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Italian deli sandwich opened up in parchment paper.
Italian cold cuts sandwich at Italia Deli in Agoura Hills.
Matthew Kang

19 Epic Sandwiches in Los Angeles

Deli sandwiches, a Wagyu pastrami panini, bánh mì, and plenty of plant-based options

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Italian cold cuts sandwich at Italia Deli in Agoura Hills.
| Matthew Kang

Sandwiches are arguably the world’s most perfect self-contained food, and Los Angeles boasts more than a handful of greats in the broad genre. With or without gluten, Angelenos love bread layered with hearty ingredients, whether it’s iconic meaty classics, like the French dip at Philippe the Original and the godmother at Bay Cities, Jeff’s Table’s modern takes on a Reuben, or the plant-based creations from Highland Park’s longtime panaderia Delicias Bakery. Some have strong opinions about which LA sandwiches are the best, but there’s no shortage of sandwich excellence in and around the Southland. Here now are 19 outstanding sandwiches to try in Los Angeles.

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The godmother at Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery

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Arguably the most iconic sandwich in Los Angeles, the Godmother is a classic Italian deli house-baked roll filled with Boar’s Head deli meats, cheese, mustard, and veggies. Though other excellent sandwiches — especially the hot variety — are available behind the Bay Cities counter, the Godmother is the most talked about and a must-try for every Angeleno.

Cecina cemita at Don Adrian

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It takes a strong jaw and serious appetite to conquer a cemita poblano, a beast of a sandwich constructed on a plush sesame roll jam-packed with ripe avocados, panela cheese, Oaxacan string cheese, salsa, onions, and meat. While the thinly pounded and deep-fried hunk of carne beef milanesa is the most traditional filling, there’s also house-made queso de puerco (pork head cheese), pata de res (pickled beef tendons), and even salmon. Get the one filled with cecina, a kind of beef jerky that the shop’s proprietor Adolfo Huerta makes in-house.

For dreamy Pueblan sandwiches: Cemitas Don Adrian.
A cemita at Don Adrian.
Cathy Chaplin

The OG club at Cultured Slice

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While Cultured Slice’s turkey club does not reinvent the wheel, it gives the sandwich a much better name than the ones served at sad business lunches and the private clubs where it originated. Owner Solange Comer is all about proper proportions, and that’s on full display in this dead-simple sandwich made with great ingredients: thin-sliced turkey, crisp bacon, a juicy sliced tomato, shredded lettuce, cheddar, and mayo on really good white bread.

A turkey club sandwich with cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, bacon, and mayo on sliced white bread at Cultured Slice.
The OG Club at Cultured Slice.
Karen Palmer

The serenity now at Monroe Place

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A really good (read: not boring) turkey sandwich is a feat — and at Monroe Place in Culver City, Sara Fakhfouri jazzes up herbed turkey with a fiery serrano-cilantro spread, a fresh chopped tomato and cumber salad, and high-quality feta on Bub and Grandma’s focaccia. The shop’s website promises “sandwiches with a lil’ twist,” and Fakhfouri’s twists are rather tasty.

The firebird at Ghost Sando Shop

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Ghost Sando Shop landed in LA with a bang, nabbing two locations to try the firebird sandwich. Pastrami turkey, jalapeño pepper jack and chipotle Gouda cheeses, lettuce, pickle, tomato, and white onion on a Dutch crunch roll. If the Melrose location isn’t convenient, Grand Central Market will have to do.

Po’ boy at Orleans & York Deli

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Head to Inglewood for a taste of the Big Easy here in the City of Angels. Order any of the po’ boys at Sami Othman’s neighborhood spot, including ones stuffed to maximum capacity with shrimp, oysters, and catfish, as your taste buds are whisked away to Bourbon Street.

A po’ boy sandwich with shrimp, lettuce, and tomatoes at Orleans & York Deli in Los Angeles.
Po’ Boy at Orleans & York Deli
Orleans & York Deli [Official Photo]

The fish (don’t have) fingers at Highly Likely Café

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Fast-food-style fried fish sandwiches abound in Los Angeles, but Kat Turner’s Fish (Don’t Have) Fingers sandwich elevates the seafood sandwich to an art. She layers nuggets of tempura-fried fish “of the moment” with kosho-spiked tartar sauce and a bright cabbage slaw tossed with a punchy yuzu dressing. The fish can also be ordered roasted, but the crispity crunchiness of the fried version is supremely satisfying.

