L.A. may not be an Italian deli town, but the highest concentration of Italian Americans in the area (including families from the Ischia region) is in San Pedro, with the amenities to prove it, says Ernie.
Check out A-1 for a great Italian deli with real subs–no mayo unless you ask for it. You can even pick up wine-making supplies from the store next door.
While A-1 is tops for cold cuts, Busy Bee has better hot sandwiches. Sausage is good and meatball is best at the Bee, says peterboy, who adds that you shouldn’t be scared off because the Italian market is run by Asians and has Latinos behind the counter. They will try to put mayo and lettuce on the hot chicken sandwich along with the sauce, though, so speak up if you don’t want it.
There are also several Italian bakeries–try Ramona.
There’s a taste of the old country in Pasadena at Roma, says PlanDan, whose mom’s family used to run an Italian store. The counter guys are definitely from another (past) era. There’s no hot food, but great bread and cheese and a fine pasta selection, and you can request a sandwich.
Busy Bee Market [South Bay]
2413 S. Walker Ave., San Pedro
Roma Italian Deli & Grocery [Pasadea-ish]
918 N. Lake Ave., Pasadena