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10 Spots For Must-Try Grilled Cheese Around LA

By Lesley Balla
November 1, 2013
Photo by: U-Mini

A proper grilled cheese is simple: bread, cheese, butter and heat. Everything else falls under paninis or melts, but for the most part, if melted cheese is somewhere between two slices of bread, everyone will pretty much call it a “grilled cheese.” Semantics really don’t matter to us here - we love them all. Take a look at some favorite melty sandwiches around LA, from the best classic to a gooey melted cheese sandwich.

  • Heywood: A Grilled Cheese Shop
    Although you can't go wrong with just about anything on the menu, we recommend something like the Game Changer (English double-gloucester with homemade habanero jam on sourdough) or the Italian Bleu Jeans (fresh mozzarella, creamy blue cheese, walnut pesto and sun-dried tomatoes). Or create your own Heywood from all the choices of cheese and bread whenever the craving strikes - the Silver Lake spot is open till 3 AM on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

    3337 W. Sunset Blvd.; 323-667-1522

  • Photo by: Clementine

    Clementine
    Honestly, any one of Annie Miler’s grilled-cheese sandwiches makes us pretty darn happy. And luckily you don’t have to wait until National Grilled Cheese month (April), when she goes all out with a month-long celebration, to have one. You’ll always find a classic grilled cheese on the menu or you can choose from an array of cheeses, toppings and breads to build your own. White cheddar or Havarti? Bacon or smoked turkey? Tomatoes? There’s enough choice to make something new every day for at least a month.

    1751 Ensley Ave.; 310-552-1080

  • Photo by: Lesley Balla

    Ink. Sack
    Maybe it’s the house-made American cheese mooshed together with crushed avocado, or the Fritos sprinkled in for added texture. No, actually, we’re pretty sure it’s the Fritos. There’s just something about it. This avocado melt from Michael Voltaggio’s shop isn’t really grilled, but it has the wonderfully gooeyness we look for in a proper grilled cheese.

    8360 Melrose Ave.; 323-655-7225

  • Photo by: Lesley Balla

    The Grilled Cheese Truck
    What started out as a simple ode to the comfort-food classic - chef and co-founder Dave Danhi just wanted to compete in the 7th Annual Grilled Cheese Invitational with his cheesy mac and rib melt - is now a beast. While you can get the simple grilled cheese, it’s more fun to explore some of the wackier (and delicious) concoctions, like the fried chicken waffle grilled cheese - breaded chicken and melty cheddar between two waffles, with syrup on the side for dipping. There are now trucks rolling in LA, Orange County, Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, Phoenix and Texas.

  • Short Order
    There is so much more than burgers at the Farmers Market restaurant. Case in point: the grilled cheese with cheddar, Romano and Landaff cheeses starts out pretty innocently, but when you add things like bacon and chiles - and you'll want to - it becomes positively decadent.

    6333 W. Third St.; 323-761-7970

  • Photo by: U-Mini

    U-Mini
    You already know to go to Umami Burger’s new quick-serve burger joint for smaller and more inexpensive burgers, but there’s also a grilled cheese made with that addictive housemade two-cheese blend sandwiched between a bun that’s turned inside out. And it’s only $4 - a total steal.

    1131 Westwood Blvd.; 310-945-8626

  • Photo by: Lesley Balla

    Melt It!
    Whether it’s a crazy concoction or something more traditional, this Pasadena shop hits it out of the park. There are many variations of grilled cheese to try here, but we liked the Tabasco Melt for its combo of easy-to-melt Monterey jack, the fresh avocado and tomato, and of course, the bacon (are you starting to detect a theme?). But it might be the slightly spicy Tabasco butter that puts it over the edge.

    105 N. Hill Ave.; 626-793-7002

  • Bread Lounge
    Because the bread can make any sandwich great, and because Bread Lounge has some of the best bread in town right now, the grilled cheese here is one of the tops. It’s simply made with Emmentaler, Gouda and a sweet-onion marmalade, and you can choose any bread you want. Owner-baker Ran Zimon’s tangy sourdough is fantastic.

    700 S. Santa Fe Ave.; 213-327-0782
    Photo: Midtown Lunch

  • Mendocino Farms
    We may be pushing the boundaries of grilled cheesiness with this one, but just because this carb-loaded sandwich has pasta in it doesn’t make it less of a grilled cheese in our eyes. Not only is it mac 'n' cheese in the middle, but there’s also applewood bacon, smoked Gouda and steamed kale on the grilled rustic white bread. We’re also partial to the Drunk’n Goat on Highway 128 sandwich, which is made with herbs de Provence-marinated Drake Family Farm’s goat cheese, French Brie, cranberry chutney and green apple on cranberry-walnut bread. You know, for something sweet.

    Multiple Locations
    Photo: Food GPS

  • Photo by: Lesley Balla

    The Melt
    The SF-based chain hit LA with a few brick-and-mortar locations (Hollywood, Downtown, Burbank) as well as a roving food truck, and serves nothing but grilled cheese and soup, mostly in combos. The classic cheddar on sourdough with tomato soup is hard to beat, really. The cheese was appropriately melted, the bread was toasted and buttery, the sandwiches aren’t overwhelmingly large.

    Multiple Locations

  • Photo by: Olive & Thyme

    Olive & Thyme
    You can always get a pretty dynamite panini-pressed cheese sandwich at this Toluca Lake charmer - the regular has blue cheese, fontina, white cheddar and tomato - but every Thursday night there are new grilled cheese specials, like one filled with short rib meat or the Green Goddess, which melts havarti, avocado, arugula and green goddess dressing between bread.

    4013 Riverside Dr.; 818-557-1560

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