HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >


Bay Cities vs. Claro's Italian Sandwich

After another disappointing Godmother Sandwich from BC yesterday I've decided to stop going there once and for all!
Kar didn't want to stop in the first place remembering our last experience but I was starving and on the way to the FM in Santa Monica so it was an easy stop.
Fortunately I didn't have to wait more than 5 mins at 10:30am but still the Sandwich was so bad it wasn't worth stopping for.
The Bread sucks , tough and chewy, the Meats are so sparse I'm still not sure if there was any in there?
So much lettuce I thought I ordered a salad instead of a GM?
Two bites each and in the trash can it went!
$ 6.10 for a small size, RIPOFF!

Claro's Italian Sub with ADDED spicy meats is $7- for a large (with normal meats only $5-) and is 4 times bigger and tastes fantastic!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Where is Claro's? I have always loved Bay Cities Godmother Sandwhich but haven't been in there for over 6 months. So sorry to hear that the sandwich was so disappointing.

    2 Replies
      1. re: handlertaper

        I thought Claro's was just in the SoCal area, with one in Tustin, also, La Habra, San Gabriel the original store.

      2. Yes many years ago the godmother had probably twice the meat that it has today, I really dont know why so many people rave about it other than they were not around when it was a good sandwich or they have short memories.

        2 Replies
        1. re: malibumike

          A small Poor Boy loaded with Hot peppers is a Great Sanwich IMO.. And it like $ 4.35 out the door.. The bread is very fresh and Crsipy.. Perhaps Russkar you are a fan of the softer kind of roll, I actually like the crispy, fresh, rolls that they have at Bay Cities..

          1. re: Foodandwine

            The Roll isn't Crispy, but Tough and Chewy. I like all types of bread but the sandwiches ingredients (or lack of in this case) are really the issue for me.
            Breads can be any type you want? They have Italian, Wheat, Rye ,etc so your not Limited to an Italian Roll.

        2. Sorry But I Don't like either place. Both places skimp on the meat. My Hands down Favorite.....Eastside Market in Downtown LA Fresh Crusty roll Lots of meat, a bit of lettuce and tomato and all the peppers you can eat.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Skunk2Racer

            You and I have both discovered Eastside market, it is the best, unfortunately I retired and rarely get down there anymore but when I do I stock up on #7's and/or 21's.

            1. re: malibumike

              I Like the #7 & the #9...... I Work at DWP so it's Right down the Street : )

          2. yeah, and I don't dig the "white" tomatoes on the sandwiches at BC

            1. I never get the Works on the Godmother anymore. They always put so much on junk on it that feels like some Togo's sub. It totally drowns out the flavors of the meats and cheeses.

              Mayo, Dijon, Onions, Hot pepper salad.

              I've been getting that combo for the last two years and have never been disappointed.

              1 Reply
              1. re: smd

                I like the Godmother but I don't get it when I want a lot of meat. The meat trio is pre-assembled and not overly generous.
                In contrast, I'll sometimes get a hotshot (pepper turkey, pepper jack) and those are usually stacked with turkey.

              2. Never tried Bay Cities, but I've been a big fan of Claro's sandwiches for years. Their pre-made subs are such a bargain ($2.99 small, $3.99 large) - I was assuming they were cheap because they were done in batches, but one day when they'd run out a woman in the deli area built me one for the same price. The sandwich & pizza shop down the street from me, Pietro's (on Mountain at North Lake), has good meaty sandwiches, but they cost a dollar or two more than Claro's, and the bread is the kind with a too-soft crumb and leathery crust, so that when you bite down the sandwich just flattens and the innards goosh out. Hate that.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Will Owen

                  what about Mario's Deli in Glendale? I freaking love that place.

                  1. re: chefthisguy

                    I was just going to recommend Mario's ... everything sliced and assembled to order, unline most of the other Italian sub places in this thread (including Bay Cities).

                    I'm also very partial to Monte Carlo in Burbank.

                    Mario's Italian Deli & Catering
                    740 E Broadway, Glendale, CA 91205

                    Pinocchio Restaurant & Monte Carlo Italian Deli
                    3103 W Magnolia Blvd, Burbank, CA 91505

                  2. re: Will Owen

                    I love CLaros as well their proscuitto is great. By the way saw your letter in Car and Driver Will

                    1. re: monkey

                      Yeah, I do cars too...!

                      I haven't tried their prosciutto; in fact, it just occurred to me that with the exception of my first sandwich, before I'd discovered the ready-mades, I've never had a custom-made sandwich at Claro's. They are more expensive, but maybe I should save up my pennies and explore the possibilities a bit more.

                  3. Glad to hear I'm not the only one who doesn't care for Bay Cities. Over ten years ago, their subs were pretty good, but now...just not worth it. I laughed aloud as I read your description of the Godmother, which in my experience, is very accurate of the last time I went there.

                    On a more encouraging note, so far, the best sub on the Westside I've had is at Victor Jr's in Culver City. Now THAT's a sub!

