Web site and free wi-fi.

* Savona Fine Italian Food & Wine in Bel Air. Everybody loves eating here, so try not to hit it at peak lunch hour.

* Scittino's Italian Market in Catonsville. A "hidden gem" one commenter called it. Joyce W. said, "Great selection of meats and cheeses and fresh Marranto's sub rolls and if you are a mayo lover they will oblige you but their Italian dressing is to die for."

* Trinacria Macaroni Works downtown. We aren't the only ones who appreciate this institution. The Washington Post once described a Trinacria sandwich as "a symphony of Italian meats, provolone cheese and olive oil built on fresh, unsalted Tuscan bread."

For an Internet Only bonus, Midnight Sun Sam recommends Beach Bums Cafe and Deli in Federal Hill. The sandwiches are smaller since new owners took over, he tells me, but still excellent.


Posted by Elizabeth Large at 4:17 AM | | Comments (77)
Categories: Top Ten Tuesdays


Which one is in the picture? Or is it a "generic" Italian Cold-Cut Sandwich from the stock photo file?

Ah, if only I had a stock photo file. It's Fortunato. EL

You missed a good one. Vinnie's in Dundalk. We live in Catonsville and go thru the tunnel to get one of these great sandwiches. Hubby is Italian and he knows his cold cuts.

There should be a plaque AND a monument outside of trinacria. I don't know what they should say, but they should be there.

So not fair to show this good looking sandwich first thing (before 8 anyway) in the morning! I'll be hungry for a good Italian sandwich all day.

I second Helen as I work basically across the street from Vinnie's. Also, Anna Maria Trattoria in Fed Hill where they use top of the line real Italian meats.

Santoni's in Glyndon has amazing Italian Cold Cuts!!! I worked there for over 5 years and never got sick of making, or eating, them. Get it with the works, which includes Santoni's Italian Dressing. Perfection!

Best Italian CC I've ever had is from the Carsin's Run Deli (or whatever they are calling it now). It's a little general store that's been there forever, just north of Aberdeen on Route 22 next to Adams Jeep, exit 85 off the interstate. Piled high and thick, with sweet pickles and onions so powerful it makes your car smell before you can get them home. Yum.

Sadly, the best Italian Cold cut sub for me was the one made by Village Sub shop, which just went out of business in Baltimore County after 40 years. It was huge and had all the proper fixin's

John's Italian Deli in Baltimore Highlands/Lansdowne and Vito's in Owings Mills are the 2 Best.

Matthew's Pizza Highlandtown It's not just great pizza they make. If you don't know now you know.

Does anyone remember Sam Hoagie? That was Baltimore's Best. Cannella's in Perry Hall also has a good one and Matthew's Pizza although famous for those tasty pies has a great cold cut.

agree 100% on Matthew's, I'm not a big fan of the cold cut, in fact Matthew's is the only one I willingly choose to eat.

The Italian sandwich at Rosina Gourmet is awesome!

You forgot that hidden gem in Parkville on Hrford Road, Toscana, formerly Canella's. Like Mastellone's they use Italian Cold Cuts for their subs. Outstanding!

mmmcorn...When is Anna Maria Trattoria open? Every time I go by there it's closed! Just like E61 Espresso, but that's for another post.

Wine Merchant in Greenspring Station

I wonder if any of these places sells pinwheel pork sausage or broccoli rabe? My husband is from Long Island and we have never been able to find a good Italian store that sells meats like in NY!

If you want a good deli sandwich of any kind in Annapolis it would have to be at the Sammy's Deli, aka the Big Cheese down by City Dock.

Not including Canella's on Belair Road in Perry Hall is a major oversight. I drive all the way from Bel Air to get their Italian CC, passing many sub shops on the way. Deliciously prepared, they will toast it for you if you'd like, and made with exceptional ingredients - they use Boar's Head meats.

Anything decent in Howard County? Unfortunately, the best Italian Sub I can find is at Subway!

The first test for an ICC is to order one without saying anything and if it is made with Mayo, cross that place off the list. ICC's are never, repeat never made with mayo - either get a regular CC or adjust your taste buds!

has Cannella's relocated from Cub Hill? THAT was THE best Italian sub EVER.

In my travel;s, Ive found the best ones to be at actual "Italian deli's" like DiPasquale's or Trinacria's, and NOT at your typical pizza/sub shops.

Rosina Gourmet has one of the best Italian Cold cuts around. I'm pretty sure it's the bread that does it!

I live in Highlandtown, three blocks from DiPasquale's but I go to Vinnie's on Holabird Avenue for italian cold cut subs. Everything about Vinnie's is good.

For those out in Carroll County, the best is Giulianova's in downtown Westminster. For a variation on this theme, try the Classico sandwich at Classico Pizza, out by McDaniel College. Classico also makes a great cheesesteak, but that's for another blog!

Santoni's in Glyndon needs to be on this list. Also, down in Ocean City, Anthony's Beer Wine and Deli may have the best one I have ever had.

Howdy Neighbor! They're open M-TH 11A-7:30P, F&S 11A-2A and Su 11A-4P. I used to work the door at a Cross St. bar and we'd get the "Real Giuseppe" every weekend. You really can't beat it.

