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Photograph: Courtesy Howard Chen/@howac

The best sandwiches in Los Angeles

On your lunch break? Need a quick dinner? We found the best sandwich shops and sandwiches in the city for all your between-bread cravings.

Edited by
Patricia Kelly Yeo
Contributors
Michael Juliano
&
Stephanie Breijo
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Whether your tastes run classic or contemporary, there’s a delicious sandwich for you in Los Angeles. After all, it’s not hard to stumble across a decent sandwich at a burger stand, farmers’ market, food truck or grocery store—but what about the truly great between-bread experiences, from the crunchy-soft baguette of a budget-friendly banh mi to the wonders of sliced rye, our preferred vehicle for pastrami delivery?

Though not all of these shops specialize in a traditional, counter-style sandwich shop experience, these standout L.A. sandwiches are all worth a try in their own right. Some menus run large, others small; others are tried-and-true, while others run more artisan new-school than anything else. No matter their specific menu offerings, we’ve compiled a list of L.A.’s very best sandwiches (excluding the bagel and fried chicken varieties, which deserve lists all of their own)—because the humble sandwich is worth celebrating every day of the year.

L.A.’s best sandwich shops

  • Restaurants
  • Delis
  • Santa Monica
  • price 2 of 4

The Godmother at Bay Cities is one of those dishes that you have to try before you can really call yourself an Angeleno. Piled high with salami, mortadella, prosciutto, coppa, ham, provolone cheese, mild or spicy peppers and served on freshly baked, housemade bread, it’s a sandwich that draws lines almost every hour of the day. There is a shortcut, though, and you can take it by ordering from Bay Cities’ website and picking up your colossal sandwich instead. Inside, a gourmet market offers Italian specialty foods, like fresh pasta, olive oil and cheeses. But really, you’re going to come here and not get a sandwich? Fuhgeddaboudit.

  • Restaurants
  • Sandwich shops
  • Frog Town
  • price 2 of 4

This tiny, unconventional operation at the end of a circuitous route through Frogtown now has a second location in Chinatown, where Wax Paper still makes cutting-edge versions of the most iconic sandwiches—with a few new creations thrown in, too. Whichever location you stop by, small-batch sandwiches made with loaves of local favorite Bub and Grandma’s are crafted and sent out to be eaten in a cozy outdoor enclave, making this an ideal to-go or picnic option. In true cool-nerd fashion, each sandwich is named after a National Public Radio personality, though specials can take cues from chefs and local bands—but regardless of pretensions, these sandwiches are the real deal.

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  • Restaurants
  • Sandwich shops
  • Westwood
  • price 2 of 4

Tucked away in a garden-patio oasis just south of UCLA, this delightful sandwich shop takes complex Persian cuisine and serves it in the middle of a simple American-style hoagie. Dressed with tomato, mayo, pickles and a lettuce-and-parsley mix, the sandwiches are served out of a small shop that might be crowded with fans watching soccer games. Great vegetarian options like the kuku sabzi (comparable to a frittata) and the olivieh (a potato-and-egg salad) share the 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.

  • Restaurants
  • Sandwich shops
  • Chinatown
  • price 1 of 4

In business since 1908, Philippe the Original claims to have invented the famed French dip—and whether or not you believe them, there’s no denying the eatery slings an exemplary sandwich. Savvy customers make their way across the sawdust-covered floor to select a traditional lamb, beef or turkey filling, then ask their server to double-dip the bread in the meaty juice; add some of the sinus-clearing house mustard and you’re golden. A bevy of sides include coleslaw, macaroni and potato salad, hard-boiled eggs and pickles—all to be eaten in the midst of friendly strangers, whom you’ll inevitably wind up talking to.

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  • Restaurants
  • Delis
  • Westlake
  • price 2 of 4

Operating out of the same storefront since 1947, this James Beard Award-winning Jewish deli always hits the spot thanks to hot, hand-cut pastrami from recipes that’ve been passed down for generations. There are plenty of other deli classics here, too, but at Langer’s it’s all about the pastrami. The #19 is in and of itself a local icon, and is easily one of the most quintessential sandwiches in the city: hot pastrami with Swiss, slaw and Russian-style dressing on rye, stacked and thick and juicy. Plus, the deli itself is a bit of a time warp, only adding to the charm of recipes that haven’t changed in decades.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Echo Park
  • price 2 of 4

After rising to nationwide acclaim for its Japanese convenience store-inspired egg sandos (as well as impossibly flaky croissants), this cozy Echo Park café has comfortably settled down into its starring role as one of the best sandwich shops in the city. Made with Bub and Grandma’s milk bread, each of Konbi’s five konbini-style sandwiches might be pricey and on the smaller side, but the impossibly soft milk bread and delicate fillings make each one absolutely worth it. Cut into thirds, the crustless creations are delicious, particularly the pork katsu, though the iconic egg salad sandwich—with the yellow yolks of whole boiled eggs visible down the middle—is likely where you’ll want to begin. Note: If you’re particularly hungry, you might want to order two.

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  • Restaurants
  • Sandwich shops
  • Chinatown
  • price 1 of 4

This classic Chinatown shop at the intersection of Broadway and Ord offers the most affordable, delicious banh mi in L.A. proper. The Vietnamese sandwich shop and produce stall also offers inexpensive fruits and vegetables in a rainbow of colors to supplement their banh mi in a range of options. The sandwiches are sizable and only $4.50 apiece, with fillings such as grilled pork (sausage), chicken, pâté, or pork with skin, and they all involve cilantro, jalapeño, shredded carrot and pickled radish on a crusty French loaf. Make it a meal by adding a bottle of fresh locally made soy milk or some fresh fruit and you’ll still find yourself below $10. Just remember: This spot is cash-only.

