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Philippe the Original

1001 N Alameda St., Los Angeles, CA - (213) 628-3781
Posted By Michael Stern on 3/29/2015 4:39:00 AM
Philippe’s (pronounced Phil-ee-peez) claims to have invented the French dip sandwich about a hundred years ago. The story is that a carver accidentally dropped a sliced roll in beef gravy and the customer was in too much of a hurry to wait for another roll to be cut and more beef to be sliced. So he took the sandwich “wet.” Today Philippe’s makes French dips from beef, pork, lamb, ham, or turkey. Beef is the classic, available single-dipped or, for serious juice-lovers, double-dipped.

The French dip sandwiches are delicious as delivered at the counter, but connoisseurs know to slather them with Philippe’s roaring-hot mustard. The menu also lists such stalwart lunch room fare as chili and stew and a hearty soup every day; and you can still come to this old joint to eat pickled spiced eggs, which are hard boiled and displayed at the carving counter in big glass jars.

Philippe’s is worth visiting just for its people-watching opportunities. While it does attract its share of culinary tourists, the it also hosts a cast of only-in-Los-Angeles characters. Not the beautiful people who flock to the hot restaurant of the moment, the regular cadre of customers includes municipal employees from the nearby post office and court house as well as Santa Anita touts with racing forms in hand (or on their cell phones).

36 out of 39 people found the review helpful. Was it helpful to you?

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
French dip sandwich
Macaroni Salad
Pickled Egg
Baked Apple
Pickled Beets
Coffee
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

A trayful at Philippe's: double-dipped French dip, a pickled egg, a baked apple, and a cup of coffee.
"A trayful at Philippe's: double-dipped French dip, a pickled egg, a baked apple, and a cup of coffee."
Michael Stern





Phillipe's mustard, available in squeeze bottles set out on the tables, is a great companion for the beef, but beware. It is ferociously hot!
"Phillipe's mustard, available in squeeze bottles set out on the tables, is a great companion for the beef, but beware. It is ferociously hot!"
Michael Stern


My standard order: pork dip, dill pickle, pickled egg, and coleslaw.
"My standard order: pork dip, dill pickle, pickled egg, and coleslaw."
Marlene Steinberg


Nice weekend afternoon pleasure.
"Nice weekend afternoon pleasure."
Dean Olson


Baked apples are available at Philippes only during apple season, from October through June. Not that this big hunk of sweetness has any fresh crispness left. It is soft and sugary, lolling in a pool of syrup.
"Baked apples are available at Philippes only during apple season, from October through June. Not that this big hunk of sweetness has any fresh crispness left. It is soft and sugary, lolling in a pool of syrup."
Michael Stern


A huge and delicious slice of coconut cream pie in the foreground, a smaller but no less delicious slice of pumpkin pie to the rear.
"A huge and delicious slice of coconut cream pie in the foreground, a smaller but no less delicious slice of pumpkin pie to the rear."
Patricia Beninato


Pickled eggs have been a staple at Philippe's for decades and you know something: they're good! Sweet and sour pickly, and a nice companion for a sandwich.
"Pickled eggs have been a staple at Philippe's for decades and you know something: they're good! Sweet and sour pickly, and a nice companion for a sandwich."
Michael Stern


A nine-cent cup of coffee on a vintage Philippe's tray.
"A nine-cent cup of coffee on a vintage Philippe's tray."
Michael Stern


A juicy home-style sandwich.
"A juicy home-style sandwich."
Dale Fine


A double-dipped lamb sandwich with just enough of Philippe's good mustard to complement.
"A double-dipped lamb sandwich with just enough of Philippe's good mustard to complement."
Patricia Beninato


Jury duty takes me to Philippe's for breakfast.
"Jury duty takes me to Philippe's for breakfast."
Marlene Steinberg


The French dip menu
"The French dip menu"
Marlene Steinberg


Colorful neon signs light up the serving counter while L.A. residents enjoy an early-morning meal.
"Colorful neon signs light up the serving counter while L.A. residents enjoy an early-morning meal."
Donald Thompson


Philippe's is not fast food. You likely will wait in one of the lines at the counter (at left of photo), and it takes a few moments for each sandwich to be made and tray assembled.
"Philippe's is not fast food. You likely will wait in one of the lines at the counter (at left of photo), and it takes a few moments for each sandwich to be made and tray assembled."
Michael Stern


Sawdust makes it easy to sweep the floor.
"Sawdust makes it easy to sweep the floor."
Michael Stern


Wish this photo could have been taken at night, old time neon signs for the win!
"Wish this photo could have been taken at night, old time neon signs for the win!"
Patricia Beninato


Is this really the home of the French dip sandwich?
"Is this really the home of the French dip sandwich?"
Michael Stern


Philippe's, circa 1935. Even then, it was a pretty old restaurant.
"Philippe's, circa 1935. Even then, it was a pretty old restaurant."
Michael Stern


Cole's P.E. Buffet in downtown Los Angeles disputes Philippe's claim of having invented the French dip. I wanted to do a one-after-another comparison of the two sandwiches, but mysteriously, Cole's was closed. It has had some rocky years recently. I hope it isn't gone for good.
"Cole's P.E. Buffet in downtown Los Angeles disputes Philippe's claim of having invented the French dip. I wanted to do a one-after-another comparison of the two sandwiches, but mysteriously, Cole's was closed. It has had some rocky years recently. I hope it isn't gone for good."
Michael Stern



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