Dig into L.A.'s best grilled cheese sandwiches
As a connoisseur of all things cheesy, chef Eric Greenspan knows a thing or two about a good grilled cheese sandwich—in fact, he wrote the book on it. And while his Greenspan’s Grilled Cheese restaurant is no longer standing, he did launch Alt/Grub, a delivery-only “food hall”—and you can snag a delicious grilled cheese from its bodega-inspired concept, 2 On A Roll. Snag a brick-pressed grilled cheese for only $6, then reach gooey-cheese nirvana: slices of cheddar or American cheese melt togetherinside a grilled parker-house roll, and of course it’s delivered right to your door. And if you want cheesy breakfast sandwiches, he’s even got you covered via Brekkie Burritos, another Alt/Grub restaurant.
The Apple Pan dishes out plenty of good ol’ fashioned comfort dishes, namely that craveable, famed Hickory Burger. But don’t let meat-eaters have all the fun—this beauty of a grilled cheese sandwich ($7) is made with swiss cheese or cheddar oozing between Brooklyn rye bread slathered with mayo and cooled down with lettuce.
Come cold wintry nights or brisk summer evenings, you’ll want to venture to City Tavern for a perfectly toasted grilled cheese ($14) 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 brew list. You deserve it.
Let your health-food cravings lead you to Foodlab, a West Hollywood 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 this café’s off-menu grilled cheese ($9) is instead concocted in a healthier format (well, as nourishing as bread and cheese can be). Made on either wheat or five-grain toast, the crispy sliced bread hugs your choice of cheese—but we’re partial to their blend of melted Gruyere, Tallegio and Raclette. It’s a bite of fromage heaven.
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 ($8) features roasted red peppers, whipped goat cheese, red onions; avocado and spinach; while the Not So Classic ($7.50) involves tater tots, sharp cheddar, roast ham and spinach. But if you want something heart attack-inducing, go for the cheesy Mac & Rib ($9): mac 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.
Known for its down-to-earth homey vibe and its scrumptious California comfort food, the Grub gals Betty Fraser and Denise DeCarlo serve up a nod to America’s favorite after-school snack—appropriately called the After School Special ($13.99). Filled with cheddar and Swiss cheese on sourdough bread, the classic grilled sandwich gets an herbaceous twist from a dab of 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 newer Studio City outpost—and not want to order everything in sight. The pastry case holds airy muffins and dense brownies, the prepared-foods refrigerator holds brightly colored salads and homestyle meatloaf, and the cheese counter is a dream. And speaking of cheese, the grilled cheese at Joan’s is tops: Using traditional French sandwich bread, a mild cheddar cheese oozes onto the plate, and serves as the base for add-ons like tomato or bacon ($10.50–$13). 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.
Possibly the holy grail of all hangover foods (and culprit of engorged waistlines), the Melt’s very own Mac Daddy ($6.79) packs crispy bacon, fried onions and creamy mac and cheese on golden sourdough toast. If that sounds a little much, there’s always the classic (made with sharp cheddar, muenster and fontina, for $5.99) and the Queso de Mayo ($6.79), made with layers of avocado, smoked bacon, pickled jalapeños and pepper jack cheese on French bread.
If there’s one ingredient as chichi 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 truffle ($16). 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 setting for your upscale sandwich. Who says a grilled cheese can’t have glam?
Known for its lavish array of gourmet cheeses, wines and produce at the European-esque market and café, you’d expect the cheese aficionados to craft up a damn good grilled cheese. And that they do. You can make a sandwich from much of the selection, at around $14 (we love the combo of melty fontina with camembert on cranberry-walnut bread), and let’s just say that after one bite, the Oaks meets our high cheesy standards—and then some.
Sure, Nancy Silverton’s pizza-perfect section of the Mozzaplex is all about pies, but we’re partial to the chef’s late-night grilled cheese. A throwback to her Campanile days, Silverton offers rich, filling, out-of-this-world–good grilled cheese sandwiches—crisped with butter, and most come laced with cave-aged gruyere. Note: They’re available all day long on Thursdays, but only from 10pm to midnight at the bar Sunday to Wednesday. But trust us, this is worth staying up late for.