You know the old adage, “Life is short, eat a sandwich”? OK, we may have made that one up, but in a city filled with as many sammy options as Los Angeles, it’s the motto we live by. From old-school favorites like Italian subs, Jewish pastramis and pork shoulder Cubanos to local inventions like French dips, gluten-free concoctions (how SoCal) and even one named after a beloved NPR host, we hope you don’t have lunch plans. Here, the 20 best sandwiches in Los Angeles.

The 20 Best Sandwiches in Los Angeles at a Glance

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1. The Godmother at Bay Cities (Santa Monica)

Best Italian Sandwich

If you’ve lived in Los Angeles for more than ten minutes, you’ve probably heard someone mention the Godmother. Not to be confused with the 1972 crime drama the Godfather, this one is a famed Italian submarine sandwich at Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery. It’s got all the meats: prosciutto, ham, cappacola, mortadella and genoa salami. It’s topped with provolone cheese and recommended with the works: mayo, mustard, onions, pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, homemade Italian dressing and pickled hot or mild peppers. All that good stuff is jammed between delightfuly chewy Italian bread. The market is full of other Italian delicacies so you may want to grab some pasta salad as a side or a cannoli to end your meal. Pro-tip: They only accept cash.

1517 Lincoln Blvd Santa Monica, CA 90401; (310) 395-8279

Slab

2. The Pastrami Sandwich at Slab (West Hollywood)

Best BBQ Sandwich

You may overlook a Texan BBQ spot for an afternoon sandwich, but think again. The Pastrami sandwich, served only on Mondays, is reason enough to start a weekly visit to Slab. The meat is brined for two weeks before it’s then smoked and served. Thick, tender slices of pastrami sit on toasted rye that is both soft yet sturdy enough to hold together the meat-filled sandwich topped with coleslaw. On the side, try some of their seasoned fries, which are both salty and sweet. Not there on a Monday? The Oooh is their brisket sandwich, another must-try. Heads up: Most sandwiches (not including the Pastrami) are half-off during happy hour daily from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

8136 West 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048; (310) 855-7184

3. Chicken Parmigiana at Mario’s Italian Deli and Market (Glendale)

Best Chicken Parm Sandwich

This adorable marketplace has tons of local and imported Italian foods, including deli offerings with everything fom pizza to spaghetti and meatballs. Their standout is their Chicken Parmigiana Sandwich. Stuffed with breaded chicken, oozing mozzarella and sweet tomato sauce that the bread just soaks up for a truly heavenly bite. Might we suggest this guy pairs nicely with an afternoon nap.

740 E. Broadway, Glendale, CA 91205; (818) 242-4114

SOL

4. St. Nic at S.O.L. Strings of Life (West Hollywood)

Best Turkey Sandwich

This tucked away gem of a coffee shop and cafe in West Hollywood is Australian at heart, but their St. Nic Sandwich makes us think of one of the most classic lunchtime sandwiches in the good ole’ U-S-of A: a turkey sandwich. However, this ain’t the lunchbox of your childhood. Rather, this sandwich has fresh-as-can-be thinly shaved turkey with arugula, cranberry, mustard, a semi-dried tomato and avocado all on a fresh ciabatta.

8535 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood, CA 90069; (310) 734-7190

5. The Lorri at Ggiata (East Hollywood)

Best Vegetarian Sandwich

Fans of The Sopranos will get a kick out of this New Jersey-inspired Italian deli. While you’re likely to associate a place like this with meat-filled subs (and they have those too, try The Masterpiece, which lives up to its name), vegetarians and meat-eaters alike will love the Lorri: eggplant cutlet, mozzarella, roasted red peppers, roasted broccolini, balsamic glaze, garlic aioli, all on a charred seeded baguette. The sweetness of the balsamic glaze paired with the savory garlic aioli is *chef’s kiss*.

5009 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038; (805) 285-2291

Langer’s

6. #19 at Langer’s (Westlake)

Best Pastrami Sandwich

While this Jewish deli has all the hits—matzo ball soup, potato pancakes and the many combo sandwiches on rye—the standout here is the institution that is #19. Served on Langer’s house-baked rye bread, the sandwich is piled high with pastrami, their homemade coleslaw and topped with Swiss cheese. This place has been open since 1947 for a reason.

