Best Cheesesteaks in Philly - Top 10 Philadelphia's Culinary Icons

Discover the best cheesesteaks in Philly, andexplore the city's culinary landscape to find the perfect combination of tender meat, melted cheese, and mouthwatering toppings in Philly.

by Krishika M

Updated Jun 29, 2023

Advertisement
Best Cheesesteaks in Philly - Top 10 Philadelphia's Culinary Icons
Fresherslive

Best Cheesesteaks in Philly

When it comes to iconic and mouthwatering culinary delights, few things evoke the spirit of Philadelphia quite like the cheesesteak. With its origins deeply rooted in the city's vibrant food culture, the cheesesteak has become a symbol of Philly's rich culinary heritage and a must-try delicacy for visitors and locals alike. Here is the list of the best Cheesesteaks in Philly:

Article continues below advertisement

S.no.

Cheesesteaks

Location

1

John's Roast Pork

14 E. Snyder Avenue

2

Angelo's Pizzeria South Philly

736 South 9th Street, Bella Vista

3

Rocco's Italian Sausages & Philly Cheese Steaks

2200 W Oregon Avenue, South Philadelphia West

4

Woodrow's Sandwich Shop

630 South Street, Society Hill

5

One Pound Cheesesteaks

2661 Kensington Avenue, Kensington

6

Mike's BBQ

1703 S. 11th Street, East Passyunk

7

Joe's Steaks + Soda Shop

1 West Girard Avenue, Fishtown

8

Cosmi's Deli

1501 S 8th Street, Passyunk Square

9

Gooey Looie's Deli

231 McClellan Street, Pennsport

10

Hog Island Steaks

785 Starr Street, Phoenixville

Top 10 Best Cheesesteaks in Philly

From bustling food carts to beloved neighborhood joints and renowned eateries, Philadelphia offers a diverse array of options when it comes to savoring this beloved sandwich. Each establishment brings its unique twist to the classic combination of thinly sliced beef or chicken, melted cheese, and a choice of toppings.

Article continues below advertisement
Article continues below advertisement

Whether you prefer the traditional pairing of ribeye steak and gooey cheese whiz, or you opt for creative variations featuring different meats, cheeses, and condiments, there is a cheesesteak to suit every palate.

While iconic names like Pat's King of Steaks and Geno's Steaks have achieved legendary status and continue to draw crowds, Philly's cheesesteak scene extends far beyond these renowned establishments. Hidden gems and local favorites dot the city's neighborhoods, offering their own takes on this cherished delicacy.

Some establishments have mastered the art of crafting a perfectly balanced sandwich, while others innovate and push the boundaries with creative flavor combinations and unique twists on the classic.

Article continues below advertisement

1. John's Roast Pork (14 E. Snyder Avenue)

Nestled at the corner of Weccacoe and Snyder Avenues in South Philly, John's Roast Pork has solidified its status as a beloved institution since its establishment in 1930. This iconic eatery is renowned for its mouthwatering roast pork sandwiches, crafted using a treasured family recipe and roasted in-house daily. However, it would be remiss not to mention that John's cheesesteak is equally remarkable, if not surpassing its roast pork counterpart in popularity.

Article continues below advertisement
Article continues below advertisement

While John's roast pork sandwiches have garnered legendary status, it was not until 2002 that their cheesesteak received the recognition it deserves. Restaurant critic Craig LaBan of the Philadelphia Inquirer proclaimed John's cheesesteak as the city's best, catapulting it into the spotlight.

Undeniably, their cheesesteak is an epitome of perfection. It all starts with a soft and crusty seeded roll, sourced fresh each morning from the nearby Carangi Baking Company. Before assembling the sandwich, the roll undergoes a slight hollowing to create the ideal vessel. Then, a generous 12 ounces of thinly sliced loin tail, known for its minimal gristle compared to the more common ribeye, is piled onto the roll.

The result is a cheesesteak experience that transcends expectations. The combination of the perfectly baked roll, meticulously selected meat, and expert assembly creates a symphony of flavors and textures that delights the palate. John's Roast Pork has successfully elevated the humble cheesesteak into a culinary masterpiece that leaves a lasting impression on anyone fortunate enough to indulge in this South Philly gem.

