LA's best grilled cheese sandwiches
Come cold wintry nights (okay, chilly by LA standards) or brisk summer evenings, venture to City Tavern—either the Culver City or Downtown location will do—for a perfectly toasted grilled cheese ($9) that’ll melt away the cold and your hunger pangs. The Tavern's version features pungent pimento cheese oozing out of warm rustic bread—an ideal evening snack that should be rightfully paired with a pint of craft beer from the pub's massive beer list. You deserve it.
Let your health food cravings lead you to Foodlab, West Hollywood’s mom and pop joint, for an upscale twist on the classic bread and cheese combo. Known for its eco-friendly kitchen and farm fresh menu, it’s no surprise that the grilled cheese ($9.75) here is instead concocted in a slightly healthier format (well, as nourishing as bread and cheese can be). Made on 5-grain toast, the crispy sliced bread hugs melted Gruyere, Tallegio and Raclette cheeses along with tangy grainy mustard and caramelized onions. It's a bite of fromage heaven.
Connoisseur of all things cheesy (and usually the loudest guy at a food festival), chef Eric Greenspan brought his savory grilled cheese sandwiches to Melrose Avenue with a shop dedicated solely to the oozing sammie. With close to ten unique versions on the menu and the opportunity to build your own from the bread up, the choices of grilled cheese are staggering. We're partial to the Johnny Apple Cheese ($7.50): aged white cheddar, apple mustard chutney and pastrami held between two toasted slices of sourdough. Oh, and you'll want the potato latke bites as a side—trust us.
Known for it’s down-to-earth, homey vibe and scrumptious California comfort food, the grub gals Betty Fraser and Denise DeCarlo are serving up a nod to America’s favorite after school snack—appropriately called the After School Special ($13.50). Filled with cheddar and Swiss cheese on sourdough bread, the classic grilled sandwich has a savory twist with a dab of herby dill butter, to be paired with a dreamy cup of tomato soup—a go-to combo practically ordained by the cheese gods.
It's hard to enter Joan's on Third—both the original Third Street location and the new Studio City outpost—and not want to order everything in sight. The pastry case holds airy muffins and dense brownies, the prepared foods holds brightly colored salads and home-cooked meatloaf, and the cheese counter is a fromage-lovers dream. And speaking of cheese: the grilled cheese at Joan's is tops. Using pain de mie—traditional sandwich bread—a mild cheddar cheese oozes onto the plate, and serves as the base for potential add-ons: tomato, ham or bacon ($8.95-$10.95). Order with a side of Joan's thick tomato soup for dunking—and don't forget to stop by the pastry counter on the way out.
Sure, the name sounds like your average grocery-store cereal brand—but that’s because they really do sell cereal (over 25 different types). More importantly though, they sell a mean grilled cheese. When you’re not mixin’ and munchin’ on your favorite morning crunch, create your sandwich by choosing from a tempting selection of bread, toppings and cheese. Mouthwatering garnishes include the likes of jalapeños, grilled onions, apple slices, bacon, fried egg and avocado, while cheese options range from classic cheddar and pepper jack to decadent Brie and Gruyere. We recommend the MOP ($4.95)—provolone, mushrooms and onions between two slices of grilled sourdough bread.
If there's one ingredient as chichi and luxurious as Beverly Hills, it's truffles. So it's no surprise that Beverly Drive’s coffee haven (with an equally high-quality café menu) pays homage to the cheesy delicacy with a posh twist—that is, one infused with black truffle. Dip your decadent, shamelessly satisfying grilled cheese into a side of perfectly creamy tomato soup. The meticulously clean, modern-boutique style café offers an added elegant twist to your upscale sandwich. Who says a grilled cheese can’t have glam?
The Apple Pan dishes out plenty of good ol’ fashioned comfort dishes—including this beauty of a grilled cheese sandwich. Made with cheddar cheese oozing between golden sourdough, it's served with a side of Apple Pan’s fries. $5.50. - Danielle DiMeglio
An entire food truck selling grilled cheese? Bless you, Los Angeles. The Grilled Cheese Truck makes daily stops around the city, slinging cheesy concoctions from its four-wheeled abode. You can get a plain grilled cheese sandwich (with cheddar, jack, Brie and other cheeses), but that's just a starting point. The goat cheese melt features sun-dried tomato whipped goat cheese, caramelized mushrooms, fresh arugula and balsamic syrup; the French onion soup melt is like a soup-and-sandwich in one, with onion soup compote and a parmesan crust. But if you want something heart attack-inducing, go for the cheesy mac & rib ($7.75): macaroni and cheese, BBQ pork and caramelized onions between two buttery, grilled pieces of toast. Will you feel slightly queasy after eating it? Yeah, maybe. Worth it.
As if this local cheese chain wasn’t mouth-watering enough, the Melt has revamped their comfort-filled menu with even more gastronomic goodness—including a brand spankin’ new wine list to pair with your cheesy plates. Possibly the holy grail of all hangover foods (and culprit of engorged waistlines), the Melt’s very own Mac Daddy ($5.95) packs crispy bacon and creamy Mac n Cheese on golden sourdough toast. But don’t think about leaving without trying the S’more—a downright “non-negotiable.” With sugarcoated caramelized toast and a melted chocolate and marshmallow filling, this dessert is well worth your while.
Well known for it’s lavish array of gourmet cheeses, wines and produce at the half European-esque market, half café, you’d expect the cheese aficionados to craft up a damn good grilled cheese (especially after eyeing and/or drooling over the gourmet cheese selection). After one bite of the melty Fontina, Camembert and sharp cheddar cheese on cranberry-walnut bread ($9.25), let’s just say that the Oaks meets our high cheesy standards and then some.