HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >


Is Phillipe's worth it?

I have not been to Phillipe's in a couple of years and went yesterday. I was kind of shocked that a lamb sandwich is now $6.95. It tastes good but $6.95 seems a bit high in my opinion. What do others think? Is Phillipe's worth the price?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I've only been once and I think it's definitely more of a nostalgia thing. I didn't think it was amazing (like my experience at Langer's), but I can see how it's an LA institution.

    1. If you're in the area, it's worth it.

      1 Reply
      1. The only time I eat at Philippe's is before a Dodger game. $6.95 doesn't buy much in Dodger Stadium, so in that case I say yes.

        1. 98% Nostalgia 2% Food. Chili is good and cheapest coffee in town is ok. People talk about their breakfasts, but I've never tried it.

          Best beef dip is Portillo's Italian beef sandwich loaded with beef for $5.
          Or in the area Eastside Deli if you want a sandwich.

          When I first came to LA 35 years ago Philippes sandwiches were $1.75, that was a deal. $6.95 for that sandwich is a deal breaker.

          18 Replies
          1. re: monku

            Excuse me, but prices have gone up a bit in the last 35 years. Get real, monku! On what planet do you reside? $6.95 is not a lot for a sandwich.

            1. re: allyoucanet

              For clarification the lamb dip is $7.00 and their beef dip is $5.75 and both sandwiches you get a couple thin slices of meat.
              For $7.25 (including sales tax) at Eastside Deli you get a huge Italian beef sandwich. I don't mind paying $6.95 if the sandwich has some "meat" to it.

              Have you ever been to Eastside Deli?
              Check out the clientele at Eastside Deli vs Philippes. You'll see more city employees eating at Eastside Deli than Philippes...does that tell you anything? They know where to get their money's worth.


              1. re: monku

                Yeah Monku, but where are you going to get red pickled eggs and that great mustard. Further for those of us who enjoy a glass of wine they really carry some top flight wines at reasonable prices. The sandwidh is more just for nostalgia. I recently asked for extra meat on my sandwich and they charged me the price of two sandwiches. I think I'll have to go give Cole's a try. Haven't been there in years.

                1. re: Hughlipton

                  Go to Eastside Deli get the hot plate of beef for $7.25(tax included). You get Italian roast beef and Italian pastrami and they give you a roll. Enough meat for 3 sandwiches.
                  All this sandwich talk I'm going there for lunch today.

              2. re: allyoucanet

                Give me 3 for the price of 2 bahn mi sandwiches ($5 for 3 sandwiches) at Banh Mi Che Cali any day over Philippes.

                1. re: monku


                  Not going to disagree with you that you get MORE food at Eastside Deli or any number of Banh Mi places in SGV or Westminster.

                  What I would like to raise -- without trying to necessarily argue the point -- is that when did quantity trump quality as the standard for whether an eating establishment is "worth it"?

                  Some people will say that Philippe's is worth it (and by implication better than Cole's, Eastside Deli or Banhm Mi Che Cali) simply because it tastes better than any of the aforementioned sandwiches purveyors. Thus, they are more than happy to pay a relatively higher price for a lamb dip sandwich even though you get more meat at Eastside or Cole's, and more sandwiches at Banh Mi Che Cali.

                  I just don't think we can harp on the fact that there is less meat in a Philippe's sandwich as somehow saying it is not "worth it". Taste has to come into the equation; otherwise, we would all be lauding Todai as the best sushi joint in LA.

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    Question by OP was whether Philippes was " worth the price?"
                    Agree there may not be many places to get a lamb dip sandwich.

                    Personally I want some bang for my buck and quality comes into the equation. When I compare Eastside Deli and Portillo's I feel like I'm getting my moneys worth on both fronts. Again, 90% of Eastside Deli customers are city workers for a reason and I don't notice their precence in numbers at Philippes.

                    1. re: monku

                      As a City worker I have been to Philippes several times. And in the company of numerous other City workers. I know a lot of cops go to Eastside Deli. I have never been there, but I feel a trip coming on. But the cops also like Nick's and Palermo.

                      1. re: monku

                        By the way, monku, how in the world are you able to notice city workers from non-city workers?

                        While not a special power I would necessarily want, it is a special power nonetheless ... better than not having any special powers, I suppose.