Eggplant Parmesan at Ggiata Delicatessen

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All the way from Montclair, NJ, Ggiata and its owners bring the best of Jersey deli culture to Los Angeles. The eggplant Parm doesn’t miss, and neither do all the bits of Jersey-core decor in this sandwich shop.

Eggplant parmesan sandwich at Ggiata.
Eggplant parmesan sandwich at Ggiata.
Virali Dave

The #19 at Langer's Delicatessen

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An easy choice for the most popular pastrami sandwich at this 76-year-old deli in Westlake, just west of Downtown. This near-perfect Jewish deli sandwich features house-baked rye bread, Russian dressing, cheese, coleslaw, and freshly sliced slivers of the most achingly perfect smoked pastrami on earth.

#19 sandwich at Langer’s Deli
#19 sandwich at Langer’s Deli
Wonho Frank Lee

Chopped cheese at Bodega Park

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Chef Eric Park’s sandwiches pull influences from New York City, Korea, and Southern California — and his chopped cheese is a love letter to an NYC classic, piling chopped beef patty, American cheese, grilled onions and jalapeños, shredded lettuce, tomato, ketchup, and mayo on a pressed hero roll. Former New Yorkers, beware: This sandwich might come with an overwhelming sense of nostalgia.

Fried chicken sandwich at Pikunico

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Head to Row in DTLA and order chef Kuniko Yagi’s Japanese-style fried chicken sandwich. It’s a noble effort with deep-fried kaarage on a turmeric-tinged bun with pickled daikon, watercress, alfalfa sprouts, lemon aioli, and miso jam.

The fried chicken sandwich at Pikunico in Los Angeles.
Fried chicken sandwich.
@GastronomyBlog

Bánh mì đặc biệt at My Dung Sandwich Shop

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Scope the menu outside before entering this teeny-tiny Chinatown sandwich shop. It’s impossible to go wrong with any of the offerings, but the house-special bánh mì đặc biệt may be the best of all. Though the baguettes are not made on-site, each one is warmed-to-a-crisp to order and filled with all that’s good: pate, head cheese, Vietnamese ham, pickled daikon and carrots, cucumber spears, sliced jalapeño, and a few cilantro sprigs.

A banh mi sandwich filled with pate, head cheese, Vietnamese ham, pickled daikon and carrots, shaved jalapeños, and a few cilantro sprigs at My Dung.
My Dung’s banh mi bac diet.
Cathy Chaplin

The honey walnut shrimp sando at Katsu Sando

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Katsu Sando opened in 2021 with long lines and a rabid fanbase that first learned to love the Japanese convenience store sandwiches from Daniel Son at Smorgasburg. But since opening a permanent location in Chinatown, Son unleashed his most creative sandwich, a honey walnut shrimp sando with house-made milk bread with just the right balance of plump, crisp shrimp built into a makeshift patty, then topped with crunchy honey-glazed walnuts.

Honey and walnut encrusted shrimp between bread at Katsu Sando restaurant.
Katsu Sando.
Matthew Kang

The beef double-dip at Philippe the Original

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The purported inventor of the French dip more than a century ago, Philippe the Original makes everything feel like time hasn’t passed, with sawdust floors, old-timer servers who prepare sandwiches to order, and coffee that’s payable in pennies. The beef double-dip is what aficionados get, with a heavy dose of salty jus and tender slices of roast beef with a few dabs of the famous spicy mustard to round it out. Others opt for a similar version with sliced lamb.

A french dip sandwich served on its side with juices in a cup.
Beef dip sandwich at Philippe’s
Wonho Frank Lee

Italian combo at Eagle Rock Italian Bakery & Deli

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Eagle Rock Italian Bakery & Deli opened in 1949, and though the sandwich counter is busy, the shop’s massive counter dedicated to dessert and pastry is worth a look. The classic Italian market also turns out some of the best sandwiches, including a fantastic Italian combo made on crusty bread. Customization options abound — pros know they can double the meat and add muffuletta-esque olive spread to any order.

