This Pizza Has Fried Chicken for Crust
Rocco's "Il Rocco" in Los Feliz is the undisputed Eastside Italian champ, a mustache-friendly hoag loaded with your usual suspects (mortadella, capocollo, soppressata, provolone). What sets this hero apart, though, is a layer of arugula, giardiniera, and prezzemolo spread (aka fancy lettuce, pickled vegetables, and parsley spread). The sharp bite from all three ingredients gives the sandwich much-needed balance, and -- ironic! -- it looks great when spilled on a child-sized NBA jersey from the '90s.
Even Glendale gets in on the sub-love with Mario's, where two slices of bread do not make a sandwich. Order the Submarine Combo (or its hot cousin, the Spicy Combo), and you get a Big Mac-style triple-decker that's only going to fit in your mouth after a major smushdown (note: not a sexual act... but it probably should be).
Think of Scarpetta as the restaurant version of a superhero. By night, it's a flashy Italian restaurant serving $24 spaghetti to wealthy B-Hills widows. By day, it's a friendly sandwich shop, and Chef Freddy Vargas is serving his Padrino Hero to anyone smart enough to come in. Prosciutto, mortadella, salami, and provolone come dressed with an Italian vinaigrette that gives the sandwich the perfect amount of tangy zip.
Let's see, it's got spicy capocollo, mortadella, prosciutto di Parma, ham, Genoa salami, and provolone. That sounds a heck of a lot like the... what's that? It's called The Godfather? Ah. Clearly someone at All About The Bread took a visit out to Santa Monica, then recreated the original bad-boy and saved a shload of people a long drive.
You want OG? That's Eastside Market, open since 1929 near Chinatown in what used to be LA's Little Italy. Its Cold Cuts and Cheese Combination may not have the most eloquent name, but it does the job with the classics on top of a fluffy Italian roll, with the added hope that “aged provolone” here doesn't mean “since they opened".
Top Chef winner Michael Voltaggio is known for taking classic ingredients and turning them on their head, and The Jose Andres -- aka “The Spanish Godfather” -- is no exception. Unlike the rest of this list, it's not technically Italian, but rather a Spanish interpretation of The Godmother with Serrano ham, thin slices of chorizo, manchego instead of provolone, and spicy, vinegar-tinged peppers. Bueno? Buona? Yes.
Culver City may not be known as an Italian sandwich hot bed, but this sleepy little market has been serving up some of the cheapest Italian subs around for years. The best part? The Combination (cotto salami, mortadella, capocollo, and provolone) will run you a measly $3.25 for a regular and $4.95 for a large. Is Sorrento the Italian word for "time machine"? Is this 1988? Word of warning: they use marinara as a condiment here, so tell 'em to leave it off if that's not your cup of espresso.
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Jason Kessler is a food and travel writer and the creator of Fly&Dine. Follow him on Twitter and follow @FlyDine for the latest in foodie travel news.
1. Giamela's3178 Los Feliz Blvd, Los Angeles
2. Paninoteca225 N Canon Dr, Beverly Hills
3. Eastside Market Italian Deli1013 Alpine St, Los Angeles
4. Rocco's Tavern12514 Ventura Blvd, Studio City
5. Sorrento Italian Market5518 Sepulveda Blvd, Culver City
6. ink.sack8360 Melrose, Los Angeles
7. Mario's Italian Deli & Market740 E Broadway, Glendale
8. All About The Bread7111 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles
They've been serving Italian subs since 1964, which means they've gotta be doing something right. Try the famous Pepper Steak Sub if you're in the mood for one of the most amazingly juicy sandwiches of you'll ever eat.
From the dude behind Scarpetta comes Paninoteca, which is tucked in back of the resto and serves up wild, three-day roasted porchetta and pastrami sandwiches in Beverly Hills.
A true and authentic Italian deli, Eastside is a landmark eatery for their outstanding sammies (both hot and cold), pasta dishes, and salads.
Not only does Rocco's have great drink specials, their grub menu is also loaded with tasty options including burgers, sandwiches, and of course, hot and fresh pizza.
This family-owned Italian market has tons of fresh, directly imported goodies. Just make sure you hit up their deli for some of the cheapest Italian subs around, including The Combination (cotto salami, mortadella, capocollo, and provolone) which will only run you a measly $3.25 for a regular and $4.95 for a large.
Ink's a hole-in-the-wall gourmet sandwich stand lined w/ graffitied blackboards and not much else, opening from Top Chef winner Michael Voltaggio, who managed to pull off a somehow under-the-radar build-out despite obsessive scrutiny from media, food blogs, and Val Kilmer's stomach.
Mario's has been around since 1961, providing Glendale with delicious sandwiches, hot plates, and pizza the whole while. Though it can get a little crowded, it's always worth the wait to get your hands on one of their triple-decker Submarine Combos.
Spicy capocollo, mortadella, prosciutto di Parma, ham, Genoa salami, and provolone... that's right, it's a recreation of Santa Monica's fav sandwich: The Godfather. Even though it's a copycat, it saves you the long drive you'd otherwise be making for one of these babies.