The greatest thing since sliced bread
All-Star Sandwich Bar
1245 Cambridge St., Cambridge, 617-868-3065
Every neighborhood needs a place like All-Star, because every neighborhood needs a really good sandwich shop where you can grab a no-fuss bite, day or night. This Inman Square eatery serves excellent sandwiches which are guaranteed to assuage hunger, and possibly leave you with a midnight snack, too. These are voluptuous great American sandwiches, albeit in various ethnic guises from falafel to Reuben, where it’s all about more-more-more layered ingredients. None of that crustless tiny British tea-time triangle stuff here! Soups, sides, and salads add frills for a fuller meal. All-Star isn’t just about filling the belly, though. This cozy, comfy cafe serves as a great drop-in and hangout, and offers good draught microbrews and wine.
Il Panino Express
266 Hanover St., Boston
What Italian neighborhood would be complete without a place like Il Panino Express? This North End stalwart is fast food, Italian style — pizza slices, pasta entrees — but subs are what it’s named for and what it does best. Il panino means “little sandwich,” but these are big. They’re reputedly an invention of Italian immigrants in Portland, Maine, a century ago, and defined by a drizzle of olive oil, which replaces all condiments except salt and pepper. There’s no wine, beer, or website; be aware it’s cash only. It’s a lively place with big windows — which are flung open in warm weather — that bring the North End’s charming street life into the room. Beats a flat-screen any day.