Whether for a quick business lunch, happy hour, or a late night date, P.E. Cole’s is one of my favorites.
Cole’s is definitely off the beaten path.
In existence since 1908, Cole’s is located in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles’s historic core on the ground floor of a building that was the Pacific Electric Railway system’s central station. Significantly, Cole’s likely invented the French Dip sandwich.
The food is simple and straightforward but done extremely well. Their bread is fresh baked daily at a local artisanal bakery. The sandwich meats, which are always well-seasoned and well-cooked, are all-natural USDA Select. My favorites are the classic beef French Dip and the turkey French Dip. The ceasar salad, like all their salads, is made with tangy house-made dressing. The French Fries are perfectly crisp, nicely seasoned, and un-greasy. If you need motivation for your daily gym workout, Cole’s serves fresh baked pies (I recommend the chocolate cream pie, which contains an innovative Oreo cookie crust).
Additionally, the service is always attentive and friendly. Although the neighborhood is slightly rough, the restaurant’s interior is warm and welcoming and contains many original elements such as the chandeliers, stain glass fixtures, and red booths.
I offer two pro-tips. First, always leave gratuity when you pay. Although there is no waiter service, servers still bring food to your table and refill beverages. Second, if you like your meat well-cooked, order your French Dips “well-done.”
In all, I highly recommend Cole’s for anyone who visits LA.