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Philippe the Original

1001 N Alameda St., Los Angeles, CA - (213) 628-3781
Posted By Patricia Beninato on 10/10/2011 8:04:00 PM
You have one day in Los Angeles. You have tickets to that night's Dodgers game and a picky-eating husband. Choose your eatery wisely. Or, best yet, just throw in to L.A. tradition and hit up Philippe the Original. Park at Union Station, the last of the old school train stations, and walk up Alameda a couple of blocks to a true Los Angeles institution.

We came in at roughly 4:30 on a Tuesday afternoon and there were lines at the counter, a mix of tourists, locals, and, judging from the large number of royal blue Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp t-shirts, Dodgers fans grabbing a bite before the game. I'd briefed my husband on what was available and confidently placed our order--a lamb sandwich and a beef sandwich, both double dipped; cole slaw and potato salad, a Dr. Pepper and a lemonade.

What surprised me at first was that the sandwiches seemed small. They were roughly six inches long, but they were decently filled with meat. Then there was the fabled mustard. I warned my husband to let me taste it first since he doesn't do spice. Yes, there was a brief burn but no worse than your average Dijon mustard, very tangy and flavorful. The lamb sandwich was absolutely delicious, the mustard adding just the right note to the juicy meat as it did for the beef. The sides tasted fresh and homemade, as did the lemonade. My husband went back for his own lamb sandwich--I'd let him try mine--and got me a slice of coconut cream pie. When they say "cream" they're not kidding: I don't think I've ever had a richer slice of pie. I savored every bite.

The atmosphere at Philippe is cool too. Communal tables lead to chatting among customers, and a nice rousing baseball conversation broke out at my table among an extremely varied group. Good food and good conversation is one of the best of mixes. If I get out that way again, Philippe will definitely be a planned stop.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
French dip sandwich
Lamb (Double) Dip Sandwich with Bleu Cheese
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

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 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


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


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


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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