Article continues below advertisement

2. Angelo's Pizzeria South Philly (736 South 9th Street, Bella Vista)

Nestled in the Bella Vista neighborhood of Philadelphia, specifically at 736 South 9th Street, Angelo's Pizzeria South Philly is a haven for cheesesteak enthusiasts. Their menu showcases a variety of cheesesteak options, available in both beef and chicken variations, allowing customers to indulge in their preferred protein. Notably, Angelo's Pizzeria South Philly goes beyond the traditional cheesesteak offerings by incorporating unique flavors and combinations.

Article continues below advertisement
Article continues below advertisement

Among their standout creations are the Diavlo Pizza Cheesesteak and the Buffalo Chicken Cheesesteak, which infuse the classic cheesesteak with a fiery kick and zesty buffalo flavor, respectively. When it comes to cheese, patrons have the choice of Cooper Sharp, Provolone, or American cheese, ensuring a satisfying melty component to their sandwich.

To further elevate the experience, Angelo's Pizzeria South Philly offers two options for cheese whiz: regular or long hot, catering to varying spice preferences. Customers also have the opportunity to customize their cheesesteaks with a range of toppings, such as hot cherry peppers and roasted Italian long hots, allowing for a personalized flavor profile.

One notable aspect of Angelo's cheesesteaks is the use of a small loaf of Italian sesame seed bread. This bread provides a delightful contrast of textures, with a slightly crispy exterior and a hollowed-out interior that accommodates a generous amount of meat and cheese. The result is a substantial and satisfying cheesesteak experience that captures the essence of Philadelphia's culinary heritage.

Article continues below advertisement

3. Rocco's Italian Sausages & Philly Cheese Steaks (2200 W Oregon Avenue, South Philadelphia West)

Located at 2200 W Oregon Avenue in South Philadelphia West, Rocco's Italian Sausages & Philly Cheese Steaks offers a unique and mouthwatering dining experience that combines the convenience of shopping at Home Depot with delicious food. The first Rocco's location was established inside the Home Depot in Northern Boulevard, Long Island City, in 2001.

Article continues below advertisement
Article continues below advertisement

Since then, Rocco Guardino, the visionary behind the brand, has expanded his empire by opening several franchises in Philadelphia and New York, all coexisting within Home Depot stores.

What sets Rocco's apart is its inventive and flavorful creations. Their menu boasts a range of unique combinations that go beyond the traditional cheesesteak. Take, for example, the "Big Mac(k)" sandwich, featuring meat, cheese, pickles, and special sauce, reminiscent of the iconic fast-food favorite.

Another standout option is "The Gavone," a tantalizing blend of sliced beef and chicken accompanied by a medley of spicy and sweet peppers, onions, and a generous layer of cheese. Rocco's also offers flavors like garlic and teriyaki, ensuring there's something to satisfy every palate.

For those looking to reduce their carb intake or simply prefer a different presentation, Rocco's accommodates by serving their sandwiches on a platter, allowing you to enjoy all the flavors and toppings without the bread.

Article continues below advertisement

4. Woodrow's Sandwich Shop (630 South Street, Society Hill)

Situated at 630 South Street in the Society Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia, Woodrow's Sandwich Shop is a formidable contender in the city's competitive cheesesteak scene. Its reputation for exceptional sandwiches has earned it recognition from USA TODAY, which included Woodrow's in its list of the top five places to visit in Philadelphia, right after exploring the iconic Liberty Bell.

Article continues below advertisement
Article continues below advertisement

In fact, the article even advised readers to bypass the more well-known establishments, Pat's King of Steaks and Geno's Steaks, in favor of the delectable offerings at Woodrow's Sandwich Shop.

What sets Woodrow's apart is its commitment to craftsmanship and unique flavors. One notable feature is their in-house-made cheese whiz, which adds a distinctive touch to their cheesesteaks. Notably, they even offer a truffle-flavored cheese whiz, adding an element of indulgence to the experience.

Among their signature cheesesteaks is the Woodrow's Whiz Whit, which features their special cheese whiz, along with cherry pepper mayo and caramelized onions, all served on thinly shaved ribeye. The combination of flavors creates a tantalizing and memorable sandwich that showcases Woodrow's dedication to culinary excellence.

For those seeking a cheesesteak experience that goes beyond the ordinary, Woodrow's Sandwich Shop in Society Hill is a must-visit destination. With its renowned in-house-made cheese whiz and creative flavor combinations, Woodrow's offers a refreshing twist on the classic Philadelphia cheesesteak. Indulge in their signature sandwiches and discover why this establishment has garnered acclaim and a loyal following.