A combination of mortadella, salami, and cheese between crusty bread.
Eagle Rock Italian Bakery & Deli Italian combo
Mona Holmes

Vegan torta milanesa at Delicias Bakery And Some

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In addition to preparing plant-based pan dulce, this 32-year-old Highland Park bakery also serves a vegan torta milanesa. It’s prepared with pounded-flat meat or TVP with queso fresco, chipotle mayonnaise, avocado, lettuce, cabbage, jalapeños, red onion, and tomato. Order one of the aguas frescas and the tres leches cake, and all is right in the world.

The pastrami Reuben at Jeff's Table

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Jeff Strauss had a TV producer and writer career before meandering into sandwich creation in Highland Park, where he serves sandwiches, salads, and more inside Flask liquor store. People started flocking there to try the pastrami Reuben. It’s a hearty beast of a hot sandwich with smoky pastrami, melted Comte, sauerkraut, a house Russian dressing, a perfect gruyere crisp on a griddled, seeded rye bread.

The flores at Maciel's Plant-Based Butcher & Deli

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Maciel’s Plant-Based Butcher & Deli is the vegan sandwich shop LA didn’t know it needed. But now that the city has gotten a taste of Maciel Bañales-Luna’s incredible creations, there’s no turning back. While all of the sandwiches stuffed with scratch-made proteins are hearty and flavorful, it’s the jackfruit-filled flores that never fails to satisfy. Imbued with Mexican chiles, tomatoes, spices, and a little maple syrup, the jackfruit’s smoky and spicy profile is not-to-be-missed.

Mexican ribs, pickled onions, arugula, and vegan mayo on ciabatta at Maciel’s Plant Based Butcher & Deli in Highland Park.
The Flores at Maciel’s.
Wonho Frank Lee

Smoked wagyu pastrami panini at La Carniceria Wagyu

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It’s worth the trek to Brea for something like a smoky Wagyu pastrami panini. It’s made by La Carniceria Wagyu and doubles as a halal butcher shop. Staff start by spreading a whole-grain thousand island mustard hybrid dressing on marbled bread, layer it with the highest grade A5 Wagyu and Fontina cheese, add fig onion marmalade, and place it in the oven so that it’s ridiculously piping hot. The house-made pickled sauerkraut and pickled chili relish help make this hearty sandwich one of LA’s best.

The godmother at Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery

Arguably the most iconic sandwich in Los Angeles, the Godmother is a classic Italian deli house-baked roll filled with Boar’s Head deli meats, cheese, mustard, and veggies. Though other excellent sandwiches — especially the hot variety — are available behind the Bay Cities counter, the Godmother is the most talked about and a must-try for every Angeleno.

Cecina cemita at Don Adrian

It takes a strong jaw and serious appetite to conquer a cemita poblano, a beast of a sandwich constructed on a plush sesame roll jam-packed with ripe avocados, panela cheese, Oaxacan string cheese, salsa, onions, and meat. While the thinly pounded and deep-fried hunk of carne beef milanesa is the most traditional filling, there’s also house-made queso de puerco (pork head cheese), pata de res (pickled beef tendons), and even salmon. Get the one filled with cecina, a kind of beef jerky that the shop’s proprietor Adolfo Huerta makes in-house.

For dreamy Pueblan sandwiches: Cemitas Don Adrian.
A cemita at Don Adrian.
Cathy Chaplin

The OG club at Cultured Slice

While Cultured Slice’s turkey club does not reinvent the wheel, it gives the sandwich a much better name than the ones served at sad business lunches and the private clubs where it originated. Owner Solange Comer is all about proper proportions, and that’s on full display in this dead-simple sandwich made with great ingredients: thin-sliced turkey, crisp bacon, a juicy sliced tomato, shredded lettuce, cheddar, and mayo on really good white bread.

