Dine Like It's '59 - Page 7

12 California restaurants that savor dishing up the mid-century experience
Retro Dine
Retro Dine

6 I Canter's Deli

Los Angeles

'Open All Night' the neon blazes above Canter's Deli on Los Angeles' Fairfax Avenue, beckoning diners to what the LA Times has called "Los Angeles' oldest and most venerated deli."

With its flying saucer chandeliers, classic coffee shop booths with vinyl seating, waitresses wearing pink, and pastrami and corned beef piled high on rye, it's not surprising that Canter's has been packing people in since 1931, when it migrated west from New Jersey.

Actor Sal Mineo used to hang out here, Frank Zappa based the Mothers of Invention's breakout album 'Freak Out' on the long-haired 'freaks' who congregated here late at night, and Barack Obama has passed through shaking hands.

And, as one fan observed some years back: "All the Jewish comics come here."

And what do they order? Chopped liver, homemade matzoh ball soup, of course—plus Canter's award-winning pastrami and corned beef. But many prefer the Eddie Cantor Special—corned beef, pastrami, and turkey on rye.

"People don't need pheasant under glass, with grilled asparagus and 19 sauces," Gerry Canter told the Times in 2011. "Just give them simple food. Just give them a sandwich."

Like several of our favorite oldies restaurants, this place quite deliberately attempts to halt the passage of time. Canter's Deli, the Times has observed, "doesn't do change."

• 419 North Fairfax Ave. cantersdeli.com