Carrie, have you tried DiPasquale's?

DeNiros's in Perry Hall has a great Italian cold cut

I can't believe Il Scalino in Little Italy didn't make the cut!! Possibly the best Italian cold cut in Baltimore!! All of their meats (at least on their signature sub) are imported from Italy and they're really generous with the meat!!

Isabella's is outstanding. I realized that your list isn't in order, but Isabella's should be near the top.

Not cheap, but very, very good.

Thanks for reminding me that I should have said the list is in alphabetical order. EL

Thanks MMMC! I will stop by very soon!

Yes, try Di Pasquale's. Walking in the front door makes you realize the difference!!

carrie - call DiPasquale's. Warning: EL's link goes to their website which comes up with music, so if you're at work, hit the mute first!

Before we define what is best, could we decide what makes a great Italian cold cut? Surely, you have to consider the quality of the bread. It ought to have capacola, genoa, prosciutto, provolone and not danish ham and bologna, right? It ought to have lettuce, tomato, onion and a top-flight Italian dressing, fresh-made and not something out of a bottle. What else? TLC?

Zella's across from Hollins Street Market has great Italian sandwiches. The owner is a refugee from the New Orleans disaster and has brought some of that City's culinary magic to Charm City. New Orleans in Sowebo, its a great combination!

What about Subway? Eat Fresh!

Only place I will get an Italian sub, is on the way home from the beach , Casapullas in Selbyville, DE. The best Italian sub, hands down.

Peter brings up a great point. To me there are 3 kinds of ICCs, Good, Large, and Subway. The "Good" one of course uses authentic Italian meats and cheeses (no bologna), no mayo, quality toppings, etc. The "Large" one pays more attention to bread and toppings, a giant roll with decent meat and over-stuffed with toppings. And then there's Subway, bleh.


For any italian favorite in Howard County (especially an italian cold cut) look no further than Tratorria Da Enrico. They've got one location in the Kings Contrivance shopping center (near the new Harris Teeter) I think there's a second location but I can't think where it is right now.

John's Italian Deli in Baltimore Highlands/Lansdowne

i second that one

There's another Pastore's that has awesome CC sandwiches - Pastore's Delly on Loch Raven Blvd at Joppa Rd. They have great cannoli too!

I also second the mention of Toscana on Harford Rd - Boars Head meats, great prepared foods too.

There are a lot of undiscovered great ICC subs in the city. But one thing that makes me physically ill is mustard on an ICC. Mustard belongs on hot dogs, pretzels, coddies, deli, AND NEVER, EVER, EVER on an Italian cold-cut sub!

Just got a sub from Pastore's the other day, it was real light on meat. I think the best is Mastellone's in Parkville, tell them to use imported Provilone cheese for an extra zing. By the way Mastellone's is owned by DiPasquale's. Dan, I'm with you putting Mayo on ICC is obscene. Boars head meats are good, but don't match the real Italian meats at the Deli. Subway!!!Give me a break

If that sandwich in the picture is from Fortunato's then I was robbed the other night. My sandwich was terrible, there was no spice to it, the sandwich was light on meat and too much EVOO and vinegar for my tastes. Ever since the "Fortunato" boys left and the new crew has taken over it has gone down-hill. Pasta-Mista is the best place to go now; true Italians working the kitchen and producing some fine food!

uch, Garrett, I just threw up into my mouth a little bit. You are very welcome and so are your opinions but please don't use Rachel Rayisms here!

Richard Crystal - it's just as bad when someone gets corned beef on white with mayo.

Will someone PLEASE open a good deli in Hunt Valley, Cockeysville or Lutherville. The best ICC is PastaBlitz in Timonium, Best Cheesesteak is Ralphies in Cockeysville. They can both be improved on. And we need a good authentic Mexican place too.... All those Latino's in Cockeysville, and not ONE has thought to open a restaurant...

I'm with Sam on both points - DiPasquale's and Vinny's! Yum - found dinner!

*sigh* Thinking wistfully of the hoagie from Apicella's in Little Italy. Their olive salad was heavenly. I miss them so!

How could you not come up with an Annapolis suggestion? There's only one real Italian deli there, and their sandwiches are great: Giolitti's

Oh, and to answer the Howard County question: Jimmie Johns - it's a chain, it's not the best, but their Italian sub is lightyears ahead of subway.

I will second the nomination for Rosina Gourmet. Our office refers to the Traditional Italian as the "Crack Sandwich".

DiPasquale's is a little peice of heaven. Also try the pizza.

I've driven past Vinnie's on Holabird Ave. lots of times, but have never eaten there. From the outside it looks like a sit-down red-sauce Italian-American joint, not the kind of place to pick up an Italian cold cut sub.

What is it actually like inside?

I have lived in B-more, Howard County, Ocean City, Montgomery County and now reside in northern Frederick County and love Italian Cold Cuts!! All I have to say is:

All Hail Trinacria!!!!!! The Best of the Best!!

Annamaria is awesome.

