The Guide to the Best Sandwiches in Los Angeles

Property of Discover Los Angeles

Los Angeles is one of the most diverse cities in the world, so it's no surprise that sandwiches in the City of Angels go way beyond ham and cheese. From icons like the Original #19 and the Godmother, to modern global creations like the bäco and shrimp toast sandwich, here are 20 of the best sandwiches in L.A.

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

Pig In a Blanket - ALIMENTO

At his glass-fronted Silver Lake restaurant, Alimento, Chef Zach Pollack brings new meaning to Pig in a Blanket with a unique sandwich based on the piadina, a stuffed and grilled Italian flatbread that he enjoyed during late nights in Modena, Italy. 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.

Bay Cities Godmother
The Godmother at Bay Cities  |  Photo: Joshua Lurie


Opened in Santa Monica in 1925, Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery specializes in homemade, authentic Italian specialties like freshly baked pasta dishes, bread and rolls. Bay Cities features dozens of cold sandwiches and daily hot specials, but its claim to fame is the Godmother: Genoa salami, prosciutto, mortadella, coppacola, ham and provolone cheese on Italian bread. Offered in small or large sizes, the sandwich can be topped with “the works” - mayo, mustard (yellow, honey or Dijon), onions, pickles, tomatoes, lettuce, Italian dressing, and a mild or hot pepper salad.

Connie and Ted's

Lobster roll - Connie and Ted's

Connie and Ted's is named for the maternal grandparents of Michael Cimarusti, the Michelin-starred chef of Providence. Inspired by childhood memories of fishing trips and fish house fare in Narragansett, Rhode Island, Cimarusti's contemporary "seafood shack" features a striking Jetsons-by-the-sea design that draws crowds seeking the freshest seafood cooked by a culinary master. The lobster roll is a standout - Cimarusti’s hearty lobsters are cooked live and either chilled and lightly dressed for cold sandwiches, or mixed with butter right from the pot for their hot lobster roll. The soft bread is made in house, and toasted to order for the finest expression of tender lobster on a roll in L.A.

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


Co-founded by Elvira Zamora, Antonio Zamora and daughter Elyan Zamora with former partner Ricardo Diaz in 2008, this Monterey Park sandwich shop features a blackboard menu that rotates through a 500-sandwich repertoire. The shop's name honors Captain Cook, who founded the Sandwich Isles using 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 contributions from the air, land and sea - perhaps none is better than the Bacalao. Elvira 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.

The Farmer at The Daily Dose | Photo by Joshua Lurie

The Farmer - DAILY DOSE

Sarkis Vartanian’s Daily Dose café is tucked away down a brick-lined alley in Downtown L.A.’s Arts District. 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 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, avocado and a house-made veggie patty that changes with the seasons.

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

The Fairfax - EGGSLUT

Chef Alvin Cailan and his kitchen crew work wonders with eggs at the open-air counter on the Broadway side of the historic 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. But it’s at breakfast where Eggslut sandwiches shine brightest. The Fairfax features fluffy soft-scrambled eggs, chives, melted cheddar, caramelized onions and spicy Sriracha mayo on a warm brioche bun.

Porchetta Melt at Gjusta | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Porchetta Melt - Gjusta

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. 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.

Fried Chicken Sandwich - HOWLIN’ RAY’S

L.A. born chef Johnny Zone and his wife Amanda Chapman studied hot chicken at the source – Nashville – and started with a food truck before opening a brick and mortar location in Chinatown’s Far East Plaza in early 2016. Décor consists of decorative plywood, an open kitchen, a wall-mounted menu, and two framed paintings of Gram Parsons - who also wasn’t born in Nashville, but connected with the city. Fried chicken utilizes a proprietary pepper blend that ranges from “country” (just short of mild) to “howlin’,” a spice level that’s liable to burn a hole in your cheek. Get a whole bird or pieces of your choice. Howlin’ Ray’s serves a terrific fried chicken sandwich with juicy breast meat on a buttered bun with cabbage slaw, pickles and spicy “comeback sauce” crafted with chile powder, paprika and more. On weekends, they serve chicken and waffles - neighboring coffeehouse Endorffeine will pair a maple bourbon iced latte.

Original #19 - Langer’s

Fans of the Original #19 at Langer’s Delicatessen-Restaurant consider it more than the best pastrami sandwich in L.A. - they tout it as the best in America. The James Beard Award-winning Langer’s is at the same location on the corner of Alvarado and 7th since it opened in 1947. The iconic #19 is made with hand-cut pastrami, coleslaw, Russian dressing and a slice of Swiss cheese on double-baked rye bread. The pastrami is specially cured, smoked and steamed, then served at a specific temperature to preserve its juicy, delicious flavor. The rye bread is double-baked - the bread is received from the bakery then re-baked at 350 degrees for 30 minutes to give it that famous crispy crust.

