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Where To Find The Best Cheesesteaks In Philadelphia

A punch-list for tracking down the very best cheesesteaks in neighborhoods across Philadelphia

Jim's on South Street is one of Philadelphia's most famous cheesesteak shops. Credit: G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia

Description

Here in Philly, cheesesteaks are a civic icon, a tourist draw and a cultural obsession. Often imitated around the world, the cheesesteak is rarely duplicated successfully outside of Philadelphia.

The Cheesesteak Shuffle

Did the Cheesesteak Shuffle Super Bowl commercial get you thinking about finding and enjoying an actual Philly cheesesteak? Well, we’re here to help: this is our guide (complete with map) of where to find the best cheesesteaks in Philadelphia.

Where to Find The Best Philly Cheesesteaks

Now there’s a question. Everyone agrees that the cheesesteak, the celebrated Philadelphia sandwich invented by Pat Olivieri in 1930, should be made with chopped beef and melted cheese. Everyone does not agree on who makes the very best because people have personal preferences about the degree to which said beef is chopped, the type of cheese to be melted, the bread used to make the sandwich, etc.

Those who prefer thinly sliced and finely chopped beef on a light roll often cite Roxborough’s Dalessandro’s as cheesesteak perfection. Others who prefer more coarsely chopped beef topped with gooey Cheez Whiz swear by Pat’s on Passyunk Avenue.

And still others refuse to even consider that a finer sandwich could exist than the thick, extra-cheesy steak sandwich from John’s Roast Pork in South Philadelphia.

Oh, the choices. The good news is that wherever you decide to go while you’re in town, you’ll definitely be experiencing an authentic Philly Cheesesteak. And no matter if it’s your first or your 101st, each bite is always worth savoring.

But to help you on your quest for cheesesteak nirvana, this is our guide (complete with map) to where to find the best cheesesteaks in Philadelphia.

How to order a Philly Cheesesteak

When ordering a cheesesteak, the idea is to let the cashier know a.) that you would like a cheesesteak, b.) what type of cheese you want (American, Provolone or Cheez Whiz), and c.) whether or not you want fried onions. And you have to be as concise as possible while doing so.

Locals have become so adept at this practice that they basically have it down to three words: saying “one whiz with” to the person behind the counter means that you would like one cheesesteak [denoted by the “one”] with Cheez Whiz as your choice of cheese [denoted by the “whiz”] and with fried onions [denoted by the “with”].

Similarly, saying “one provolone without” would secure you a single cheesesteak [one] made with provolone cheese [provolone] and without fried onions [without]. And saying “three American with” will get you three cheesesteaks, each with American cheese and fried onions. Ok. Got it? Now go ahead and test out your ordering prowess for real.

This is our guide (complete with map) to where to find the best cheesesteaks in Philadelphia.

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John’s Roast Pork

South Philadelphia sandwich shack sending customers away happy since 1930

John’s Roast Pork

Though the cheesesteak here is considered by some critics to be the city’s best, it may only be the second best sandwich on the menu; the namesake roast pork sandwich is actually good enough to keep you from even thinking about ordering anything else.

14 Snyder Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19148
(215) 463-1951
 

Tony Luke’s

The age-old dilemma: the Cheesesteak or the Roast Pork Italian

Tony Luke’s Philadelphia

Located next to an I-95 underpass on an otherwise dull stretch of Oregon Avenue in South Philadelphia, Tony Luke’s is a Philadelphia institution. There’s no need for an inside here — you order and pick up your sandwich from the street side windows and feast upon your reward at the outdoor picnic-style tables.

39 E. Oregon Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19148
(215) 551-5725
 

Pat’s King of Steaks

The original and still among the best

Pat’s King of Steaks

Pat’s claim to fame is that its founder, Pat Olivieri, invented the steak sandwich in 1930. Since then, Pat’s has grown from a little stand at the southern end of South Philly’s Italian Market to one of the most famous cheesesteak shops in the world, albeit still in the same location (and still the only location).

1237 E. Passyunk Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 468-1547
 

Geno’s Steaks

One half of South Philadelphia’s famous cheesesteak corner

Geno’s Steaks

Geno’s has been slinging its famous cheesesteaks from the same location here for more than forty years now and has never been more popular. Like Pat’s, Geno’s is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week so you can visit whenever you get the urge.

1219 S. 9th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 389-0659
 

Jim’s Steaks

Cheesesteaks worth the wait

Jim’s Steak’s, South Street’s cheesesteak authority

South Street’s eclectic mix of people makes for an excellent customer base for Jim’s Steaks, South Street’s premier cheesesteak shop. The crowds can often mean a bit of a wait before you actually get to taste one of Jim’s fine cheesesteak sandwiches, as the line at Jim’s on weekends can stretch out the front door and around the corner onto Fourth Street.

400 South Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 928-1911
 

Steve’s Prince of Steaks

Another member of Philly’s cheesesteak royalty.

Steve’s Prince of Steaks

Steve’s Prince of Steaks has been a cheesesteak institution in Northeast Philadelphia for more than three decades and now that they’ve opened a location in downtown Philadelphia, more and more happy customers are becoming “loyal subjects” of the Prince…, as the slogan on Steve’s t-shirt happily declares. And for good reason: the cheesesteaks at Steve’s are legit.

41 S. 16th Street
(215) 972-6090
 

Cosmi’s Deli

A corner deli in South Philly executing excellent cheesesteaks, hoagies, roast pork and more

Cosmi’s in South Philadelphia

Award-winning and independently owned for decades, Cosmi’s serves some of the best hoagies, cheesesteaks and roast pork sandwiches in Philadelphia.

1501 S. Eighth St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 468-6093
 

Dalessandro’s

Excellent cheesesteaks in the city’s northwestern ridge.

