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Any better subs than the ones at Giamela's?

  • g

For years my favorite standby has been my local, Giamela's on Magnolia/Victory, in Burbank. I love the generous portions of meat put on their submarine sandwiches. I'm curious, are there any restaurants out there that serve a submarine sandwich on the scale of Giamela's? Or, better?


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  1. Way, way better than Giamelli's is Santoro's on Burbank, between Victory and Buena Vista on the north side of the street. They are real live, honest-to-god, East coast subs. For those of you from the North Shore of Boston, it's a touch of home literally, as the mother of this sandwich shop is the Santoro's in Lynn, MA. It seems that some family members moved to LA years ago and happily carried on the sub tradition. On a rare occassion, some high school kid behind the counter slightly flubs the sandwich, but 99 % of the time they're spot on. Try the Italian with everything on it, or if you're a real carnivore, the hot pastrami is a fat tinged wonderment.

    1 Reply
    1. re: brucelis

      Santoro's is absolutely better than Giamella's and Dans, both of which I find very bland. Also try Bay Cities Deli in Santa Monica which has the best bread by far.

    2. Dan's Super Subs on Ventura Blvd. way the heck out in the west valley by Fallbrook and Shoup Ave. but worth the drive.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Lucky17

        As a long-time (circa 1967) Santoro's devotee, I was cautious about a friend's recommendation of Dan's. Splendid! Large, packed with quality ingredients, served quickly. Parking is a problem, but it's worth it!

        1. re: Lucky17

          In the same general area is Cricca's, on Topanga Canyon Blvd. at Dumetz (south of Ventura Blvd.) It went radically downhill after the long-time owner, Ron Cricca, retired and sold the store, but the folks who are running it now have restored it to its former glory. Having compared Cricca's to Dan's (many times), I have no doubt that Cricca's is better across the board. Easier parking, too.

          1. re: ozhead

            I've eaten at Cricca's three times since first reading this thread, and I've been pleased each time. They offer the toasted option; on a hot day the second half of the splendid well-provisioned sandwich became the next day's lunch. Beware: it's easy to miss the chalkboard specials on the north wall. My only gripe is the simultaneous TV and radio creating cacaphony. Please lose the GD TV; I don't watch it at home, and I sure as hell don't want it crammed at me whilst I sup.

            1. re: ozhead

              I took your advice and now frequent Cricca's. The Italian sub on flakey, sturdy bread with the works and deli Mortadella to go is a dream come true. As good as any I've had in the states.

          2. Well I like Giamela's too but for a change you might also try Mario's Deli in Glendale or Eastside Italian Deli near Chinatown. And then there is also Pinnochio's in Burbank.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Sam D.

              Yes, John's, Eastside market and italian deli, is great especially the #7 and #21. Dan's Super subs in woodland hills is also very good.

            2. I am a fan of the subs at Mario's Italian Deli in Glendale.

              Mario's Italian Deli & Market
              740 East Broadway
              (818) 242-4114

              If you are ever in Santa Monica, check out Bay Cities Italian Deli on Lincoln Blvd.

              Link: http://www.mariosdeli.com

              1. Cavaretta's Italian Deli, Sherman Way & Topanga

                DeFranko's, Woodley & Vanowen

                My Hero, Reseda Blvd & Plummer

                All better than Giamela's IMO.

                1 Reply
                1. re: markn

                  I really like the Sub Queen in Sylmar on Foothill.

                  Tasty filling and amazing bread.


                2. Giamela! Nice Italian name, right? I figured the food should be great so I went into the one near me and wlaked right out again. The place was run by an Asian couple. Don't get me wrong; I love ethnic foods when prepared by those who are of the same ethnic background.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: rob

                    I recently moved to Atwater Village where Giamela is a fixture. So I tried it.

                    The loaf they use to make the sub is very similar to a loofah. I watched and they put the chosen meat on said loofah, then another worker in the kitchen gets a big ladle of pre-made pickle relish and puts it in the sandwich. I do not know what the appeal is, but the separate ingredients are subpar.

                    I can highly recommend Mario's in nearby Glendale. Ambrosial Italian sandwiches on par with Bay Cities IMO.

                    1. re: rob

                      I know it's about 8 years later and maybe you've moved to Arizona by now, but this thread just got resurrected and I have to say, your comment that you "love ethnic foods when prepared by those who are of the same ethnic background" is completely ridiculous.

                      I don't really know what you mean by "ethic food," but I'd certainly rather eat good Thai food prepared by Mexicans that shit Mexican food prepared by Mexicans.

                        1. re: terwilliger

                          Actually, I have moved but, to Vegas, not AZ. Let me clarify my position; Franchise versions of ethnic foods are 'americanized' and bear little resemblance to the real dish as prepared by someone who knows how it should be made.

                        2. re: rob

                          Boy, you better not eat at any American coffee shops in NYC, because the American food there have been prepared by Greeks for the last 40 years. Your statement is ridiculous.

                        3. I love it when these old threads are resurrected. It's a little time warp window into our collective Chowhound consciousness.

                          The obvious answer to this question in 2012 is "the sandwich" at Roma Deli in Pasadena. But in 2004, even though the little Sicilian man with the rosy cheeks was there doing his thing as he has been for 50 years, nobody here knew the wiser (or they were keeping the secret to themselves).

                          To think of all the good years (and sandwiches) we lost.

                          Mr Taster

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Mr Taster

                            Poor Rosario has been making sandwiches by the hundreds lately - came in to buy one the other day and he had a big pile in front of him. "Take one!" he said. "I just thought I'd make a lot this morning - I'm gettin' tired of making sandwiches all day!"

                            For those whose sub requirements call for softer rolls and stuff like lettuce and tomato, the standard sub at Claro's is my old favorite, and I still have one now and then. I go to the one in Arcadia, though there are I think five other locations. Check their website. Still $5 for the big one, $3 for the smaller.

                          2. Cricca's on Topanga in Woodland Hills in a True sub. Stout bread, crisp and flakey. Ask for the works and a double if your feeling like midnight leftovers. Fabulous deli also with paper thin mortadella.

                            1. I got a kick out of Michael Connelly's latest Harry Bosh novel, "The Black Box" when Detective Bosh basically pays off a police firearms expert to work through his lunch on restoring a filed off serial number on a gun by bribing him with a sandwich from Giamela's.

                              Several other LA area restaurants are mentioned as well, one of them, (Birds on Franklin) where Detective Bosh picks up take out dinner for him and his daughter on the way home, was unknown to me before reading about it in this novel: http://www.birdshollywood.com/

                              1. DeFranko's by the Van Nuys Fly Away. Roma Deli in Pasadena but that is a very specific thing, like chef's choice at a sushi restaurant. Eagle Rock Italian Deli is better than Giamela's. Tony's on Magnolia near Victory, I think does a good job.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Burger Boy

                                  It's been a while since I've been to DeFranko's. But I remember the atmosphere being very correct.

                                  Btw, what's new on the burger scene ?

                                  1. re: Burger Boy

                                    Tony's is good, but the garlic dressing can be a little strong at times. Also try having them remove the center slice of bread.

                                  2. I haven't been there in a while but Mat and Tony's used to be #1 for me.
                                    One of the worst subs is Art's on Desoto and Ventura.