The following is a 100% real, 100% authentic review. Dadtography was not compensated in any way for this review.
Does a high quality delicatessen outside of New York exist? My answer is a resounding yes! Canter’s Deli has been serving fans of New York Style delicatessen food on Los Angeles’ Fairfax Avenue since 1931. Not only is Canter’s Deli one of my favorite places to visit when I’m in LA but it’s been a favorite of celebrities since the doors first opened. You haven’t had a delicious deli sandwich on the West Coast until you’ve eaten at Canter’s Deli. What is it about this place that has brought my family back to these hallowed booths every time we’ve gone down to California to visit family? Keep on reading and find out.
What to See?
The first thing you see when you walk through the door is the bakery. Canter’s Deli offer customers fresh breads and sweets on one side of the lobby and deli meats on the other. Continue past the aroma (Don’t worry. You can pick up some goodies to take home on your way out) and speak to a waitress to get yourself seated. Sitting down to eat at Canter’s Deli is like going back in time to a 1950s diner. This place prides itself on its long history and shows it by keeping the layout the same, notwithstanding essential renovations every few years. If you prefer to sit away from children, check out the Kibitz Room. The Kibitz Room is the bar section and has live performances by local artists on a regular basis.
Canter’s Deli shares the street with some interesting places worth checking out if you have the time. Fairfax Avenue is a distinctly Jewish area so one can expect to find kosher butcher shops, bookstores, synagogues and Judaica shops. My favorite store to visit is called Solomon’s. If you have the chance to meet Mr. Solomon you’ll find that he’s a fascinating gentleman who escaped persecution to open his store in the 1960s. Check out his wares that are handcrafted and largely made in Israel.
What to Eat?
If there’s one reason to come, it’s definitely the food! The prices may have changed over the years but the menu has remained largely the same for decades. Some of the menu items include Matzah Ball Soup, sandwiches, brisket and even beef tongue. There’s no way to go wrong when it comes to this delicious food that is a true culinary delight. My personal favorite is the Ruben sandwich. Between two slices of bread is an impressive amount of corned beef, cheese and sauerkraut with sauce. One bite into this wonderful sandwich is like spending time in heaven. Served with a side of fries, you aren’t going to go hungry after this meal. As you chew on this wonderful culinary dish, you will feel like you’re in Brooklyn enjoying your favorite deli sandwich.
Try their amazing pies ala mode if you have room for desert (There is good chance you won’t because the main dishes are all very hearty). All of their baked goods are cooked fresh daily. Remember to buy some of those tasty goodies that I mentioned earlier on your way out. My family loves buying some pastries to eat the next morning in our hotel room.
One last piece of information that is essential for some of our Jewish readers: although the deli foods served here are often considered Jewish thanks to the delicatessen culture of New York, it’s important to note for readers who keep kosher that the restaurant doesn’t adhere to kashrut and is open on Saturday.
What’s the Cultural Value?
Canter’s Deli represents the best of what local community looks like. Even as Los Angeles continues to grow and become more commercialized than ever, it’s a breath of fresh air to go to a place like Canter’s Deli that retains that local community feeling that’s all too lacking today. It remains one of the best examples of proper Los Angeles culture and is worth experiencing at least once. If you’re like me and love “Mom and Pop” businesses then you’ll definitely pine for me of Canter’s Deli.
Recommended Place to Stay
The nearest hotel is the Farmer’s Daughter. Although there are other hotels in the vicinity, I recommend this place because it’s always been highly rated and is considered a cultural icon.
How Is the Overall Rating?
Canter’s Deli was and remains the best delicatessen in Los Angeles. There’s no doubt in my mind that this establishment will keep on rolling out sandwiches for years to come. With fresh food, cultural significance and excellent service, Canter’s Deli is the kind of place a man can go and feel at home. The only thing that takes away from the rating is that parking can be tight if you come at the wrong time of day. With everything considered, I give this place 4/5 stars.