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Is there a terrific Jewish style deli in OC?

I know there are a few ok deli's in OC, but is there anything in the same league as LA's Langer's, Brent's, or Wexler's in OC? Oh how I crave a pastrami or corned beef sandwich such as you can get at Katz's in NYC, or even Langer's in LA.

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  1. Not anymore. There used to be a pretty damn good one in Laguna Hills just off of the 5 at Alicia called PJ Bernsteins of which the original location is in NYC. I miss it so.

    2 Replies
    1. re: JAB

      PJ. Bernstein's was one of the better ones in OC, but it wasn't in a league with LA's best. Can't understand why there isn't at least one terrific deli in OC?

      1. re: josephnl

        It sure wasn't far off and was far better than Katella.

    2. Anyone tried Arnie's http://www.arniesdeli.com/ in Newport Beach? I've heard good things about it but have not been.

      17 Replies
      1. re: Servorg

        Just ok...not great...and it's only open for lunch!

        1. re: josephnl

          Have you been to Katella Deli http://www.katellabakery.com/ lately? i always liked it.

          1. re: Servorg

            I've not been for years, and as I recall, we thought it was pretty good for OC. But, I'm looking for something terrific like Langer's or Brent's. I guess it doesn't exist.

            1. re: josephnl

              yeah, it doesn't really exist, though i've never tried Katella Deli.

              Most of the pastrami out there is dirty fast-food pastrami anyhow.

              1. re: kevin

                Katella Deli: it suffices (half decent rye).

                But I'd rather have Wexler's. /bait.

                  1. re: JAB

                    /bait ?????

                    whats that mean ????????????

                    1. re: kevin

                      Wexler's bait fish on rye is better than Katella's.

                      1. re: JAB

                        You won't catch me with that one! Do you like the ones packed in oil better, or the ones packed in water?

                        1. re: Servorg

                          Damn, reeling it back in and recasting.

              2. re: josephnl

                There's a Rose
                In a fisted Glove
                And the eagle flies with the dove
                And if you can't be with the one you love
                It's alright
                Go ahead and love the one, love the one, love the one you're with
                Love the one, love the one, love the one you're with...

                1. re: Servorg

                  Thanks Servorg...I'll just have t sublimate my craving for delicious juicy and tasty pastrami until I'm away from OC.

                  1. re: Servorg

                    Wasn't that tune by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Nugent?

                    1. re: Tripeler

                      I though it was just C, S, and N ?????

                      or am i wrong on that note ??????

                      thanks for the clarification.

                      1. re: kevin

                        I never heard it as "a fisted glove"yikes

            2. re: Servorg

              Mediocre. Default is oddly thick bread. Good pickle jar on each table, though.

              1. re: New Trial

                Katella Deli is inconsistent and usually disappointing.

            3. Have you tried Benjie's? I have never been but I have always been curious.

              4 Replies
              1. re: A5 KOBE

                I used to go to Benjie's often when I worked in Tustin. We went back about 6 months ago and it was still probably the best in OC for my money. Katella is OK, but IMHO has morphed into an all-purpose restaurant while Benjie's is still a 'dedicated' Jewish deli.

                That said, neither of them is LA good. Why there isn't a truly good one remains a mystery and a disappointment

                1. re: A5 KOBE

                  Ive heard Benjies is terrible.

                  There's also Tommy's Pastrami but I highly doubt that's any good.

                  1. re: kevin

                    We'll, I disagree about Benjie's, although I do live in the South OC Wasteland, so what would I know? ;o)

                    The meats are pretty good at Benjie's but I do recall remarking that the rye bread was not stellar. OTOH LA is a miserable freeway drive away, so.........

                    1. re: kevin

                      Benjie's isn't terrible in my experience, but I agree with others saying it can't compete with Langer's, Brent's, et al.

                  2. If you are in Amazon Fresh's Orange County delivery area, you can order Canter's delivery through them, although I have not been to Canter's for years, so I can't vouch for their deli meats. Or just have Katz's ship to you. I have gotten to the point where I would rather pay shipping and have great stuff delivered to me at home and eat at home rather than go out for mediocre food. I can't stand the awful bagels in L.A. and am thinking of having bagels delivered from one of the artisanal bagel places in New York.

