We enter Molinari Deli after trekking some ten blocks through Chinatown in the middle of the day. I instantly know this is the place we want to be; there’s a line and they mostly look like locals. We take a number and somehow squeeze through to the back, where there’s a no-frills bin of bread waiting for us. The process is simple – grab one and go to the counter when your number is called.
We wait patiently at the back, loaf in hand, for about ten minutes. In the meantime, I ogle the salamis dangling from the ceiling and contemplate taking some with me. I decide against it (salami scent on everything in my carry-on does NOT sound pleasant). However, this place is seriously a meat and cheese lover’s dream. There are literal mountains of mozzarella and provolone along the deli counter. Even the wall space isn’t wasted – it’s lined from top to bottom with more imported Italian goods. Eventually we get to order and I keep it pretty simple with the North Beach Special – prosciutto, provolone, and peppers.
Guys, this thing was INCREDIBLE. I did not speak a single word from the minute I started eating until I finished. And it’s also huge! Could very easily be two meals or shared with another person. The sandwiches cost between $10-$15, but you definitely get your money’s worth. I ate the whole thing right then and there because it was too good and I was too hungry. This was around noon and I didn’t eat the rest of the day!
We got lucky and were able to snag a table outside to sit down at. There isn’t a dedicated seating area inside, but most people seem to take these to-go anyway. If you have the time, I would definitely recommend taking your sandwich somewhere a little more picturesque. I mean, it is San Francisco after all 🙂