The Best Sandwich Shops In LA guide image

LAGuide

The Best Sandwich Shops In LA

From iconic banh mi spots to family-run Jewish delis, these are the top 20 places that specialize in subs, hoagies, heroes, and more.

When we set out to pull together a list of the best sandwich shops in LA, things got philosophical quickly. What is a sandwich shop? Is a deli a sandwich shop? What about a restaurant known for sandwiches? Is everything a sandwich?

It’s enough to make even Plato’s head spin. So, to clarify: these are sandwich shops. They don’t just serve fantastic subs, hoagies, or heroes, they specialize in the sacred art of sandwich-making. We've got Cambodian cafes, family-run landmarks in the Valley, Armenian delis, and 100-year-old institutions on this list. Enjoy your sandwiches.

THE SPOTS

Langer's

LA is no stranger to good pastrami (hello Canter's, hey there Wexler’s), but let’s make one thing clear: Langer’s is the best. This Westlake institution has been serving classic deli staples since 1947, like matzo ball soup, homemade coleslaw, and a creamy macaroni salad that’s beautifully simple. However, you’re here for the #19. It's the Langer’s signature of thick-cut pastrami sandwiched between two slices of their famous twice-baked rye and smothered in swiss cheese, dressing, and coleslaw. It is perfect, it is euphoric, and if we could vote this sandwich into public office, we would.


Whenever we land at LAX, there are two things on our minds. The first is finding the bathroom, and the second is the tuna conserva sandwich from Gjusta. Is Gjusta in Venice a traditional sandwich shop? Maybe not, considering they’re open all day and offer roast chickens, pizza, smoked fish plates, etc. But Gjusta excels in the sandwich department. The bread is baked in-house, and the fillings hit that cliche California sweet spot of farmers' market ingredients and well-sourced meats. The tuna conserva is our old faithful because of how the roasted peppers, sprouts, salty tapenade, and cucumbers ooze into the sourdough and top-shelf tuna. But we also work the banh mi, tomato confit, and meatball sandwiches into the rotation.


Roma Market is more of a grocery store than a sandwich shop, but considering how incredible their one sandwich is, this guide would be remiss without its presence. The sandwich itself is nameless and can be found each day pre-wrapped and stacked on the deli counter in the back. It’s also remarkably simple: just a couple of slices of provolone and some cured meat (specifically capicola, mortadella, and salami) on a freshly baked roll. But with ingredients this excellent, it’s all a sandwich really needs. You, along with 37 other people on their lunch break, will grab it, pay for it, and revel in the fact that you’re eating something this fantastic on the hood of your car in a Pasadena parking lot.


We always hope that reboots are as good as the one the people behind Mizlala pulled off at this historic walk-up window in West Adams. Johnny's Pastrami combines everything you want in an old-school deli stand (a fast food-style menu, exceptional pastrami, life-affirming matzo ball soup) with nice touches like serving their sandwiches on Tartine marble rye. We particularly love the French Dip pastrami, which is about as thick as a football and perfect to split. Johnny’s also owns the bar right next door, which means you can bring food from the restaurant to their string-lit patio and start the night with a round of cocktails.


This classic daytime-only Iranian spot on Westwood Blvd is best known for its beef tongue, and rightfully so—it's a meaty, tangy masterpiece that deserves all of its hype. But it shouldn’t be the only sandwich you order here. We love their kuku sabzi, an herb-based frittata, or the juicy beef koobideh on thin, chewy sangak bread. Also, come any day of the week and experience a front patio that turns into the social heart of the neighborhood each afternoon.


Tell anyone in the LA area that you’re eating in Santa Monica and they’ll be like, “Please bring me a Godmother.” And unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that they’re not asking you for a new family member, they’re asking you for Bay Cities’ most famous sandwich: a stack of meats (prosciutto, ham, salami, mortadella, and capicola), cheeses, and peppers on delightfully crackly bread. This family-run Italian deli makes plenty of good sandwiches besides The Godmother, too—like their chicken parm sub and a standard turkey option—but if we're picking one, it's going to be the meatball.