                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          I guess it is a power I have. I never thought of it that way.

                          I can see people wearing city worker uniforms of many types...street maintenance and sanitation, police (uniform and plain clothes), fire department...definitely a different crowd than at Philippes.

                          1. re: monku

                            You are plainly over looking all the deputy city attorneys and deputy DAs and deputy county counsel in their suits and their staffs who frequent Philippes. But I hope you can refine your technique.

                            1. re: mc michael

                              My technique is look for suits and shirts with ties...they aren't a majority at Philippes. Very few tourists at Eastside Deli.

                    2. re: monku

                      City employees "know where to get there money's worth." Or our money. Oh well, better that their 100k/yr. DWP paycheck is going to a meatball sub than a lap dance. Thanks Tony V!

                      I totally disagree re: Phillippe's. It isn't a great deal but neither are the ever ascending and not exactly cheap prices at the Eastside deli. Also, I've never experienced the "couple thin slices of meat" issue. Maybe the counter ladies aren't digging your mojo?

                      If you want pure value at Phillippe's hit off the beef stew. A bowl piled high for $3. A lamb double dipped may not be revelatory but its considered an institution for more reasons than just sawdust on the floor.

                      And just a question. What's so great about banh mi che cali? I've never had it but a friend brought me a couple baguettes from them this weekend. They were much worse than the baguettes I get at the better banh mi spots in chinatown. If not the bread then what - the pickling of the veggies or the meat quality?

                      1. re: mrgreenbeenz

                        Bread is usually very good from BMCC. How old was the bread that he gave you?

                        1. re: annapurna7

                          I believe it was fresh that day - though I did get it from my friend in the evening. It wasn't so much a freshness issue as a texture one. Too buttery/margariney wonderbread tasting on the inside and not crusty enough on the outside.

                          1. re: mrgreenbeenz

                            BMCC bread is definitely crusty, but it is light. It's baguette that is meant for a sandwich, so it has a good amount of chew, but light enough that you can easily take a bite.

                        2. re: mrgreenbeenz

                          The nostalgia I feel at Philippes is something out of the depression era...and that goes for the size of the sandwich too. Again, OP main disappointment seemed to be with the price. Personally I can't eat "atmosphere".

                          The buy 2 get one free at Bahn Mi Che Calle is not served on a baguette, but agree with above poster they're much better when an hour or so out of the oven.

                    3. re: monku

                      I agree, but more like 70%/30% to me. And, yes, Portillo's beef sandwich is better (but in Buena Park) for the price.

                      Phillipe's breakfast is decent, but not worth a long drive. Is my go-to, but only if in the immediate area.

                    4. Philippe's is so L A. Besides, if you consider the free parking, take $2.00 off.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: selfportrait93

                        $2.00??? Where are you parking these days. I had to do some business at the Biltmore Hotel Tower Building. When I left the charge was $50. The young lady behind the counter asked if I wanted a receipt to which I replied, Hell no, I want a deed. I was at Philippe's last night and had the beef french dip. It was good, not great. The pickled egg was incredible and the dill pickle had snap and was good. The highlight for me is that inferno (not infernal) mustard.
                        You sit at a long table and you talk to people and they talk to you. How delightful. The last issue for me is their wine list. I know that many people might think $16 a glass for Silver Oak is an expensive glass of wine, but when you figure there are only 5 glasses to that $80 or $90 bottle of wine retail it's a steal. I had the Merry Edwards Pinot Noir at $8.00 a glass and am so glad I did as i seldom get a chance to try her wines anymore. It is definitely a go to place.

                      2. Like some have stated: it's an LA institution. They've been doing what they do for a lot of decades and have stood the test of time. The sawdust on the floors, the dip, the tenure. I personally had a couple of bad experiences with one particular lady at the counter so I'm biased by this. But taking this out of the picture, I think you still would be doing yourself a favor by trying Cole's vis-a-vis and seeing how they measure up next to each other.

                        118 E 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90014

                        1. i agree with monku - - more history / nostalgia than taste. BUT - i do like their chocolate pie! yum. and their sandwiches are ok.

