Nobody outside of LA wants to hear about how good our deli food is. We’re supposed to be the land of moon cleanses, algae flushes and floating around in weight deprivation pods until we see our futures. How could we possibly know what a stack of great pastrami tastes like? Well, we do. And we also have a lot of great places to get it.
LA’s deli scene doesn’t just end at quality reubens and matzo ball soup. We also have top-notch Greek, Armenian, and French delis that have been around for over a hundred years. It’s frankly a bit overwhelming. Below we’ve ranked the 18 best, so you never have to eat a bad sandwich in LA again.
There’s nothing more liberating than seeing the look on a New Yorker’s face when someone says LA has the best pastrami. So we’ll go ahead and say it again - LA has the best pastrami. And you’ll find proof at Langer’s, an LA landmark has been making the best pastrami in the world for over 70 years, The pièce de résistance is the #19 sandwich with pastrami, swiss cheese, and Russian-style coleslaw stacked between two perfect pieces of rye bread.
Since 1925, this family-run Italian deli and grocer has been cranking out fantastic Italian sandwiches and sides to the Santa Monica masses. It’s hard to go wrong with anything here, but if you don’t get The Godmother at some point, your opinion of the place is void. Stacked with salami, mortadella, capicola, ham, prosciutto, and provolone topped with mustard and hot peppers, we aren’t overstating when we say this thing is a masterpiece. Lines are long all day every day so just call ahead to bypass the plebeians.
Papa Cristo's Catering & Greek Taverna
Part-deli, part-bakery, part-Greek grocer, this 70-year-old landmark in Pico-Union works for pretty much any occasion, like a quick lunch or a celebratory group dinner. If you’re with a bunch of people, you’ll order some moussaka, saganaki, and a feta pizza at the deli counter in the back and then push as many tables as you need together in the adjoining dining hall. It’s fun, a little drunk, and downright delicious.
Nate 'n Al Delicatessen
Beverly Hills has worked long and hard at maintaining its reputation as a traffic-clogged, culture-less void in the heart of Los Angeles. Nothing feels real here and to a large extent, it’s not. Except for Nate ’n Al, of course. Open since the 40s, this Jewish deli is still one of the best hangover meals around. Their stuffed cabbage will forever have our heart, but it’s the bagel and lox that doesn’t get the credit it deserves. It’s definitely a scene here, but what’s a Sunday in BH without spotting an 85-year-old in Juicy Couture sweats.
Larchmont Wine and Cheese
You could maybe argue this isn’t a true deli, but we don’t have time for that. We’re already in line for some of the best sandwiches in the city. At first glance, Larchmont Wine and Cheese seems like a high-end wine shop, but if you head to the back corner, you’ll be greeted by a casual little deli counter where magic happens. The sandwiches coming out here only have three to four ingredients apiece - a testament to the quality of each and every one. Just get here early. When they’re out, they’re out.
Is the food at this Jewish deli as good as Langer’s? No. But it doesn’t have to be. Canter’s has made its mark on this city by serving great food, and perhaps more importantly, staying open 24-hours. Canter’s is where you go after a long night out to take down a perfect reuben, and see Scott Disick and your landlord sitting in the same booth together - both drunker than you are. And that’s what LA’s all about.
Philippe The Original
Philippe’s is one of those rare tourist traps that is actually worth every bit of the hassle. Is it a particularly easy place to get to? No. Are you going to wait in long lines with tourists once you’re there? You bet. Whether this century-old deli is the real birthplace of the French dip or not (we think it is), the sandwich itself still holds up. As does the mac salad. And the potato salad. And everything else chilling behind the glass. Tip: strike up a conversation with any of the amazing ladies behind the counter. It’s worth the trip alone.
For anyone who thinks a good deli has to have been around for several decades will be proven wrong at Wexler’s. After opening their original stall inside downtown’s Grand Central Market, it didn’t take long for word to spread - there’s a new pastrami place in town, and it rivals just about anybody. The meat is cured and smoked in-house every single day, and you can taste it - these guys simply give a sh*t. We aren’t in love with the tourist-hell trap GCM has become, but as long as Wexler’s keeps doing their thing, we’ll be in line. (And also at their new Santa Monica location too).
