Philippe The Original, or simply “Philippe’s”, is a delicatessen-style restaurant located in Downtown Los Angeles, on the border of Chinatown. Although its location is not original, the restaurant has been open since 1908, which is why Los Angelenos consider Philippe’s to be one of the oldest restaurants in the City. Philippe Mathieu, one of the two Mathieu brothers who originally opened Philippe’s, is also known to be the inventor of the French Dip sandwich. The restaurant was sold to David and Harry Martin in 1927 and it still continues to thrive in attracting a diverse group of patrons.
When you enter the side door off Ord Street, you immediately see the red staircase leading up to the second floor seating area. This is an order-your-own-food and bring-your-own-food-to-your-own-table (or booth) sort of establishment, so you proceed to the lower level and wait your turn in placing an order with the folks behind the counter. Don’t worry, there are at least 10 people behind the counter to help you, so the line moves fast.
The main draw of this restaurant is the French Dip sandwich, although Philippe’s version of the pickled egg seems enticing, too.
Aah, here it is, the delicious and satisfying double-dipped French sandwich. We also ordered sides of cole slaw, macaroni salad and potato salad, as well as tapioca pudding, cake donut and a chocolate whipped cream pie for dessert. Oh, I must not leave out the delicious lemonade and ice tea. We enjoyed our meal very much.
There is so much history in the details. Check out this coat hook, which was something a businessman might have used in the 1950s to hang his coat and hat while having a meal between meetings.
Lastly, check out these functioning telephone booths. Yes, there are working phones inside each booth in case you misplace your mobile. Where are your quarters?
I hope you find some time to visit this restaurant, either during a lazy weekend, while you’re visiting the nearby ethnic shops in Chinatown, attending the annual National Train Day in Union Station (it is so close to here), after visiting Olvera Street, or if you simply want to have a really good French Dip sandwich. You will not be disappointed.
Did I mention that Philippe’s has its own parking lots? Free parking in Los Angeles exists!
Philippe The Original
1001 North Alameda Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
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