Established in 1908, Philippe The Original is more than an iconic LA restaurant. It’s also home of the original French dipped sandwich. A couple weeks ago, my sister aka my dining buddy, made our first trip to famous restaurant. Needless to say, I cannot believe it took me so long to go.
DTLA (downtown Los Angeles) – Chinatown. I’m not kidding you, the original French dip can be found in Chinatown (not their original location). I live on the west side of Los Angeles which of course means I usually don’t travel outside of a 2-mile radius to eat. More so, I’ve lived in LA over 12 years now and I think I’ve only been to Chinatown maybe once or twice. After a 45-minute drive to go 10 miles (it’s LA), I arrived to a large herd of Dodger fans.
I didn’t realize how close Philippe’s was to Dodger Stadium. I immediately thought, “shoot there isn’t going to be any parking” but I was wrong. Philippe’s has not one but two parking lots and there was plenty of street parking. I pulled right in to a spot.
Philippe – Home of The Original French Dip Sandwich
Per Philippe’s website, one day in 1918, while making a sandwich, owner Philippe Mathieu inadvertently dropped the sliced French roll into the roasting pan filled with juice still hot from the oven. The patron, a policeman, said he would take the sandwich anyway and returned the next day with some friends asking for more dipped sandwiches. And so was born the ‘French Dipped Sandwich’.
If I had known the history behind the restaurant, I would have made a trip to Philippeyears ago. I mean, who doesn’t love French Dip sandwiches? And for a chance to taste the original?? I was super excited for my first trip and they did not disappoint! The place was packed. You order at the counter and find a seat. Again, even as crowded as it was, I did not a problem getting a seat.
Worth the Hype
So many options. Had to go with a French dip but which one??
The options include roast beef, roast pork, leg of lamb, turkey or ham served on a lightly textured, freshly baked French roll which has been dipped in the natural gravy of the roasts. Swiss, cheddar, american, monterey jack or blue cheese may be added.
I don’t eat cheese so I had to get my sandwiches sans. While I’m sure the cheese is great, I don’t feel like I was missing out without it. It’s all about the meat in my opinion. We ordered the roast beef and the lamb, not too wet.
We also got some sides: cole slaw, homemade potato and macaroni salad, hard boiled eggs pickled in beet juice and spices, large Kosher style pickles. We ended up being a split table – I preferred the roast beef, my sister preferred the lamb. ALL the sides were good but I particularly liked the potato salad.
Save room for the pie!! I do not have a sweet tooth so for me to eat dessert in general is rare. To boot, personally I think my Mother makes the best pie in the world so I was a wee bit skeptical about ordering the pie but I’m glad I did. It was fantastic!! What I liked about the pie in particular was the crust was nice and crisp by apples themselves were a bit on the tart and underdone side. I mean this as a compliment. I don’t know if it was on purpose but each bite was a taste of crispy and crunch. My only complaint about the pie was that I like my pie served warm and this was cold. Didn’t stop me from eating the entire piece though.
I will 100% be back to Philippe. The French dip was definitely the best French dip I have ever had, but it’s more than that. The restaurant is historic and you feel that when you’re in there. I’m adding Philippe to my list of to-dos for whenever I have guests visiting. Frankly I feel it would be selfish of me not to share Philippe French dips with others. Heck my husband hasn’t been and he’s an LA native! See you soon Philippe!