Is there a more perfect food than cheese? If so, we haven't tried it. Pick a cheese shop from this list of LA's best and indulge in creamy, salty, tangy (and sometimes odiferous) treats—not to mention some of the city's best sandwiches and cheese board and charcuterie plate options. Some of these spots double as wine stores or lunch spots, and all of them offer plenty of options for picnic ideas, dinner parties and—yes, okay—any time you want to treat yourself. There's even a vegan option!
LA's top cheese shop options
Wheel House is a very adorable Culver City cheese and sundry shop. Check out their artisan cheeses from around the world, wide range of charcuterie and well-curated (and cheese-friendly) selection of wine, beer and cider. Grab some cheese to go, have the 'mongers make you a platter or picnic basket for an event, or hand-pick a plate to stay and enjoy on Wheel House's twinkle-lit back patio. The patio is where most of Wheel House's classes take place, as well—everything from Cheese 101 to Pairing, and all including lots of tastes of cheeses and other goodies. The shop will even come to you with their Mobile Monger operation, which sends a cheesemonger to an event armed with samples, knowledge and boozy pairings.
Tucked into Grand Central Market is this little full-service, cut-to-order cheese counter and eatery owned by sisters Lydia and Marnie Clarke (they also own the Cheese Cave in Claremont, and a love of dairy runs in the family—their father founded Alta Dena Dairy). In addition to a delicious selection of more than 100 cheeses, DTLA Cheese offers made-to-order plates and a menu of sandwiches and other cheesy offerings from chef Reed Herrick. Want more? Try a class during Downtown LA's Artwalk: the second Thursday evening of each month, learn about a different type or style of cheesemaking, try samples and enjoy a cheese-friendly appetizer and glass of wine, all for $20 (sign up online or call the shop to reserve a spot).
Original owner—and ex-tour manager for acts like Van Halen and Billy Idol—Chris Pollan was responsible for supplying the hipster hood with high-quality imported and domestic cheeses since 2002. After his passing in 2015, his wife, Alane, took over ownership, and has continued Chris' devotion to dairy. Find more than 300 cheeses on seasonal roation, plus olive oil, vinegars, jam, crackers, chocolate and more. Fresh-baked bread and affordable wines are also featured in the shop, and there are house-made sandwiches on offer from midday until they're sold out. Cheese and wine/beer pairing classes are offered monthly (be on the lookout for Grilled Cheese night, an ooey-gooey favorite).
Owner Glenn Harrell is one of the nicest men you'll ever meet behind a cheese counter. He knows his stuff and wants you to learn, too—stop in to pick something up for a dinner party or picnic and you'll likely walk out with lots of newfound knowledge (and a few extra rounds of cheese). The experience isn't rushed here—you'll be asked where you're going, what you like, and get into discussions about consistency and odor. The shop has run smoothly for just over 35 years—an impressive feat in such a fast-changing neighborhood, and a testament to Harrell's dedication to (the cheese lovers of) the community.
Welcome to dairy heaven. Rounds, slabs, wheels, slices and wedges of cheese fill the Cheese Store of Beverly Hills, a mecca for those who need to find a last-minute dinner party gift or hard-to-find cheese type. And if you want to taste, CSBH's twice-monthly cheese tastings are firsthand proof that epicurean culture exists in Los Angeles—you simply have to know where to find it. The shop feels like a secret room, fit with French windows and a retractable roof; decades ago the space was home to a fine dining establishment, but now it serves as a charming locale for the gourmet cheese shop's luxe events. Each CSBH tasting is themed regionally (Southern Italy, Bordeaux, Spain—essentially any place you'd want to honeymoon), and features two delicately selected flights of seven wines and 10 cheeses. Throughout the tasting, a cheese pundit and a sommelier will briefly describe each selection as it's presented, before allowing attendees to chat, eat and drink like 19th century European nobility. After two hours or so, properly wined and stuffed with Comtés, Gruyeres and Asiagos, guests are invited next door to the cheese shop for an after party, complete with discounted prices on cheese (there are upwards of 400 available) and another popped bottle or two.
