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Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery

Restaurant, Deli / Bodega, and Bakery$$$$
West Los Angeles, Santa Monica
327 Tips and reviews
  • sandwiches
  • Italian food
  • delis
  • lively
  • authentic
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  • Popular
  • Recent
  • S L.
    S LeeAugust 7, 2014
    Been here 10+ times
    What to get: Godmother with the works, hot peppers, let it sit for a bit so bread soaks and gets softer. Order online so you don't have to wait. Often they have pre-made godmothers in two spots too.
    Upvoted Aug 7
  • Thrillist
    ThrillistMay 1, 2014
    There're two macaroni & cheese dishes at Bay Cities, but there's only one that you want. It's got eight cheeses and a crusty exterior made from crumbs from their bread, and is crazy -- CRAZY -- good. Read more
  • The Standard
    The StandardJuly 24, 2015
    Get the Godmother sandwich with the works. The perfect sandwich to take to the beach or a night at the Hollywood Bowl. Pro–Tip: order ahead online to avoid having to wait in the long deli line.
  • Jennifer M.
    Jennifer MaasSeptember 9, 2015
    Been here 10+ times
    The Godmother is a classic and the reason most people go. But take the time to look around the whole store and grab an authentic Italian soda and some imported candy to go with your yummy sandwich.
  • GMoney
    GMoneyMay 10, 2013
    The pastrami sandwich I had was very good. I really loved their bread coz it's crispy on the outside. They give you the option of adding either mild or hot chilis. Of course, I went with hot!
  • Ben K.
    Ben Kessler (@kessler)December 29, 2014
    If it's your first time you really need to get the Godmother with the works, definitely one of the better Italian sandwiches I've eaten in my life.
  • Michelle F.
    Michelle FarrellOctober 14, 2016
    What's not to like? Buy 2 loaves of the fresh hot bread that they keep in baskets by the cheese counter. I love everything in this place. Hot food bar and sandwich bar are awesome.
  • Caty S.
    Caty SoloneAugust 7, 2014
    The Godmother is my favorite sandwich at Bay Cities for sure! I also love all of the snack and drink options they carry. They have a unique, but big selection! Love it!
  • Jeremiah R.
    Jeremiah RagadioJanuary 7, 2012
    The hot pastrami is the best sandwich in LA (arguably the best anywhere). Get a large either hot or mild, jalapeno potato chips, an Orangina, and lots of napkins. The italian rolls are to die for.
  • Alex P.
    Had the grandmother - *without bread*. It's a good Italian sandwich. Life changing? No. Less a transport to Italy and more to Jersey/Staton island. Want to try the Spaniard sandwich and hot bar.
  • LA Weekly
    LA WeeklyAugust 4, 2014
    Fully dressed, a Godmother feeds a couple of people at least; the guys behind the counter will look at you quizzically if they suspect you're planning to eat a whole one yourself. Read more
  • Glarence Z.
    Glarence ZhaoFebruary 12, 2016
    Not sure what sandwich bread I got but was incredible, nice crunch and soft inside, some of the best ive had, one up on the god mother, check the fridge aisles for packaged foods instead of ordering
  • Harout D.
    Harout DerassoyanJune 15, 2015
    Everything is good here... Godmother is their signature sandwich, but don't be afraid to try everything else... I love the mesquite turkey with the works with Dijon mustard
  • Jason H.
    Jason H.April 6, 2016
    Great sandwiches. Be creative and order something OTHER than the Godmother. Order online to save time. Be warned - no bathroom so you need to sneak into Swingers next door....
  • Meg L.
    Meg L.August 19, 2011
    Order online to avoid the madness of lunch rush. For your first time or anytime, the Godmother (with the works) is a solid classic. Their bread is also delicious to buy/take. Fun drinks inside.
  • Bon Appetit Magazine
    Grab a ticket at the magnificent deli and listen closely for one of the guys behind the counter to call your number (don’t space out; they move on before you know it). Read more
  • Connie C.
