Food culture has hit our generation hard; there are food shows galore, countless food personalities, the next “big” dish or cooking style. While trying that new fun “it” food or restaurant is thrilling, sometimes I just have to go back to basics. There’s not much that’s more basic than grilled cheese – a buttery and warm exterior with a melted, cheesy center. Of course, even grilled cheese gets dressed up every now-and-again (hello Mr. Greenspan). Peruse my top grilled cheese picks, which span from classic to experimental.
Numbered establishments on the map correspond to information below for easy reference. Establishments also appear in alphabetical order instead of in order of preference. Sadly, some of these meatballs are subject to availability.
1. Andrew’s Cheese Shop OR DTLA Cheese OR Milkfarm: To get a truly exceptional grilled cheese sandwich, it starts with a truly exceptional cheese. Luckily, L.A. is graced with some outstanding cheese shops where you can find a cornucopia of cheese selections. There’s Andrew’s Cheese Shop in Santa Monica, DTLA Cheese in downtown’s Grand Central Market or Milkfarm in Eagle Rock. There are often events, tastings and pairings at cheese shops – there are even beer and grilled cheese pairing events at Andrew’s Cheese Shop that look particularly titillating.
2. The Blind Barber: With hand-crafted drinks and a menu devoted to grilled cheese, it’s no wonder The Blind Barber is one of my favorite places on the Westside. And it’s a speakeasy. The front is an actual barbershop and through the back door of the shop is the entrance to the bar. There’s a grilled cheese for every palate: Spanish, Italian, American, spicy, and even sweet. Great service, great drinks, and seriously delicious grilled cheese sandwiches.
3. Clementine: Clementine sits on an almost-residential hill right across from the Century City mall, and a newer branch is tucked behind an office building in Beverly Hills. Chef-owner Annie Miler has devoted the whole month of April to grilled cheese sandwiches and typically features at least one on the menu. Recently, it was extra sharp Tillamook cheddar on a grilled country white bread.
4. The Corner Door: The Corner Door is one of the newer Mar Vista restaurants. It’s great for happy hour and the chef was even on the show “Chopped.” Grilled Cheese R&D Night (every Monday) features a weekly grilled cheese + side for $10. It’s a great deal and a great sandwich. I’ve had one with sliced apples that was delicious. (Photo courtesy of The Corner Door)