Not all that long ago, I would have to drive all over the city on the hunt for decent prosciutto or salami. Now a number of purveyors have upgraded to the good stuff and trained staff to slice it correctly. Below are some recommended sources for cured meats. And if none is nearby,
Santa Monica's popular Italian deli has a good selection of salumi, including several kinds of prosciutto, speck and various salami.
1517 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica, (310) 395-8279
A pretty big selection from a number of purveyors, including Fra' Mani (Berkeley), Creminelli (Utah), Zoe's (Sonoma) and Olli's (Virginia). Sold by the pound or, for smaller salami, by the piece. Convenient, especially if you're making a stop at Intelligentsia next door for coffee.
3926-28 W. Sunset Blvd. (at Sanborn in Sunset Junction), Los Angeles, (323) 644-7511.
Salumi master and executive chef Chad Colby says you can stop by Chi Spacca and order the various house-made salumi ($12 each) or an affettati misti (salumi plate, $24) to go. They're not set up to sell retail, but if you're willing to pay restaurant prices, you can enjoy his superb salumi at home. It would be a great item to bring to a dinner party instead of a bottle of wine.
6610 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 297-1133
An extensive selection of top-quality salumi (see the menu online) sold retail by the ounce or the pound, whatever you want, but only during restaurant service hours, generally 11:30 a.m to 2 p.m., and 5 to 11 p.m.
615 N. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 939-1148
Instead of prosciutto or speck for your salumi plate, why not pick up some of Garo's justly famous basturma, a cured beef coated in a secret spice paste. You can buy it with or without fenugreek, lean or fatty. You want it with the fenugreek and the fat for best flavor. Reasonably priced at about $12 a pound.
1088 N. Allen Ave., Pasadena, (626) 794-0460
Well known to Italian expatriates, Guidi Marcello specializes in the real deal, everything imported from Italy and all top quality. Among the cold cuts: bresaola (cured beef), baby mortadella, prosciutto di Parma and San Daniele, sopressata, lardo, even San Daniele pancetta.
1649 10th St., Santa Monica, (310) 452-6277
If you want to go Spanish for your cured meat platter, this is the place (you can also order online) with a great selection of jamon, top-grade Iberico hams and chorizo. You can even buy a whole jamón Ibérico de Bellota for … $1,220.
25020 Doble Ave., Harbor City, (310) 539-0455
South Pasadena's venerable French food emporium is where you can find rosette de Lyon (French salami) and D'Artagnan's jambon de Bayonne (a delicious French ham). They also stock various Italian salami, including finocchiona, mortadella and prosciutto.
921 Meridian Ave., South Pasadena, (626) 403-5751
This French spot from Pascal Olhats offers French hams and saucisson (cured sausage), along with Italian prosciutto and other cold cuts.
1000 N. Bristol St., Newport Beach, (949) 263-9400
Roma Italian Deli
This is where my friend Rafael gets his prosciutto di San Daniele — it's always sliced perfectly. If you go, pick up one of the simple sandwiches. Just one kind, a roll sluiced with olive oil sandwiching mortadella, salami and provolone. Good guanciale too.
918 N. Lake Ave., Pasadena, (626) 797-7748