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Phillipe's Famous French Dip

pwrof3 Sep 5, 2006 08:15 AM

I'll never forget the first time I went to Phillipe's and had a Lamb Dip. The moist lamb melted in my mouth and the soft, perfectly dipped bread had my tastebuds singing praises to God! I was 8 years old. Now I am 25 and continue to indulge at least once a week.
If anyone is visiting Los Angeles, you MUST go to Phillipe's (1001 Alameda St.).
Share your first Phillipe's impressions here!

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  1. davinagr RE: pwrof3 Sep 5, 2006 03:24 PM

    Last week I started a thread about the best beef dip in Los Angeles and sort of stated my remarks about Phillipes beef dip in particular. Things I love about Phillipes are the 10 cent lemonade or iced tea which are excellent. The long fluff n fold communal laundromat tables where everyone sits together on stools that seem too low. The general ambience which makes you feel like you've stepped out of a time machine in an era long since passed. Also like the chili, desserts and counter folks. To me the beef dip (I don't eat lamb or pork)meat is tasteless and even with the au jus still leaves me wanting something better. Folks rave about the lamb however over and over on this board.

    1. s
      slacker RE: pwrof3 Sep 5, 2006 07:14 PM

      I looooove Phillipe's macaroni salad. So creamy and perfect. My usual order is a double dipped turkey (and add a little bit of that mustard), macaroni salad, and a pickled egg--can't resist that glowing pink egg! Sometimes also a slice of pie. The lemonade/ice tea is no longer 10 cents, I don't think it's been that price for a long long time. Also love the candy and gum from childhood.

      4 Replies
      1. re: slacker
        Diskes RE: slacker Sep 5, 2006 09:09 PM

        The potato salad is great too - they lean on more mustard and less mayo.

        My family has a real weakness for the pies.

        1. re: Diskes
          chica RE: Diskes Sep 5, 2006 09:12 PM

          Re the pies, same here.

          1. re: Diskes
            mattesq RE: Diskes Sep 20, 2007 04:27 PM

            The cole slaw also kicks ass. Nice little vinegar finish.

          2. re: slacker
            phant0omx RE: slacker Sep 20, 2007 10:57 AM

            every time i get macaroni salad it is too salty.

          3. Xericx RE: pwrof3 Sep 5, 2006 08:10 PM

            I went a few months ago for the first time! I wanna go back soon.

            1. ipsedixit RE: pwrof3 Sep 5, 2006 08:31 PM

              Coffee for less than the price of a gumball.

              Regulars that can tell (tall?) tales about when Union Station was designed by the Parkinsons.

              Sawdust on the floors.

              Hot mustard.

              Wishing it had a drive-thru when running late for a Dodgers game ...

              1. SilverlakeGirl RE: pwrof3 Sep 5, 2006 09:21 PM

                I've been eating there for 45 years.

                My family was always big on the lamb sandwich so it has been the only one I have tried. All meat used to be carved from roasts. Little by little they have disappeared ... lamb now is the last holdout for hand-carved.

                I love their macaroni salad, cole slaw and pickled eggs. Iced tea and lemonade are great! The beef stew is good. I always had the cheesecake afterwards but haven't had it in years.

                I live close by so Phillipe's is also a breakfast destination. Love those buttermilk biscuits. I did see an item that was new to me a couple of weeks ago: A ham and egg sandwich for breakfast. It has a thick slab of ham and fried eggs on top in a french roll. I'm going to try it next time. :)

                1. p
                  Pesky_Humans RE: pwrof3 Sep 5, 2006 11:07 PM

                  Said it before and I will say it again. . .

                  I live about 5 minutes from Phillipe's and it is one of the 3 most overrated food experiences in LA. I have been there a half dozen times with visitors begging to go there over my objections. The gristley sandwiches, the ridiculous Pinks-on-acid crowds, the equally perplexing parking situation make this place last on my list.

                  The mustard, though, is awesome. I am not sure what they do to make it so hot, but it is really really good.

                  If I never went there again it would be too soon. ©

                  30 Replies
                  1. re: Pesky_Humans
                    ozzygee RE: Pesky_Humans Sep 5, 2006 11:17 PM

                    What's so hard to fathom? That it is so popular and therefore crowded? If you live 5 minutes away, have you considered public transportation or even, gasp, walking as an antidote to the perplexing parking?

                    I find it hard to believe that the horseradish mustard (that's the secret by the way) is the only thing you like about Phillipe's. Have you tried anything other than sandwiches from the extensive menu?

                    In fact, have you tried ALL of their sandwiches and found them ALL equally gristly, or was there one of the 5 plus you didn't like in particular.