    Connie CollJuly 24, 2014
    The Godmother Sandwich Extra Spicy! I am Speechless with their Selections, Food & Service. ...Best away to avoid waiting in long lines, Sameday OnLine Ordering Simple & Easy!!
  • Clean Bay R.
    Congrats to Bay Cities Italian Deli for passing their Clean Bay Restaurant Certification! They're doing their part to keep the Santa Monica Bay clean! Learn more:
  • Nina M.
    Nina MoJune 9, 2011
    Been here 10+ times
    the godmother works, caprese w prosciutto and the ready made baguettes w prosciutto (if long wait). Love the market! The exploratore cheese, hot sauces, fresh bread, creamy balsamic, truffle oil..yum
  • Tom O.
    Tom OdellSeptember 3, 2011
    Been here 50+ times
    Probably best deli in Los Angeles. My favorite sandwich is the tri-tip but they're world famous for their "Godmother" sandwich. Staff is incredibly friendly despite being swamped from open to close.
  • @jasonyi924
    @jasonyi924February 20, 2012
    Been here 10+ times
    Any sandwich is amazing here -- they use only the best deli meats from Boar's Head and they use their crunchy sourdough bread. Order a loaf of freshly-baked sourdough bread to enjoy at home.
  • Justin O.
    Justin OrdovezaSeptember 19, 2014
    Parking is a nightmare especially around lunch. There is an express lane to get the godmother sandwich on the opposite side of store across from the deli counter.
  • Clean Bay R.
    Bay Cities Italian Deli is part of the Clean Bay Restaurant Program, helping to reduce stormwater pollution in Santa Monica Bay! To learn more, visit:
  • Matt P.
    Matt PinnerDecember 30, 2012
    Always grab a couple fresh loafs from the back; one for you and one for a friend. They even sometime have them baked with tomatoes and basil inside
  • Nick B.
    Nick BurdApril 11, 2014
    Been here 5+ times
    The Godmother with the works and hot peppers. Also: their sandwiches may get all the love but spice heads should check out their stellar hot sauce selection.
  • Laura F.
    Fantastic sandwiches - great bread and the house roast beef is super rare just the way I like it!
  • Phillip W.
    Phillip WoodOctober 18, 2014
    Been here 5+ times
    Take a number & keep your ears open for it - they move fast. The deli gets a lot of the attention, but the European grocery carries loads of little continental treats.
  • Offbeat L.A.
    Offbeat L.A.March 5, 2016
    Classic Italian market opened in 1925, serving deli sandwiches. The "Godmother" sandwich was first made in 1952. The exterior was given a modern remodel in 2010.
  • Scott R.
    Scott R.July 24, 2013
    Known for the sandos but a full Italian market with a great selection of cordials/liqueurs and kitchen accoutremonts.
  • Voice Places
    Voice PlacesMarch 11, 2013
    Our members say, "Squid Ink is always raving about this place. I now see why," and "this is pretty much hands down your best bet for sandwiches in LA." Read more
  • kristine b.
    kristine b.November 2, 2012
    If you're in a hurry, pre-order online (and of course, order the Godmother). If you have some time, browse the crazy selection of all things cooking.
  • Justin D.
    Justin DeanJanuary 3, 2015
    Skip the line: order The Godmother ahead online or get a meatball sub at the hot counter. They are, respectively, the #1 and #2 sandwich of LA.
  • Brian W.
    Brian WilliamsonNovember 7, 2013
    Here for a sandwich? Godmother w/ the works. Spicy. Order ahead online and save yourself 30-45 minutes (long wait, but worth it).
  • Food Network
    Food NetworkAugust 17, 2011
    On The Best Thing I Ever Ate, Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken both recommend Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery for their Godmother Sandwich and other specialties. Find more tips at FN Local. Read more
  • Steve J.
    Steve JohnstonOctober 16, 2014
    The place can get a little hectic, but they crank out a lot of great food. Try the meatball sandwich, a simple approach to a classic.