                    1. Some things at Katella are okay, but I tried the French dip brisket sandwich recently and it was awful. The meat was so fatty I gave up trying to eat it.

                      1. You might find this article interesting and informative on the topic. Bottom line, the Jewish deli genre is in retreat, not growing:


                        1. this week's memo says it's the "The New Golden Age of Jewish-American Deli Food":
                          (Wexler's mentioned, natch).

                          just not in the OC.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: TonyC

                            great photos of tasty looking grub there...the new sit down part of russ & daughters calls my name.

                            1. re: jessejames

                              Oh...are they opening in Orange County? I guess I can dream!

                              1. re: josephnl

                                wow, if russ and daughters were opening in OC right now, i'd drive down there right now in the heat of bumper to bumper traffic.

                                1. re: kevin

                                  That babka bread pudding photo also got my juices flowing

                                  They do have flagels (flattened bagels) at the Brooklyn water bagel shop. I like em

                          2. Arnie's Deli just now.

                            Half tongue on rye and half pastrami on French roll. Rye, tongue, and pastrami are very good here. Not Katz's good but certainly good enough.

                            12 Replies
                            1. re: Porthos

                              Looks ok, but not really what I was looking for. I was (sigh!) hoping for something like Katz's, or at least Langer's or Brent's, and Arnie's is definitely not in that league. And also, Arnie's is only open for lunch, and I never eat lunch!

                              1. re: josephnl

                                How long have you lived in OC? You honestly thought that there was a Langer's or Brent's equivalent that you were unaware of that never got mentioned here?

                                1. re: JAB

                                  Only 40 years. I just keep hoping that maybe something new has slipped in while I've been hibernating! (I've tried them all through the years...Arnie's, Jerry's, Benjie's, PJ Bernstein's, etc., etc...and keep hoping). I can't understand why L.A. has always had several very good delis, and OC has never had anything better than just ok. It must be the demographics, but it truly doesn't make sense to me!

                                  1. re: josephnl

                                    It's all about the demographics. When my family came to LA in '74 from Montreal, we looked at living in OC but there wasn't a big enough Jewish community for my parents' taste. That may have changed over the past few decades, but there also haven't been too many new delis built anywhere over the past 40 years.

                                    The great LA delis, except maybe Brent's, are all from a distant gloried past of deli. Hopefully the "Modern Deli" movement will catch fire here too!

                                    1. re: moreplease

                                      Actually there is now a rather sizable Jewish population in the Irvine-Newport Beach area. Indeed between the 2 cities there are at least 6 or 7 synagogues, a large Jewish parochial school, a very large Jewish community center, etc....and of course you don't have to be Jewish to like a good pastrami on rye. Another factor might be that a significant percentage of the OC Jewish population is of Iranian and South African heritage, and these folks do not have the same dietary tradition as folks with Eastern European heritage. Nevertheless I sure wish that OC had at least one great deli!

                                      1. re: josephnl

                                        i don't even think they have any mid eastern kosher restaurant like they do in the SFV.

                                        1. re: kevin

                                          I don't think you're right about halal restaurants. The OC has quite a few.

                                          1. re: Servorg

                                            kosher, i mean, not halal. of course.

                                            But yeah there's a slew of halal restaurant in Anaheim and parts nearby.

                                    2. re: josephnl

                                      I wonder who is doing all of the Kosher catering in OC?

                                      1. re: JAB

                                        In my personal experience (ex wife is Jewish), it's been Benjie's and Katella (more Benjie's). I agree with moreplease's assessment on demographics. I heard many complaints from then-in-laws about the lack of resources for Jewish folks in OC (holiday cards, food, etc.). I can empathize. I have come to love Jewish food (even took on cooking the brisket on holidays) and wish there were a great deli option down here.

                                        1. re: OCSteve

                                          i still can't think of any jewish delis in OC much less a kosher one.

                                        2. re: JAB

                                          there's that joint in tustin.

                                          but the catering is probably shipped in from LA.

                                          in fact i can't even remember any kosher restaurants in OC.