The Best Sandwiches in Los Angeles: Part 1

Chicken Parm Sandwich at Cosa Buona | 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 classic sandwiches, including Langer's Deli #19, Philippe the Original and Cole's French dips, and the Bay Cities Godmother. Read on to learn about the best globally inspired sandwiches in LA.

Hungry for more? Check out Part 2 of our guide to LA's best sandwiches.

Pig in a Blanket at Alimento
Pig in a Blanket at Alimento | Photo by Dylan + Jeni, courtesy of Alimento


This glass-fronted Silver Lake restaurant near the reservoir is rooted in Northern Italian traditions, but knows when it’s cool to stray. Chef Zach Pollack brings new meaning to Pig in a Blanket with a unique sandwich based on mortadella and Stracchino sandwiches that he experienced during late nights in Modena. At Alimento, Pollack braises and sears mortadella. Juicy slabs join pickled mustard seeds, piquant summer tomato jam, a pickled turnip kraut called brovada, tangy red wine vinegar and soft, creamy cow’s milk on flaky spelt “rough puff” pastry. As our server said, “It’s kind of like if you take a Dodger Dog and break it down with very cool Italian ingredients.”

Bacalao at Cook's Tortas in Monterey Park
Bacalao at Cook's Tortas  |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

Cook's Tortas

This Monterey Park sandwich shop that Elvira Zamora, Antonio Zamora and daughter Elyan Zamora co-founded with former partner Ricardo Diaz in 2008 features fashionable grey and white tile floors and a blackboard menu that rotates through a 500-sandwich repertoire. The name honors Captain Cook, who founded the Sandwich Islands with funding from the Earl of Sandwich, who supposedly created the sandwich. The backbone of Cook’s Tortas is their house-made ciabatta bread, which former Bouchon baker Patrick Aguirre imbued with tang from a sourdough starter. The torta roster includes strong contributions from the air, land and sea, perhaps none better than the Bacalao. Elvira Zamora contributed this recipe, which involves de-salting Nova Scotia cod for two days before the fish braises for up to eight hours. Potatoes, red onions, garlic, peppers, green Spanish olives and parsley all luxuriate in olive oil before bringing balance to the Bacalao.

Chicken Parm Sandwich at Cosa Buona | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Cosa Buona

Alimento chef-owner Zach Pollack replaced Pizza Buona with a Buona of his own on Echo Park’s busiest corner. Cosa Buona is a small but stylish 45-seat restaurant that serves the Italian-American comfort food of your dreams. Somehow, their Chicken Parm Sandwich falls under “antipasti” on the menu. We’ll take it. Expertly fried dark meat comes draped with molten mozzarella, zesty fire-red tomato sauce, Tamworth prosciutto, and fresh basil on a toasted bun that’s planted with a tiny Italian flag. Indulge solo or split this beast of a sandwich, depending on your hunger level.

Italian Stallion at Cricca’s Italian Deli & Subs | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Cricca’s Italian Deli & Subs

Driving south on Topanga Canyon Boulevard, before you reach the Santa Monica Mountains, a strip mall provides wonderful food to passersby, including Blinkie’s Donut Emporium and Cricca’s Italian Deli & Subs, which dates to 1969. The small space features just five tables inside, two on the sidewalk, a loaded deli case, and shelves of ingredients like pepperoncini, extra virgin olive oil and Italian peeled tomatoes. The Godfather is the most popular sandwich, but don’t sleep on the Italian Stallion, named for Sylvester Stallone. Expect a heap of ham, turkey breast, Genoa salami, pepperoni, Provolone and Swiss with shredded lettuce, sliced tomato, mayo, and Italian dressing on either a soft or crusty roll. Hot subs include chicken Parm, sausage, and meatballs.

Lamb brain and duck tongue sandwich at Denj
Lamb brain and duck tongue sandwich at 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.

Domingo’s Italian Deli

Domingo’s Italian Deli, the self-described “Little Italy of the Valley,” dates to 1948. Through the years, the business from founders Phyllis and Frank Domingo has passed to several different owners, currently falling under Carlo Ghailian’s purview. The Italian deli and market houses only six tables, but makes the most of the space. The Spicy Dom is a terrific eponymous sandwich featuring spicy salami, spicy ham, silky mortadella, spicy sopressata, provolone, red onion, pepperoncini, pickles, olives, tomato, lettuce, Italian dressing, and spicy giardiniera spread on rustic, crackly crusted, house-baked ciabatta.

Eggslut Fairfax Sandwich
Fairfax sandwich at Eggslut  |  Photo: Joshua Lurie


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 the neighborhood 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 warm brioche bun.