- Quality of Food
- Diversity of Menu Options
Considering the capricious restaurant scene in Los Angeles, it is rather remarkable to find a restaurant like Philippe’s that has been feeding the city for over a century. As observed by L.A. Eater, it is the oldest restaurant that is still thriving in the City of Angels.
Philippe: The Original is a French-dipped sandwich restaurant that has been gracing Alameda Street since their relocation in 1951. It was established by Philippe Mathieu; hence its name. The website explains the creation of the sandwich: “In 1918, 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.” Philippe’s has been serving French dipped sandwiches for roughly 103 years, through the Great Depression and World War II.
One enduring characteristic of Philippe’s is its unique set-up and service. It is not a conventional sit-down restaurant: long lines form in front of the counter. But there is little real waiting. As soon as you reach your carver—or one of ten servers at the counter—your order will be made on spot.
The interior of the restaurant may be relaxed and unpretentious in its furnishings, but this does not reflect the quality of its food. It has a floor laden with sawdust and an undeniably nostalgic feel, even for those of us who were not present when such decor was common. The decoration is, in fact, a testament to its history.
Such reliability and commitment to quality is foreign to many of us today. There is naturally something to be said about a restaurant that has survived for years—still operating 24 hours 7 days a week.
Featured Image: Philippe’s menu. Photographer: Madison Richardson ’15