Dalessandro’s Steaks

Dalessandro’s has been serving delicious — if sinfully greasy — cheesesteaks from their corner locale for as long as anybody can remember. Legend has it that the grillmasters at Delassandro’s season their sizable flattoped grill with fat before adding the meat.

600 Wendover Street
Philadelphia, PA 19128
(215) 482-5407
 

Ishkabibbles

Streetside steaks, fries and grape Gremlins

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Quick service is the hallmark of this long-running South Street walkup window, considered the innovator of the chicken cheesesteak. Don’t forget the jalapeno-covered Spanish fries on the side.

327 South St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(216) 923-4337
 

Steaks on South

A cheesesteak outlet making waves on South Street

Steaks on South

Don’t miss the char-grilled rib eye sandwich — Steaks on South is one of the few steak shops in Philadelphia that lets you upgrade your sandwich with tender and juicy rib eye steak.

308 South Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 922-7880
 

Campo’s Deli

Authentic city eats just steps from Historic Philadelphia

Campo’s Deli

Located just three blocks from Independence Mall, Campo’s Deli has been serving up Philly favorites for nearly 60 years.

214 Market Street
Philadelphia, Pa. 19106
(215) 923-1000
 

Philip’s Steaks

Another classic, must-visit cheesesteak establishment in South Philadelphia

Philip’s Steaks

Philip’s Steaks is another 24-hour cheesesteak joint on Passyunk Avenue in South Philadelphia – like Pat’s and Geno’s above – it’s just a little more out of the way than those two. But that off-the-beaten-path vibe gives Philip’s Steaks more cred if you’re looking to find a really great cheesesteak that not everyone has tried before.

2234 W. Passyunk Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19145
(215) 755-4820
 

H & J McNally’s Tavern

Home of the Schmitter®

H & J McNally’s

McNally’s is famous for its signature sandwich, the Schmitter®, which is a variation of Philadelphia’s famous cheesesteak sandwich.

8634 Germantown Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19118
(215) 247-9736
 

Abner’s Cheesesteaks

Old-school Philly cheesesteaks

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A campus stalwart for more than 20 years, Abner’s enjoys such lasting popularity that it actually ships its real-deal steaks to former University City students and residents throughout the country. They also offer pizza, stromboli, sandwiches and more until the wee hours of the morning.

3813 Chestnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 662-0100
 

Lazaro’s Pizzeria & Grill

The secret is in the sauce

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With monstrous single slices and pizza pies that range from 14 to 26 inches, Lazaro’s does thin-crust pizza right. But the other menu options, including 18-inch cheesesteaks, are worth a taste too.

1743 South Street
Philadelphia, PA 19146
(215) 545-2775
 

Sonny’s Famous Steaks

The late-night cheesesteak shop in Philly’s Old City neighborhood

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What Pat’s, Geno’s and Tony Luke’s are to South Philly, Sonny’s Famous Steaks is to bar-filled Old City. Open until 3:00 a.m. on weekends, Sonny’s serves up cheesesteaks of all sorts, rib-eye burgers, cheese fries and onion rings to partyers who need to fuel up before going down for the night.

228 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 629-5760
 

Del Rossi’s Cheesesteak Co.

On a roll

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Two brothers anchor this Whiz-topped newcomer off Spring Garden, a welcome addition to a part of town surprisingly lacking in cheesesteak options.

538 N. Fourth St.
Philadelphia, PA 19123
(267) 687-8874
 

Paesano’s II

Serious sandwiches with Italian influence

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The namesake Paesano sandwich is not a traditional cheesesteak but it’s a pretty delicious variation on Philadelphia’s signature sandwich. It’s made with brisket, sharp provolone, pepperincino and topped with a fried egg.

The second location of Northern Liberties’ gourmet Italian sandwich shop resides in heart of the Italian Market. Among the bread-swaddled options: roasted suckling pig adorned with long hots, sharp provolone and broccoli rabe, as well as fried lasagna topped with a fried egg.

1017 S. 9th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 440-0371
 

Shank’s Original

Classic Philly cheesesteaks and hoagies on the South Philadelphia waterfront.

Shank’s Original

Visit Shank’s Original for a highly reputed cheesesteak and an old-school South Philly experience transplanted to the waterfront. The tradition of Shank’s dates back to 1962 when Shank’s and Evelyn’s (“Shank’s”) opened its doors to the Italian Market near 10th and Catherine Streets. In 2009, Shank’s closed it’s original location and opened a new location on Columbus Boulevard. The new location is right at the base of Pier 40 on the Delaware River.

901 S. Columbus Blvd.
(215) 218-4000
 

Gooey Looie’s

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Seriously stuffed hoagies and cheesesteaks await in an unassuming, no-frills shop within the gated Pennsport Mall. Gigantic creations with enough deli meat and cheese to cover many more normal-sized sandwiches have kept locals full and content for years.

231 McClellan Street
Philadelphia, PA 19148
(215) 334-7668
 

Moe’s Hot Dog House

Awesome hot dogs from an unassuming corner spot on Washington Avenue

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A self-proclaimed “mini-diner,” Moe’s has expanded its menu from 14 hot dog and sausage options to sandwiches, fish, salads and breakfast fare. Don’t worry — they still serve the original treats, many topped with homemade condiments.

2601 Washington Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19146
(215) 465-6637
 

Barclay Prime

Stephen Starr’s elegant modern steakhouse on Rittenhouse Square

Known for its $100 cheesesteak, Barclay Prime is a Stephen Starr staple made for special occasions

The home of the $100 Cheesesteak.

Known for its $100 cheesesteak, Barclay Prime is a Stephen Starr staple made for special occasions

237 S. 18th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 732-7560
 

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