After many countless attempts to visit the historic Philippe’s French Dip this past year we finally made it in just in time to celebrate the last days of its landmark centennial year in Los Angeles. Philippe the Original or simply Philippe’s to Angelinos and tourists alike is better known as Philippe’s.
Everyone loves a French dip sandwich and Philippe’s has been dishing out this comfort food staple for 100 years. The low key cafeteria style restaurant is lined with picnic style tables, old photographs of downtown and the restaurants patrons through the years, a cascade of neon signs both old and new, and a souvenir stand of Philippe’s merchandise ranging from everything from clothing to candy and the infamous homemade mustard.
The restaurant is named after Philippe Mathieu who discovered the French Dipped Sandwich here in the year 1918, 10 years after establishing the restaurant. To this day crowds flock here for the classic French dip sandwich and several variations including the “Pork Dip, Ham Dip, Lamb Dip and Turkey Dip.” Patrons can also choose from a limited selection of cheeses including American, Swiss, Jack and Blue Cheese. Lastly customers get to choose between a single-dip, double-dip or wet for the bread.
This past Sunday we ventured to Philippe’s after working up a French Dip craving. For me it was my inaugural visit into the culture of the restaurant. I went along with a seasoned veteran and was shown the ropes and we meandered through the crowd to the ordering lines. We patiently waited for our turn to tell the “carver” what we wanted. After contemplating the various dip choices available I decided on the “Beef Dip.” I knew this was a safe bet since it would allow for proper comparison to the many dips I had consumed over the years. I added Swiss to 1 of the sandwiches and Jack cheese to the other and we shared. I was advised to get a single-dip and was glad I chose this option. The French bread was moist and flavorful without being soggy. It had a nice balance of textures and the beef was lean and exquisitely prepared. We completed our meal with a few homemade pickles, potato salad and sour cream and onion chips and we washed down the meal with an Arnold Palmer. There is also a wide selection of soups, salads, deserts and several beer and wine selections.
I was so glad that we had our chance to take time out of our day to visit this treasure of Downtown Los Angeles and be a part of history by dining here in 2008 in honor of its 100-year celebration. Philippe’s is also proud to still feature a 9-cent cup of coffee. Bring cash, as the restaurant is cash only and also keep in mind that due to the popular nature of the restaurant parking at times can be limited in the parking lot. They are open 7 days a week and breakfast is also available. Stop in and grab a spot at the nearest picnic table and strike up a conversation with someone new and don’t forget to purchase your own jar of homemade mustard because you never know when you might need to spice up your next meal.
Philippe the Original
1001 N Alameda St
Los Angeles, CA 90012