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10 Best Grilled Cheese Sandwiches in Los Angeles

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Mon, Apr 16, 2012 at 2:32 PM

click to enlarge Grilled Cheese - RACHAEL NARINS
  • Rachael Narins
  • Grilled Cheese
What is a grilled cheese sandwich? It's comfort food. It's warm and retro-yet-now and endlessly customizable. It's something that can be lowbrow, high-end and everything in between.

How is it defined? For the purposes of this guide, we're saying a grilled cheese is a vegetarian sandwich that's served hot and consists of 80%-90% melted cheese on sliced bread that has been pan-fried or griddled. Plain and simple. If it's mostly pulled pork, or short ribs, that's not a grilled cheese -- that's lovely hot pulled pork or short rib sandwich with cheese. Is that good? Yes. No doubt. That just doesn't make it right for this list.

For those times you're craving rich-fatty-carbohydrate-heavy goodness, there are lots of local spots willing to feed your need; and we suggest one of the following. Having meticulously sampled them all (and then some) and gained a few pounds in the process (because we care!) we present the Top 10 Best Grilled Cheese Sandwiches in Los Angeles. We still haven't quite figured out why it's called grilled cheese, when there's rarely a grill involved, but we're willing to let that one go.

click to enlarge Grilled Cheese at Huckleberry - RACHAEL NARINS
  • Rachael Narins
  • Grilled Cheese at Huckleberry
10.Huckleberry:

It goes without saying that Zoe Nathan's top-notch bakery and cafe serves a grilled cheese that cannot help but highlight its own artisan bread with a large crumb and chewy crust. Yes, this one is technically made on a panini press, which isn't our favorite treatment, but with such well sourced, high-end ingredients it's impossible to resist. The overstuffed plate-full is redolent with the earthy tang of one of California's finest cheeses, Fiscalini cheddar. Our only quibble is that the wonderfully generous portion somehow manages to be a bit greasy -- reminding us that even in such a calorie-fest category, one can go over the top. Served with a plain mixed green salad. 1014 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica; (310) 451-2311.

click to enlarge Grilled Cheese at Paradise Cove Beach Cafe - RACHAEL NARINS
  • Rachael Narins
  • Grilled Cheese at Paradise Cove Beach Cafe
9. Paradise Cove Beach Café:

This is for everyone who spent their childhood on the beach, because there is nothing quite as kid-friendly or nostalgic. It's sunny-day perfection. The triple decker of sunset-orange cheese is salty just from the air and carries a faint and thoroughly expected taste of the seafood being fried nearby. As L.A. as can be. Normally, the gritty crunch of sand in your food isn't a good thing, but here it's part of the joy of the American cheese on slightly charred white bread (wheat available as well) rendition. Does it come with fries? Of course it does. 28128 Pacific Coast Highway. Malibu; (310) 457-2503.

click to enlarge Grilled Cheese at Joan's on Third - RACHAEL NARINS
  • Rachael Narins
  • Grilled Cheese at Joan's on Third
8. Joan's on Third:

This remarkably decadent sandwich will leave your fingers glistening when you lift it. The indulgently large slices of fine-crumb pain de mie will have collapsed under the weight of the gloriously pungent, creamy Cheddar cheese. While there is a bit of a cult following for Joan's pickles, in this case they're a touch too sweet to do the job of cutting through this grande gras. Eating an entire sandwich should send you right back to the gym from whence you came, but it's worth it. Joan's on Third, 8350 W. Third St., Los Angeles; (323) 655-2285.

Turn the page for #7, etc...

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