                    Sorry if I am defensive; you're entitled to your opinon on matters of taste. But your wholesale dismissal of an LA institution such as Phillipe's without an explanation is going to provoke these kind of responses.

                    1. re: ozzygee
                      Pesky_Humans RE: ozzygee Sep 6, 2006 12:24 AM

                      Yes, you are being defensive, but thank you so much for granting me the right to have an opinion.

                      People have a tendency to fawn over places just because they are "legendary" or "institutions" or whatever other nonsense that has nothing to do with the food. Phillipe's is prime example #1 in my book, second maybe to Pink's.

                      I have had the lamb and the roast beef, most recently about 2 months ago. Phillipe's is known for their sandwiches. I shouldn't have to go back 50 times to try everything on the menu. A place that claims to have invented the French Dip sandwich should have a decent French Dip sandwich, which in my opinion, they do not, particularly in comparison to some of the others available in the city. The Pantry has been around for 70 years, constantly has a line out in front for breakfast, and seems to be a destination place for people coming into LA, but it's mediocre at best. At least their bread is good...

                      The lesson - lines don't necessarily mean great food, they just prove the existence of lemmings. I want to love Phillipe's given the proximity, but time after time I am nonplussed.

                      Nice quip about driving / walking, really, but save it. Although driving to Phillipe's and dealing with the absurd parking scenario only to stand in line for a mediocre sandwich with good mustard is frustrating, an 8 mile walk round trip would be even worse. You should be glad though, because I will be one less person shuffling through the sawdust / peanut shells in front of you while you are trying to order.

                      1. re: Pesky_Humans
                        ozzygee RE: Pesky_Humans Sep 6, 2006 12:32 AM


                        1. re: Pesky_Humans
                          slacker RE: Pesky_Humans Sep 6, 2006 12:33 AM

                          Please name "some of the others available in the city." I am actually quite interested in where you think there are better french dip sandwiches.

                          I am certainly not one of those people who follow the crowd--whether that is a line out the door, the people who post here, or the people who eat for a living. I definitely try places that others review/talk about, but have my very own taste buds. I do like Phillipe's very much, and as I said, am interested in trying other good or better french dip.

                          I do agree with you on the Pantry and Pink's. I don't get it either. Although, breakfast at the Pantry can be very comforting.

                          1. re: slacker
                            Pesky_Humans RE: slacker Sep 6, 2006 12:49 AM

                            Houston's for one, although I think that Houston's takes itself way too seriously, particularly for a place that has sushi and a French Dip on the same menu.

                            My favorite French Dip is the one from The Palm, and I believe it is only available occasionally on special. Sublime. Made with the prime rib from the night before. I have only had it twice and have begged to get it on the menu, but I don't have that kind of pull around the joint.

                            I like the IDEA of a lamb French Dip - anywhere other than Phillippe's where I can get one?

                            1. re: slacker
                              Curt the Soi Hound RE: slacker Sep 6, 2006 01:48 AM

                              The Jolly Jug, in El Monte, has been around for decades and has similar dip prices.

                              For the price of Houston's dip, you can feed the family at Philippe's!
                              I would imagine The Palm is in the same range.

                              Never eat anything but the pork at Philippe's.
                              Add a pickle, potato salad and a Pepsi and I'm good.

                            2. re: Pesky_Humans
                              russkar RE: Pesky_Humans Sep 6, 2006 04:31 AM

                              PH your so RIGHT! The food and sandwiches at Phillip's is weak at best and I eat breakfast there 3-6 times a month for years. Everything has deteriorated over the years and the Lamb Sandwich is a mirror Shadow of it's original self. 25 years ago the Sandwiches were much better but quality has been abandoned and low price lives on. There are still long lines at Mc D's , Pinks and Phillipes, I just don't get it? Houston's is a 1000 times better regarding the French Dip.

                              1. re: russkar
                                TomSwift RE: russkar Sep 7, 2006 04:17 AM

                                Russ, sadly you're right. However, their proximity to the 101 South on the way back from court lures me for a few jars of the outstanding mustard and I'm invariably tempted for a lamb dip. Specifying rare and lean helps. That ham and fried egg sandwich above is tempting, though.
                                But only if the yolks are runny. But their ham pales in comparison to Pat's Topanga Grill and is far superior to that of the Pantry, which, come to think of it, could do a hell of a grilled ham and fried egg sandwich (on their great sourdough in grease) is their ham was worth a damn.

                              2. re: Pesky_Humans
                                rednyellow RE: Pesky_Humans Sep 18, 2007 10:00 PM

                                I mostly agree with you. I think their sandwiches and sides are ok, but nothing to get excited about. I miss Coles for an old place with a good sandwich and I believe Coles was the real inventor of the french dip.

