Part 1 of our guide to the Best Sandwiches in Los Angeles featured restaurants from Alimento to Eggslut. Read on for more globally inspired destination sandwiches in LA.
Chef Travis Lett and business partner Fran Camaj, who built Gjelina and Gjelina Take Away into Abbot Kinney hits, also operate this ambitious bakery and café behind Gold’s Gym. The space features white brick walls, marble counters, outdoor benches and plenty of people wearing Lulu Lemon. Sandwiches are very popular here. Their Porchetta Melt features Beeler's pork loin wrapped in belly, rubbed with oregano, rosemary, lemon, garlic, salt and pepper and roasted on the rotisserie. The savory meat is sliced and griddled, layered with bitter rapini that’s been sautéed with red onion and chile flake, and served with molten Fontina cheese on a crusty house-baked baguette.
Curtis Stone and brother/partner Luke are best known for serving meaty meals featuring proteins prepared in the kitchen’s wood-burning hearth that doubles as culinary theater. Gwen, named for their maternal grandmother, also serves weekday sandwiches that incorporate butcher shop products. On a recent visit, they offered two types of sandwiches stacked on the counter and served on house-baked stecca, crusty bread similar to focaccia seasoned with extra virgin olive oil and sea salt flakes. Salami joined Brie, but we went with chorizo cotto with watercress, and creamy burrata folded with basil oil.
The Little Jewel of New Orleans
This New Orleans inspired deli and market from Marcus Christiana-Beniger and Eunah Kang has helped to diversify and revitalize Chinatown. The duo features a number of different fillings in their po’boys, including fried Louisiana catfish, chaurice (house-made Creole hot sausage) and blackened chicken. Still, nothing can top the impact of the Little Jewel Surf & Turf Po’boy, which combines the two most popular po’boys in the New Orleans pantheon: roast beef and fried shrimp. Roast beef cooks low and slow and luxuriates in Irish Channel debris gravy crafted with drippings, mirepoix, carrots and spices. A mountain of meat joins 10 fried shrimp with crispy sheathes on a New Orleans-born Liedenheimer roll with shredded iceberg lettuce, tomato, dill pickle and mayo.
Olsons Scandinavian Deli
Olsons Scandinavian Deli has been a Mid-City institution since 1948. Christian Kneedler assumed ownership of Olsons from fellow Swede Bertil Ohlsson in 2013. The space now features white subway tiles, concrete floors, tables with red chairs, shelves of Scandinavian groceries, deli cases, dozens of Swedish candies, and a swaying Swedish flag out front. The Grav Lax sandwich stars silky salmon house-cured with salt, sugar and dill under high pressure for three days, served with horseradish mayo, onion and cucumbers on a soft brioche bun. Squeeze the accompanying lemon wedge to deliver bright acidity and enjoy their punchy dill pickles.
NOTE: In July 2019, Olsons announced that it would be closing temporarily for renovations. A GoFundMe campaign has been created to support Olsons.
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.
Na Young Ma presides over this neighborhood gem in Atwater Village, which features grey walls, marble counters that display a wealth of pastries, and a full Cognoscenti Coffee bar. Each day at noon, Proof Bakery releases four different sandwiches that are served on stecca - small, chewy house-baked baguettes lined with sea salt. Fillings change seasonally, and as inspiration strikes. A recent visit yielded salami, ham, heirloom tomato and our favorite, eggplant. This sandwich combined supple roasted eggplant, roasted red pepper, frisee and sauce verte, which is similar to salsa verde.
This multifaceted restaurant and bakery from Walter and Margarita Manzke has a grand feel, but delivers an airy, casual vibe at breakfast and lunch. The menu is Cal-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.
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 the La Brea Avenue 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 BLTA. The massive sandwich appears on soft, crusty house baked bread with crispy bacon, juicy braised pork belly, lettuce, balsamic tomatoes and creamy avocado.
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.