                          cole's, however, beats phillipe's by miles. there's just no comparison between the two. i do like the bread better at phillipe's -- but the meat, service, beers, and side dishes are so much better at cole's. the potato salad is to die for. as are the atomic pickles. seriously yum! plus, it's pretty much just as historical la.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: nachosaurus

                            The rolls at Philippes and Eastside Deli come from the same place Frisco Bakery. Wouldn't surprise me if the rolls at Cole's were from the same place as well.
                            The sourdough bread at The Original Pantry is from Frisco Bakery too.

                            Frisco Bakery
                            621 West Ave 26 (at San Fernando Road)
                            Los Angeles, CA 90065-1095
                            (323) 225-6111
                            Open 7 days, wholesale to the public

                            Original Pantry Cafe
                            877 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90017

                            1. re: monku

                              hmmm - interesting. i guess phillipe's is steamed which makes it tastier. cole's is somewhat crunchy/soft. crunchy top/soft middle. i would rather have soft all around.

                              that said - i like bay cities too - but only after a few hours of marinating.

                              1. re: nachosaurus

                                Yeah, the difference isn't the bread, but the way they prepare it/serve it. It's a matter of personal preference. Some people love crusty rolls, and others want soft. All these restaurants get their bread fresh daily, some in plastic bags to keep them soft, and others bulk (paper bags, boxes, or baskets) so that the rolls will cure crunchy/crispy.

                          2. Philippe's Beef dip is only 5.75. Still worth it in my opinion. (I don't get the lamb).

                            Cole's by comparison is 6.38.

                            (And, fwiw, coffee at Philippe's is 0.09, even though the decaf is 0.60. Go figure.)

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              We did make it to the old Cole's before they closed and were totally unimpressed with their old offerings. I can say with certainty that the all-new Cole's really does provide a superior product, certainly over their former menu and yes, over Philipes (though they've stolen the spicy mustard schtick from them). While I don't taste a significant difference between the lamb, Cole's has a really nice crusty, chewy bread and their sides are far superior to Philippe's cafeteria style sides (the bacon potato salad is really good). Cream pies and coffee go to Philippes though, hands down.

                              Mr Taster

                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                I also prefer Cole's to Philippe's! Their lamb French dip with a side of bacon potato salad and their DELICIOUS atomic pickles is a perfect meal to me.

                            2. Philippe’s serves a decent lamb dip ($6.75 my last recent visit) for about half of what you’d pay for a basic hot pastrami, corned beef or beef brisket at Langer’s. I really liked Langer’s hot tongue sandwich at @ $14.50. No, Langer’s doesn’t offer a lamb sandwich, but Cole’s does, and with more and tastier meat than Philippe’s – for $6.38. Hmmh?

                              Stand down, Philippe’s! Not on price, but on quality and quantity. Nostalgia factor and institutional status are about equal across the board.

                              Funny, I never gave any of this a thought until you brought it up, ray777.

                              1. Nostalgia is the only reason to go there, go about 1 mile west to the Eastside Italian Market and Deli and for a little over 6 bucks get a much tastier sandwich with at least twice the meat, the no. 7 hot roast beef and pastrami, cheese and marinara sauce with cooked peppers is my favorite, it is on Alpine street.

                                1. I very much enjoy the double dip lamb sammie with blue cheese that I order from them once a year. :)

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: annapurna7

                                    You come down from the mountain top once a year?

                                    1. re: mc michael

                                      You would think. :) I don't work near DT and the only time I get down there is for events at Staples. We usually don't have enough time to make it to Phillipes before the games, concerts, etc.. BUT there is usually an exception and it happens about once a year.

                                      I should make a resolution to go by there more often.

                                      1. re: annapurna7

                                        At LA live you could get a much better sandwich at Lawrys Carvery. I'm sure they'll dip it if you ask.

                                  2. It is almost impossible to frame this in the context of cost per item only, because, more often than not, we choose restaurants on the basis of the total experience. Quality is part of that, but so is ambiance--ant it isn't all about nostalgia. I think Phillipe's is certainly worth the price and even a bargain--when I need to take tourists, and especially large tourist families including children, somewhere for a quintessential Los Angeles meal. No table service, so no tips, free parking, close to other good tourist attractions, cheaper than the restaurants in Olvera Street, fun and engaging menu. And, in the scheme of LA pricing, it is still pretty cheap--cheaper than the same lunch here in the deli in my westside office building.