                    Victor Jr's
                    10113 Washington Blvd
                    Culver City, CA

                    FYI, they are closed on weekends.


                    1. I'm surprised people are complaining about the meat - last time I was there I ordered a spicy salami w/works, and ended up peeling about half the meat because it was too much. Everyone has their own bread preference, and there is no right answer, but objectively, the bread at bay cities has a thin but crunchy crust, and is definitely chewy in the middle. I think it is perfect for sandwiches.

                      Claro's sounds awesome, but not really an option for mostpeople on the westside to got to Arcadia or Tustin to grab lunch. Maybe a good stop next time on the way to Vegas. :)

                      1. Bay Cities is OK but definitely overhyped because this CH board is very westside-centric. I've had better, more authentic, and cheaper Italian torpedos here in San Pedro at A-1 Italian Imports Market, and we have at least 3 small family-owned Italian bakeries in town that make fantastic sandwich rolls.

                        11 Replies
                        1. re: Ernie

                          "overlyhyped because this CH board is very westside-centric." I could not have said it better. I have tried Bay Cities and could see that problem as I was standing in line. This place is like soooo many Westside places, mainly about the local scene / happening and not the food. Maybe it once was but now that they have their name and a stedy line of money coming in the door and they just do not go the extra mile that makes them Chowhound worthy (IMO). Many good post come from the westside Hounds but sometimes it is only hype about a trendy... I can understnd that the clean air and sunny days make it hard for people to be willing to commute to other places but not if your really a Chowhound thinking about having the BEST whatever and not simply "On the Westside Only....

                          1. re: JeetJet

                            We're just concentrating on keeping our carbon footprint as small as possible.

                            1. re: Servorg

                              Communities (indeed, regions) that are truly concerned about the carbon footprint usually have mass commuter rail service. But still, the buses do run to-and-from good food East of the 405.

                              1. re: JeetJet

                                Which bus lines do you normally use to get to all of your rec's?

                                1. re: Servorg

                                  I use Metro Link to L.A. from SGV and then the buses. I usually carpool for Chowhounding (there to five in the car) but have used buses that travel Valley Blvd in SGV -- every stop is a chow stop. Whch do you use?

                                    1. re: Servorg

                                      My Total respect. That is also good for working off the food.

                            2. re: JeetJet

                              How is a deli a scene or a "happening" place. It's just a place where you get a sandwich. You are reading way too much into the crowds there. That is the real problem with this broad, not west-centrism. People constantly complain about places being too much of a scene. Maybe, maybe Father's Office is a "scene." An Italian deli, though, is not a scene.

                              1. re: dent77

                                How? On the Westside people line up for that sour pinkberry stuff. Yet the Temecula location usually has no line on a Hot Saturday afternoon. But I was only searching for a reason why anyone would stand in line for THAT deli. To be at a scene makes more sense than for the food and service in this case. I did not know that there are rules against an Italian deli being a scene. I guess that shows how Out-of-it I am. Sorry.

                                1. re: dent77

                                  Ha I agree that crowds at an Italian deli do not classify it as a "scene". I live in Santa Monica, very close to Bay Cities and though they do not make the best sandwiches in the world, they are decent. I believe I go there for the same reason everybody does, because they are the only Italian deli around. To me the scene isnt the problem, but the biggest problem with that place is the terrible help behind the deli counter. They are rude, slow, and have no idea how to make a quality italian sandwich. What Bay cities needs to do is take some of the outrageous amounts of money they are making on their overpriced food and hire a whole new effecient staff. Those lines wouldnt be half as long if they had people behind there that gave a damn.

                                  1. re: sundevilstef

                                    Good point. Service in front of the counter has been either very helpful or very rude. Behind the counter, not rude at all, just very slow! I always seem to get the slowest of the slow, too. I actually like the pasta salads.

                            3. i think bay cities is ok - nothing to rave about. and i agree - that bread is so tough it really gives your jaw muscles a work out having to eat it. i've never had a problem w/"not enough meat" - but maybe that's just me.

                              but - i don't get how you can say that somewhere not even in the same city/area/vicinity is better. it's like the point is - what can you get that's better nearby? i mean i can go to new york and have a much better sandwich - but that's not an adequate comparison.

                              1. Russkar, you continue to bedevil me. Between your more typical posts on extravagant tasting menu experiences and wine choices that are way beyond my realm, you throw in another curve. Forgive me if I'm mistaken, but didn't you praise a Del Taco item?!?

                                I really like Bay Cities. Fantastic bread, the basis for any sandwich. Yes, it has texture and character, and it doesn't keep for long. I know the "Godmother" sandwich there is the mantra, and in my experience it is among their weaker offerings. Look, we've all been there during their lunch crush and we know that a sandwich with four or five different meats is not going to be fresh-sliced and assembled with each of the meats lovingly placed on the roll. Impossible. So, like a Subway, the combination for the Godmother is pre-sliced, pre-measured, pre-apportioned for the sandwiches to be ordered. No other way, with those lines at lunch rush. And then my complaint -- the hot pepper spread is misnamed, it is not a hot pepper spread but mostly a hot olive spread, a very different condiment. (The mild is made from peppers, I've been told.)