                                1. re: rednyellow
                                  Normal Garciaparra RE: rednyellow Sep 19, 2007 02:23 PM

                                  Is Cole's gone for good?

                                  I actually thought Cole's had the better sandwich but Philippes rules in ambiance.

                                  1. re: Normal Garciaparra
                                    rednyellow RE: Normal Garciaparra Sep 19, 2007 06:08 PM

                                    From what I"ve heard, the place was bought by a restaurant investment group and planning to reopen, but dont know what the menu will be. I loved the sanwiches and mac-n-cheese. I also like the Bukowskyesque interrior, but certainly not for a first date place.
                                    I work with an older gentleman, well into his seventies, who used to work next to Coles and he told me about their wall of shame - pics of guys who drank and entire fifth of whisky a day, starting before work, then coffee break, lunch and then after work, those must have been fun days.

                                    1. re: rednyellow
                                      Woolsey RE: rednyellow Sep 20, 2007 09:45 AM

                                      Cedd Moses bought the place, and he's having Neal Fraser of Grace and BLD redo the menu with high-end prime meats and artisanal mustards, He's also remodeling the back rooms, presumably in the brand-new-old, Golden Gopher-Broadway Bar-Seven Grand neo-dive template. (Only the very front part is actually protected as a historical landmark.) So despite his promises that Cole's will not be radically overhauled, I can't help but feel that a tenderloin French dip on hearth-baked ciabatta with stone-ground white wine mustard, washed down with a Chimay to the sounds of Amy Winehouse in the background, just can't be considered to be the genuine Cole's experience...

                                      1. re: Woolsey
                                        Curt the Soi Hound RE: Woolsey Sep 20, 2007 12:25 PM

                                        Will they use valets and armed guards on the streets?

                                        The area around Coles makes Philippe's look like Beverly Hills!

                                        1. re: Curt the Soi Hound
                                          Normal Garciaparra RE: Curt the Soi Hound Sep 20, 2007 01:05 PM

                                          Curt - Well the fact that it's having an overhaul, not to mention the building above it has been turned into lofts means the area is changing *rapidly*

                                          Woolsey - I have mixed feelingsd about that. I agree the place needed to me less dungeon-like but you're right, it's not the same. The oldtimers who probaby frequented the place when it was a hangout for Pacific Electric Red Car commuters would probably feel like they're in some alien world.

                                        2. re: Woolsey
                                          rednyellow RE: Woolsey Sep 20, 2007 03:37 PM

                                          Thanks for the info.

                                          1. re: Woolsey
                                            wilafur RE: Woolsey Sep 20, 2007 05:09 PM

                                            cedd bought it? interesting!

                                    2. re: Pesky_Humans
                                      submonkey RE: Pesky_Humans Feb 24, 2009 10:50 AM

                                      Are you aware that Philippes has two parking lots? There is the small, usually full parking lot attached to the restaurant, and a much, much larger parking lot directly across the street that always has at least 20 empty spots. I have been dining at Philippes for years and have never had any trouble parking. And it's absolutely free, to boot.

                                  2. re: Pesky_Humans
                                    monkuboy RE: Pesky_Humans Sep 6, 2006 03:40 AM

                                    The first time I ate at Phillipe's was about 25-30 years ago and I had the same opinion then as I do now - it's a decent sandwich but every time I make the drive over there I wonder why I did that. It's decent but it isn't great; afterwards I ask myself, "is that all there is? I drove all this way for that?" If I lived or worked in the area it would definitely be worth stopping by for lunch once in a while but it is not a special destination place. I don't think it is as bad as you describe it, and parking downtown is awful no matter where you go but at least they have a parking lot. I do agree about the mustrard - it will clean out your nostrils!

                                    1. re: Pesky_Humans
                                      julietg RE: Pesky_Humans Sep 6, 2006 04:14 AM

                                      I have the same ambivilance about the place.

                                      But it is on my way home, and a better alternative to anything American in a ten mile radius.

                                      Quick tip about taking out: get the dip on the side. Don't let them dip your sandwich before you leave the building, you'll get home with soggy grossness.

                                      1. re: Pesky_Humans
                                        SilverlakeGirl RE: Pesky_Humans Sep 6, 2006 05:39 AM

                                        I would hardly call it high cuisine and I visited infrequently when I lived on the westside. But they make a good basic french dip. I will only speak for the lamb as it is the only option available for hand cut meat ... usually big slices and chunks. I don't think I could be coaxed to eat the pre-sliced beef/turkey/ham.

