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Pastrami at Ugly Drum
Pastrami at Ugly Drum
Sunny D/Yelp

Where to Find Heart-Stopping Heaps of Pastrami in Los Angeles, Updated

It's something that we do particularly well in Southern California, from the deli to the roadside stand

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Pastrami at Ugly Drum
| Sunny D/Yelp

There's something about pastrami that makes people go a little bit off the rocker. Business owners throw their margins out the window by heaping the stuff into imposing piles and sliding it all between two slices of bread. Diners don't think twice about digging into fistfuls of pastrami before heading back into the office, despite the inevitable food coma. There's little sanity that surrounds pastrami for some reason, and that's exactly what makes it so appealing.

Below is a collection of Los Angeles's best pastrami makers, from classicists working in the thickly cut Jewish deli tradition to those preferring the thinly cut Southern California original — especially topped over burgers or wrapped inside burritos.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Ugly Drum at Smorgasburg Los Angeles

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One of Smorgasburg's most popular weekend vendors, Ugly Drum offers a pastrami-fied take on Texas brisket awesomeness. It's enough to draw long Sunday lines, and for good reason: the smoky, salty stuff is perfect on the spot, and maybe even better the next day.

Sunny D/Yelp

Langer's Delicatessen-Restaurant

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There is no conversation of pastrami without talk of Langer’s, an L.A. beacon since 1947. You know the drill: order the #19, pastrami laced with swiss cheese, Russian dressing and cole slaw, then split the sandwich with a small family of four.

Busy Bee Market

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The long-running Busy Bee Market is a staple in San Pedro, offering grocery store vibes alongside some of the area's best sandwiches. Top on that list is their thin-sliced pastrami, a big, messy concoction reminiscent of some of Southern California's best options like The Hat and Johnnie's.

Fleishiks

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Eric Greenspan's new sandwich shop is already a hit for Beverly's Jewish corridor, with a full kosher lineup that includes a meaty and indulgent pastrami sandwich that's predictably dripping with 1,000 Islands dressing and onion rings. This is Eric Greenspan, after all.

Farley Elliott

Nate 'n Al Delicatessen

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Deli legend Nate N' Al's is still a king in the pastrami game, playing to dedicated customers who have been enjoying their sandwiches for decades. The Beverly Hills mainstay is now more than 70 years along, and should expect another equally long run if they keep executing their pastrami just the way the locals love it.

Yelp

Johnnie's Pastrami

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Westsiders have been opting not to make the drive to Langer’s since 1952, when Johnnie’s Pastrami opened its doors along Sepulveda Blvd. Served on a soft white roll (or rye by request) with a side of pickles, this is Jewish deli fare by way of a family diner.

Courtesy Johhnie's

Brent's Deli

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Long considered to be the only true pastrami rival to Langer’s, Brent’s in Northridge has been an L.A. deli icon since 1967. The black pastrami reuben inspires legions of commuters to make the trek north every week.

Stan Lee

The Hat

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Pasadena’s oft-disputed pastrami king, The Hat has managed to make itself at home in the north SGV for decades. The original location started in 1951, and continues to kick out their signature pastrami dip sandwiches for less than $10.

Canter's Delicatessen

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Fairfax’s immutable 24 hour deli started serving in 1931. Not much has changed since then (the prices, perhaps?), including the original recipe pastrami, served most famously in a double-stack alongside corned beef in the restaurant’s namesake sandwich.

Labels Table Deli

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Relative newcomer Label’s Table didn’t open their doors until 1974, but that hasn’t stopped the Pico Blvd. operation from competing at a high level with their pastrami sandwiches, served alongside the usual accoutrement of Jewish deli fare, from whitefish salad to matzo ball soup.

Courtesy Label's Table

Eastside Market Italian Deli

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Most often served as the #7 combo that includes roast beef, the pastrami at Eastside Market Deli comes draped in marinara sauce — just like everything else at this 1929 Italian enclave.

Eastside Market Deli

Dino's Chicken and Burgers

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Let no one suggest a lunch other than the stained-orange chicken and fries from Dino’s Chicken & Burgers, founded in 1968. But should one be feeling adventurous, it’d be hard to go wrong with the pastrami (served as a sandwich, burrito or over a burger) as well.

Dino's Chicken and Burgers

Greenblatt's Delicatessen & Fine Wine Shop

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Greenblatt's has been doling out pastrami to late night partiers and comedy club goers for nearly 100 years. The block has changed from the days when Sunset Blvd was mostly a dirt road. Pick up a bottle of wine downstairs to pair with the sandwich and open it for a reasonable corkage fee.

The Original Tops

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In a town that loves The Hat, Tops isn’t afraid to go toe to toe. It’s what they’ve been doing since 1952, serving overclocked pastrami sandwiches and pastrami burgers along for sit down customers and anyone looking to just drive through along East Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena.

The Original Tops

The Oinkster

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An Eastside favorite with a newer outlet in Hollywood, The Oinkster is known for their burgers and pastrami. Cured over two weeks and smoked using applewood, the result is a hefty overall sandwich that leans on thinly-cut pastrami.

