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The Best Deli in LA

So which one is it?

I'd probably rank them by different qualities, consisting of:

1. The Rye Bread
2. The Nosh (pickles, kraut, etc.)
3. The Matzoh Ball Soup
4. The Sandwiches

Anything I'm missing?

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    1. re: silence9

      and chopped liver, cheese cake, cole slaw, potato salad, blintzes, white fish salad, kishka, stuffed cabbage, chicken in the pot, break down the meat: pastrami, corned beef, brisket, roast beef, rueben, meat knish, potato knish...

      Sounds like some serious field research is in order before anyone can provide a definitive opinion.

      1. re: silence9

        Re: the smoked fish, lox, etc.. Where do you go for this? I'd like real hand-sliced smoked salmon, no chemicals, no nitrites.
        Currently get the 18 0z. pre-sliced pack at Costco, not bad and very cheap; also, the packaged stuff at Surfas isn't bad, maybe a little too smoked.

        1. re: ciao_ny

          Well for the best smoked fish, there is Barney Greengrass (atop Barney's) in Beverly Hills, but the co$t and attitude may be prohibitive for many...

          1. re: silence9

            For the price there you can have it shipped overnight from Russ and Daughters in New York... since this thread got reopened.

      2. You've stumbled upon a hornet's nest of controversy. For my 2 cents, Langer's has the best pastrami sandwich (and rye bread) by a long shot, but otherwise is an unremarkable deli. I'd venture that many will say that Brent's is the best overall deli.

        5 Replies
        1. re: TomSwift

          Agree on both counts. And it's blasphemy, I know, but I actually like the matzoh ball soup at Jerry's. (Haven't tried Brent's version yet, though.)

          1. re: David Kahn

            Cummon! Jerry's isn't really a deli (once it was, but that was a looooong time ago). Personally, I'll never forgive them for wrecking Solley's which was the best deli we had out here in the valley. They might have bought it, but why did they have to turn it into the same white bread restaurant that all their other locations are?

            1. re: David Kahn

              I was told that Jerry's isn't chowhoundish, but I too like their matzo ball soup.

              1. re: David Kahn

                Just quickly - I agree. the chicken/matzoh ball soup at Jerry's is not bad at all. It's made with real ingredients that you can recognize (a plus), plenty of chicken, it isn't too salty or bland, etc. Given the other absurdly-price options at that non-deli, I order it almost every time I end up there.

                1. re: David Kahn

                  I like Brents' Matzo Ball soup..the only problem with it is that the matzo ball is almost too big (its softball sized) and the top of it gets dry as you go along eating it.

              2. Langer's does have the best pastrami, but I don't consider them deli-worthy. More of a sandwich shop in my opinion.

                I've lived on the Westside/Hollywood area since I've been here so I have mixed feelings.

                I think Factor's on Pico/Beverly has the best rye. Soft middle, very crusty outside. They also have very good nosh (2 types of pickles on the table). As for matzoh ball soup, I'm a fan of the Full House/Mish Mosh, and Junior's has an amazing one, filled with everything including rice, kasha, kreplach, veggies, matzoh balls and noodles. I usually make the trek when I'm sick and it's well worth it (you get a massive tub of it for about $15.)

                As for sandwiches, Nate and Al's is pretty good. So is Cantor's and Factor's. And the lox is very good at Factor's.

                Jerry's is decent, but not a favorite of mine. It's good in a hurry or if another alternative isn't close. Although they do have very good sweet tuna salad (I believe they have regular as well.)

                Is Brent's the one in the Palisades? I can't remember if that's it or not...

                5 Replies
                    1. re: weaver

                      "Mort's is in the palisades"

                      And of course, by this time (since this thread was started in 2006) Mort's is Muerto (bought by our dearly (?) departed Mayor of LA, Richard Riordan and turned into a couple of different restaurant. The Oak Room and the Village Pantry (more casual).