  • Trent R.
    Trent RipperAugust 14, 2013
    So busy but easy to just walk in and grab a Goddess sandwich. Great local vibe that travelers can feel a bit cool being amongst.
  • Allan P.
    Allan ParsonsFebruary 16, 2013
    Been here 10+ times
    Don't be that asshole that saves a table for your 3 friends waiting on the sandwich line for 45 minutes. Some of us already with our sandwiches want to sit down to eat them.
  • ben m.
    ben mDecember 1, 2014
    Believe everything everyone says about the Godmother. Order ahead so you can skip the line.
  • Stephen K.
    Stephen KoontzSeptember 9, 2014
    Amazing and large sandwiches. Best in Santa Monica. Extremely popular. I recommend ordering online to cut down wait time.
  • Mark H.
    Mark HaileJune 20, 2010
    It was mobbed today, being a sunny June afternoon. Yet it was one big party, with everyone describing their favorite choices (and lamenting the "Best Italian Deli" listing in Los Angeles magazine)
  • Alyssa B.
    Alyssa BereznakOctober 25, 2015
    Subs so good I wanna cry. The Godmother and caprese sandwiches are my faves. Truffle oil chips make a nice side.
  • Jamie F
    Jamie FMay 18, 2013
    The most amazing Italian food market w everything you could possibly dream of and the Godmother die for.
  • Casey S.
    Casey SchendelAugust 18, 2013
    There bread pudding is THE best bread pudding of anywhere. Grab it in the cold case behind the first check out lane.
  • Joe Y.
    Joe YocumMay 11, 2014
    The Godmother sandwich is their signature sandwich. I totally recommend it. The lines can be really long though at this Deli !
  • Riquel S.
    Riquel ShaneJune 3, 2013
    First time here, I got The GodMother after all the talk iv seen about it. It was delicious. I will be back!!!!!
  • Lina A.
    Lina A.April 27, 2015
    All sandwiches are amazing, if you can't make up your mind just order the special and make your own sandwich ;)
  • The Standard
    The StandardFebruary 14, 2011
    CA (Eat) - The Best Deli sandwiches in LA. No Contest. Yeah, the lines can be long but you can browse the Italian cookie section while you wait!
  • Tara
    TaraAugust 11, 2013
    I came to try the Godmother. There was a long line of people at the deli counter. Was thrilled when they put out a basket of Godmother sandwiches for everyone.
  • Kate R.
    Kate RoseJuly 28, 2011
    The actual place is shit. However, I have dreamed about their Capresse with Roast beef for weeks. Freshest of the fresh roast beef, balsamic & basil. Unbelievably good. Shame about the bitchy service
  • Clean Bay R.
    Bay Cities is a certified restaurant of the Clean Bay Restaurant Program, helping to reduce stormwater pollution in Santa Monica Bay! Learn about or find more certified restaurants at Read more
  • Lydia A.
    Lydia AmmosovaJune 28, 2010
    Been here 5+ times
    For the carnivores, the Godmother is their signature sub~but I LOVE the homemade eggplant caponata! Scrumptious! And, the guys working the sandwich counter are priceless gems of entertainment!
  • Jada Pada
    Jada PadaJanuary 6, 2013
    The godmother is good, I admit. It's not the best sandwich ever, though. All who said that, obviously, hasn't had a po' boy in New Orleans.
  • Alexander K.
    Alexander KeimJuly 20, 2013
    Great sandwiches at a reasonable price for the area. It was worth the wait. A bit too much mustard on mine though.
  • Chris L.
    Chris LFebruary 2, 2015
    This Italian deli and bakery certainly deserves its title as one of the most famous Los Angeles landmarks. Hectic parking lot, small aisles.
  • Kate M.
    Kate MorganNovember 20, 2010
    The godmother sandwich is incredible fresh, but even better after sitting for a few hours in the fridge. mmmm I always walk away with more than I came to get. Great store!
  • Souris H.