Tarzana Armenian Deli And Grocery
In case you haven’t been keeping up with the Kardashians, LA has the largest Armenian population outside of Armenia. And that means we have some of the best Armenian food around. To try some, check out Tarzana Armenian Deli, the family-run institution operating since 1972. They claim to be the originators of the pita wrap, and in the spirit of generosity, we’ll give it to them. Because either way, those babies are delicious.
Brent’s is a Valley institution. Since 1967, this Northridge original has been dishing out some of the best (and largest) Jewish deli staples in SoCal. Their triple-decker hot pastrami and corned beef is a monster, and if you can finish it in one sitting, you’ve been inducted into our non-existent hall of fame. Also, their matzo ball soup is one of our favorites in LA, and they serve breakfast all day. Everybody wins.
Eastside Market Italian Deli
We love Eastside Market because even after 85 years, this Italian deli on the outskirts of downtown still somehow remains a local’s secret. The sandwiches coming out of here are the messy, old-school red sauce variety that are hard to find elsewhere in LA. The #7 (roast beef, pastrami, and cheese) is probably our favorite, but if you’re feeling ambitious, the D.A. Special (sausage, meatball, roast beef, and pastrami) is your one way ticket to an all-day nap.
Olsons Scandinavian Delicatessen
For the better part of six decades, Olsen’s was just a small Swedish supply shop, but a former Dan Tana’s maitre d’ (and born and raised Swede) took it over and gave it a new life. Now, there’s a full menu with everything from pickled herring to meatballs and shrimp skagen (the lobster roll of Scandinavia). And don’t worry, there’s an entire side room with over 70 different kinds of imported candies. Swedish fish for everyone.
Greenblatt's Delicatessen & Fine Wine Shop
Another Jewish deli open late in Hollywood, Greenblatt’s tends to get passed over in for nearby Canter’s, but let it be known - the food here is still really good. Are the employees at little more high-strung and are you paying Sunset Strip prices? Yeah. But it’s also 1:30am, and all you want is a corned beef reuben. Courtesy reminder: Greenblatt’s is also a fantastic wine shop.
Mario's Italian Deli
In operation since 1961, Mario’s is an old-school Italian deli in Glendale and it’s your best bet for giant, meat-stuffed sandwiches and hot plates in the neighborhood. If you don’t get there before 11:30am, be prepared to wait. But even if you get caught in line, this place is worth it. The Bay Boy Sub is their signature sandwich and it’s huge, with your choice of meat (get the pastrami), mustard, mayo, avocado, spicy peppers, and every other fixing available. Be sure to pick up some imported Italian olive oil on the way out.
Art's Delicatessen & Restaurant
Art’s is yet another true Valley classic. Smack in the heart of Studio City’s Ventura Blvd. strip, the old-school cafeteria has been dishing out monstrous sandwiches to Valley kids since the mid ’50s, and has the authentic Americana vibes to show for it. $20 might seem a lot for a pastrami sandwich (and it is), but when half a sandwich can possibly feed a family of four, it’s not such a bad deal. Get the noodle kugel too.
Eagle Rock Italian Bakery & Deli
This place might just be the pride and joy of all of Northeast LA. Located in vastly underrated Eagle Rock, this neighborhood deli and bakery has been building some of the best cold cuts in the city for over 40 years now. But it’s not just about the sandwiches either - there’s a full market with imported goods and a bakery with all sorts of Italian desserts. Promise us now you won’t leave without getting their cannoli.
Labels Table Deli
Label’s Table boasts proudly to be one of LA’s few authentic Chicago-style delis. And to be honest, we haven’t really figured out what that means. But who cares when the food is this good? Down on Pico in south Beverly Hills, Label’s has been around since the 70’s and is known for its dirt cheap prices, housemade pastrami, and tongue. Yes, their tongue. Get into it.