In the heart of the historic Bank District, Bäco Mercat brings Mediterranean flavors to downtown LA with innovative plates served ‘family-style,’ like chorizo and octopus and buttermilk-fried quail. The signature dish, the Bäco, was created by chef Josef Centeno using warm, pillowy flatbread as the vehicle for flavor-packed fillings – think beef tongue schnitzel and lamb meatballs. Try the Original – crispy pork belly, tender beef carnitas and fresh greens tossed in salbitxada, a tangy sauce originating in Spain. This isn’t your typical sandwich – fork and knife may be required – but it will undoubtedly spice up your life.
Bäco Mercat, 408 South Main Street, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 213 687 8808
Whether you’ve heard the buzz or seen the neon sign glowing out front, Philippe’s is known for their ‘French dipped sandwiches.’ The interior stays true to its original 1950s décor, keeping it casual with communal tables and a deli counter with hungry patrons lined out the door. The menu is short but sweet; choose from one of the five roasted meats and watch in awe as a freshly baked French roll is dipped in au jus, a gravy made from the roast drippings. Don’t forget to add a slice of cheese and a side of their famous coleslaw.
Philippe The Original, 1001 North Alameda Street, Los Angeles, CA, USA, + 1 213 628 3781
At Bay Cities Italian Deli, a Santa Monica staple since 1925, you will find an array of imported and domestic goods from various regions in the Mediterranean. This gourmet market specializes in pre-made pastas, but the deli counter – packed with cured meats and aged cheeses – is where it’s at. Their most popular sandwich, the Godmother, is a meat lover’s dream – genoa salami, mortadella, ham, prosciutto, provolone, all piled high on a freshly baked Italian roll. Or opt for a vegetarian, melt-in-your-mouth combo, with layers of creamy Burrata cheese, juicy tomatoes and fresh basil, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Step into The Little Jewel of New Orleans and you feel as if you’ve been transported to a small ma-n-pop shop hidden deep in the South. This gem is bound to capture your heart, with 18 different po’boy sandwiches, house made cajun sausages, and an array of grocery items difficult to find outside of Louisiana. From the signature fried shrimp po’boy to the cochon de lait, cajun pulled pork, each sandwich brings that Creole heat, dressed in mayo and laid on a fresh baked French roll. Finish with the whiskey bread pudding and revel in the tunes of Bourbon Street as they blare through the speakers.
Trencher, a small but mighty sandwich shop started by three LA friends, dishes out A-list sandwiches, specializing in Southern classics like fried chicken and slow braised brisket. The interior is simple, with a few wooden tables and a counter where you order. Trencher, based on the medieval concept of an open-faced sandwich, dishes out a mean pulled pork made from rubbed and roasted pork shoulder, crunchy habañero slaw and a sweet Coca-Cola sauce layered inside a buttery brioche bun. This mouth watering, finger-licking, southern-spiced treasure brings just enough heat, leaving you wanting seconds.
Trencher, 1305 Portia Street, Los Angeles, CA, USA, + 1 323 604 9621
As you approach the door of Bread Lounge, relish in the sweet smell of freshly baked bread as it wafts down the street. This café is simple, lined with small tables and a large window that lets you see what goes on behind-the-scenes of their baked goods. It’s all about the bread here: from the Kalamata olive loaf to soft brioche, you will never be disappointed. Go for the signature sandwich, On the Bird, or be adventurous with the Have a Ball, which includes beef and pork meatballs, melted Emmentaler cheese, cherry tomatoes, arugula and a smokey aioli.
Bread Lounge, 700 South Santa Fe Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, USA, + 1 213 327 0782
Langer’s Delicatessen, founded in 1947, has kept its legacy alive as the best pastrami in Los Angeles. The inside appears as though it hasn’t changed much in the last half-decade or so, with overstuffed leather booths and swivel bar stools that line the counter. The vibe is casual, and feels almost like home, as any family owned spot should. Start with the house made cream soda and make sure to get the infamous #19: cured and smoked pastrami, melted Swiss cheese, coleslaw and Russian dressing served warm on toasted rye bread. Simple but perfectly mastered, this one is bound to send any sandwich lover straight to pastrami heaven.