                                    Olvera Street
                                    845 N Alameda St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: coffeebrownies

                                      You are supposed to tip the counter ladies by leaving some change in the tray.

                                      Mr Taster

                                      1. re: Mr Taster

                                        t I have no problem tipping a much smaller percentage of the bill for one-time counter service than for a waitperson who has multiple interactions and brings and clears several courses and drinks.

                                        1. re: coffeebrownies

                                          No argument there. I was just calling you out on your statement "No table service, so no tips", which should more accurately have read "no table service, so tipping is optional"

                                          Mr Taster

                                    2. The mustard is why I go there. I'd basically eat a cardboard sandwich if it had Philliipe's mustard on it.

                                      That said, I think their lamb is a good deal since they carve it off the leg, and the others are pre-sliced. As far as Eastside deli goes, yeah, you certainly get a lot of sandwich, but I found the meat to be kind of bland. Plus, I never got used to the idea of beef and pastrami together. The flavors ran together and you might as well order twice the amount of one or the other.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: martyR

                                        Yeah, but now that Cole's has ripped of Philippe's mustard, why not go to Cole's? The food really is better there, though I must admit that it is too self-consciously retro-hipster for my taste, whereas Philippe's is the genuine article. It's like the difference between your cool grandma in knee socks and someone dressing up in your cool grandma's knee socks to be ironic. Irony is overused and overrated these days. Give me the genuine article.

                                        Have I just contradicted my own thesis?

                                        Mr Taster

                                        1. re: Mr Taster

                                          i think so. Although I am not exactly seeing grandma in knee socks....

                                      2. Yes, and actually, I think it is a bargain at $6.95. Plus they have custard. I love lamb and custard.

                                        1. Here's what I think: if you like Philippe's, then it's worth it. I don't think it has gotten comparatively more expensive over the years. If you've always felt that it was worth it, then it still is; if not, then it isn't.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Jack Flash

                                            So, Philippe's is worth it to some people but not to others. This being the definitive answer, we can now move on.

                                          2. Good sandwich, but for 7 bucks they could put a little more meat on it. I could eat 2 with no problems whatsoever. Not worth it in my opinion. My first trip there was my last.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: parker394

                                              You should go to Eastside Market then. I like Philippe's, Eastside, AND Cole's. They're all different, depending on your personal taste. Eastside gives you the most for your money, though. Although the #7 is the most popular (pastrami & roast beef), try a hot roast beef with only meat to compare to Cole's and Philippe's.

                                              Eastside Market
                                              1013 Alpine St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                                              1. re: RVZ

                                                RVZ is right on about Eastside.

                                            2. My one visit to Cole's since they reopened was horrible. The lamb dip sandwich was priced about the same as Phillipe's but was 1/3 smaller. The meat portion inside was half of what Phillipe's gives you. The au jus dip served on the side was so lacking in flavor, they could have just as well have served me warm water. And, oh .. the service was atrocious. I used to really like Cole's before. But it has nothing to lure me back again now. So, based on that comparison, I'd say Phillipe's is still well worth the prices they charge. I still remember the 55¢ French dip at Phillipe's. But as for inflated prices go, it's a sad fact that your food dollar has lost value as restaurant operating costs have greatly escalated, especially in recent years.

                                              I don't think Langer's or Eastside Italian Deli really make good comparisons for judging Phillipe's. It's like apples & oranges.

                                              1. Personally, I love Phillipes. Sure, a bit of nostalgia, but last time I ate there I left very full and very happy. Beef double-dipped, macaroni salad, a pickle, backed apple and lemonade...I could go for that right now! (except it's 3:45 in the morning!)

                                                1. I'm not a big fan of Philippe's personally, not because the sandwich is bad, but because it's nothing I can't get at a good deli. It's a classic, but about as plain as can be.

                                                  1. Philippes and Cole's are both special. You're in the neighborhood = you go. Someone's visiting = you take them. You want to feel L.A.'s history, you want to feel connected to the city, you go. They aren't the best sandwiches in L.A., but they're pretty damn good. I'd love to form a Sandwich-Eating Team this summer and try all 17 sandwiches in the Los Angeles Magazine spread (ah, food-porn at its best!)
                                                    The answer to your question: yes, and very very yes if you get the lamb with bleu cheese!