6HWbNHN-show-poster2x3-c7tgE2Y.png

Artbound

Start watching
MJ250sC-show-poster2x3-Bflky7i.png

Tending Nature

Start watching
Southland Sessions

Southland Sessions

Start watching
HvlSxHY-show-poster2x3-4ik43uV.png

Earth Focus

Start watching
5LQmQJY-show-poster2x3-MRWBpAK.jpg

Reporter Roundup

Start watching
City Rising

City Rising

Start watching
Lost LA

Lost LA

Start watching
Member
Your donation supports our high-quality, inspiring and commercial-free programming.
Support Icon
Learn about the many ways to support KCET.
Support Icon
Contact our Leadership, Advancement, Membership and Special Events teams.

CLOSED: L.A.'s Iconic Dish: Cole's French Dip Vs. Philippe's French Dip

Support Provided By

Los Angeles is full of people who care passionately about food, and there are plenty of restaurants happy to serve us. We don't all agree on what constitutes "good," but we do know we like our burgers, our froyo, our Korean BBQ, our pizza. (That's right, our pizza. We like it.)

The thing is, we don't have one iconic dish. Nothing that we can point to and say, "This. This is Los Angeles on a plate." So now we're going to find out. KCET Food came up with 16 contenders. You vote on your favorites. Here's the fifth match up:

hdng-lasiconicdish

VOTING CLOSED.

Photo by Jakob Layman

French dip at Cole's: The one downtown.

The History: Cole's opened in 1908 in the Pacific Electric Building, a very busy location that included a railway terminal. It now stands as L.A.'s oldest still-operating restaurant; a few years back they closed for about 18 months to remodel and did a gorgeous job with it.

The Scene: When Cole's was purchased and remodeled by revitalizer-of-downtown Cedd Moses, the restaurant was introduced to a whole new segment of L.A.: scenesters! The fact that the restaurant is bookended by two bars helps draw in that younger crowd, too.

The Food: Some will say that the French dip here is an elevated version of the original, with better ingredients and a cleaner presentation. Some will say it lacks soul. Both eminently entertainable points of view.

Photo by Mia Wasilevich

French dip at Philippe the Original: The one in Chinatown.

The History: Philippe's opened in 1908 too, though not in its current location, which was opened in 1951 after the owners got the boot from their first spot, to make way for the 101. This restaurant also claims to have made the first French dip, though they say it happened in 1918.

The Scene: There are many tourists here. There are also many old-timers who come for the reliable food and cheap coffee and un-changing décor and ambiance.

The Food: The food here is good. And sometimes kind of funky, but in that good homespun way: pickled eggs are on the counter, for instance, and one of the more popular versions of the dip is lamb with blue cheese. It's "just" diner food, but a sense of adventure helps one enjoy it.

colesoutside1
French dip at Cole's

 

philippesmall1
French dip at Philippe's

 

hdng-thebracket
iconic-foods-of-los-angeles-1

See All Face-Offs

orangearrow

Support Provided By
Read More
Paul Grimm stands on the side of his painting of Harry Bennett and his horse Sonny.

In the Desert, Henry Ford's Strongman Finds His Artist's Heart

From stopping union uprisings for Henry Ford to a desert landscape painter, Harry Bennett wasn’t just a militaristic figure in corporate America but also, strangely, a skilled artist.
The view at the Slot Canyon Overlook.

Six Easy, Lesser-Known Excursions at Anza-Borrego

There's more to the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park than the wildflower blooms. Avoid the crowds and explore six of Anza-Borrego's lesser-known gems.
A black and white postcard photo of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union Home in Eagle Rock probably taken a few years after the home opened in 1928. The four-story main building is in the shape of a Maltese cross with Churrigueresque ornamentation over the main door, an the elevator in the center and four wings reaching out.

A Haven for Early Feminists: Eagle Rock's Home of Woman's Christian Temperance Union

Founded by middle-and-upper-class women to push for abstinence and prohibition laws, the Woman's Christian Temperance Union at Eagle Rock became a major force for societal change and a hub for feminist activity in Los Angeles.