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Oct 1, 2007 12:24 AM

Top 10 Delis in LA

Here's what L.A. Magazine nominated as the 10 best:

1. Brent’s
2. Langer’s
3. Nate n’ Al
4. Art’s
5. Pico Kosher
6. Marv’s
7. Canter’s
8. Factor’s
9. Billy’s
10. Label’s Table


Of the ones I've been to, I did like Nate n' Als. Probably the best pastrami meat I've tried, and its small enough relative to some of the other Delis that there is at least some semblance of intimacy. Canter's has always been good to me, but I've always had at least 8 cocktails in me when I've been there, so that could bias things. Factor's had decent food but I couldn't get over stale & no-personality atmosphere.

IMHO, best/favoriteDeli is more of a personal preference than an absolute as there are so many factors like what items you order off of their expansive menus, types of pickles, bread preferences, % grey hairs, bakery quality, even mustards (I like Izzie's as they always have out 3 types of Beaver mustards). The one thing I can't figure out is why every Deli believes the lighting should be as bright as an E.R. operating table. But tell us what you think of the Top 10 List nevertheless...

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  1. i did not read the article so i am not sure what criteria was used but my first reaction is ...italian deli's are not worthy ? bay cities ? my personal fav ...Claro's...i guess you can call them "markets"...i feel they are deli's and i purposely minimize my visits to claro's to once a month because i always buy/spend too much there !!

    5 Replies
    1. re: kjs

      I would add Greenblatts to the list!

      1. re: bubbles4me

        I second the greenblatt's Delicious Deli food + top wines -- a great treat in my book.

      2. re: kjs

        The article really seemed to be focusing on Jewish and Jewish-ish delis. There were references to rude waitresses, old school decorations, and things of that sort. I haven't been to all 10, so I don't know if they're all the same, but that's what I got from the 5 minutes I browsed the article.

        1. re: kjs

          Claro's is a great place where the employees are really knowledgable and friendly. I think they are even coming close to a big anniversary. They have a few locations but I've only been to the original on Valley Blvd.

          I've never thought the Jewish delis were anything to rave about but I do like that some are open 24/7.

        2. What? Barney Greengrass is chopped liver now? ;-D

          4 Replies
          1. re: Servorg

            actually, i was surprised by the way they practically ignored bg. they included a sidebar about 'appetizing stores' and quoted gary greengrass, but the restaurant didn't make the list. it sorta bummed me out that they didn't give it a little more attention...i like that place. it may not be l.a.'s best, but as a transplanted new yorker, a meal there brings back good childhood memories for me.

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              Although the menu is now a little broader than just fish and dairy (all that was offered when it first opened), those remain the focus and the menu is more limited than a typical deli's would be on the meat end. My recollection from growing up in NY is that such places would be called "appetizing stores" rather than delis. I presume that was the reason for its not being considered for the Top 10--though I think Barney Greengrass is far and away the best in town for deli-style fish (I love the nova, eggs and onions there, with a toasted bialy please!). By the way BG also has a delicious egg cream.

              1. re: New Trial

                sure, back in the day greengrass, zabar's, russ & daughters, etc. were all called appetizing stores. but at this point bg has a full-service menu. i definitely consider them a deli and imho, think they should have been considered.

                agree with you on the nova egs & onions....that's precisely what i had the last time i was there! sans bialy, unfortunately...but still, where else are you gonna find a kossar's bialy in l.a.?

              2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                Barney Greengrass deserves a mention if for no other reason than that they sell salted belly lox, which is an incredibly rare find outside of the NY metro area. (I've heard that "Nosh" in Beverly Hills sells it as well.)

                I even went to one of the Hasidic fish shops on Fairfax and talked with the owner about belly lox.... she had no idea what I was talking about!

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            2. I don't know that LA has enough Jewish delis to merit a top 10 list. How many are there that didn't get on?

              3 Replies
                1. re: sku

                  Junior's didn't make it. Kind of surprised by that.

                  1. re: GuidoTKP

                    Me too, especially since Canter's gets on there, which I attribute more to its fame than any fare served.

                    Personally, I have nostalgia for Label's Table, but not for the food, just weekends, particularly Sunday early afternoon breakfast with dad on *his weekends.*

                2. I was born and raised in LA and I have to say that Nate N' Als has always been my favorite. It has become increasingly expensive over the years, but they have the best matzoh ball soup, BEST turkey pastrami (if you like that kind of thing) and the potato pancakes are ridiculous. Factor's isn't that great of a deli, but they have really good salads that are huge. You're right about Canter's- definitely tastes better after a couple drinks if you're like me and used to go to that lame Kibbitz Room thing.... Pico Kosher is awesome, but tiny and just really "mom and pop." And, Art's= delicious. Best Molton Chocolate Lava cake you've ever tried. Label's Table, Billy's, Marv's, Brent's and Langer' If they were gonna add some of those, they might as well have put Jerry's Famous Deli on there and I think we all know how "good" Jerry's is...

                  1. brents, brents and brents...
                    nothing else even close.