photo credit: Jakob Layman
Tarzana Armenian Deli And Grocery
LA can be an impossible city to grasp. Any friend or family member who’s visited you has no doubt gone through extreme waves of loving and loathing - or they’re simply left confused by our sprawling city. And it’s hard to blame them. At first glance, this place seems like a glittering pile of reality stars, drought anxiety, and made-up career paths. Do real people live here? Does anyone make money? What’s a sensory deprivation tank?
But the fact is real people do live here, with real lives and even real appetites. And if you want proof, just go to Tarzana Armenian Deli.
Open since 1972, this family-owned deli is not just a staple of Tarzana, but of the whole San Fernando Valley. Walking into Tarzana Armenian Deli is like walking out of LA and into that local sandwich shop you ate at three times a week in the summer as a kid. Checkered-tile flooring, pimply-faced teenagers working their part-time jobs, cheap prices, and gigantic wraps that’ll keep you full until you get back to your friend’s house for dinner.
But Tarzana Armenian Deli’s appeal is more than just nostalgia - this place has good food too. Every order here starts and ends with a pita wrap. Yes, a pita wrap. There are close to 30 of them on the menu, and they’re really great. The menu is essentially broken up into two parts: typical American deli cuts like turkey and roast beef, and their Armenian specialties like soujouk (beef sausage) and lahmajun (minced meat). Their turkey pastrami, and pretty much all their turkey, is excellent. But it’s also Boar’s Head. When it comes to the Armenian wraps, the soujouk sausage is our favorite. It’s sweet and savory, with just a little heat from the peppers to give it a needed kick. But the biggest difference between Tarzana and every other deli is in the way they wrap their pitas, and the other fresh ingredients they throw into them. This is pita artistry.
If you’re in the area or headed out to Malibu on a Saturday and want to remind yourself and your confused visiting friend that real things do exist in this city, Tarzana Armenian is where you need to go. Hit the sensory deprivation tank on the way home.
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Turkey Pastrami Wrap
This is our favorite wrap here. The turkey itself is fantastic and all the right kinds of salty. Add in the mayo, cheese, tomatoes, avocados, and pepperoncini, and you have what may be the best wrap in LA. Power move: add in a stuffed grape leaf.
You can’t go wrong with any of the Armenian specialty wraps at Tarzana Armenian, but the soujouk is our favorite. The beef sausage is slightly crunchy and, when combined with the pepperoncini, has a very solid kick. Get it with double cheese.
Stuffed Grape Leaves
Your wrap needs a side order or two of the the stuffed grape leaves. They aren’t the greatest in the world, but we order them every time.
If you’re looking for something hearty, get this wrap filled with Middle Eastern meatballs. And then dip it in their “special sauce,” which you’ll have ordered plenty of on the side.
Skip this one and just get a side of their hummus and some pita instead.
Meat Pie Wrap
Stuffed with lahmajun (minced meat and herbs), this is one of Tarzana Armenian signatures and it’s fantastic. You’re also going to want to get the special sauce involved in this one.