Anyone who’s ever set foot in an Italian deli knows how to tell if a place is legit. You can silently judge their selection of torrone, pignoli, or panettone (during the holidays). You can count the jars of marinated vegetables on the deli counter, or the rows of meats and cheeses in the case below. And it goes without saying that you should definitely order a few sandwiches.
LA has plenty of legit Italian delis, with sandwiches so iconic you order them without even glancing at the menu board - Bay Cities, Eastside Market, Roma Market - and spots that don’t stock a single jar of giardiniera, but still turn out sandwiches of note (E Stretto’s Ill Papa, the porchetta melt at Gjusta). Point being, you don’t even need to be a deli to make great deli-style sandwiches. The new Ggiata Delicatessen is further proof of that.
This sandwich spot doesn’t even have a proper counter - they’re currently operating out of a takeout/delivery hub on Washington between Arlington Heights and Pico Union. But they have put together an impressive roster of traditional deli-style sandwiches, made with local produce and served on bread baked right here in Los Angeles. And since we can’t judge them by glancing into their deli case, we did the next best thing: We ordered some of those sandwiches. Here are our first thoughts.
Like the name implies, this is Ggiata’s take on that old deli staple, the Italian sub. And as such, it’s appropriately loaded with meats and cheeses - ham, salami, capicola, and smoked provolone - piled with fixings (the Calabrian chiles, in particular, give it a nice bit of heat), and doused in red wine vinaigrette. But stuffing it all inside a charred seeded baguette, baked by LA’s Bread Lounge, adds both texture and slight punch of bitterness. If that all sounds too fancy, fear not: The Classic definitely passes the all-important deli sub “juice” test, as each bite sends a bit of that vinaigrette pouring out onto the wax paper.
It’s cheesy, well-sauced, and too big to be contained on a baguette. In other words, it’s a chicken parm sub. And while the bread kind of feels like a mere suggestion, the chicken cutlet - perfectly crispy, and topped pomodoro, pesto, mozzarella, and Romano - is rightfully the star of the show. Don’t get us wrong, this is a solid, satisfying sandwich (and, as a bonus, while it’s filling, it’s definitely not going to put you down for a two-hour nap when you’re done), but we wouldn’t be mad if they started selling chicken parm by the plate, either.
The key to any great caprese is always its simplicity, and while mozzarella, tomato, basil, and a drizzle of olive oil also makes for a pretty good sandwich, Ggiata’s version breaks from tradition, adding even more cheese - a creamy stracciatella di bufala - plus tomato confit, basil pesto, and a tangy balsamic glaze. We applaud the extra effort, especially when it all comes on a charred ciabatta that’s crunchy on the outside and pillowy in the middle. This one might not get as much shine as some of the other sandwiches here, but it’s definitely deserving of your attention.