                                        As for parking they have two fairly large parking lots. I can't remember the last time I couldn't get a space there easily. You know they have the lot across the street?

                                        1. re: SilverlakeGirl
                                          Pesky_Humans RE: SilverlakeGirl Sep 6, 2006 07:21 AM

                                          Yeah. I know about the lot across the street. Seriously, though, if I thought the sandwich was any good, I would be there regardless of the lines and the parking. It's just that the combination of mediocre food, tons of people waiting for it, and taking a half hour to park that gets to me.

                                          I will definitely check out The Eastside Market Deli, which as described below is delicious and I have never heard of it. From the pics it reminds me of a place I used to frequent in The OC that was amazing... Thanks for the tip Monku! ©

                                        2. re: Pesky_Humans
                                          Bostonbob3 RE: Pesky_Humans Sep 6, 2006 06:11 PM

                                          They use Coleman's Mustard Powder, and mix it extra spicy.

                                          1. re: Bostonbob3
                                            ipsedixit RE: Bostonbob3 Sep 6, 2006 06:16 PM

                                            I'm not sure that is right.

                                            I am looking at a bottle of Philippe's hot mustard and the ingredients are as follows:

                                            MUSTARD SEED
                                            XANTHAN GUM


                                            1. re: ipsedixit
                                              Bostonbob3 RE: ipsedixit Sep 6, 2006 06:23 PM

                                              Let me assure you, they use Coleman's Mustard Powder and mix it extra spicy (at least at the restaurant itself). I've seen the Coleman cans there. Plus, a college roommate worked there and told me.

                                              (Unless things/suppliers/ingredients have changed in the past several years of course.)

                                              1. re: Bostonbob3
                                                Sarsa RE: Bostonbob3 Dec 25, 2007 10:27 PM

                                                Phillipe's is was it is- and its damn good. No truffles.No prime dry aged roast beef. Just good old slice of americana.

                                                I usually get pork and its never dry or gristly. usually the beef is great but I have had it be dry a handful of times. Because the lamb is hand sliced off a roated leg per order, by your server, it's a good idea to ask for lean and rare if you like, but the best is to tip well because those ladies remember a face!! and work there for years and decades. I used to live on Main and Daly and frequented 4-6 times a month for two years more than17 yrs ago and some of them still remember me.

                                                As fas as the mustard goes, It's no mistery, to me it tastes like chinese hot mustard, hence its adjacent location to China town!

                                          2. re: Pesky_Humans
                                            Mateo R RE: Pesky_Humans Sep 6, 2006 11:07 PM

                                            Phillipe's is one of my Downtown lunch favorites, and I especially can't understand the comment about the parking.
                                            What other restaurant downtown has so much available free parking? perhaps you are too used to valet parking to appreciate Phillipe's. Drive on.

                                            -Mateo R

                                            1. re: Mateo R
                                              Pesky_Humans RE: Mateo R Sep 12, 2006 03:56 AM

                                              Calm down there, camper. Just because I do not get Phillipe's does not mean that I need my car parked for me. It also doesn't mean they make a decent sandwich.

                                              Maybe I am going at a bad time, like 2 pm on a Saturday. If I liked the sandwich, I certainly wouldn't give the parking a mention in the first place. The bad parking and line-standing is simply illustrative of the "lots of people standing in line for mediocre food" plague that tends to haunt so many "Classic" LA restaurants.

                                              That's all. ©

                                            2. re: Pesky_Humans
                                              hazel7074 RE: Pesky_Humans Sep 12, 2006 03:30 AM

                                              I agree that the food is overrated. Heard the place was great, but didn't like their version of a French Dip. (I aquired a taste for French dips from Mother's in New Orleans.) The bread was decent, but the place is by no means legendary. I agree that you shouldn't have to try every sandwich on the menu. If they are famous for their French dip, and their French dip doesn't suit you, then the place is not tops in your book

                                              1. re: hazel7074
                                                bodie RE: hazel7074 Sep 12, 2006 04:09 AM

                                                To my knowledge Mother's has never served French Dip. They serve po-boys and I would argue that a Roast Beef po-boys (with or without debris) does not equal a french dip.

                                                Po-Boy > not = to French Dip.

                                              2. re: Pesky_Humans
                                                mrshankly RE: Pesky_Humans Sep 19, 2007 02:46 PM

                                                This has also been my experience, though I'm not as turned off by it. The sandwiches are good but nothing to go nuts about. Would I eat there again? Sure. It's just not that mind-blowing to cause the frenzy I see there every time I go. Then again, I think the experience is part of going to Phillipe's along with the history of the place... not necessarily the food (although like i said, the food isn't bad at all). Kinda like the Pantry.