Article continues below advertisement

5. One Pound Cheesesteaks (2661 Kensington Avenue, Kensington) 

Nestled in the vibrant Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia, specifically known as Kenzo or Kenzington, One Pound Cheesesteaks has gained a reputation for serving up sandwiches that are as enormous as they are delicious. This eatery is renowned for its specialty: sliced steak sandwiches that come in impressively hefty portions.

Article continues below advertisement
Article continues below advertisement

According to their Yelp menu, customers can choose from three sizes: 1 lb., 1 ft., and 2 ft. Prepare to be awe-struck not only by the sheer size of these sandwiches but also by the gooey cheese and exciting flavor combinations that await you.

While One Pound Cheesesteaks may not be considered a gourmet cheesesteak destination, it has garnered ratings of approximately 3.5 to 4 stars online. However, this mom-and-pop establishment has earned a dedicated following among locals who appreciate its late-night offerings at reasonable prices. It's the kind of place where you can satisfy your cravings for a satisfying meal, especially during those post-midnight hours.

One Yelp reviewer, expressing their enthusiasm for One Pound Cheesesteaks, drew comparisons to the iconic movie character Rocky and stated, "Don't count it out. It's got more spirit than the big names and it's trained on the streets. It has nothing to lose." This sentiment captures the unique charm and authenticity that sets One Pound Cheesesteaks apart.

Article continues below advertisement

The reviewer continued, declaring the establishment as the undisputed champion in the "One Pound Division" of cheesesteaks and awarding it a resounding five-star rating.

For those seeking an unforgettable cheesesteak experience in Kensington, One Pound Cheesesteaks is the place to be. Brace yourself for massive portions, gooey cheese, and a range of flavors that may include enticing options like the Pepperoni Pizza Steak, featuring sirloin strips topped with tomato sauce, melted mozzarella, and pepperoni.

Article continues below advertisement
Article continues below advertisement

Despite its unassuming nature, this local gem has gained a devoted fan base and is ready to impress you with its flavorful offerings.

6. Mike's BBQ (1703 S. 11th Street, East Passyunk)

Located at 1703 S. 11th Street in the East Passyunk neighborhood of Philadelphia, Mike's BBQ is a standout dining destination renowned for its exceptional smoked meats and delectable cheesesteaks. In 2018, the restaurant was honored with the title of "Casual Restaurant of the Year" by Eater Philly, solidifying its reputation as a must-visit spot.

Article continues below advertisement
Article continues below advertisement

At Mike's BBQ, the emphasis is on "old school" smoked meats, which are prepared fresh every day in a Lang stick smoker. This dedication to quality and tradition sets the stage for a truly memorable dining experience. As a testament to their popularity, Mike's BBQ, initially a pop-up operation, has evolved into a beloved South Philly favorite.

The restaurant operates from noon until sell-out, which typically occurs around 6 p.m., indicating the high demand for their mouthwatering offerings. While Mike's BBQ is known for its exceptional smoked brisket, chicken, pork, and ribs, it also surprises customers with its incredible cheesesteaks. The menu features two tantalizing options: one made with smoked chicken and another with mouthwatering brisket.

Among their cheesesteak offerings, the Smoked Brisket Cheesesteak stands out as a true crowd-pleaser. This sandwich has garnered widespread acclaim across the internet, thanks to its generous portion of smoked brisket, fried onions, and a homemade whiz made using Cooper Sharp White and American cheeses blended with heavy cream.

The roll encrusted with seeds adds an extra layer of texture and flavor to the already delightful combination. Mike's BBQ prepares their brisket in a "Texas-style" manner, applying a dry rub featuring cumin, salt, pepper, onion, and garlic. The result is a tender and flavorful meat that elevates the cheesesteak to new heights.

As reported by the Courier Post, Mike's BBQ's Smoked Brisket Cheesesteak is often recommended as the go-to choice for out-of-town visitors seeking an iconic Philadelphia experience. Its irresistible combination of flavors and the restaurant's commitment to quality have made it a standout option.

7. Joe's Steaks + Soda Shop (1 West Girard Avenue, Fishtown)

Joe's Steaks + Soda Shop, located in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia, is a beloved establishment that combines the nostalgia of a classic soda shop with the mouthwatering goodness of Philly cheesesteaks. Formerly known as Chink's Steaks, the name was changed to Joe's Steaks to better reflect the inclusive and welcoming spirit of the community.