Wexler's Deli

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The new-school standard for pastrami in Los Angeles is Wexler’s. Now with two locations (their original at Grand Central Market and a new outpost in Santa Monica) there’s never been a better time to make your next pastrami sandwich happen here.

Jeff's Gourmet Kosher Sausage Factory

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Jeff’s is a Pico Boulevard legend thanks to its kosher practices and outstanding pastrami. There are sausages, burgers, and wraps on the expansive restaurant’s menu, but what you’re really after is the house-smoked pastrami, available by the heap.

Bigmista's Barbecue & Sammich Shop

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Though generally available on weekends only, Bigmista’s in Long Beach offers pastrami that’s worth the drive. It’s also apparently worth the line, as hordes tend to descent upon the eatery by early morning every Saturday.

Daglas Drive-in

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A Valley staple with an old school Americana vibe, Daglas offers thinly sliced pastrami served on the ubiquitous french roll. It’s a mound of meat that comes classically wrapped in yellow deli paper, made all the better thanks to the kitschy interior decoration job and old school signage.

Despite the French dip claim to fame, the best single sandwich on the Cole’s menu may well be the pastrami. You can still dip the whole thing to you heart’s delight, but it’s a stronger, juicer contender than the longtime restaurant’s other standout sandwich.

The Original Rinaldi's

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Hyper-casual beach option Rinaldi’s has long been known to locals, but doesn’t get enough credit outside of the South Bay. For years the place has been churning out mostly Italian-leaning sandwiches, though their pastrami is among the most coveted options in the place.

Plan Check Kitchen + Bar

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Though primarily known for their burgers (and one epic fried chicken sandwich) in-the-know diners aren't afraid of skewing to the pastrami at Plan Check on occasion. The $15 nosh is a heaping pile of pastrami with all the necessary fixins — including a fried egg.

The Deli Counter

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You'll find pastrami thinly sliced and stacked sky-high at this simple Carson deli counter, along with more inventive fare like a DIY frito pie with pastrami piled on top.

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Ugly Drum at Smorgasburg Los Angeles

Sunny D/Yelp

One of Smorgasburg's most popular weekend vendors, Ugly Drum offers a pastrami-fied take on Texas brisket awesomeness. It's enough to draw long Sunday lines, and for good reason: the smoky, salty stuff is perfect on the spot, and maybe even better the next day.

Sunny D/Yelp

Langer's Delicatessen-Restaurant

There is no conversation of pastrami without talk of Langer’s, an L.A. beacon since 1947. You know the drill: order the #19, pastrami laced with swiss cheese, Russian dressing and cole slaw, then split the sandwich with a small family of four.

Busy Bee Market

The long-running Busy Bee Market is a staple in San Pedro, offering grocery store vibes alongside some of the area's best sandwiches. Top on that list is their thin-sliced pastrami, a big, messy concoction reminiscent of some of Southern California's best options like The Hat and Johnnie's.

Fleishiks

Farley Elliott

Eric Greenspan's new sandwich shop is already a hit for Beverly's Jewish corridor, with a full kosher lineup that includes a meaty and indulgent pastrami sandwich that's predictably dripping with 1,000 Islands dressing and onion rings. This is Eric Greenspan, after all.

Farley Elliott

Nate 'n Al Delicatessen

Yelp

Deli legend Nate N' Al's is still a king in the pastrami game, playing to dedicated customers who have been enjoying their sandwiches for decades. The Beverly Hills mainstay is now more than 70 years along, and should expect another equally long run if they keep executing their pastrami just the way the locals love it.

Yelp

Johnnie's Pastrami

Courtesy Johhnie's

Westsiders have been opting not to make the drive to Langer’s since 1952, when Johnnie’s Pastrami opened its doors along Sepulveda Blvd. Served on a soft white roll (or rye by request) with a side of pickles, this is Jewish deli fare by way of a family diner.

Courtesy Johhnie's

Brent's Deli

Stan Lee

Long considered to be the only true pastrami rival to Langer’s, Brent’s in Northridge has been an L.A. deli icon since 1967. The black pastrami reuben inspires legions of commuters to make the trek north every week.

Stan Lee

The Hat

Pasadena’s oft-disputed pastrami king, The Hat has managed to make itself at home in the north SGV for decades. The original location started in 1951, and continues to kick out their signature pastrami dip sandwiches for less than $10.

Canter's Delicatessen

Fairfax’s immutable 24 hour deli started serving in 1931. Not much has changed since then (the prices, perhaps?), including the original recipe pastrami, served most famously in a double-stack alongside corned beef in the restaurant’s namesake sandwich.

Labels Table Deli

Courtesy Label's Table

Relative newcomer Label’s Table didn’t open their doors until 1974, but that hasn’t stopped the Pico Blvd. operation from competing at a high level with their pastrami sandwiches, served alongside the usual accoutrement of Jewish deli fare, from whitefish salad to matzo ball soup.

Courtesy Label's Table

Eastside Market Italian Deli