Unless you’re new to eating in Los Angeles (in which case, hi, we hope you like beets and avocados), you don’t need us to tell you that the food at Gjusta is really f*cking good. You also don’t need us to tell you that Gjusta is a complete and utter scene. You’ve ended up here to ask the same question that everyone who eats in LA has at some point: is it actually worth it?
To cut to the chase, the answer is yes. But it’s not an unconditional yes. To enjoy this all-day deli/bakery/cool person gathering place in Venice, you just have to know what you’re getting yourself into.
Show up on a weekend or at 12:30pm on a Friday and you should expect a significant wait. The ordering system is a little more streamlined these days (you take a number and wait for them to call it), so you’re less likely to get shoved aside by a guy that’s either your former neighbor or a very famous actor. But if you live in the neighborhood, you already know to call ahead and get your order to go at certain times of day. Or to wait until 2pm to head over for lunch. If you’re on your own, find a place to lean at the walk-up bar, and feel safe in the knowledge that if you’re standing up while you eat your tomato confit and burrata sandwich, it counts as exercise. There’s also the shaded back patio, where you might have to hover or ask someone to move over to get a seat. Don’t bring your dog (unless you like eating in the parking lot on milk crates) and definitely don’t be in a hurry.
If you are actually wondering about the food, think of the nicest deli or bakery you’ve ever been into, and multiply that by ten. There’s a case of smoked fish and other cured meats, another of pastries, and another with constantly-changing salads and slices of pizza. The sandwiches are some of the best in all of Los Angeles. And if you’re ok with paying $30 for a rotisserie chicken, you’ll probably regret it, because you’ll never want to buy one of the $5.99/lb Whole Foods ones again. Basically, you can order anything at Gjusta and be confident that it will taste extremely good, even after all the fuss you went through to put it in your mouth.
In an ideal world you’d be able to go to a restaurant any damn time you wanted and not have to wait 15 minutes to order before fighting someone for a table. But you wait for brunch at Republique all the time, and buy tickets in advance for Trois Mec, and you have a reservation at Bestia for sometime in 2018. Sure, Gjusta is a hassle. It’s even kind of pretentious. But we’ve never once taken a bite of the tuna conserva sandwich and thought, “eh, that wasn’t really worth it.”
This is a very tasty breakfast sandwich. And it tastes even better on a weekday when you call your order in and pick one up on your way to work.
If we could only eat one sandwich for the rest of our lives, it would be this one. It’s tough to pinpoint what makes this so good - it might be the roasted peppers, it might be the aioli, it’s probably the olive tapenade.
The only problem with eating the tuna sandwich for eternity is we couldn’t eat this one.
These people know how to smoke fish. You get to pick from the selections in the case (we like the herb gravlax and the trout collar), and they’ll make you a plate with labneh, pickled vegetables, and some very tasty toast.
$30 is an insane amount to pay for a rotisserie chicken (it’s $15 for a half). But we can say with full confidence that this is the best rotisserie chicken you’ll ever eat.
Another contender for one of the best sandwiches on the Westside not named the Godmother.
You probably head to a Jewish deli for your reuben fix, not a place populated by cool tourists and locals who are very good at wearing hats. But this is a solid version of a classic sandwich, especially for Westsiders who don’t need to schlep to Langer’s this week.
One of the more overlooked things on the (very long) menu, this is a great option if you want something heavier. The patty is juicy and excellent, and they keep the whole thing simple - just gruyere, smoked tomato, mayo, and arugula.
The salads change regularly, and you won’t know what they have until you walk in. But we’d say it’s mandatory to get one or two to share for the table. If you see the cauliflower, you must order it, or go for the always-on-the-menu little gem caesar.
It’s impossible to go past the pastry case and not consider at least five things. The ham and cheese croissants are the best we’ve had outside of France and even those who believe vegetables have no business being in cakes will approve of the carrot cake.