A turkey club sandwich with cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, bacon, and mayo on sliced white bread at Cultured Slice.
The OG Club at Cultured Slice.
Karen Palmer

The serenity now at Monroe Place

A really good (read: not boring) turkey sandwich is a feat — and at Monroe Place in Culver City, Sara Fakhfouri jazzes up herbed turkey with a fiery serrano-cilantro spread, a fresh chopped tomato and cumber salad, and high-quality feta on Bub and Grandma’s focaccia. The shop’s website promises “sandwiches with a lil’ twist,” and Fakhfouri’s twists are rather tasty.

The firebird at Ghost Sando Shop

Ghost Sando Shop landed in LA with a bang, nabbing two locations to try the firebird sandwich. Pastrami turkey, jalapeño pepper jack and chipotle Gouda cheeses, lettuce, pickle, tomato, and white onion on a Dutch crunch roll. If the Melrose location isn’t convenient, Grand Central Market will have to do.

Po’ boy at Orleans & York Deli

Head to Inglewood for a taste of the Big Easy here in the City of Angels. Order any of the po’ boys at Sami Othman’s neighborhood spot, including ones stuffed to maximum capacity with shrimp, oysters, and catfish, as your taste buds are whisked away to Bourbon Street.

A po’ boy sandwich with shrimp, lettuce, and tomatoes at Orleans & York Deli in Los Angeles.
Po’ Boy at Orleans & York Deli
Orleans & York Deli [Official Photo]

The fish (don’t have) fingers at Highly Likely Café

Fast-food-style fried fish sandwiches abound in Los Angeles, but Kat Turner’s Fish (Don’t Have) Fingers sandwich elevates the seafood sandwich to an art. She layers nuggets of tempura-fried fish “of the moment” with kosho-spiked tartar sauce and a bright cabbage slaw tossed with a punchy yuzu dressing. The fish can also be ordered roasted, but the crispity crunchiness of the fried version is supremely satisfying.

Eggplant Parmesan at Ggiata Delicatessen

All the way from Montclair, NJ, Ggiata and its owners bring the best of Jersey deli culture to Los Angeles. The eggplant Parm doesn’t miss, and neither do all the bits of Jersey-core decor in this sandwich shop.

Eggplant parmesan sandwich at Ggiata.
Eggplant parmesan sandwich at Ggiata.
Virali Dave

The #19 at Langer's Delicatessen

An easy choice for the most popular pastrami sandwich at this 76-year-old deli in Westlake, just west of Downtown. This near-perfect Jewish deli sandwich features house-baked rye bread, Russian dressing, cheese, coleslaw, and freshly sliced slivers of the most achingly perfect smoked pastrami on earth.

#19 sandwich at Langer’s Deli
#19 sandwich at Langer’s Deli
Wonho Frank Lee

Chopped cheese at Bodega Park

Chef Eric Park’s sandwiches pull influences from New York City, Korea, and Southern California — and his chopped cheese is a love letter to an NYC classic, piling chopped beef patty, American cheese, grilled onions and jalapeños, shredded lettuce, tomato, ketchup, and mayo on a pressed hero roll. Former New Yorkers, beware: This sandwich might come with an overwhelming sense of nostalgia.

Fried chicken sandwich at Pikunico

Head to Row in DTLA and order chef Kuniko Yagi’s Japanese-style fried chicken sandwich. It’s a noble effort with deep-fried kaarage on a turmeric-tinged bun with pickled daikon, watercress, alfalfa sprouts, lemon aioli, and miso jam.

The fried chicken sandwich at Pikunico in Los Angeles.
Fried chicken sandwich.
@GastronomyBlog

Bánh mì đặc biệt at My Dung Sandwich Shop

Scope the menu outside before entering this teeny-tiny Chinatown sandwich shop. It’s impossible to go wrong with any of the offerings, but the house-special bánh mì đặc biệt may be the best of all. Though the baguettes are not made on-site, each one is warmed-to-a-crisp to order and filled with all that’s good: pate, head cheese, Vietnamese ham, pickled daikon and carrots, cucumber spears, sliced jalapeño, and a few cilantro sprigs.