For ICC in Hunt Valley, go to the Scott Adam shopping center-right next to Vito's (which I dnt care for) is an an italian market/deli. They are not as good as they used to be, butnot bad nontheless

Try Chef Paolino's Cafe in Catonsville, or downtown Baltimore for a great Italian Sub. Also some of the best pizza in Baltimore as well.

Pasta Mista on the northside and John's Italian Deli on the southside.


I like the belly buster italian cold cut in the Broadway Market,(can't remember the name of the deli though, EL..?)


Hal, Vinny's is a bit of both. In the back is the sit-down with the mural painted walls and giant cans of various food items on shelves. The front entrance on Holabird is more of a deli counter, with slices under glass an the such. They also make meatball subs the real way, i.e. half loaf of bread scooped out with meatballs cheese and sauce stuffed inside.

I must admit that I had a Vinny's ICC yesterday for lunch instead of the roasted chicken salad sandwich I had brought in.

Michael, if you're talking about the south building at Broadway Market you're likely thinking of Theresa's. If the north building, Vicki's.

Someone asked about Howard County? Believe it or not, the best one Ive found in Howard County is at the Harris Teeter in Columbia. An excellent sub, fresh meats (the good salami and capacol--sp?), fresh provolone, and the best of all, an incredibly freshly baked roll. They have all the fixins, vinegar and oil, hot peppers, sliced onions--as much or as little as you want. They make all their subs to order right in front of you.

Vinny's on Hollibird has great food, but I am NOT a fan of their ICC. Way too much bread, way too many bannana peppers, second rate meat, and not that much of it.

Whenever I go there, i typically eat in the dining room for the more traditional Italian entrees. For carry-out, I'll typically either get a pizza, or wither a meatball or cheesesteak sub,.

Will someone PLEASE open a good deli in Hunt Valley, Cockeysville or Lutherville

For ICC in Hunt Valley, go to the Scott Adam shopping center-right next to Vito's (which I dnt care for) is an an italian market/deli. They are not as good as they used to be, butnot bad nontheless

It's called Sapori d'Italia, and though they have a great ICC, I love their Hot Sapressatta, which is like a warm ICC with all the spicy meats. Either way, they use great rolls and all Boar's Head meats. Little pricey, but totally worth it.

I'm not getting the love for Boar's Head meats. That brand has always struck me as a bit better than average grocery store meat.

Then again, I don't get Trinacria, either.

Lissa I agree with you on Boar's Head. If I am going to the trouble and expense to get a sandwich at a deli I would something more than meat I can buy at the grocery store. I will try some of the places listed here that use meat imported from Italy.

Not to shill, but Boar's Head deli meat is some of the best I've had, especially since I've moved here. And if you are buying deli meat for home, that is the stuff.
Publix supermarkets here have Boar's Head, and in each store, next to the deli, is a sandwich shop that makes all sorts of great sandwiches. I have had their "ICC", its good, but now like what you can get in Baltimore.
Sadly, good ICCs are hard to find at all in this part of Florida. The New Yorkers must have all migrated to South Florida, and all we get are Mid-Westerners and Canadians who want southern cooking.
You have to wonder where delis and sub shops in Baltimore get their deli meats...I sure hope not Sysco! On second thought, some subs up there are too good to be Sysco meat.

I don't think you can shill if you don't work for the company. You're just expressing your opinion. :-) EL

I buy Boar's Head for home. I will sometimes buy a sandwich made with Boar's Head at a grocery store. However, if I am making a trip to deli I want something better. Or at least different.

Fl Rob, you have the opportunity - open a sub shop! LOL - my partner thinks NC needs a Baltimore style crab house but I keep explaining to her that the locals LIKE their crabs boiled. It's all up to the local tastes and unfortunately you're in a part of Fl that doesn't want the great ICC (or bagel or cuban sandwich I suspect)!

That is not a bad idea about the sub shop, but I don't know the first thing about running a food business. I did forget that there is a fairly decent deli over in town but I don't know if they do an ICC. Publix is a lot closer and is pretty good.

They boil their crabs (and shrimp) here too, there are just a few places that will steam them for you.

There is a decent bagel place here on the beach, but no cuban sandwich places anywhere.

If ever you find yourself in Montgomery County, there's a little Italian market in the Wheaton Triagle, behind the Dunkin' Donuts called Marchones. They make subs in the back.

In addition to quality cold cut meat and crisp vegetables, they have some of the best sub/grinder/hoagie bread this side of New York.

Tried many of them and if John's Italian Deli is not on your list than your rankings all complete bunk. Seriously flawed.

Part of the whole "Top 10" thing is user input here Mr. Fisher. If you have a place to recommend you should offer it up in the discussion thread. Also, a reason why your place is the best would be helpful.

I would have included Sapori D Italia located in Cockeysville at 10253 York Rd. Great menu of sandwiches including a classic italian cold cut all made with top notch ingrediants and the upmost care. Only complaint would be the small space if your eating in.

In Baltimore City and County-

1). DiPasquale/Mastellone

2). Trinacria

3). Isabella

When the others start using real bread and decent ingredients, I will give them another shot.

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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