Milkfarm specializes in small-batch cheeses, charcuterie and other handmade food products mostly from L.A.-based, independent producers. Each cheese is selected, taste-tested and curated to build the shop's extensive collection. You can also find made-to-order sandwiches here, in addition to cheese and charcuterie plates, freshly baked bread, pastries and other small bites. Grab a bottle of beer or wine and order a few things to eat right in the shop at the communal table. You can also sign up for tastings, classes, "Meet the Maker" events and wine and cheese pairings.
If you've passed by the storefronts of the many cheese shops in L.A. and looked upon their dairy-filled interiors with longing because you're vegan (or lactose intolerant)–rejoice! Vromage is L.A.'s only fully vegan cheese shop. Yep, you read that right. Owner Youssef Fahouri makes and stocks a variety of "cheeses" made from nuts and seeds and aged to perfection. No animal products here, just cashews, macadamia nuts, pine nuts, pistachios, almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and poppy seeds. Whew! Fahouri also offers a variety of salads, open-faced sandwiches and Crunch Pizzas (a vegan cheese and cracker-combo 'za creation), all using the shop's signature cheeses.
Cheese Cave is owned by sisters Lydia and Marnie Clarke—the same sisters who recently opened DTLA Cheese + Kitchen at Grand Central Market. The Cave is their original shop, and is known for its well-curated selection of notable cheeses, along with boutique wines, handmade local beers and artisan salumi. Grab a hunk of something to go or create the cheese board of your dreams—if you have another cheese lover in your life, you can get them a gift card and give them the joy of picking out (and tasting) these delicious options themselves.
This Sherman Oaks shop offers a large selection of handmade cheeses from around the world, plus a comprehensive collection of charcuterie (prosciutto, jamon, speck, pâté and salami) and accompaniments like honey, jam, olives, chocolates and more. Their picnic boards are a thing of beauty (and don't even need to be ordered in advance!), and they'll use the same ingredients to whip up a killer cheesy sandwich made to order. Want to take a class? Not only is there a rotating list of classes beyond just Cheese 101 (Bloomy Rinds, anyone?), but you can take charuterie classes here too. To top it all off, you can join Cheesemongers' cheese of the month club.
Tucked inside this well-stocked wine store is a larder that sells an assortment of artisan-made cheeses from across the world, plus salumi and the area's best sandwiches. Line up with the lunch crowd for an Italian deli-style sandwich and stock up on European candies and old-fashioned sodas like Dublin Original Dr. Pepper. You can also stock up on everything necessary for a home-cooked meal or night of entertaining, including imported oils, vinegars, and condiments, candies and chocolates, caviar, crackers, chips and dips. Watch out for store hours: closed Sundays and sandwiches served only from 11am to 5pm.
This well-stocked cheese and wine shop also offers a daily selection of freshly-made sandwiches and soups, all featuring premium domestic and imported cheese and including homemade pestos, aiolis and dressings. While the cheese selection here is impressive, more folks stop by for the freshly-made eats to enjoy in-house; that being said, if you're looking for a wedge of something tasty for a party or picnic, Artisan Cheese House has you covered.
Pick up artisanal cheeses from around the world at this small, specialty shop, a mecca for local cheese lovers. (The unsurprising motto of the store? "This Place Stinks!") Find spreads, jams, tapenades and roasted macadamia nuts made in-house for the perfect accompaniments. The staff, including Andrew, is on hand to answer any questions and help you find your favorite cheeses. Be sure to check their website for a schedule of nightly events including the popular grilled-cheese-and-beer night; and don't be suprised if Andrew (or anyone on staff) has serious thoughts on your cheese preferences—they're notoriously opinionated and have bones to pick with a number of otherwise-beloved creameries.