L.A.'s best sandwich shops
A tiny, wonderful operation at the end of a circuitous route through Frogtown, Wax Paper makes cutting-edge versions of the most iconic sandwiches—with a few new creations thrown in, too. Out of a small, aluminum shed tucked away on a dead-end street, small-batch sandwiches are crafted and sent out to be eaten on basic Ikea-like outdoor tables in a small enclave next door. In true cool, nerd-kid fashion, each sandwich is named after a National Public Radio personality—but regardless of possible pretensions, these sandwiches are the real deal.
Try the Audie Cornish, a classic French-style ham sandwich elevated by homemade honey butter.
Italian delis are getting harder and harder to come by, but those looking for a real, authentic experience—complete with hanging salami and provolone—know they can always stop by this Santa Monica staple for cured meats, sausages, cheese and gourmet specialties. The lunchtime crowd take a number and queue up for some of the city's best sandwiches, which often come meaty, messy and slathered in oil and vinegar on a soft roll that somehow holds form under the weight of all those cold cuts.
Try the legendary Godmother, piled high with salami, mortadella, prosciutto, coppa, ham, provolone cheese, mild or spicy peppers, served on freshly baked bread.
Tucked away in a garden patio oasis just south of UCLA, Attari is a delightful sandwich shop that takes complex Persian cuisine and serves it up in the middle of a simple, classic American-style hoagie. Dressed with tomato, mayo, pickles and a lettuce/parsley mix, the sandwiches are served out of a small shop that may be crowded with fans watching soccer games. Great vegetarian options like kuku sabzi (comparable to a frittata) and olivieh (a potato and egg salad) share menu with brain and tongue. That tongue sandwich—braised til soft and seasoned wonderfully—is rightly famous, but any option at Attari is going to be a great choice.
Try the braised tongue sandwich with mustard, mayo, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles.
This New Orleans-style sandwich shop is making po’boys right in the heart of Chinatown. A small market filled with southern goods and Cajun delicacies fills a large space primarily dedicated to producing some of the finest sandwiches this side of the Mississippi. Though the po’boys—New Orleans specialty sandwiches that famously hold fried mollusks or crustaceans in a “dressed” remoulade-coated long bun—are the primary draw, Little Jewel serves a wide variety of deli items, including the famed Louisiana belly-burster, the Muffalleta, as well as simpler ham, turkey and sausage options.
Try one of the oyster or shrimp po’boys.
Curtis Stone's glitsy, modern-but-rustic Gwen offers a trio of prixe-fixe options in the evenings, but dayside, stop by for the butcher shop and some of the finest sandwiches in Hollywood. Find Italian grinders made with house-cured charcuterie; steak on a crispy baguette smeared with ramp aïoli; meatball subs featuring broccoli rabe pesto; and a few more sandwich surpsrises, plus salads, beer, wine and espresso. The kicker? Each sandwich will only set you back $12—but just try to get out without picking up one of those gorgeous terrines sitting in the butcher case, we dare you.
Try the Meatball Sandwich (dry-aged beef meatballs with melted mozzarella and brocolli rabe pesto).
As the name might suggest, All About the Bread is extremely proud of its bread—and for good reason. It’s crispy and crackly on the outside, soft on the inside and tastes even better when loaded up with ingredients such as meatballs, turkey or fresh mozzarella. Though this busy shop is sometimes criticized for making a clone of Bay Cities’ legendary Godmother sandwich (here dubbed the Godfather), hungry Mid-City eaters can save themselves a trip to Santa Monica by eating here instead. The rest of All About the Bread’s menu showcases a dedication to quality, innovation and good sandwich making.
Try the hot meatball sandwich, served with marinara, provolone and parmesan.
On a sun-baked northern stretch of the city-spanning boulevard, Cahuenga General Store is almost like a portal to a small sandwich shop on a backroad in Maine. With rows of antique cans and products lining the walls, and a makeshift wooden stage that seems set up for a bluegrass band, the rural vibe carries on in the sandwiches: made quick and served with little fuss in a wicker basket. The counter serves high-quality takes on a wide range of classic sandwiches, icluding muffalettas, curry chicken salad, and warm pear and ham.
Try the Oscar Wilde (curry chicken salad) or the Tattoo (roast beef, melted Swiss, pepperoncinis).
Just off a fairly foot-beaten stretch of Sunset Boulevard is a small shop named for the medieval, open-faced predecessor of the sandwich. A cozy dining room with a laid-back vibe, Trencher is a purveyor of specialty sandwich inventions with novel ingredients, such as hot puréed parsnip served over brisket, or portobello mushrooms with red peppers, onions and basil. Each sandwich is expertly composed and served alongside house-made potato chips or one of the kitchen’s scrumptious hot sides, including smashed potatoes, mac and cheese or buffalo cauliflower.
Try the namesake sandwich, The Trencher, a mix of veggies, avocado, smoked salmon and hardboiled egg.
Something of an eclectic shop in North Hollywood, Gerogi’s Hymart—self-described as Mediterranean fusion—serves unique subs, salads and wraps. Classic sandwich fillings like egg salad, roast chicken and pastrami are given a twist with Armenian-influenced seasonings, sauces, pickles and peppers. Wholly original sandwiches like a ground turkey patty with basil or shredded chicken with serrano chiles are served, like the classics, on a fresh-baked, Armenian soft roll. This original menu has become wildly popular, and the relatively tiny seating area is typically jam-packed during lunch hours.
Try the Foreman’s Special, featuring seasoned, shredded chicken, hot peppers and spicy sauce.
Though the name of this operation seemingly encompasses everything except sandwiches, Larchmont Village Wine, Spirits & Cheese is renowned for its sandwiches. Hidden inside the back half of a damn fine wine store is a sandwich counter, where a team of masters slice veggies, meats and cheeses for Italian countryside-style sandwiches. Served on a choice of pillowy ciabatta or crusty baguette, the seven options on Larchmont's gourmet menu each come with salt cured olives or cornichons, and make for a surprising value for such high-end ingredients.
Try the sopressata salami with manchego, oil, vinegar, mixed greens and sun-dried tomato spread on a baguette.
Less a traditional deli and more of a sandwich restaurant with a set menu, this spot (in Westwood, Encino and Hollywood) builds massive stoner-friendly takes on classics,piling mozzerella sticks, potato chips, onion rings and just about anything else onto a hoagie roll. Of course you can also opt for traditional, normal-size options, or the seasonal specials and fun collabs worth keep an eye on—but we all know that's not why you're here. If you're really hungry, go for the "fat sandwiches," made on extra-wide hero bread, or the smothered "fat fries." There's no denying that the food here is a heart attack waiting to happen—but it sure is good.
Try the Fat Banh Mi-Ki, with rib-eye steak, onion rings, pickled vegetables, Sichuan slaw, tomatoes, jalapeños and teriyaki glaze on a garlic hero
A decidedly old-school style of sandwich shop, the folks at Mike’s are serious about their sandwiches. Touting their commitment to Boar’s Head products in copious amounts of in-store advertising, they're experts at transforming the quality meats and cheeses into top-notch sandwiches. It's the cutting specifically that Mike’s Deli does best, as they're serving some of the thinnest-sliced meat in town: paper-thin cold cuts are topped with pickles, onions and honey mustard on squaw bread or croissants, though customers can always build their own from the counter’s extensive ingredients.
Try the Mike Deli #1, with cajun turkey, pepper jack and all the fixings.