Jeff’s Table isn’t the first deli hidden behind a liquor store in Highland Park—they’re not even the first one to occupy the space they’re in. But hidden or not, this is one of our favorite places to get a sandwich in the neighborhood. If you’re really hungry, get the “Jeff’s Special”—hot pastrami, sauerkraut, and what’s basically a big parmesan crisp on rye—or the “Dirty Baby,” which is a turkey salad sandwich that involves housemade chili crisp, two kinds of smoked cheese, and pickled onions. Order a side of the spicy, creamy Thai peanut mac salad to balance everything all out.


Ggiata is a new-school Italian deli with a decidedly old-school menu. You’ll find sandwiches filled with things like crispy chicken cutlets drenched in savory vodka sauce, meatball parmesan, and tangy grilled balsamic chicken with roasted red peppers. Though there are a few traditional cold cuts to be had, most of Ggiata’s sandwiches feel more like Italian suppers on bread. The bright space at Melrose and Western is mostly a to-go operation— there’s little in the way of seating—but before you head out with your sandwiches, be sure to spend a moment at the daily dessert case. Whether it’s a perfectly moist olive oil cake or a box of rainbow cookies, don’t leave Ggiata without at least one sweet item.

Wax Paper isn’t your standard sandwich spot. There is no deli case filled with cured meats or a mile-long menu of subs. Instead, you’ll find a quirky counter in a deserted warehouse in Frogtown (or Chinatown) that combines just-baked bread, fresh produce, and listener-supported public radio. Sandwiches come on loaves of Bub & Grandma’s and are named after NPR hosts like the Terry Gross, which is filled with roast turkey, green chili aioli, a jalapeño/radish slaw, and pepper jack cheese. We’re also big fans of the Steve Julian, which is Wax Paper’s version of a bánh mì. With its shredded pork, crunchy cucumbers, and miso aioli, this sandwich is a little spicy and completely fun.

Larchmont Wine & Cheese is a classic sandwich counter where things feel simple. It’s like being transported back to the ’60s or finally realizing you only need one streaming service and canceling all the others. Sandwiches here are uncomplicated and straightforward, with high-quality ingredients as king. Our go-to order is the #5, a baguette topped with imported prosciutto, mozzarella, and arugula, but the off-menu El Conquistador is also a great option. It’s filled with chorizo, prosciutto, Manchego, and a few pickled peppers—the perfect addition to any picnic, or meal to celebrate your breakup with Netflix.


When people think of great cheesesteaks, they usually don't think LA. But this casual takeout spot on West Pico should change all that. Started as a food truck, this shop is now a full-blown cheesesteak hub run by a family who grew up in New Jersey across the bridge from South Philadelphia. The sandwiches come filled with razor-thin slices of beef that melt into a savory blend of grilled onions and Cheez Wiz. Each roll is a soft and chewy vessel, baked fresh and flown in from a local bakery in Philly. We’re considering writing the owners a love letter (or at least a Megan Thee Stallion-esque verse) to express our gratitude.


This seven-by-ten-foot trailer has been around since the ’90s and continues to make some of the best tortas you’ll find in Los Angeles. The South Central operation specializes in Mexico City-style sandwiches with fillings like breaded steak, pork leg, and chorizo. Torta Movil has changed things up over the years though, and offers vegan options, too, like one with soyrizo, potatoes, and mushrooms on a soft telera roll. If you want a meatier torta, go for the Porky—it's a trifecta of slow-cooked pork, chorizo, and the often misunderstood (but delicious) head cheese. All of these savory, spicy, and fatty flavors play nicely with your sandwich’s raft of toppings: mayo, jalapenos, avocado, lettuce, queso fresco, and frijoles.


Open Market is a hybrid cafe-corner store on the bottom floor of an office building in Koreatown that happens to serve food so good it’ll make you squeal. This counter-service spot is open for breakfast and lunch, serving things like lattes, pastries, salads, and one-of-a-kind sandwiches. From “Alhambra” Hainanese chicken salad to the “Mariposa," filled with al pastor oyster mushrooms, each one has a personality of its own. Our go-to order, the “Normandie,” is without a doubt, one of the single best brisket sandos in the city. It tastes like what would happen if a classic French dip and a smoked brisket flat had a baguette sandwich child.