  • Restaurants
  • Sandwich shops
  • Larchmont Village
  • price 2 of 4

The name of this operation encompasses just about everything except sandwiches, but trust us, 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 a little side of salt-cured olives and crunchy cornichons, and make for a surprising value for such high-end ingredients.

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  • Restaurants
  • Sandwich shops
  • North Hollywood
  • price 1 of 4

This eclectic shop in North Hollywood—also known as Georgi’s Place—serves unique Armenian-influenced 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.

  • Restaurants
  • Sandwich shops
  • Monterey Park

Mexico’s signature sandwich gets the white glove treatment at this Monterey Park sandwich shop with some of the best tortas in all of Los Angeles. Cook’s ciabatta-like bread—distinctive from the usual telera rolls used in tortas—is made in-house daily and piled high with your choice of filling and typically salsa, jalapeños, avocado, lettuce and crema. Our go-to here is the spicy ahogada, which comes dipped in tomato sauce and topped with slices of avocado, but other popular tortas include the carne asada, molcajete and milanesa—a twist on the Italian breaded chicken cutlet that’s popular in Mexico City and beyond.

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  • Restaurants
  • Sandwich shops
  • Pasadena
  • price 1 of 4

At this old-school Pasadena spot, you’ll find an octogenarian, a meat slicer and a single $6 sandwich available—dubbed “the Sandwich”—that is literally just meat and cheese on a roll with an olive oil drizzle. It’s remarkably simple, and simply perfect. There’s no room for pickles and peppers to muck up the meaty simplicity of this Italian specialty: paper-thin slices of mortadella, capocollo and salami, topped with provolone and an olive oil drizzle on a homemade crackly roll.

  • Restaurants
  • Vietnamese
  • Hollywood
  • price 1 of 4

This tiny Hollywood strip mall shop is the home of James Beard-nominated chef Casey Felton, whose mouth-watering Vietnamese banh mi (listed as banh oui on the menu) integrate ingredients from all over the world. Served on French rolls and typically gussied up with pickled vegetables and homemade chicken liver pate, the modern Vietnamese sandwiches are the star of the show here, though you can also find salads, fries and an excellent burger on the menu. Come earlier in the morning for a breakfast-friendly egg banh oui, which features the same mix plus an over-easy egg.

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  • Restaurants
  • Street food
  • South LA

Massive rolls of telera—the traditional Mexican torta roll—rule the day at this South Central food truck that runs Friday through Sunday evenings after 6pm. The most popular sandwich here is the cubano, a meaty mix of ham, milanesa (fried chicken cutlet), chorizo, egg, hot dogs and a few kinds of cheese, plus avocado, jalapeños and tomato. Regardless of which Mexico City-style sandwich you get, however, the cheese manages to melt from the freshly cooked meat, melding the entire sandwich together into a wondrous smorgasbord of texture and flavor.

  • Restaurants
  • Sandwich shops
  • North Hollywood
  • price 1 of 4

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—or 19th-century America. With rows of antique cans and products lining the walls, and a potbelly stove at the center of the space, 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, including muffalettas, curry chicken salad, and warm pear-and-ham.

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  • Restaurants
  • Sandwich shops
  • Winnetka
  • price 2 of 4

It's no wonder this San Fernando Valley gem—both their Northridge and Westlake Village locations—is always packed to the gills. Their pastrami is not only the best in the Valley, it's among the best anywhere in Los Angeles. Choose between the standard pastrami, which is available on its own, and the cult favorite Black Pastrami Reuben, which seems to be what everyone orders here. Slices of the brined, smoked and steamed meat with extra seasoned edges are piled between a layer each of Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, Russian dressing and two slices of grilled rye bread. Request extra lean or even fatty meat if that's what you prefer in your pastrami, but one thing we love about Brent's pastrami is that it's flavorful and juicy without any of the residual grease.

  • Restaurants
  • Delis
  • Downtown Historic Core
  • price 1 of 4

This gourmet all-day deli with locations inside Downtown’s Grand Central Market and Santa Monica makes a classic pastrami with artisan, sustainable ingredients, though said sandwiches are only available after 11am.  The sammies are impressive for the sheer amount of meat alone, but the quality—its tenderness, flavor complexity and juiciness—is top-notch. Order the O.G., which showcases the pastrami in all its glory with a little bit of mustard, or go with the MacArthur Park, Wexler's version of the Rachel featuring crunchy coleslaw, melted Swiss and creamy Russian dressing.

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  • Restaurants
  • Delis
  • Beverly
  • price 1 of 4

Amid the gradual disappearance of L.A’s old-school Italian delis, this New York-style spot with three locations (plus availability on third-party delivery apps and Alfred Coffee locations around town) feels like a second coming for the next generation. Uncle Paulie’s makes its own mozzarella daily, sells cold cuts by the pound and stacks subs with some serious flavor combos, such as London broil with spicy giardiniera, and fennel salami with a scoop of chopped salad. Their sesame baguettes are some of the best bread in the game, but you can also stop by early for breakfast sandos like the cacio e pepe—made with egg, parm and cracked black pepper—served on a fluffy roll. Wash it all down with something from the fridge stocked almost entirely with seltzers.

  • Restaurants
  • Sandwich shops
  • Hollywood

Open since 2020, this Italian deli-style newcomer in Hollywood has made waves with their chicken parm sub, also known as the Spicy P, and a ciabatta sandwich known as the Masterpiece, which comes loaded with prosciutto di parma, marinated eggplant, tomato confit, roasted red peppers and stracciatella cheese. Available only for delivery and to-go, Ggiata’s premium priced ($14–$16) sandwiches are the stuff dreams are made of, and they offer an excellent vegan portobello mushroom and nut-based ricotta cheese sandwich known as the Madeline.

L.A.'s best sandwiches

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