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. LA residents are not (always) averse to gluten, and they 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, or newfangled plant-based creations from the likes of Maciel’s and Bub and Grandma’s. Simply put, there’s no shortage of sandwich excellence in and around the Southland. Here now are 23 epic sandwiches to try in Los Angeles.Read More
23 Epic Sandwiches in Los Angeles
Deli sandwiches, banh mi, and plenty of plant-based options
Cecina cemita at Don Adrian
It takes a massive jaw and a serious appetite to conquer a cemita Poblana, 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 beef milanesa, a thinly pounded and deep-fried hunk of carne, 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.
Italian combo at Eagle Rock Italian Bakery & Deli
Eagle Rock Italian Bakery & Deli opened in 1949, and diners can still find the shop’s massive counter dedicated to dessert and pastry. 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.
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.
The Cauliflower Cheddar at Bub and Grandma's Restaurant
Bub & Grandma’s barely one-month-old Glassell Park digs — an ode to New Jersey diners — has plenty to offer in the sandwich department, it being a beloved bread bakery and all. While the menu caters mostly to carnivores, the vegetarian cauliflower sandwich packs a flavor punch by roasting the key ingredient and pairing it with aged white cheddar, a balsamic-loaded pickle, red onions, arugula, and a balanced swipe of aioli on a house-made sub roll.
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The Kold Kim Cheezy at Jeff's Table
Jeff’s Table has been serving up sandwiches, salads, and soups inside Flask liquor store in Highland Park for a few years now, and the Kold Kim Cheezy is the boldest one. With thin slices of smoked pork shoulder ham accompanied by house-made kimchi, melted cheese, salted plum mustard, aioli, and chili oil on a butter-griddled roll, it’s highly shareable. So is the bag of Irvin’s salted egg potato chips one should get to go with it.
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Vegan mollete at Delicias Bakery And Some
Open since 1991, Highland Park’s Delicias prepares Mexican bakery classics while evolving with the times. In addition to preparing vegan pan dulce, the Highland Park bakery also serves an open-faced plant-based mollete sandwich layered with beans, vegan cheese, and soyrizo.
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Prosciutto and gruyere sandwich at Breadblok
Breadblok’s sandwiches are for those choosing — or requiring — the gluten-free life. The breads and baked goods are outstanding, with a generous selection of pastries offered alongside texturally perfect baguette sandwiches swiped with garlic aioli. The prosciutto and gruyere sandwich, in particular, is simple but highly satisfying.
Mushroom French dip at Eszett
Don’t be fooled into thinking Eszett’s mushroom French dip sandwich is a substitute for the meaty version: It’s something that belongs in its own category. The umami-packed vegan dish is a sliced crusty baguette coated with a garlic spread and stuffed with confit mushrooms. It comes together with a wonderful mélange of toppings, like caramelized onions, roasted cabbage, and diced green onions, plus a special burnt leek au jus perfect for multiple dippings.
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 jalapenos, 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.
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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 has 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.
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 jalapenos, and a few cilantro sprigs.
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.
The #19 at Langer's Delicatessen
An easy choice for the most popular pastrami sandwich at this historic 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.
The Tuna Chop at Carla Cafe
Pandemic pop-up darling Carla Cafe is now offering takeout and delivery through Santa Monica’s shared Colony Kitchen. The tuna chop is an explosion of flavors and textures, with the punch of a chopped salad (here, lightly dressed shredded lettuce, chickpeas, pepperoncini, tomatoes, and avocado) piled atop a well-seasoned mayo-based tuna salad flecked with little bits of red onion, all on a yellow mustard-dressed ciabatta roll.
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Chicken shawarma at Mizlala West Adams
Mizlala delivers on a simple premise: quality Israeli food priced under $20 a head — with a fast-casual model, speedy service, and sizable portions. Anyone looking for an entry dish to the genre would do well to opt for the substantial stand-up chicken shawarma, with its pillowy pita and available spicy dips for spreading throughout.
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 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.
The Godmother at Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery
Arguably the most iconic sandwich in Los Angeles, the Godmother is a classic Italian deli sandwich filled with Boar’s Head deli meats, cheese, mustard, and veggies, all contained in a house-baked roll. There are probably better sandwiches at Bay Cities, especially the hot sandwiches, but the Godmother is what everyone talks about, and it’s a must-try at some point in every Angeleno’s life.
Tomato confit sandwich at Gjusta
Juicy, soft tomatoes slow-cooked in olive oil to bring out their natural sweetness placed on Gjusta’s perfect, crispy baguette. That’s it. That’s the sandwich. While its beauty lies in its absolute simplicity and the quality of the ingredients, adding creamy burrata is never a bad idea.
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, and whisk taste buds away to Bourbon Street.
The OG Club at Cultured Slice
While the turkey club at Cultured Slice isn’t reinventing the wheel, it gives the sandwich a much better name than the ones served at sad business lunches and at, well, 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.
Tiger prawn shrimp sandwich at Heritage Sandwich Shop and Restaurant
Chef Philip Pretty’s sandwiches are a sight to see. Not only are they gorgeous, but full of hand-selected farmers market ingredients. Try Heritage’s tiger prawn shrimp sandwich with lemon aioli, bell pepper, gem lettuce, jalapeno, avocado, and celery on a brioche bun.
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Meatball sub at Little Coyote
People flock to this Long Beach standby for its New York-ish pizzas, but the sandwiches are the menu’s sleeper hits. Case in point: the meatball sub, featuring 50/50 beef and pork meatballs nestled in a sub roll, bathed in crushed tomato, and topped with a chewy layer of melty mozz. Get ready for a serious cheese-pull moment when biting into this meaty beauty.