                                              3. LT from LF RE: pwrof3 Sep 5, 2006 11:24 PM

                                                Lamb lamb lamb lamb lamb...oooooooo...double dipped...oooooo...baked apples (back next month!)...iced tea $.50...I took the Dash bus there when I was on jury duty, walked back to the courthouse even though it was blisteringly hot...and it was WELL worth it. Gristle? seldom a problem...an occasional overly chewy bit just proves it's real meat!

                                                1. n
                                                  Nicole RE: pwrof3 Sep 6, 2006 01:13 AM

                                                  Haven't been yet, but plan to go soon. How much do the sandwiches cost?

                                                  1. monku RE: pwrof3 Sep 6, 2006 01:23 AM

                                                    Want the best sandwich's in downtown LA? Go to the Eastside Market Italian Deli (since 1929). That's where you see the city and county workers eating...not the touristy Phillipes.

                                                    Hot and cold sandwiches are $6.10 including tax. Huge bowls of home made soup served daily. Tuesday and Thursday pasta or lasagna is available.

                                                    Not a beef French dip--but their Italian Beef sandwich beats that mini one slice of meat dip sandwich you get at Phillipes hands down.

                                                    (pictured #7 Italian roast beef and pastrami sandwich) http://www.esmdeli.com/NoSeven.html

                                                    Eastside Market Italian Deli
                                                    1013 Alpine Street

                                                    1. julietg RE: pwrof3 Sep 6, 2006 04:18 AM

                                                      Hmmm. That, too, is on my way home.

                                                      Are they open past 6? Or early in the AM?

                                                      1. s
                                                        slacker RE: pwrof3 Sep 6, 2006 05:24 PM

                                                        The Eastside Deli is only open for lunch, they close early. DWP workers and cops hang out there. Run by mean Italian brothers. Food is okay, doesn't cause me to need to plan a trip there. Tomato sauce has way too much garlic in it, and I love garlic.

                                                        Anyway, I love Phillipe's, thank goodness it exists and is still here. This is one L.A. institution I enjoy eating at. And hooray for all of L.A.'s dining institutions that continue the L.A. history.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: slacker
                                                          Skunk2Racer RE: slacker Sep 19, 2007 03:25 PM

                                                          Yep DWP worker here. I Like the #1, #7, #9 and the DA Special......

                                                          1. re: slacker
                                                            Skunk2Racer RE: slacker Sep 19, 2007 03:27 PM

                                                            Mean Italian brothers? LOL I've NEVER had problems, You mean run By 1 brother & Family the other one passed away.... RIP

                                                          2. j
                                                            jessiebelle RE: pwrof3 Sep 6, 2006 11:16 PM

                                                            i love phillipes!!! love love love it. i always have. it is what is and i love how old it is and i actually love the double dip with potato salad and i put extra mustard on it...yum.

                                                            1. g
                                                              Got Cake RE: pwrof3 Sep 7, 2006 02:16 AM

                                                              What I love about the place is that it seems the same as when my grandparents used to take me there when I was 10.

                                                              I love the people watching and the fact that there is such a cross section of people sitting at the same table eating the same thing. Artist, tourist from KS or tourist from other countries, lawyers, downtown business types, local immigrants, people there for the first time, people that have been going there for 50 years. I love to go after a downtown museum trip.
                                                              I love that even though I live two hours away I can run into someone I know, or some of my family.

                                                              Such a great LA experience!

                                                              Double dip beef dip, no mustard, macaroni salad, piece of pie!

                                                              1. i
                                                                Itslikeimsayin RE: pwrof3 Sep 7, 2006 02:49 AM

                                                                After an exceptionally salty sandwich a year or so ago, I stopped ordering double dipped and I now think regular dipped is best. I get the pork and one thing I love about the sandwich is all the different textures. When the roll is just right, there's some resistance at the crust and then it gives way to the soppy meaty bread and mustard underneath. In my experience, the pork is always tender and juicy and never gristly.

                                                                I alternate between the cole slaw and potato salad. I get an iced tea every time and sometimes a lemonade, too. Tapioca pudding cup or Bit-O-Honeys at the candy counter for dessert. Near perfection.

                                                                1. YYZ2LAX RE: pwrof3 Sep 18, 2007 06:15 PM

                                                                  To me the beef dip (I don't eat lamb or pork)meat is tasteless and even with the au jus still leaves me wanting something better.

                                                                  Exactly. Thing is TASTELESS, only spicy mustard makes it edible!