                      And just to add the fact that I recently (two weeks ago) got out to Brent's Deli in Northridge and rectified a long running oversight on my part by having one of the "Black Pastrami Reuben's" for lunch. Unbeliveably great sandwich that struck all the right notes. I know that Langer's has great pastrami and rye, but this sandwich (and the rye bread) at Brent's gives Langer's a serious run for its money.

                      The Oak Room
                      1035 Swarthmore Ave., Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

                      1. re: Servorg

                        I like Brent's, except for their chopped liver which has some kind of sweet taste. The Mrs. just participated in a Brent's spread that was brought in to work last week (to celebrate the end of tax season) and reported all was good.

                        1. re: ChinoWayne

                          We did notice, as we waited outside for our table, a small fleet of Brent's catering trucks buzzing to and fro from the main hive out to pollinate ("calorie-ate"?) the countryside...They certainly have nothing to be ashamed of as a first class fighting force in the Deli wars of Los Angeles.

                  1. Victors has a good pastrami and a full deli. I haven't tried anything elso though.

                    Rather than go to a restaruant and look at the menu, I usually decide what my taste buds are hungry for and go to the restaruant that has my favorite.

                    Bad news about that is that I rarely try their other menu items.

                    1. My opinions:

                      BEST CORNED BEEF: Art's
                      BEST PASTRAMI: Langer's
                      BEST RYE BREAD: Langer's
                      BEST POTATO SALAD: Canter's
                      BEST CHICKEN SOUP: Jerry's
                      BEST KREPLACH & MATZO BALLS: Canter's
                      BEST PICKLES: Nate 'n' Al's
                      BEST POTATO PANCAKES: Nate 'n' Al's
                      BEST BRISKET: Junior's

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Hackenbush

                        Best Corned Beef - Brents
                        Best Pastrami - Langers
                        Best Roast Beef - Arts
                        Best Rye Bread - Nate and Als

                      2. My opinions:

                        Best pastrami - Langer's
                        Best matzo ball soup - Junior's
                        Best EVERYTHING else (and they have perfectly decent pastrami and matzo ball soup!) - Brent's

                        including... Blintzes; chopped liver; rye bread; brisket sandwiches; corned beef; cabbage soup; whitefish salad; lox; bbq smoked cod; pickles

                        1. oh yes and knishes... the best ones I've had in LA are not at a deli at all, but at Schwartz's bakery. They make potato and kasha (never tried the kasha). Schwartz's is on Fairfax and there's another one on Pico. (also have terrific poppyseed cakes!)

                          1. I like Juniors and Factors. If you've never tried a Pastrami and Chopped liver sandwich, you're missing something divine - and death defying as well. Add some onion too.

                            9 Replies
                            1. re: OC Mutt

                              Very true, but it's gotta be good pastrami AND good chopped liver. I was very disappointed with the pastrami/chopped liver combo at Langers.

                              1. re: ChinoWayne

                                So what to do? Get a pastrami to go from Langer's and then hightail it to the place with the best chopped liver, get some to go and construct your own? If so, who's got the best chopped liver?

                                1. re: TomSwift

                                  Now you have the right idea. I used to really like Canter's chopped liver. Haven't had any of their product in a long time though, so caveat emptor.

                                  Just think, if you were as wealthy as the late Marvin Davis, you would either import all the good stuff from New York every weekend, or finally, open your own deli in Century City to satisfy your cravings. (I think he was behind the short lived life of one of the N.Y. delis, Stage or Carnegie in Century City.)

                                  That is one my ultimate fantasy's, being able to import all the best deli for my enjoyment every weekend.

                                  1. re: ChinoWayne

                                    I'm pretty sure it was Stage - I don't recall a Carnegie in CC. Stage was crowded, overpriced and Davis must have skimmed all the best for himself because the food was only ordinary. Since I'm heading downtown this afternoon I'll stop at Canter's for the chopped liver and then hit Langer's. That way the bread and pastrami will still be hot. If I don't suffer a coronary shut-down I'll report back.

