The Best Sandwiches in Los Angeles

Chicken “Parmigiano” at Paninoteca by Scarpetta | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Two slices of bread, balanced fillings and imagination is all it takes to create a satisfying sandwich, but great versions remain elusive. Luckily, Los Angeles has a legacy of great sandwiches, including Langer's Deli #19, the French Dips at Philippe the Original and Cole's, and the Bay Cities Godmother. Read on and discover L.A.'s destination sandwiches.

The Farmer at The Daily Dose | Photo by Joshua Lurie

The Daily Dose



Sarkis Vartanian’s café, which resides down a brick-lined alley in the Downtown Arts District, could easily maintain an air of secrecy, if not for the monkey-in-a-suit logo. There are usually a couple of specials available, but one constant has been The Farmer, a vegetarian behemoth that weighs a full pound and packs a rainbow’s worth of ingredients between slices of toasted Kalamata olive bread from nearby Bread Lounge. Beyond that, expect slabs of roasted squash, heirloom tomatoes, Okinawan purple potatoes, ancho chile jam, vegan pesto, creamy burrata cheese, guacamole, and a house-made veggie patty that changes with the seasons. During one visit, the patty was purple and crafted from beets, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, kale stock, onions, garlic, herbs and spices.

Lamb brain and duck tongue sandwich at Denj | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Denj



Tehran native Frank Mazloumi, wife Nahid and their daughters all pitch in at their small Woodland Hills restaurant, which started out as Mr. Cook and now goes by Denj, which means "quiet, safe place" in Farsi. The family has a firm handle on sandwiches, including a particularly devastating, and somewhat exotic, pairing of duck tongue and lamb brain. Juicy, griddle-seared tongue joins creamy brains in a supple roll that also touts tart pickle spears, raw onions, tomato slices, garlic sauce and cilantro, which all help to provide a pungent counterpunch to the richness of the offal duo.

Fairfax sandwich at Eggslut | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Eggslut



Chef Alvin Cailan and his kitchen crew work wonders with eggs at the open-air counter on the Broadway side of the retooled Grand Central Market. Whether it’s during breakfast or lunch, just about every menu item features a deftly cooked egg that is either fried, coddled or soft-scrambled. Still, it’s at breakfast where Eggslut sandwiches shine brightest. The Fairfax, an homage to where the bygone Eggslut truck used to park at the beginning of its run, features fluffy soft-scrambled eggs, chives, melted cheddar, caramelized onions and spicy Sriracha mayo on a soft, served on a warm brioche bun.

Dabeli at Mumbai Ki Galliyon Se | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Mumbai Ki Galliyon Se



Little India, which encompasses a stretch of Pioneer Boulevard in Artesia, remains the epicenter for Indian culture in L.A. County. Given that, Sailesh Shah and wife Shruti opened Mumbai Ki Galliyon Se there in 2008. Their vegetarian, Mumbai-style snack shop is short on seats, but long on choices, with almost 100 menu listings. Dabeli is a cure for underwhelming sliders that have swept the nation. Buttery rolls cradle spiced mashed potatoes, peanuts, crunchy onions, sweet raisins and green grapes. When pomegranates are in season, expect colorful seeds. In off months, the couple substitutes sweet-tart pomegranate molasses for fresh fruit.

Golden Fried Shrimp Po Boy at Orleans & York Deli

 |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

Orleans & York Deli



New Orleans and New York don’t intersect on any map, but the merger is seamless at the base of Baldwin Hills (and now Inglewood) thanks to a New York-born owner whose mom has New Orleans roots. At the Slauson Avenue original, order Orleans Po-Boys or York Heroes from a stainless steel counter and sit on a low-key patio. Your best bet is the Golden Fried Shrimp Po Boy, featuring soft house-made bread that’s brushed with butter before and after baking. Sweet, plump, thin-sheathed shrimp join crisp iceberg lettuce, tomato, and mayo, taking your mouth directly to the French Quarter.

Southern Fry at Plan Check | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Plan Check Kitchen + Bar - Sawtelle



This reimagined comfort food concept from Terry Heller and chef Ernesto Uchimura continues to make an impact on the L.A. dining scene. Hamburgers may be their base, but don’t sleep on Plan Check’s fried chicken, which can compete with any yardbird in town, particularly when it's part of the Southern Fry. Boneless, crisp-crusted chicken thigh, smoky Jidori, joins spicy green pimento cheese, duck breast ham, and pickles on a soft panko-dusted bun. Yes, it’s served in skillet, like almost everything else at Plan Check.

Croque Madame at Republique | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Republique



This multifaceted restaurant and bakery from Walter Manzke, Margarita Manzke and restaurateur Bill Chait has a grand feel, but delivers an airy, casual vibe at breakfast and lunch. The menu is Cali-French, including a delectable, well-balanced Croque Madame. Ham, egg and cheese is a classic combo, and the Manzkes’ croque involves soft house-baked brioche, silky house-cured ham with some punch, molten Gruyere, and parsley. Minus the golden-yolked fried egg, this would be a croque monsieur, but keep the oeuf.

Double B-LTA at The Sycamore Kitchen | Photo by Joshua Lurie

The Sycamore Kitchen



Karen Hatfield and husband Quinn Hatfield followed up the success of Hatfield's by opening a fast casual cafe and bakery amidst La Brea Avenue's design district. The space has concrete flooring indoors and out, an umbrella-lined patio set back from the street, a modern interior crafted from black steel and wood, and a state of the art BLT. The Hatfields maximize matters with a Double B-LTA. The massive sandwich appears on soft, crusty house baked bread with crispy bacon, juicy braised pork belly, lettuce, balsamic tomatoes, and creamy avocado.

BBQ pork banh mi at Tip Top Sandwiches | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Tip Top Sandwiches



The famed Little Saigon banh mi emporium from owner Loc Lee expanded to the former home of a Rosemead auto mall in early 2010, continuing a strong tradition of French Colonial Vietnamese sandwiches. Supple, house-baked baguettes are the backbone of these impressive sandwiches. BBQ Pork comes in caramelized strips with julienne daikon and carrot. Pate Meatball hosts crumbled pork, aioli, cucumber, cilantro, carrot and onion. You’ll also find fillings like griddled beef meatballs and plump sardines.

Ruskie at Wexler's Deli

 |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

Wexler's Deli



Wexler’s Deli, an old school Jewish deli counter fronted by chef Micah Wexler and longtime hospitality running mate Mike Kassar, is one of the showcase concepts at Grand Central Market, where what’s old is new again. Pastrami and smoked fish are undoubtedly the stars of Wexler's menu, but don’t ignore the Ruskie, which is the city’s best egg salad sandwich served between sliced bread. Soft-boiled eggs join house-made mayo, mustard, coriander and herbs to form a formidable pastel yellow mountain of egg salad. A warm onion-studded Kaiser roll with sweet-tart bread and butter pickles completes the delectable picture.