Joe's Steaks is a go-to spot for locals and visitors alike who are seeking an authentic Philadelphia cheesesteak experience. The menu features an array of options, including traditional cheesesteaks made with thinly sliced steak, melted cheese, and your choice of toppings such as onions, peppers, and mushrooms. Their rolls are consistently fresh and delicious, perfectly complementing the flavorful fillings.

What sets Joe's Steaks apart is their commitment to quality ingredients. The steak used in their sandwiches is never frozen, ensuring a tender and juicy bite with every mouthful. They also offer a variety of cheeses, allowing you to customize your cheesesteak to your liking.

In addition to their signature cheesesteaks, Joe's Steaks offers a delightful selection of classic soda shop treats. From creamy milkshakes in various flavors to hand-spun sodas, you can enjoy a nostalgic sip alongside your delicious sandwich.

Whether you're a Philly local or a visitor to the city, a trip to Joe's Steaks + Soda Shop is a must. Indulge in their iconic cheesesteaks, savor the flavors of the past at their soda shop, and immerse yourself in the rich culinary history of Philadelphia.

8. Cosmi's Deli (1501 S 8th Street, Passyunk Square)

Cosmi's Deli, located at 1501 S 8th Street in Passyunk Square, has a rich history that dates back to its founding in 1936 by an Italian immigrant. This determined individual, who had previously worked various construction jobs in New York City, ventured to South Philadelphia with a dream of establishing his own grocery store and deli.

Although a fire devastated the grocery store in 2000, Cosmi's persevered and continued to craft their renowned sandwiches.

Over the years, Cosmi's Deli has garnered attention and accolades, earning recognition from celebrities like Questlove and providing catering services for the cast of "The Sopranos." The deli has also made appearances on notable "best of" lists, solidifying its reputation as a go-to destination.

One of the highlights of Cosmi's is undoubtedly their Philly cheesesteaks. With an extensive menu dedicated to both steak and chicken varieties, the deli offers a range of mouthwatering options. Some sandwiches are delightfully over the top, such as the Jacked Up Steak, bursting with bacon, mushrooms, pepperoni, fried onions, hot and green peppers, grilled tomato, and extra cheese for an indulgent experience.

Additionally, you can customize your sandwich by choosing from freshly baked seeded or non-seeded bread and selecting from seven different types of cheeses.

If you're in the Passyunk Square area and craving a delectable Philly cheesesteak, Cosmi's Deli is a prime choice. Their storied history, celebrity endorsements, and reputation for excellence make it a must-visit establishment. Prepare for a culinary adventure as you explore the diverse and flavorful menu offerings at Cosmi's Deli.

9. Gooey Looie's Deli (231 McClellan Street, Pennsport)

Gooey Looie's Deli, situated at 231 McClellan Street in Pennsport, is a hidden gem that attracts customers from far and wide. Despite its unassuming appearance as a small convenience store with a deli counter within the Pennsport Mall, Gooey Looie's is renowned for its overstuffed sandwiches that have people crossing state lines just to savor them.

While the establishment may not boast an extravagant ambiance, it has earned a dedicated following for its exceptional cheesecakes, which have been described as being "in a league of their own" by a satisfied Yelp reviewer. However, it's the sliced steak subs that truly steal the show at Gooey Looie's.

They are so flavorful and satisfying that some customers claim you can forgo the addition of cheese altogether and still enjoy a remarkable sandwich.

If you're in the mood for a culinary adventure and find yourself in Pennsport, make sure to pay a visit to Gooey Looie's Deli. Don't let its unassuming appearance deceive you; this spot is renowned for its mouthwatering sandwiches and unforgettable cheesecakes that keep customers coming back for more.

10. Hog Island Steaks (785 Starr Street, Phoenixville)

Hog Island Steaks, located at 785 Starr Street in Phoenixville, is a highly recommended dining destination just northwest of Philadelphia within the Philly-metro area. The restaurant holds a special historical significance, as Dmitry Shafir acquired the brand as an existing business and decided to keep its original name after discovering the local history associated with it.

Hog Island refers to the area where the present-day Philadelphia Airport is situated. In the past, the employees who worked on Hog Island were affectionately called "hoggies." These hoggies' spouses gained fame for preparing enormous sandwiches by hollowing out bread and filling it with generous portions of meat and cheese. Over time, the term "hoggie" transformed into the widely recognized word "hoagie," symbolizing a beloved culinary creation.

