Delicatessen | Jewish | Open-All-Night | Sandwich Shop
One of the best

Years ago, when I first visited Canter’s, I didn’t take a lot of pictures because as soon as my camera flash went off, the hostess asked me to stop, explaining that “people pay thousands of dollars to take pictures in here.” She meant that movie makers and professional photographers rent it out as a restaurant backdrop that very clearly says “vintage Los Angeles,” which is what it is. Since that time, taking pictures of one’s food has become part of the dining experience for enough people that nobody on staff gave me a hard time when I photographed a recent breakfast.

Open since 1931, Canter’s is an old-style delicatessen that smells of salami and corned beef and pickles and is staffed by take-no-prisoners guys and gals who are equal parts service and entertainment. Open all night, with a a cocktail lounge from 10:30am to 1:40am, it is an opportunity to eat excellent kosher-style — but not actually kosher — fare. This includes the full repertoire of cured meats and smoked fish, matzoh ball soup, noodle kugel, and a vast variety of traditional pastries including hamantaschen, rugguleh, and black-and-white cookies.

Hot entrees include corned beef and cabbage and chicken in a pot. Chicken soup is like an idealized grandmother might make.

The sandwich selection is epic. I like traditional corned beef (on rye), the meat briny and just fatty enough to feel slightly sinful. Another good sandwich is chopped liver that is enriched with plenty of schmaltz.

Among breakfast specials is matzoh brei (here spelled brey), a felicitous balance of matzoh shreds that range from custard-soft to slightly chewy all enveloped in buttery scrambled eggs.

What to Eat
Canter’s, Rye Bread
Rye Bread
No matter how good the meats, a deli sandwich fails if the bread is inferior. Canters rye is exemplary.
Canter’s, Pickles
Pickles are audibly crisp, redolent of dill and garlic.
Canter’s, Matzoh Ball Soup
Matzoh Ball Soup
The broth for matzoh ball soup is intensely chickeny.
Canter’s, Chopped Liver Sandwich
Chopped Liver Sandwich
Chopped liver is loaded with the flavor of chicken fat.
Canter’s, Fresh Fruit
Fresh Fruit
The fruit in a fresh fruit cup actually is fresh.
Canter’s, Bagel & Lox
Bagel & Lox
Gorgeous lox and fixins are accompanied by, alas, a sad, spongy bagel (upper left).
Directions and Hours
closed now
SundayOpen 24 hours
MondayOpen 24 hours
TuesdayOpen 24 hours
WednesdayOpen 24 hours
ThursdayOpen 24 hours
FridayOpen 24 hours
SaturdayOpen 24 hours
This restaurant is featured in the following eating tours.
4 stops | 18 MILES | 43 min

If you visit Los Angeles from the East and have a stubborn circadian rhythm governor that has you awake and hungry in the middle of the night, prepare to eat well. L.A. has a number of excellent open-all-night restaurants. Here some classic faves.

Open Year Round
Meals Served
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Dessert, Late Night
Credit Cards Accepted
Alcohol Served
Outdoor Seating

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