                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                  1. re: YYZ2LAX
                                                                    Otius Gojius RE: YYZ2LAX Sep 18, 2007 09:31 PM

                                                                    I guess Philippe's is my Tito's Tacos. I know it's not the best, but I will continue to enjoy going there a couple times a month for as long as I live here.
                                                                    Some of my earliest memories are going there from the Valley on Riverside Drive past the Mulholland fountain at Los Feliz long before the I-5 was built. My Uncle Joe went to the old place before WWII and my parents went there in the late '40s before they were married. My father used to work at Terminal Annex and sometimes we'd go pick him up after work and stop at Philippes. I've eaten there innumerable times during the '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s right up to about two weeks ago, and I still love it! I'm sure that the quality has slipped, but I've come to really like the turkey now. The point is asking for it doubled-dipped (don't EVER let anyone try to tell you the carvers automatically double-dip), and of course that mustard. It's not so much the meat with me, it's the package of the roll with the juice and mustard. I just like to sit there and enjoy the only recurring reality of my entire life. I never have any problem parking, it's just all good.
                                                                    Your foodie mileage may vary.

                                                                    1. re: Otius Gojius
                                                                      AGENT FOODIE RE: Otius Gojius Sep 18, 2007 11:16 PM

                                                                      first time i went there i was like wtf? i see the nostalgia and maybe the low prices, but the food was very blah.

                                                                      1. re: Otius Gojius
                                                                        Ernie RE: Otius Gojius Sep 19, 2007 10:41 AM

                                                                        Please don't compare Phillipe's to Tito's. Phillipe's has much more history than anything on the westside could ever hope to have, and is infinitely much cooler for that.

                                                                        They might not have the best French dip around, but if you are a native Angeleno who grew up eating there (over several generations), it will always have a special place.

                                                                        1. re: Ernie
                                                                          bulavinaka RE: Ernie Feb 24, 2009 11:12 AM

                                                                          The Westside is not so bad, Ernie - let the anger go...

                                                                    2. CynGriff RE: pwrof3 Sep 19, 2007 07:32 AM

                                                                      Without even going to down the posts...I'm now craving a lamb dip with blue cheese! Yum...I've been going there since the 60's when my dad would drag my little brother and I there for weekend lunches! There's a certain comfort in knowing that when you step through the doors, nothing's changed much since the first or last time you went...

                                                                      1. d
                                                                        Diana RE: pwrof3 Sep 19, 2007 10:35 AM

                                                                        I would really love to do breakfast there.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: Diana
                                                                          cfylong RE: Diana Sep 19, 2007 03:03 PM

                                                                          hate to rain on the parade, but ...the sandwiches can be a little dry. I don't like feeling forced to feed the tip plate(I almost got growled at when I just left change!), and I can't stand the lines! That said, the atmosphere is unbeatable for old L.A.--history exudes from this place, a place my father and grandfather might have felt at home in. But, I rarely come here anymore or only when an out-of-towner insists because you can get better sandwich and not wait in many other places. So, I know I know--one less person in line for ya!

                                                                        2. b
                                                                          B Minus RE: pwrof3 Sep 19, 2007 02:54 PM

                                                                          I can't believe nobody has mentioned the beef stew, baked apple, or coleslaw. These are the dishes I go to Phillipes for. I can understand the gripes about the pork and beef sandwiches. In my opinion, both are pretty lacking (I do enjoy the turkey & the lamb though). The beef stew, baked apple, & coleslaw however, are very flavorful and delicious dishes.

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: B Minus
                                                                            Woolsey RE: B Minus Sep 20, 2007 09:47 AM

                                                                            What about the chili? Every time I go, I'm always seeing people getting bowls of chili. I'm tempted to order it, but between the sandwich and pie, the chili just seems like overkill.

                                                                            1. re: Woolsey
                                                                              B Minus RE: Woolsey Sep 20, 2007 12:05 PM

                                                                              The chili is Dolores Chili Brick. You can find it the frozen section of some grocery stores. It's great on burgers, dogs, and grilled cheese sandwiches (try it), but in it's own, it can be a bit much.

                                                                              1. re: Woolsey
                                                                                Foodandwine RE: Woolsey Sep 20, 2007 01:12 PM

                                                                                Lamb with Blue cheese yes.. Bowl of Chili and ask for onions oh yes.. 10 cent coffee yes and my 10 year old scarfs down a Double Dipped Beef in the time that I am savoring the Chili. Yes its good..

                                                                            2. d
                                                                              droyal RE: pwrof3 Sep 20, 2007 11:14 PM

                                                                              Good lemonade! Unbeatably real atmosphere.