A banh mi sandwich filled with pate, head cheese, Vietnamese ham, pickled daikon and carrots, shaved jalapeños, and a few cilantro sprigs at My Dung.
My Dung’s banh mi bac diet.
Cathy Chaplin

The honey walnut shrimp sando at Katsu Sando

Katsu Sando opened in 2021 with long lines and a rabid fanbase that first learned to love the Japanese convenience store sandwiches from Daniel Son at Smorgasburg. But since opening a permanent location in Chinatown, Son unleashed his most creative sandwich, a honey walnut shrimp sando with house-made milk bread with just the right balance of plump, crisp shrimp built into a makeshift patty, then topped with crunchy honey-glazed walnuts.

Honey and walnut encrusted shrimp between bread at Katsu Sando restaurant.
Katsu Sando.
Matthew Kang

The beef double-dip at Philippe the Original

The purported inventor of the French dip more than a century ago, Philippe the Original makes everything feel like time hasn’t passed, with sawdust floors, old-timer servers who prepare sandwiches to order, and coffee that’s payable in pennies. The beef double-dip is what aficionados get, with a heavy dose of salty jus and tender slices of roast beef with a few dabs of the famous spicy mustard to round it out. Others opt for a similar version with sliced lamb.

A french dip sandwich served on its side with juices in a cup.
Beef dip sandwich at Philippe’s
Wonho Frank Lee

Italian combo at Eagle Rock Italian Bakery & Deli

Eagle Rock Italian Bakery & Deli opened in 1949, and though the sandwich counter is busy, the shop’s massive counter dedicated to dessert and pastry is worth a look. The classic Italian market also turns out some of the best sandwiches, including a fantastic Italian combo made on crusty bread. Customization options abound — pros know they can double the meat and add muffuletta-esque olive spread to any order.

A combination of mortadella, salami, and cheese between crusty bread.
Eagle Rock Italian Bakery & Deli Italian combo
Mona Holmes

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Vegan torta milanesa at Delicias Bakery And Some

In addition to preparing plant-based pan dulce, this 32-year-old Highland Park bakery also serves a vegan torta milanesa. It’s prepared with pounded-flat meat or TVP with queso fresco, chipotle mayonnaise, avocado, lettuce, cabbage, jalapeños, red onion, and tomato. Order one of the aguas frescas and the tres leches cake, and all is right in the world.

The pastrami Reuben at Jeff's Table

Jeff Strauss had a TV producer and writer career before meandering into sandwich creation in Highland Park, where he serves sandwiches, salads, and more inside Flask liquor store. People started flocking there to try the pastrami Reuben. It’s a hearty beast of a hot sandwich with smoky pastrami, melted Comte, sauerkraut, a house Russian dressing, a perfect gruyere crisp on a griddled, seeded rye bread.

The flores at Maciel's Plant-Based Butcher & Deli

Maciel’s Plant-Based Butcher & Deli is the vegan sandwich shop LA didn’t know it needed. But now that the city has gotten a taste of Maciel Bañales-Luna’s incredible creations, there’s no turning back. While all of the sandwiches stuffed with scratch-made proteins are hearty and flavorful, it’s the jackfruit-filled flores that never fails to satisfy. Imbued with Mexican chiles, tomatoes, spices, and a little maple syrup, the jackfruit’s smoky and spicy profile is not-to-be-missed.

Mexican ribs, pickled onions, arugula, and vegan mayo on ciabatta at Maciel’s Plant Based Butcher & Deli in Highland Park.
The Flores at Maciel’s.
Wonho Frank Lee

Smoked wagyu pastrami panini at La Carniceria Wagyu

It’s worth the trek to Brea for something like a smoky Wagyu pastrami panini. It’s made by La Carniceria Wagyu and doubles as a halal butcher shop. Staff start by spreading a whole-grain thousand island mustard hybrid dressing on marbled bread, layer it with the highest grade A5 Wagyu and Fontina cheese, add fig onion marmalade, and place it in the oven so that it’s ridiculously piping hot. The house-made pickled sauerkraut and pickled chili relish help make this hearty sandwich one of LA’s best.

Related Maps