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Philippe the Original

Downtown Los Angeles Tour

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Are the lines always this long?

Philippe the Original

© 2007 Betsy Malloy Photography - Request a Reprint
Philippe the Original
Philippe Website

How to Get Here:

Set your GPS or maps app to 1001 N. Alameda Street
  • From Chinatown: Walk southwest on Broadway toward Alpine. Turn left on Alpine, then right onto N. Alameda Street. It's about two long blocks from there to the restaurant at the corner of Alameda and Ord.
  • From Union Station: Facing Alameda Street in front of the station, turn right. Cross Alameda Street at Cesar Chavez, then continue north on Alameda to Ord Street.
  • If you want to go directly to Phillippe's from other parts of the city, you can take the Metro to Union Station. If you're driving, see the GPS notes above.

One of the classic places to eat in Los Angeles, Philippe is the home of the "French dipped" sandwich, and seems to be as popular today as it was when owner Philippe Mathieu invented the famous sandwich after he accidentally dropped a sliced French roll into a roasting pan, or so the story goes. Cole's, also in downtown lays its claim to having originated the dish, but no matter who did it first, the sandwich is the same: the cut surfaces of a French roll are dipped into hot meat juices, filled with sliced meat and served. If you want yours really wet, ask for a double dip.

In other regions, French dipped seems to be synonymous with roast beef, but at Philippe you can order chicken, lamb, ham, pork or beef. Cheese is optional and the pickled eggs are a good accompaniment, if you like that kind of thing as much as I do. Regulars like to add a little of Philippe's special mustard, but one small taste left my tongue burning for several minutes. Take it easy until you get an idea of how hot it is.

Join any of the lines that snake from the counter into the dining area, order and pay, and take your tray to one of the long, communal tables. It's inexpensive, the sandwiches are delicious and the place is unparalleled for people-watching as every imaginable kind of local and tourist traipses in for a bite to eat.

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