704 South Alvarado, Los Angeles, CA 90057; (213) 483-8050

7. #3 Soppressata Salami at Larchmont Village Wine, Spirits and Cheese (Larchmont Village)

Best Salami Sandwich

Browse this plentiful wine and cheese shop in Larchmont Village and then head to the back to try one of their many delicious sandwiches. They offer both full and half-sizes, but since you’ll likely have a wait during lunchtime, you’ll probably want to go for the full. Their #3 sandwich can be served on either a crispy baguette or a soft ciabatta, and the soppressata salami is layed with manchego cheese, mixed greens, sundried tomato spread, extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar for balanced tang.

223 N. Larchmont Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90004; (323) 856-8699

Dyana Goldman

8. Italian Tuna Panini at Da Carla Ristorante Italiano & Caffe' (Beverly Hills)

Best Tuna Sandwich

To say this tuna is life-changing may be an overstatement, but try it first and then you’ll see what all the rave is about. The sandwich has big chunks of tuna, moist (even without mayo), mixed with cucumber, tomato and red onion all on warm ciabatta. The bright yellow exterior plus picnic umbrellas makes this otherwise somewhat missable cafe stand out (that and this tuna sandwich, of course).

Santa Monica Blvd. 9887 A, Beverly Hills, CA 90212; (424) 288-4990

9. Breakfast Sandwich at Breakfast by Salt’s Cure (Santa Monica)

Best Breakfast Sandwich

Sometimes simple is best. This little breakfast-only shop on Santa Monica’s Montana Ave. is known for their Oatmeal Griddle Cakes but we’d be remiss if we didn’t highlight the menu underdog: The Breakfast Sandwich. A perfectly fried egg sits atop their homemade sausage patty (with the option to sub for a chicken or chickpea one), with cheddar cheese and a flavorful arugula relish. It’s not too large so you get it all in one perfect bite.

714 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA; (323) 848-4879

10. Organic Green Herb Falafel Sandwich at Dune (Atwater Village)

Best Falafel Sandwich

Dune is an escape to the Middle East; their menu has all of the great foods from this region including shawarma, hummus, tabouleh salad, and of course, falafel. The wait can be a bit long at this small shop along the bustling Glendale Ave, but it’s worth it for their Organic Green Herb Falafel Sandwich. The falafel is perfectly crispy on the outside and soft inside, packed with fresh flavorful herbs like parsley, cilantro and garlic. Smothered in hummus and topped with pickled turnips and radishes, marinated cabbage and onions, the entire sandwich is on the house soft flat bread. The fried potato shoestrings are a nice addition to add texture to every bite.

3143 Glendale Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90039; (323) 486-7073

Daybird

11. Szechuan Hot Chicken Sando at Daybird (Silverlake)

Best Hot Chicken Sandwich

If you watch Top Chef, you’ve seen the contestants cook up something that exemplifies who they are. The Szechuan Hot Chicken Sando is Top Chef winner Mei Lin. The juicy jidori chicken thigh is brined for a minimum of 12 hours before it’s coated and fried. It then takes a dip in chili oil before spices are added depending on the level of heat you chose. There are five options ranging from no heat to extreme. Topped with homemade spicy slaw and put on a potato bun, this sandwich is a must-try. Pro-tip: The restaurant only offers takeout or delivery. Order in advance for pick-up on Doordash to avoid lines. This restaurant is open Wednesday-Sunday.

240 N. Virgil Ave #5, Los Angeles, CA, 90004

12. Beef Dip at Philippe the Original (Downtown)

Best French Dip Sandwich

A trip to Philippe’s feels like you’ve gone back in time. The originators of the French dip, this is of course, the house specialty. The tender, USDA prime roast beef is sliced by one of the “carvers” working there and served on a French roll, dipped in the natural gravy of the roasts. It’s so good, we definitely suggest the double dip. You can also sub for beef, turkey, lamb, pastrami, ham or pork.

1011 N. Alameda St., Los Angeles, CA 90012; (213) 628-3781

13. Kuku-Sabzi at Attari Sandwich Shop (Westwood)

Best Persian Sandwich

Westwood is known for having great Persian food, and Attari is a standout amongst the pack. Visit here for lunch and try the Kuku-Sabzi—a vegetarian sandwich made with an egg frittata filled with fresh herbs on crusty bread. Another local favorite is the tongue sandwich, and both pair nicely with Osh—a Persian noodle soup.

1388 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, 90024; (310) 441-5488

14. Lobster Roll Warm with Butter at Broad Street Oyster Co. (Malibu)

Best Lobster Roll

While lobster rolls are native to New England, the one at Broad Street Oyster Co. will save you a flight. Large chunks of flavorful lobster sit on top of a thick hotdog roll, soaked in butter. It’s total perfection. If you have the room, get a side of fries to dip in their Old Bay aioli. There are other classic seafood options like fried shrimp and oysters as well as a unique variety of beers and natural wines. Tucked away in an alley at the Malibu Country Mart, grab an outdoor picnic bench and really take in the good life!

