Restaurant Reviews and Ratings

Here at News From The Pollywog Cafe, you will find a quick and easy way to find and check out restaurants in and around the L.A. area. Below you will find some are our favorites and some not so favorites. No need to read those long rambling restaurant reviews – we just get to the point so you can get on with your day – or your meal.  At times, we will point out some great restaurant qualities we come across, like great service or ambiance, and of course, those outstanding food items that we wouldn’t want you to miss out on.

Since we grew up in the City of Los Angeles, we rate the restaurants by the grading system used by the Los Angeles Unified School District in the 1960’s and 70’s (maybe they still use it.) We grade: Food, Value, Service and Ambiance (Atmosphere).  So an “A” is outstanding; “B” is good; “C” is average; “D” needs to improve” and “F” is, well, fail (or forget it).  We will also use pluses (+) and minuses (-) as appropriate just like they used in school.  Also, we may also use “E” for excellent; “S” for satisfactory; and “U” for unsatisfactory which they used, in addition to the other letter grades, in the report cards for junior high (that’s what they called it before “middle school”).

It’s important to note that we visited each of these restaurants without them knowing who we were so we could get (and rate) an authentic experience.

So here’s the list – they are not ranked in any particular order. Look through them all and tell us what you think. Check back often for the latest and greatest reviews:

  1.  Philippe, The Original. (While some pronounce it Fill-leeps, we say Fill-leep-ays because it’s more fun to say!) This is one of the oldest and best known restaurants in L.A. and has been family owned since 1908! It’s located at 1001 N. Alameda, Los Angeles, CA  90012, in the heart of L.A. just a block or two from Union Station (which you must visit) and of course, our beloved Olvera Street (which you also must visit and which has it’s own Haiku featured on L.A. Haiku!). This place is awesome and in our opinion, there in only one thing on the menu – the original French Dip sandwich. That, along with their homemade hot mustard will set you up for a life-long addiction to this legendary sandwich. We’ve tried a lot and none compares. They sell about 6,000 sandwiches a week!  Philippe claims their famous beef dip sandwich is the original and we believe them!  And if they weren’t, then it’s a tie with the other guys (whose beef dip is not as good – trust us).  Philippe has plenty of other items on the menu – including other dips like turkey, roast pork and leg of lamb, lots of breakfast items including eggs and pancakes, chili, stew, beans, and other sandwiches but the beef dip can’t be beat! It’s an order-at-the-counter, sawdust-on-the-floor kind of place with character plus!  And coffee is just 45 cents a cup!  FYI, your beef dip goes awesomely (is that a word?) with their amazing cole slaw and fresh homemade iced tea. And don’t forget pie or brownies for dessert. So our rating is: A for food (A+ for the beef dip); A for value; A for service; and A for atmosphere (which is L.A. authentic vintage deluxe!) Enjoy!


Echo Park Los Angeles

Echo Park

Stroll where turtles play
The Lotus flowers smile wide
A jogger runs, bye

echo park los angeles downtown view
Echo Park Lake Photo Credit – Steven Karbelnig

Trails Cafe

Trails CafeGriffith Park

Hike a nearby trail,
Shady trees, hibiscus tea
Flaky scone, Perhaps?

trails cafe griffith park los angeles
Trails Cafe Photo Credit – Steven Karbelnig
Trails Cafe griffith park los angeles
Trails Cafe Photo Credit – Steven Karbelnig

Under the Stars

Griffith Observatory 

On a brushy Hill
Observatory waits for
Planets too Up Here.

Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles
Griffith Observatory. Photo by Steve Karbelnig.
All Rights Reserved


View of Downtown Los Angeles from Griffith Observatory
View from Griffith Observatory of Downtown Los Angeles. Photo by Steve Karbelnig. All Rights Reserved.