Deli Bar is Saved by Their Housemade Focaccia, Merguez and Harissa

When I first read about Deli Bar on Thrillist a few weeks ago, I was mildly intrigued.  I’m not usually down with “hip” new lunch spots, that do a “new” take on grilled chicken sandwiches and salads topped with grilled chicken… but Deli Bar arose out of the Fairfax/Mid-City ashes of a high end Moroccan restaurant (Chameau) and sounded interesting enough for a looksee.

My terrible first taste, and how a french fry stuffed sandwich came to the rescue… is after the jump.

The menu at Deli Bar is a mix of pretty standard lunch stuff, with a few more interesting items thrown in for those of us who care.  Like the merguez sausage sandwich… or the rotisserie chicken panini!  Wha?!?  The sandwiches are $6.75 to $8.50, and they offer a few different combos.  The combo menu is a little confusing in the sense that they offer soup or salad + half sandwich, full sandwich + soup or salad, or full sandwich + fries but it’s not completely clear how much each costs.  But the gist is this, they’ll pretty much make any combo for you, and it will $9.25 or less.  I was planning on going merguez, but rotisserie chicken panini?  How could I not.


Sadly, most of what makes rotisserie chicken so good (skin and grease) was missing from this bad boy.  It was a fine chicken panini, but nothing more than the sum of its parts (chicken + sun dried tomatoes + swiss).  And while I’m down with any spot that serves sweet potato fries… these processed joints didn’t exactly save the day. Thanks but no thanks Deli Bar. For me, sandwiches have to be sometime over the top good (think: Mendocino Farms).  And you didn’t really qualify…

Until I read this on Tasting Table yesterday.  I knew I should have gotten the merguez!  And I guess focaccia is the way to go.  Alright.  I figured the least I could do was give these guys one more chance.


Per Tasting Table’s instructions, I attempted to order the merguez sandwich on the focaccia- but the guy at the register seemed to be very skeptical about the idea.  He made it seem like it was one big sausage, and couldn’t really be served on focaccia.  So we were shamed into order the sandwich plain… which turned out to be OK.  The house made merguez was super delicious, and the addition of their also house made- and plenty spicy- harissa was a great add on.  (Not sure why they don’t automatically put it on every merguez sandwich!)  But the real moment of genius came when we did this…


That’s right.  Fries in the sandwich!  That’s how we do it here… sadly these crinkle cut fries were a far cry from the thin frites you’d get stuffed into your merguez sandwich on the streets of France, but it was a far tastier way of enjoying the otherwise lackluster fries.


As successful as our merguez experiment was, we couldn't leave without trying the house made focaccia- so we revisited the rotisserie chicken panini.  According to the menu you can order the panini on "panini bread", focaccia, or honey wheat bread, but the guy behind the counter, for some reason, required us to recreate the sandwich as a "build you own" kind of thing (which they also have on the menu.)  As a result we ended up with pesto, and fresh mozzarella instead of swiss.  And the sun dried tomatoes never quite made it in either (even though we asked him to just recreate the rotisserie chicken panini with focaccia instead of panini bread.)  Anyway- it worked out in the end, because this was a far superior sandwich. A good amount of melty fresh mozzarella plus pesto is always a good thing, and more than made up for the kind of boring chicken. And the bread came as advertised... much better than the regular panini bread.

So let this be a lesson to you!  Always order merguez over chicken... but when you must chicken, make sure it's on home made focaccia.

THE + (What people who like this place would say)

  • House made merguez
  • House made focaccia
  • House made harissa
  • I work in the area and am looking for a basic sandwich/salad/soup place. (Vaguely Moroccoan twist = bonus.)

THE - (What people who don't like this place would say)

  • Their "rotisserie chicken" sandwich tasted like any other boring grilled chicken
  • I don't like greasy meats (i.e. merguez)
  • I don't like spicy sauces (i.e. harissa)
  • Both kinds of french fries are terrible

Deli Bar, 339 N Fairfax (btw. Beverly+Melrose), 323-951-0039


1 Comment

  • Ditto on the merguez and harissa, but the spicy sangria also deserves some props. It was just sweet enough to be nice over ice and the hints of cinnamon, cardamom and clove made it a stand out. I’ve also heard good things about the couscous. Next time… dessert! The jury’s out on that chocolate croissant bread pudding, but the burnt apricot and shiny glazed pear topped tarts looked like some kind of wonderful.

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