                                                                              1. p
                                                                                paprkutr RE: pwrof3 Sep 20, 2007 11:33 PM

                                                                                It's not the greatest, but it is good. It's comfort all around. I'm glad someone mentioned the chili, my husband loves it without the beans. No one has really mentioned the pies, they have very good pies. It is much better than alot of the fast food out there. We've never had to wait that long in line no matter what time we went. It's just one of those old institutions that is still around, and I for one am happy that it is. There are too many places going out of business, and we are stuck with too many chains and generic places. We used to have a lot of neighborhood places, and there are not that many left anymore.

                                                                                1. d
                                                                                  Diana RE: pwrof3 Sep 21, 2007 07:55 AM

                                                                                  I was just told nostalgia posts weren't allowed, as they become too chatty....

                                                                                  But I remember the first time I spotted Philippe's. As a newbie to LA back then (oh, 203 years ago?) I was shocked to see a sandwich shop in Chinatown. My dad never let us go there, we went to the Velvet Turtle...

                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Diana
                                                                                    Vikzen RE: Diana Sep 21, 2007 10:39 PM

                                                                                    I'm with Ernie and all the other nostalgics. Gimme a double dip pork, potato salad, and an Arnold Palmer every once in a blue moon. Philippe's isn't going to be my last meal choice, but it's great when you're driving on Main and you live in the 'hood. My Dad took me there in the '60s, I had fun skating through the sawdust. The lemonade and iced tea are now 45 cents, I believe.

                                                                                    So pesky humans, I scanned this thread searching for your other two most overrated LA landmarks. What are they? Curious.

                                                                                    1. re: Vikzen
                                                                                      Servorg RE: Vikzen Sep 22, 2007 08:35 AM

                                                                                      If you want your fill of what posters to this board consider overrated eateries hereabouts just follow this link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/424488

                                                                                      1. re: Servorg
                                                                                        Vikzen RE: Servorg Sep 22, 2007 08:59 PM

                                                                                        Whoa! Hee hee hee. Actually, I was only curious about the other 2 of 3 considered overrated by one specific fervent chowhound. Context, cluster, whatever...!

                                                                                  2. k
                                                                                    Kaisgraham RE: pwrof3 Sep 22, 2007 11:00 AM

                                                                                    We've been going here for 40+ years. My parents went there when they dated in the early 1940's! They no longer carve all the meats to order which is too bad. I love their pickled eggs and cole slaw. I have the recipe for the pickled eggs if anyone wants it. Ditto with the lamb sans any cheese.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: Kaisgraham
                                                                                      PurpleTeeth RE: Kaisgraham Sep 22, 2007 05:07 PM

                                                                                      They carve the Lamb to order, I watch them every time. mmmyummy

                                                                                    2. ptextrem RE: pwrof3 Sep 29, 2007 03:57 AM

                                                                                      ok, i have to give it up to them. i love the roast beef dip. and the tradional slaw. but its just too busy for me during lunch. I like going there around 3pm. empty and can enjoy my lunch. also the ice tea for 55 cents and lemonade for 65 cents is amazing. clam chowder is great too. but the pie is not made there. its made at a local bakery and is still a perfect peice to a great OLD School Meal.

                                                                                      1. l
                                                                                        LA4Fud RE: pwrof3 Dec 22, 2007 06:17 AM

                                                                                        I heard that they had the best and were "the original" french dip..."an institution".. well, I'll give the them institution part..the ambience was nostalgic and the mature ladies (in a good way) working behind the line I'll bet have been there since it opened..gave it a cool, retro vibe of sorts.. but the famed "sandwich was well, terrible. It would be one thing, if they didnt claim it the best or the first..but it just did not deliver. Stale, chewy, dry bread. The beef had that, cheap iridescent,glaze over it, tasteless..they do not make them order just added insult .. who makes any sandwich with “au jus” ahead of time?? so by the time you eat it..its soggy, not the good kind of soggy when you use FRESH ingredients and make them TO ORDER... For all the hoopla.. isnt that the basic thing they could do? Make them to order?? I did like the side item I had and the pies looked like they would've been good..Go there because its touristy, retro thing to do, but don't expect the French Dip to be good, fresh or hot.. If I had guest in town and we just happened to be around that area, I would take them in for the "nostaligic,retro vibe.." but I guess I would try the lamb next time for sure!! But I would not make a special 2nd trip here on my own..

                                                                                        10 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: LA4Fud
                                                                                          whatsfordinner RE: LA4Fud Dec 22, 2007 06:42 AM

                                                                                          The lamb dip IS made to order! And it's delicious. I get it with swiss and double dipped, although I hear it's good with blue cheese as well.

