The Food Lover’s Guide: Gourmet Shops

Illustration by Clint Hansen

Bay Cities Italian Deli
You’re going to have to wait for that sandwich. Good thing you can grab some truffle oil, burrata, and handmade pasta while you hang around at one of the city’s finest Italian markets. » 1517 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica, 310-395-8279. 


Claro’s Italian Markets
Open since 1948, this grocer sells just about every type of olive. The deli case bursts with prepared foods, and aisles of imported balsamic vinegars, olive oils, pastries, and cookware beckon. » 1003 E. Valley Blvd., San Gabriel, 626-288-2026.


Joan’s on Third
This culinary wonderland is a dazzling mix of cheese shop, bakery, gourmet market, and deli. Sandwiches and salads to-go are hits, too, but the cupcakes are tops. » 8350 W. 3rd St., L.A., 323-655-2285. 


La Brea Bakery
Set out a dish of La Brea house-cured olives and a local goat cheese or two alongside a rustic loaf, and consider your dinner guests “appetized.” » 624 S. La Brea Ave., L.A., 323-939-6813. 


Monsieur Marcel
The name may be French, but the generous displays hold everything gourmet, no matter the provenance: Italian herbs and salami, California cheeses, Hungarian paprika, and Swiss chocolate. » Farmers Market, 6333 W. 3rd St., L.A., 323-939-7792. 


The take-out annex to Osteria Mozza stocks only the Italian pantry staples deemed good enough to win the Mozza seal of approval: olives, pastas, cheeses, peppers, and other delicacies. » 6610 Melrose Ave., Hollywood, 323-297-1130. 


Naples Gourmet Grocer
The bright shop makes a terrific sandwich, but you can make one yourself at home from the abundance of meats, cheeses, and condiments for sale here. Load up on jars of saffron rouille, custom spice blends, and all manner of infused oils, syrups, and vinegars. » 5650 E. 2nd St., Long Beach, 562-439-6518. 


Nicole’s Gourmet Foods
From her wholesale shop, French-born Nicole Grandjean supplies the highest-quality imported cheeses, salts, oils, and other essentials to the city’s most demanding chefs. Score these treats for your own table. » 921 Meridian Ave., Ste. B, South Pasadena, 626-403-5751. 


Penzeys Spices
We’re thrilled that this Torrance spice emporium has moved to the Westside. The cheery storefront carries multiple varieties of almost every spice imaginable. What to do with those Aleppo pepper flakes? Recipe cards are free. » 1347 4th St., Santa Monica, 310-917-5577. 


It’s known as the place for professional-grade cookware, but don’t overlook the first in-season truffles, foie gras, and ethnic spices or the elaborate assortment of kitchen essentials. » 8777 Washington Blvd., Culver City, 310-559-4770