Lady & Larder is the type of spot you might see on a lifestyle blogger's curated Instagram feed. This pink Santa Monica shop caters to all of your wine, flower, and artisanal cheese needs, but its secret sandwich menu makes it a top priority for your lunch rotation. From 12-3pm, you’ll find sandwiches that sound like a high-end charcuterie board stuffed into a chewy baguette. You can’t go wrong with the Day Dreamer slathered with fromage blanc and thinly sliced turkey, or the Yes, Honey with sweet ham, mustard pickle relish, and a heaping pile of shredded cheddar. 


This Glassell Park cafe from well-known bread icons Bub & Grandma’s is a cute homage to the American diner, complete with cushy white booths, a wrap-around counter and a rotating pie case. While the lunch menu has more sandwiches on it (we like the mustard-y tuna salad and veggie-stacked antipasti), the best one overall is served at breakfast: the egg and cheese. It’s a simple, perfectly built breakfast sandwich and one of the only reasons we’ll leave the house before 9am on the weekends. 

 

This blink-and-you-miss-it French takeout window in Melrose Hill is a very unassuming place to grab a sandwich, but if you’re craving straightforward, high-quality fillings on baguettes that are baked in-house each morning, you won't regret lunch at Maison Matho. Our favorites include the jambon-beurre, made with curls of shaved ham, creamy yellow butter, and crunchy cornichons, and the spaghetti squash, which comes cooked in a fragrant French-style curry blend and paired with pickled pomegranate, celery, and hazelnuts.


It’s surprisingly hard to find a good bánh mì in LA proper, which is why a trip to My Dung feels like hitting the jackpot. Half-market stall, half-Vietnamese restaurant, we head to this small Chinatown shop whenever the need for a baguette smeared thick with pâté strikes. Which, to be honest, is quite often. There are eight versions of the sandwich here, ranging from crispy pork belly to ones filled with soy sauce-soaked tofu. They’re usually a little misshapen but obviously made with care, and for $5 a pop, one of the best deals in town.


There are subs, and then there are the cold-cut behemoths you get at Ghost Sando. This seafoam green shop in Beverly Grove puts more meat, lettuce, and cheese into an 8-inch dutch crunch roll than seems possible. The delicious housemade sauces are what keep these subs extra saucy and moist, including the spicy BLAST sauce that tastes like smearable pepper jack. We love the signature Melrose with stacks of ham, turkey, bacon, and creamy slaw, but the Firebird is a great spicy option, with pastrami-seasoned turkey and a jalapeño gouda that packs a punch.


Maciel’s is a plant-based deli that you should scream about to everyone you know with aversions to animal products. It feels like the kind of spot you’d go to pick up cold-cut classics for lunch, but they make all of their own vegan meats in-house, including bacon, pastrami, chorizo, and chicharrones. Options like their chorizo breakfast sandwich on a fluffy brioche bun are only available until noon, but you can order things like Mexican adobo “ribs” on ciabatta or loaded Italian with meatless salami and chopped pepperoncini all day. Maciel’s operates more like a little grocery than a restaurant, so grab some jarred pesto on your way out, too.


Open since 2014, this NOLA-themed deli in Chinatown is one of the best quick lunch spots in the neighborhood. The only thing that might slow you down—besides wandering the aisles for  Zapp’s Potato Chips or Cafe Du Monde coffee—is picking a sandwich. On last count, there are nearly 50 on the menu, making the process feel like picking a briefcase on Deal Or No Deal. So, let us help: get the cochon de lait po’boy. This Cajun-style pulled pork is a meaty masterpiece with beaucoup juices slowly seeping into the 10-inch loaf as you eat it. We also love the giant stuffed muffuletta—one will easily feed two adults. 

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photo credit: Jessie Clapp

The Best Sandwich Shops In LA guide image