Hey, San Fernando Valley homeowner, just because you've bought a NEW home doesn't mean you can't enjoy flavors of the OLD world!
Whether Jewish, Greek, or Italian, deli means delicatessen, and delicatessen means delicacies. All of these mean delicious.
Luckily for you, some of the world's finest delis are in our beloved San Fernando Valley. After all: culture, lifestyle, and opportunity are three reasons you chose to buy a home here in the first place - right?
Today we'll take a look at five of the BEST Italian Delis in the San Fernando Valley. Whether you're craving antipasto or eggplant parmigiano, we'll help you find just what you're looking for.
So come on, give those pre-cut meats the boot and treat yourself to some fine cuisine from the country that's shaped like one!
The Best Italian Delis in the San Fernando Valley:
Cavaretta's first opened back in 1958 and has been going strong ever since. Cavaretta's is the quintessential Italian deli. It's family owned and operated, and it's the kind of chic, charming place you normally only see on travel shows or on the food network. When you walk into Cavaretta's your nose is greeted by a host of deep, yummy smells. Cavaretta's is famous for its large portions at reasonable prices.
And while Cavaretta's is great for take-out, it's also a special place just to hang out. The friendly service and real authentic Italian atmosphere have been bringing hungry locals back for 60 years.
Whether you're in the mood for a fully prepared hot meal, like their classic meatball or mortadella subs, or if you want a pizza or pasta to take home for easy oven heating, or even of you just want a salad, Cavaretta's truly has something for everyone.
In fact, even if you want to do your own cooking, their in-house Italian market is chock-full of goodies for making your own Italian meals. Take home your own pasta to cook. Feeling adventurous? Try their classic gnocchi (potato dumpling) pasta. It literally melts in your mouth!
Be sure to pick up some of Cavaretta's homemade marinara sauce no matter what type of pasta you choose. And don't forget the wine-pairing to go with that meal. Cavaretta's has you covered there too. Pop into Cavaretta's on your lunch break, grab a quick sandwich, AND take home lasagna for dinner while you're there!
LA Dodgers fans will enjoy an extensive bobble-head collection. Out-of-towners will spot the occasional celebrity - such as comedian, podcaster, and UFC commentator Joe Rogan, who frequents the spot.
In short, there's no place quite like Cavaretta's. Some people even think it's the best Italian deli on the entire west coast. Almost everyone agrees that you'd normally have to head - maybe not to Italy - but at least to New York to find an equivalent deli.
If you talk about anything authentic, any conversation must be about the hugely popular San Carlo Delicatessen in Chatsworth. This is the kind of of place that you can take your Italian friends from NYC or Boston who are always bragging about their delis to show them how Cali represents.
Attitude is everything at the San Carlo. The West Coast deli with an East Coast feel, the San Carlo is also a little deli with a big heart. You are treated like family at the San Carlo, where everybody goes out of there way to be relaxed and comfortable and to make YOU feel relaxed and comfortable. To maybe have to experience it to understand.
Far and away the most popular item on the menu is the famous eggplant parmigiana. Every burger joint from Toledo to Timbuktu has a famous something. But in Southern California, when we say something is famous, we mean it. And the eggplant parmigiana at the San Carlo is legitimately famous.
They say "San Carlo stands for quality.” That motto resonates through their quality meats and quality side dishes and premium selection of quality root beers and cream sodas.
They have another motto...not so much something they say as something they strive to make YOU say..and that's "mama ia che delizioso." And that's essentially, "My goodness that's good."
It's time to ask yourself an important question. When you scarf down a deli sandwich, do you opt for soft bread or crunchy, crusty bread? It matters because you need to know what to order, of course!
But it doesn't matter at all in terms of picking where to go. Because whether you like it soft or prefer it crusty, Cricca's Italian Deli in Woodland Hills makes some of the best sandwiches anywhere. And no matter what kind of sandwich you pick, your sandwich will always be served with high quality Boar's Head deli meats. And they are always sliced to order--never cut in advance.
Like Panini? Cricca's is famous for their panini sandwiches, which are regarded to be among the very best in all of SoCal.
Counting calories? Limiting Carbs? Sensitive to gluten? Don't even worry. Cricca's has your back. They're looking out for you and your lifestyle needs by offering lettuce wraps for all of your favorite sandwiches so you can go "against the grain."
If you need a sub to feed an army (or a navy?) Cricca's has gargantuan party subs. Their 3' subs will feed 15 hungry humans and their 4' subs will feed twenty! Just make sure to call at least 24 hours in advance to give the nice folks at Cricca's a heads-up.
Part of the experience of the old world that you get on the East Coast more than on the West is the bustling and busy nature of crowded places.
Speaking of bustling, the word is out about Italia Bakery in Granada Hills. The secret is a secret no longer.
That means if you need to be the only human being in a restaurant when you order, this is probably not the place for you.
You need to get a number if you want to order food at Italia Bakery and Deli, otherwise you'll just be a spectator observing other people anxiously waiting their turn to pick up something delectable.
This is also maybe not the place to go if you need a lot of elbow room and it's probably not even the best place to go if you want to sit down and eat there. Italia is not so much about that.
What Italia is about, is being as warm, friendly, and courteous as they can when it is your turn and your number is called. You'll get their undivided attention when you're up to bat and they'll hook you up with food that easily rivals that of any of the other delis on this list. A great many people say Italia has the best pastrami in all of the San Fernando Valley. And given all the amazing Jewish delis in the valley, that's quite a claim.
It's also worth mentioning that people drive halfway across the Valley just to get coffee at Italia because the coffee really is that good.
Again, if you want to experience Italia when the lovely people who work there are in a more playful mood and moving at a more relaxed pace, go there when they are not busy.
If you go during peak business hours, you'll still get smiles and nothing but smiles, but the people behind the counter maybe aren't going to get into long, drawn-out conversations about their families with you. Not with all of those hungry people standing behind you!
But just remember, there is a reason all those people know about Italia. And there is a reason they are all waiting with a number. That reason is the food. And you'll understand once you taste it. You just might not tell EVERYBODY where you got that amazing pastrami.
Domingo's Italian Deli in Encino knows that every other great deli on this list has great meats. Every great deli in the world has great meats and you could argue that is what makes a great deli a great deli. And like all great delis, Domingo's of Encino does indeed have great meats.
But where Domingo's tries to make their mark, to set themselves apart, and to truly distinguish themselves as a world class deli - is their bread.
A sandwich, after all, is meat sandwiched between pieces of bread. And if a sandwich can only be only be as good as the meat that's in it, a sandwich is also only as good as the bread that holds that meat.
With that it mind, Domingo's bakes the best bread of any deli on this list.
But they're not just a bakery of course. The bakery is just the backbone of those yummy sandwiches. Domingo's has a wide array of cheeses, pastas, crackers, sodas, and many specialty items that are rare and hard to find outside of Italy.
Come to Domingo's for the meats and cheeses and olives and side dishes. Come back because no one else's bread is quite as spectacular.
17548 Ventura Blvd., Encino 91316
There you have it, folks. The five best Italian Delicatessens in The San Fernando Valley. Thanks for exploring them with us, now get out and explore the Valley!