When you visit Hog Island Steaks, you can indulge in their delicious menu offerings, which likely include a variety of mouthwatering hoagies. Whether you're a local or a visitor to the Philadelphia area, be sure to make Hog Island Steaks a part of your dining experience.

Best Cheesesteaks in Philadelphia

Philadelphia is renowned for its iconic cheesesteaks, and navigating the city's culinary landscape to find the best one can be a thrilling endeavor. From local favorites to legendary institutions, here are some establishments that consistently rank among the best cheesesteaks in Philadelphia:

Pat's King of Steaks: As one of the city's oldest and most famous cheesesteak spots, Pat's has been serving up this delectable sandwich since 1930. Their thinly sliced ribeye, melted cheese, and choice of toppings have made Pat's a must-visit destination for cheesesteak enthusiasts.

Geno's Steaks: Situated across the street from Pat's, Geno's is another legendary name in the world of cheesesteaks. With its vibrant neon signage and mouthwatering sandwiches, Geno's offers a classic Philly experience that shouldn't be missed.

John's Roast Pork: Known for its exceptional roast pork sandwiches, John's also excels in crafting a phenomenal cheesesteak. With their flavorful meat and perfectly baked rolls, John's has earned a reputation as a top contender for the best cheesesteak in town.

Jim's Steaks: Nestled in South Street, Jim's Steaks has been dishing out scrumptious cheesesteaks for decades. Their generous portions of meat, gooey cheese, and freshly baked rolls have garnered them a loyal following.

Dalessandro's Steaks and Hoagies: Located in Roxborough, Dalessandro's is a hidden gem loved by locals. Their cheesesteaks are consistently praised for their high-quality ingredients, generous portions, and authentic flavors.

Ishkabibble's: Situated near the University of Pennsylvania, Ishkabibble's is a popular spot for students and locals alike. Their signature cheesesteak, known as the "Zawack," features a blend of ribeye and chicken, offering a unique twist on the classic sandwich.

Tony Luke's: With multiple locations throughout the city, Tony Luke's is a go-to destination for cheesesteak aficionados. Their commitment to using quality ingredients and their flavorful combinations of meat, cheese, and toppings have earned them a dedicated fan base.

These are just a few examples of the exceptional cheesesteak options available in Philadelphia. Exploring the city's neighborhoods and trying various establishments will undoubtedly lead you to your own personal favorite. So, grab a napkin, embrace the savory goodness, and embark on a delicious journey to discover the best cheesesteaks that Philadelphia has to offer.



Disclaimer: The above information is for general informational purposes only. All information on the Site is provided in good faith, however we make no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability or completeness of any information on the Site.

Best Cheesesteaks in Philly - FAQs

1. What is the traditional cheese used in a classic Philly cheesesteak?

The traditional cheese used in a classic Philly cheesesteak is cheese whiz, a processed cheese sauce. However, other popular cheese options include provolone and American cheese.

2. Which are the most famous cheesesteak spots in Philadelphia?

Two of the most famous cheesesteak spots in Philadelphia are Pat's King of Steaks and Geno's Steaks. Located in South Philadelphia, these iconic establishments have been serving cheesesteaks for decades and have become tourist attractions in their own right.

3. Can I customize my cheesesteak with additional toppings?

Absolutely! While the classic cheesesteak typically consists of thinly sliced beef or chicken and cheese, you can customize your sandwich with a variety of toppings. Some popular options include fried onions, peppers (such as hot or sweet peppers), mushrooms, and even sauce or mayo.

4. Are there vegetarian or vegan options available for cheesesteaks in Philly?

Yes, Philadelphia offers vegetarian and vegan options for cheesesteaks as well. Many establishments now offer plant-based alternatives made with ingredients like seitan, tofu, or mushrooms, along with vegan cheese and other toppings.

5. Can I find gluten-free cheesesteak options in Philadelphia?

While it may be a bit more challenging to find dedicated gluten-free cheesesteak options, some establishments in Philadelphia offer gluten-free rolls or lettuce wraps as alternatives to traditional bread. It's always a good idea to check with the specific restaurant beforehand to inquire about their gluten-free options.

Recent Articles


Advertisement
DMCA.com Protection Status