                                    1. re: ChinoWayne

                                      It was Carnegie, in Beverly Hills on Beverly Drive near the Cheesecake Factory.

                                      1. re: ChinoWayne

                                        Oh man Tom, I sure wish I was riding with you today, you've just turned on the juices in my stomach (after a lunch of raw carrots and 130 calorie nutrition bar).

                                        1. re: ChinoWayne

                                          Re: Marvin Davis' deli cravings localized. It was, as New Trial, said correctly, the short-lived Carnegie, which, much to my friends' and my disappointment, was far more Beverly Dr. and less 7th and 55th.

                                          However, ChinoWayne was also correct in mentioning the late Stage Deli @ Century City Plaza, heaven for young suburban kids starved for a taste of NYC. Ironically enough, the majority seemed to favor the imported Stage to the actual one in Manhattan.

                                          Go figure.

                                          1. re: ChinoWayne

                                            Well, I've lived to tell about it. Definately the thing to do was to go to Canter's first and pick up the chopped liver then stop at Langer's so the pastrami and bread were hot. Nobody stared as I sat at the counter and slathered smuggled-in liver on my rye. Now I rarely eat chopped liver so I'm not an expert but Canter's was very good, nice and rich. As improbable as I thought it sounded, the combination was excellent. Some onions would have helped the liver but I don't like them on my pastrami. Now to find both components at the same deli.

                                            1. re: ChinoWayne

                                              Art's has some pretty good chopped liver, too (at least they did when I lived in the valley). I was told it was Sandy's (Mrs. Art) recipe. Take a pass on the chopped liver at Brent's. It's awfully sweet, and probably the only thing that is not good there.

                                      2. Oh, it's no contest. Langer's all the way. Their Russian dressing? A creamy, tangy, fatty mess that gloms on to said pastrami protein that's simply unbeatable.

                                        Do not pass go, do not collect $200, go straight to Langer's.

                                        If you don't take my word for it, Jonathan Gold had an excellent face-off interview with the owners of Langer's, Canter's, and Art's Deli in Studio City not too long ago in LAWeekly, and who can forget none other than Nora Ephron's paen to Langer's in, of all publications, The New Yorker.

                                        Too bad Langer's isn't open on Sunday's though - but the curbside pickup might just make up for it.

                                        1. Here's my take:

                                          Best Rye Bread - Canters
                                          Best Nosh (pickles, kraut, etc.)- Brent's, Canters, Simi Deli, Greenblatts
                                          Best Matzoh Ball or Kreplach Soup - Weiler's on Victory, Woodland Hills
                                          Best Sandwiches:
                                          Corned Beef - Arts, Canters, Brents, Country Deli, Weilers (Victory)
                                          Reuben - Country Deli, Weilers (Victory), Brents
                                          Pastrami - Langers
                                          Brisket - Weilers (Victory)
                                          Potato Salad - Canters, Greenblatts
                                          Chopped Liver - Greenblatts

                                          1. In my opinion, the best chopped liver is at Billy's in Glendale.

                                            1. First and only Matzo Ball soup I have tried is Brents in Northridge. I think that the pickles there are top notch also.

                                              1. Art's has the best turkey.
                                                Brent's is all around terrific.
                                                Canter's has the best rye, pickles and matzo ball soup
                                                Jerry's has the WORST everything for $$$$.

                                                1. Dammit, Tom, I knew I was in for trouble when I came back here today to check if you had given us an update - got the old stomach growling again. One of these days I want to do a taste off:

                                                  A Langer's #1 vs Langer's regular Hot Pastrami with Canter's chopped liver. That would be pure bliss.

                                                  1. Best Rye Bread - Canters
                                                    Best Nosh (pickles, kraut)- Canters
                                                    Best Matzoh Ball - Junior's
                                                    Corned Beef - Arts
                                                    Reuben -- Canter's
                                                    Pastrami - Langers
                                                    Chopped Liver - Canter's
                                                    Best potato knish -- Canter's

                                                    1. RE: Canters chopped liver, I'm quite surprised that anyone would put it anywhere near the top. As any chopped liver afficinado knows, it's all about chicken liver. And I'm 100% sure Canter's serves the stronger tasting beef, which just ain't jewish chopped liver. There is a very serious difference.