                                So get a turkey sandwich from one of their many varieties -- roasted, peppered, smoked, honey-glazed -- and add a cheese and condiments. It will come freshly sliced and a mountain on that superior roll. Get a tuna. Or stay, as I do, away from the lines and go to the hot side for a meatball sandwich or one of their generous, tasty hot entrees. And they don't rip you off on the drinks and checkout is swift and friendly.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: nosh

                                  Nice post Nosh.. way to go.. I agree but the Small Poor Boy loaded with Hot Pepper/Olives is still my go to sandwich at Bay Cities.. Never had a bad one yet..

                                2. I recently went to Claro's in Tustin & ordered a "Italian cold-cut" sub. When I noticed Richard grabbing the Danola type ham, I stopped him & asked for prosciutto. He said that that will cost more, I said no problem. I was craving the sandwich. Well, it was $11.99. What a rip off! Never in the past had I paid so much for a mostly average product, with the exception of the prosciutto. I paid for it, along with some delicious Italian fruit cookies & decided that when in Tustin, stick with the $5 #22 at Zon's baguette up the street.

                                  1. I've stopped eating sandiches there but my husband still likes it. I can get Boar's Head turkey, salami, roast beef, etc and my local Ralph's deli counter so I really don't get what the big hoo-haa is all about. I like BC more for discovering new olive oils, vinegars, and other cooking ingrediants--although I do like the meatballs and roasted chicken (almost forgot). Most important: Waz up with that souless electronic menu??! Once that thing went up (and the ol' chalkboard came down) I felt sad -- felt it would never be the same. The electronic board also flashes commercials for local businesses. Wrong move imho.

                                    1. Claro's is an authentic Italian Deli, one where anyone who is of Italian Origin shops for their fennel sausage, pasta and Mortadella, coldcuts etc., we cant live without our Claro's and will travel hours to get there, since there isnt any authentic Italian Deli's left in SoCal, there is Monte Carlo in Burbank, but not like Claro's. There is a sub place in Camarillo, Ventura Cty, called Jersey Mikes, awesome subs, havent come to L.A. yet

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: bsantoro

                                        I have to chime in with agreement about Claro's. First of all, I don't buy sandwiches. I buy the meat and make my own and the meat at Claro's is authentic, imported from the "old country." If you shop at the San Gabriel location, Frank, the owner sits behind his small counter in the back and is available for any question or recommendation. He will tell you why the fresh cardoon is not yet available. The people talk to you and remember you. The smells harken back to the deli's of old with the imported cheeses hanging from the rafters. The sausage is fantastic...made on the premises. The cookies are made by Claro's as well. I have asked Frank many times why there is no Claro's on the Westside or the south bay...we drive from Playa del Rey. He says that he doesn't need to go into an area where there are already deli's...like Bay Cities. He has a niche in his areas. I do not like Bay Cities. It is a plastic imitation of an authentic Italian Deli in my book. It fills it's shelves with imported canned and dry items but when it comes to the fresh, it just doesn't measure up. I would go to Sorrento's in Culver City before I would go to Bay Cities. Just my second generation Italian opinion.

                                        1. re: Signora

                                          I go to Sorrento's for the fresh pastries and some sandwiches only because where else are you going to get a large veal parm for 4.95. And because I live behind them. Their produce, which comes from their own farm, is seasonal but OK. Their wine prices are horrible($19 for a bottle I can get at BC for $9) and some of the products on the shelves have been on there for years. Haven't been to Claro's so can't compare, like BC sandwiches other than GM and get other products there cheaper than at Surfas. I'm Italian from St. Louis, so partial to Amighetti's special and Imo's pizza.

                                          1. re: Signora

                                            I've been going to Claro's for a long time (Arcadia one), and not much of the meat is imported from the "old country." They do have imported Prosciutto, but almost all of their italian-style meats are Columbus (USA), Citterio (USA) or San Daniele (the Canadian brand, not the Italian region).
                                            Nothing wrong with domestic products, but neither of those are among my favorites... I'll take some Molinari salami any day over these brands. On the other hand, when I want to buy some Speck, Claro's will always have it (Canadian, if you're wondering).

                                          2. re: bsantoro

                                            I haven't been but I'm seeing a lot of Jersey Mike's.


                                          3. You have to try Italia deli

                                            Definitely worth a drive from the westside to the valley , fresh made bread and always an ample amount of meat (Boars head ) and cheese. no hype, no scene, just a real old fashioned Italian Deli stuff with the best imported goodies...

                                            Italia Bakery & Deli
                                            11134 Balboa Blvd, Granada Hills, CA 91344