    Souris Hong-PorrettaJune 21, 2012
    Been here 5+ times
    Always get your deli ticket first before grocery shopping. Best ice cream in LA hidden in the dessert freezer!
  • Allegra T.
    Allegra TepperJune 16, 2014
    If you're there on a Thursday (try to be!), get the Eggplant Parm special. It will rock your world.
  • Meg F.
    Meg FarmerOctober 8, 2014
    The godmother, so good. Hint: you can order online and pick up in store rather than waiting on that horrific line.
  • Georgiana J.
    Georgiana JianuDecember 6, 2014
    Fancy small shop with international food. Found nougat here and panettone with chocolate. Great sandwiches. Parking sucks
  • SJ8544123 L.
    SJ8544123 LOctober 16, 2014
    Godmother is very popular here n I love it too but Richard's pastrami sub is also the bomb!!
  • Alison W.
    Alison WallisApril 28, 2015
    Spicy godmother is simply amazing! The bread, peppers and deli meats make for a perfect symphony.
  • Midtown Lunch LA
    Midtown Lunch LAJune 15, 2012
    Skip the godmother (it's for Boar's Head loving rookies) and go for the hot sandwiches. They're better, and the line is shorter.
  • John C.
    John CliftonAugust 20, 2014
    Order online to avoid waiting during the lunch rush! Great sandwiches and a sassy security guard.
  • Ron
    RonFebruary 4, 2016
    The fresh loaves baked on premises really makes the sandwiches standout. Get the Godmother sub!
  • Tedd R.
    Tedd RomanFebruary 10, 2010
    Been here 5+ times
    Arrive any time between 11AM & 3PM & plan on spending some serious time in line (totally worth it tho a little overwhelming for newbies). Pre-order online if you can. Last... Go GODMOTHER!
  • Lydia A.
    Lydia AmmosovaJanuary 24, 2011
    Been here 5+ times
    Two fantastic vege options here include the Eggplant Parmesan (ask for extra sauce!) & the Spinach Souffle! Both located in the hot bar!
  • Nina N.
    Nina NMarch 3, 2014
    delicious roast beef! The House makes it's even better.
  • Photog K.
    Photog KevMarch 5
    Cant bring my camera bag in, have to leave it with the Cashier? With $7K of gear inside? I dont think so! Will just stop stopping here every time Im in town, as Ive been doing for years#CantFixStupid
  • Mark H.
    Mark HaileJuly 5, 2011
    Pick up your Red Bull across the street @ Von's as they don't have 'em in their case; one of these days I'll actually get around to ordering online so my Best Damn Italian Sandwich in LA will be ready
  • Jeff P.
    Jeff PackJanuary 27, 2014
    Good quality food. Sub-par service. Can we get some native English speakers please who actually care about the customers.
  • Pete L.
    Pete LittrellAugust 15, 2012
    If the deli line is too long, suck it up and order a chicken/meatball parm from the hot food counter--rarely a line and sure to please.
  • Ivar G.
    Ivar GJuly 26, 2011
    Have a meatball sub or the godmother, u can't go wrong. If u need a haircut go to Lincoln barbers. Best sandwich and best haircut all in one day. Why not
  • Ivar G.
    Ivar GNovember 8, 2010
    Meatball sub or the godmother!!! A must try. Fresh baked bread. I've been coming here for over 22 years. This place has it all.
  • Josh M.
    Josh MillerJanuary 8, 2016
    If this is the best sandwich in Santa Monica, then the sandwich scene here is bleak. This whole neighborhood needs to take a field trip to Philly to gain some perspective.
  • Ryan B.
    Ryan BurrisFebruary 3, 2013
    Been here 10+ times
    Godmother, tuna salad, sopressata, prosciutto!!! Anything here is a signature dish. Bread is magnificent.
  • Truetone M.
    Truetone MusicMarch 3, 2012
    Best Italian Deli, and bread in L.A.! Victorio is the man with the Mac & Cheese and the A.B.C.!!!
  • Lauren F.