23359 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265; (424) 644-0131

15. The Super Reuben Sandwich at Art’s Deli (Studio City)

Best Reuben Sandwich

Reminiscent of a New York City deli, Art’s Deli is right off of Ventura Blvd., and a staple in the area since 1957. The Super Reuben sandwich is filled with both pastrami and corned beef (why choose one?) piled high on top of two slices of grilled rye bread, with a hefty amount of sauerkraut, Russian dressing, and melted Swiss cheese. The sandwich is so tall, you may not be able to fit it all in one bite. But each messy bite you get, will make it worth the $29 sticker price.

12224 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604; (818) 762-1221

dyana goldman

16. Prosciutto & Gruyere at Breadblok (Santa Monica & Silverlake)

Best Gluten-Free Sandwich

Take whatever notion you have of gluten-free bread and throw it out the window. The bread at Breadblok is fresh, flavorful and lacks any of the gummy consistency of the store-bought GF bread you may be familiar with. Now, top that bread with salty prosciutto, creamy gruyere cheese, and garlicky aioli and you’ve got a sandwich that no matter what your dietary restrictions are, you’re going to love. You’ll be shocked by how filling the baguette is (it’s the psyllium husk used to make it) so you can likely make two meals out of your sandwich. Be sure to try their Chicken Pesto sandwich next. And, a coffee beverage with their homemade almond milk and a gluten-free croissant are not to be missed.

1511 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403; 310-310-8576

1529 Griffith Park Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026; 213-444-1874

17. Old Skool Banh Mi at Lokal Sandwich Shop (West L.A.)

Best Banh Mi Sandwich

If you’re craving this classic Vietnamese sandwich, then stop by this neighborhood joint and pick up their Old Skool Banh Mi. The meat—pork loaf and Vietnamese ham—spills off the sides of the crispy and large baguette. Add to that head cheese plus pork pate. Then, there’s cucumber, pickled daikon and carrots. A bit of spice from the jalapeno balanced by the mayo, sprinkled with cilantro, and this sandwich burst with flavor. Start with this classic sandwich but then come back to try some of their other versions like the K-BBQ Banh Mi with Korean marinated beef.

10433 National Blvd #1A, Los Angeles, CA 90034; (310) 836-5333

18. The Cubano at A Cut Above the Rest Butcher Shop (Santa Monica)

Best Cubano Sandwich

Sometimes you find love in the most unlikely places. Who would have thought that hidden in this Santa Monica Butcher shop is the best Cubano sandwich in Los Angeles? Native to Miami, the Cubano is the Cuban version of ham and cheese. The shop’s butcher uses melt-in-your-mouth slow-roasted Kurobuta pork shoulder and sliced ham for this masterpiece. Swiss cheese, dill pickles, jalapenos, sweet caramelized onions, cilantro and Djon Mustard all make their way onto the warm baguette. If you’re a home chef, while here, pick up some pasture-raised, grass-fed steaks, because who isn’t trying to cook more at home? You did JUST eat lunch out.

2453 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90404; (310) 998-8500

19. The Chicken Special at il Tramezzino (Studio City)

Best Panini

This unassuming spot in Studio City serves one of the best paninis around. The Chicken Special has a garlic basil aioli on it that you’ll want to bathe in. In additionto the aioli, the fresh grilled chicken is topped with sundried tomatoes, provolone, and avocado. This sandwich is amore!

13031 Ventura Blvd Studio City, CA 91604; (818) 784-2244

Wax Paper

20. The Terry Gross at Wax Paper (Frogtown and Chinatown)

Best All Around Sandwich

You know when you’re walking along the L.A. River and hunger strikes? No, us neither. However, a visit to Wax Paper to chow down on the Terry Gross sandwich is reason enough for a visit. This tiny establishment is located inside a shipping container (odd) and they name all of their sandwiches after NPR hosts. The Terry Gross (named after the host of NPR’s show “Fresh Air”) is like “a pozole on a sandwich.” This roasted herb turkey sandwich has a green chile aioli, jalapeno-radish slaw, hominy, tomatillo vinaigrette, cilantro and pepper jack cheese. What takes this sandwich over the edge from good to great is the Bub & Grandma’s fresh baked focaccia bread. They’re open Tuesday-Saturdays and only provide contactless ordering, which you can do through their website starting at 11 a.m..

Frogtown - 2902 Knox Ave., Los Angeles CA 90039

Chinatown - 736 N. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA, 90012

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