                                                      And while I agree about Langers pastrami, and frankly love Canters fries and pea soup (only on Wednesdays) more than any thing, the liver ain't great. Brents chopped liver, on the other hand, is fantastic.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: deadorinjail

                                                        My Jewish grandmother always made beef chopped liver, so I disagree about it not being properly Jewish.

                                                        The best chopped liver used to be at Fromin's in Santa Monica, but they seem to have gone downhill. It's still not bad.

                                                        I went to Canter's a week ago and had a chopped liver and pastrami sandwich and the liver was terrible, which is unusual. It is normally quite good there, although not great. I know exactly what was wrong with it too: it wasn't fresh. This may be the reason why there are so many differing opinions about chopped liver. This is something I've made at home, and I can tell you that it degrades in quality very quickly. I don't know how long a deli will keep the stuff around, but in my experience it starts to taste worse even on day two. By the third day, it's awful. The stuff I had at Canter's last week was certainly more than 24 hours old.

                                                        1. re: jjbelsky

                                                          if we're talkin' chopped liver, i gotta add barney greengrass. they make it fresh everyday. so sue me!

                                                      2. If you are in the valley, Brent's is popular and deserving of that, but it can get crowded. Art's in the valley is also good.

                                                        In the city, one place I like that has not been mentioned is Pico Kosher Deli on Pico near Robertson. They have excellent sandwiches and my favorite potato salad in the city. It is a little pricy because it is certified kosher, but it is a treat. It is also nice and clean.

                                                        1. Yea, I have to go for Brent's for best Deli.

                                                          Awesome service and great food.

                                                          And the best Corned Beef. Damn I love their reubens.

                                                          Also some delicious desserts!

                                                          And I love the choice of all different kinds of fries. I love the fat fries, but my wife loves the sweet potato ones.

                                                          1. 1. The Rye Bread -- Langers, hands down
                                                            2. The Nosh (pickles, kraut, etc.) -- Billy's, Glendale
                                                            3. The Matzoh Ball Soup -- Billy's
                                                            4. The Sandwiches -- Billy's, by a wide margin

                                                            1. Best Pastrami - Langer's
                                                              Best Everything Else - Brent's

                                                              Langer's Delicatessen
                                                              704 S Alvarado St, Los Angeles, CA 90057

                                                              Brent's Deli
                                                              19565 Parthenia St, Northridge, CA 91324

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: wienermobile

                                                                I agree with one caveat. I like the Brent's Deli in Westgate Village much better then the one in Northridge.

                                                                Brent's Deli
                                                                19565 Parthenia St, Northridge, CA 91324

                                                                Brent's Deli
                                                                2799 Townsgate Rd, Westlake Village, CA 91361

                                                                1. re: orythedog

                                                                  Another vote for the above - Langer's pastrami, Brent's everything else. I really don't get the Billy's thing. I wish I liked it since I live near it and it's sort of nice atmospherically in a deli kind of way, but as for the food - yuck!

                                                              2. In my (not so humble) opinion, Brent's is the best of the bunch. It's been consistently above-average-to-excellent, and especially in comparison to other delis. We go to their Northridge deli (the mothership!), and over the years have never been disappointed.

                                                                I've seen Brent's trucks in other (non-Valley) neighborhoods, too. I can't forget being with a group of folks heading into Las Feliz, looking for a good lunch spot, and seeing a Brent's truck delivering food.

                                                                I'll even compare Brent's to the Carnegie Deli in New York. We had a great lunch, with the corned beef stacked to here...and still we all thought: this is good, almost as good as Brent's.

                                                                (ps: I don't work or own stock in the food industry...but enjoy eating out whenever possible)