Canter’s

Delicatessen | Jewish | Open-All-Night | Sandwich Shop
Memorable
One of the best
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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 (but with only take-out service from 3am to 8am Sunday through Thursday), 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
Must-Try
No matter how good the meats, a deli sandwich fails if the bread is inferior. That will not happen at Canter's, where the rye bread is fresh and perfect.
Canter’s, Pickles
Pickles
Must-Try
Exemplary pickles are audibly crisp, redolent of dill and garlic.
Canter’s, Matzoh Ball Soup
Matzoh Ball Soup
Must-Try
The broth for matzoh ball soup is intensely chickeny; the matzoh ball is a cloud of tender comfort.
Canter’s, Chopped Liver Sandwich
Chopped Liver Sandwich
Must-Try
Neither too smooth nor too chunky, Canter’s chopped liver has an appealing rugged texture and is loaded with the flavor of chicken fat.
Canter’s, Fresh Fruit
Fresh Fruit
The fruit in a fresh fruit cup is actually fresh.
Canter’s, Bagel & Lox
Bagel & Lox
Gorgeous lox and all the fixins are accompanied by, alas, a lame, spongy bagel (at upper left).
Directions and Hours
closed now
SundayCLOSED
MondayCLOSED
TuesdayCLOSED
WednesdayCLOSED
ThursdayCLOSED
Friday6am - 12am
SaturdayCLOSED
Roadtrips
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.

Information
Price
$$
Seasons
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Dessert, Late Night
Credit Cards Accepted
Yes
Alcohol Served
Yes
Outdoor Seating
No
Website

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