Surf & Turf Po'boy at The Little Jewel of New Orleans
Surf & Turf Po'boy at The Little Jewel of New Orleans  |  Photo: Joshua Lurie


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. Nothing beats the impact of the Little Jewel Surf and 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.


The true origin of the French Dip sandwich has been lost over time, but the two restaurants that claim to be its originator, Philippe and Cole’s, are both located in Downtown L.A. Philippe the Original was opened by Philippe Mathieu in 1908 and has been at its current location on the edge of Chinatown since 1951. The cafeteria-style ordering routine at Philippe hasn’t changed in decades - queue up in front of the long deli counter and order from a “Carver.” The iconic sandwich can be made with roast beef, roast pork, leg of lamb, turkey or ham and is served on a French roll with several cheese options. You can ask for “single-dip,” “double-dip” or “wet.” Find a seat at a communal table and top your sandwich with potent hot mustard.

Cole’s also opened in 1908 and is still at its original location in the Pacific Electric Building. A 21-month renovation in 2007-08 restored the original glass lighting, penny tile floors and the 40-foot mahogany Red Car Bar. 213 Nightlife proprietor Cedd Moses brought chef Neal Fraser on board to tweak the menu, so patrons can now order French Dips with lamb and goat cheese along with the classic options. One advantage that Cole’s has over its longtime rival: you can keep the night going at The Varnish, the award-winning speakeasy located in the back of Cole’s.

Southern Fry - PLAN CHECK

This elevated 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 Plan Check's fried chicken 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. The Southern Fry is served in a skillet, like pretty much everything at Plan Check.

Croque madame at République | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Croque Madame - République

République is a multifaceted restaurant and bakery from Walter and Margarita Manzke. Housed in a landmark 1928 building originally built by Charlie Chaplin, République's setting is grand but the vibe is casual and communal. The Cal-French menu features a delectable, well-balanced Croque Madame during breakfast and weekend brunch. Ham, egg and cheese is a classic combo - 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.

Son of a Gun Restaurant

At Son of a Gun, chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo took a classic dim sum dish, made it into a sandwich, and a contemporary icon was born. The shrimp toast sandwich features a savory-sweet shrimp paste that’s spread over crisp, buttery bread with hoisin sauce and Sriracha mayo. Texture and depth are provided by basil, cilantro, mint, watercress and Thai basil dressed in a fish sauce vinaigrette. The bite-size sandwiches pack a hefty umami punch with a lingering herbaceous finish from the greens.

Double BLTA at The Sycamore Kitchen
Double BLTA at The Sycamore Kitchen  |  Photo: Joshua Lurie


Karen Hatfield and husband Quinn Hatfield followed up the success of Hatfield's by opening The Sycamore Kitchen, a fast casual cafe and bakery in 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 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.


A self-described "bakery, café and urban park," Superba Food + Bread brought unprecedented style to a drab stretch of Lincoln Boulevard in 2014. Many offerings are seasonal, but the comfort factor has been dialed up. At lunch, Superba’s brioche grilled cheese features buttery, thick-sliced bread loaded with molten American and Fontina cheeses. Each gooey sandwich comes with a dill pickle and an herbaceous bowl of vegan roasted tomato and basil soup that’s garnished with basil oil and basil leaves.

Alemana torta at Tortugas | Photo by Joshua Lurie


Opened in February 2016, Tortugas is an Old Pasadena sandwich shop from Luis Martinez that specializes in Mexico City-style tortas. The glass-fronted space features speckled counters, cushioned stools, and photos of famed Mexico City locations on cream-colored walls. A blackboard menu touts a namesake cartoon turtle eating a torta, which comes in 10 different varieties plus specials. The “German” sandwich, Alemana features beef franks, chorizo, Portuguese sausage, Oaxaca cheese, queso fresco, avocado, beans, chipotle mayo, and butter on a sturdy telera roll. Hawaiiana riffs on the Hawaiian preference for ham and pineapple. Milanesa is a classic starring either breaded pork shoulder, beef ribeye or chicken breast. No matter the sandwich, you’ll receive thick-cut potato chips and a zesty salsa of guajillo, chile de arbol, tomatillo, and garlic.


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 the bustling Grand Central Market in Downtown L.A. Pastrami and smoked fish are undoubtedly the stars of the menu, but don’t miss the Ruskie, which is the city’s best egg salad 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.