                                                                                          1. re: LA4Fud
                                                                                            fourunder RE: LA4Fud Dec 22, 2007 07:59 AM

                                                                                            Whenever I travel to any city, I always try to experience one destination or institution food location if possible. In my past visits through Los Angeles, these stops included both Pink's and Philippe's. Pink's, I/We waited one hour and 45 minutes before I/We made it to the front of the line to place my order. At Philippe's, it was less, at one hour and twenty minutes. From a culinary experience, I can tell you it is a complete waste of time for so so food and I would not wait more than ten minutes for either again. From a history or commercial learning experience, I can tell you it is fascinating to see why anyone would wait to eat ordinary, at best food. I had the the beef, pork and lamb sandwiches....all to try to see which was best......my conclusion was they were all mediocre, the bread was fair, the au jus was weak with little flavor. All in all, I was glad to have gone so I could cross it off my list, as to "been there , done that". In the future, I would rather go to Chinatown and get a cheap eats there, even if it was for a bowl of Wonton soup on a 100 degree day in a place without air conditioning.

                                                                                            To this day, my brother, who travels with me will no longer try places like Philippe's or Pink's if there is a line of more than ten people, based on our prior experiences. At every holiday or family gathering he beats the stories to death how I made him wait so long for crappy food.......

                                                                                            1. re: fourunder
                                                                                              Servorg RE: fourunder Dec 22, 2007 08:20 AM

                                                                                              One of the main reasons Chowhound is still the going / growing concern it is -- It's the "Anti-Crappy Food" elixir - fixer.

                                                                                              Instead of Pink's try Skoobys on Hollywood Blvd., or my preferred chili dog outlet, Carney's on Sunset Blvd. If you want a French Dip then find your way to Houston's, or its sister restaurant Bandera for a Prime Rib Dip sandwich.

                                                                                              If you are looking for classic LA places that have good food too they are out there. All you have to do is ask.

                                                                                              1. re: Servorg
                                                                                                fourunder RE: Servorg Dec 22, 2007 08:48 AM


                                                                                                Your points are noted and well taken, but my ventures to these destination spots are not for the culinary experience. I do not ever buy into the hype of anything being the best. Let be real, we are talking about sandwiches and hot dogs. Expecting a outer body experience is not something I am trying to achieve. My curiosity lies within the operations of these historical spots, and why patrons endure the process. It's all for the benefit of my learning for any future business endeavors. On my trips, I usually reserve the good food for the evening at dinner in a nice restaurant. My less than worthy comments were to opine my experiences always fell short of the reputation for being the best I read in reviews of media or print articles.......Now what's your opinion of Dinah's Fried Chicken? Worth a detour?

                                                                                                1. re: fourunder
                                                                                                  Servorg RE: fourunder Dec 22, 2007 09:55 AM

                                                                                                  Dinah's has some adherents on the board, but generally not for their chicken. They do a couple of types of giant pancakes crossed with coffee cake sort of that get most of the play. Close to Dinah's is Pann's. We like their fried chicken, especially their chicken wings. They also have a great patty melt. The kicker is the "googie" style architecture of the building and the wonderful late 50's and 1960's rock & roll music that they play (not overwhelmingly loud thank goodness).


                                                                                                  1. re: Servorg
                                                                                                    fourunder RE: Servorg Dec 23, 2007 09:15 PM


                                                                                                    Thank you for the polite return communication....are Dinah's and Pann's both close enough to experience in the same short period, or do I have to allow for waiting periods to be served?

                                                                                                    1. re: fourunder
                                                                                                      Servorg RE: fourunder Dec 24, 2007 03:48 AM

                                                                                                      They are 5 minutes away from each other by car. But your ability to get done quickly at either one would depend on if you are going mid week off hours. For instance, Pann's gets very busy on Sunday's after church when you will see quite a parade of hats, (mostly on the women). The other question would be how your appetite is going to hold up between a visit to Pann's and Dinah's back to back?

                                                                                                      1. re: Servorg
                                                                                                        fourunder RE: Servorg Dec 25, 2007 10:28 AM


                                                                                                        Again, thank you for the insightful information......my appetite is not what it used to be, but my eyes and mind still orders like 20 years ago. since I live on the East Coast, when I venture to these places, I do it for the novelty and research......I order their popular and favorite items and give them a taste.........many times, I pass the food over to adjoining tables for them to enjoy.

                                                                                                        1. re: fourunder
                                                                                                          nrique RE: fourunder Dec 25, 2007 08:43 PM

                                                                                                          Try "the Hats" beef dip sandwich.

                                                                                                          tell me what you think.

                                                                                                          1. re: nrique
                                                                                                            fourunder RE: nrique Dec 25, 2007 11:33 PM


                                                                                                            where exactly would I find this to try?

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