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Friday, September 11, 2015

Between Two Slices: Oakland's Genova Italian Delicatessen

Posted By on Fri, Sep 11, 2015 at 2:00 PM

click to enlarge ADRIAN SPINELLI
  • Adrian Spinelli

"Genova is, like, orgasmic though. And you love sandwiches, and it's def one of the best sandos in the Bay!" she told me.

A bold statement.

I was sitting at Boot & Shoe on Grand Avenue. in Oakland, spending the day working from the East Bay. Lunch was on the docket and I had my bike with me. Italian delis are my favorite, with Molinari's in North Beach being S.F.'s sandwich mecca as far as I'm concerned. A gaze at Genova's website and it was a done deal. I had a particular sub in mind already (more on that later) and off I went on my bike. 

I rolled up into Temescal, on the stretch of Telegraph Avenue near 50th Street, into a small shopping center — something that's a bit of a unicorn in San Francisco — nevertheless, there lay the massive Italian deli that's been open since 1926!

click to enlarge ADRIAN SPINELLI
  • Adrian Spinelli

I took a number, but it was strange, cause people were lining up to order. I knew better and stepped up to the deli counter to stare at the mountains of salted cured meats. I strolled around the shop, admiring the Italian delicacies. I snagged a Stewart's cream soda from the fridge (cause cream soda and Italian subs are like peas and carrots) and perused the menu, even though I knew exactly what I wanted to get before I arrived: Specialty Sub #9 (Genoa salami, prosciutto, mortadella, provolone, marinated mushrooms, and roasted peppers). Yes please. 

Although my wandering up and down the lengthy deli counter led me to a steel tub filled with fresh mozzarella balls. Switching up the cheese from provolone to this awesomeness was a no-brainer.

click to enlarge ADRIAN SPINELLI
  • Adrian Spinelli

"That's actually a really great idea," the gal behind the deli counter told me. I was stoked.

"'s my first time here," I replied.

"A lot of people get obsessed with this place. You're probably gonna want to come back," she replied. I had no idea how right she'd be until I sat down for my moment of zen.

The meats were generously piled on, as were the mushies. Usually, I order marinated mushrooms in addition to my sandwich, but #9 came with them already, as well as with a delightful sweet roasted pepper blend. The peppers, marinated with fat chunks of garlic, juxtaposed themselves beautifully with the fresh mozz. I always get extra dressing, and Genova's is just olive oil and vinegar; simple and perfect. The parma prosciutto was excellent, the mortadella high-quality — and how can you not get a sandwich with Genoa Salami on your first visit to a deli that bears its name?!

Going with the sweet roll was a great call, cause every bite was straight through and nothing slid off the bread. It also soaked the dressing and oils up well. This was one heckuva balance of flavors, and I was happy as a mobster.  

I looked around and there were people from all walks of life in the deli. This was a neighborhood place that catered to everyone. It's a beautiful thing to see people rallying around their love for Italian subs (I'm a dork, I know... but I like that kind of shit!)

The best sandwiches make you sorta sad when you finish them, for the sheer fact that they're gone-zo. And Genova's #9 was most certainly one of those. I was happy as hell that I went out of my way to follow the hot tip and urge you to step into this little slice of Italy the next time you're in Oakland. Salute!

Genova Delicatessen & Ravioli Factory5085 Telegraph, Oakland, 510-652-7401.

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About The Author

Adrian Spinelli

Adrian Spinelli

Hip hop and sandwiches.

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