    Lauren FosterAugust 5, 2015
    Been here 5+ times
    Everything here is amazing. I always get an Italian sub with the works!
  • Davari A.
    Davari AbstraktAugust 10, 2011
    Been here 5+ times
    Turkey pastrami w/ avocado, hot peppers, basil, the works minus mayo & havarti cheese- the Davari special :0)
  • Ellie M.
    Ellie Martinez2 weeks ago
    Amazing deli the Godmother is to die for and pre made so you can beat the queues
  • Toni B.
    Toni BMarch 28, 2015
    The godmother seems to be all the hype but it definitely was good and big.
  • Tina T.
    Tina TranJuly 31, 2010
    The Reuben sandwich is so good. Only available on Saturdays. If you've tried Godmother, give this one a try. It's $13 but worth it once.
  • Lauren P.
    Lauren PurnellMay 10, 2010
    Been here 10+ times
    The line moves faster than you think - sometimes jumping 10 numbers at a time! If they're serving a burger in the hot case - get it - you'll thank me :)
  • Stephen S.
    Stephen SmytheSeptember 23, 2015
    Come for the god mother sand which and stay for the assorted Italian delicacies
  • DAN C.
    DAN COXJanuary 5, 2012
    Nice homemade soups at the counter closest to the front door, and no wait! Just pony up to the counter and order!
  • Andy K.
    Andy KleinMarch 22, 2014
    Been here 25+ times
    Long line at the deli? Sneak to the back section for pick-up of online orders, every once in a while they'll hook you up there.
  • Jason K.
    Jason KaplerJune 16, 2013
    Don't play around and order the Godmother sandwich. Thank me later.
  • Mike J.
    Mike JacobsonDecember 3, 2013
    Been here 25+ times
    The bread is made of baby clouds. Also, secret burger on Saturdays only.
  • Golda C.
    Golda CriddleFebruary 21, 2014
    Been here 5+ times
    Sandwiches are to die for. Also love the soups & pasta!
  • Michael A.
    Michael AmsterMarch 3, 2014
    Been here 10+ times
    Online ordering is a must unless you like to wait in lines. Also pick up an extra loaf of fresh bread.
  • Juliana P.
    Juliana PkAugust 7, 2014
    Great choice of food and beverages, a little overpriced, but everything was very tasty
  • Klara L.
    Klara LichtMay 29, 2013
    You can order online and pick the sandwich up. Easy and fast.
  • Alieh Z.
    Alieh ZohouryJuly 19, 2016
    Order online to avoid the long lines.
  • Víctor O.
    Víctor OrtegaJuly 10, 2015
    Last time I dropped by, was 4 years ago. Hasn't changed a thing, and that's great.
  • Roxanne S.
    Roxanne SaeiAugust 11, 2014
    Been here 10+ times
    Godmother. Add the works. No mayo. Get the (fake green) cannoli to finish. Love you.
  • Rob B.
    Rob BlaskoAugust 5, 2010
    Been here 10+ times
    If you don't pre-order online, you can get freshly pre-made Godmother's from the top of the deli case. Grab and go!
  • Tina K.
    Order online then pick up to avoid the lines. You can't mess up your order. Everything is good.
  • Ikai L.
    Ikai LanJanuary 27, 2013
    Godmother sandwich reminds me of Sub Center in San Francisco
  • Ricky S.
    Ricky SherrillJune 9, 2015
    Great deli sandwiches with all the Italian Deli classics.
  • Katrina Z.
    Katrina ZaiJanuary 28, 2015
    Their sandwiches are pretty amazing...grab a few and head to the beach. Awesome day.
  • RTWgirl A.
    RTWgirl ArnetteNovember 17, 2014
    Seriously. The Godmother. I thought it was all hype but I loved it
  • Helen L.
    Helen LNovember 26, 2014
    O pão italiano é uma delicia, mas é um lugar pra iniciados... É uma confusão pra fazer o pedido e não ficam claras todas as suas opções. Mas vale a pena!
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