the Schmitter and the Roast Pork. We've perfected culinary specialties that other cities can only imitate, like scrapple, sticky buns, soft pretzels, tomato pie, and water ice. But, throughout time, when Philly food comes to mind America still thinks of one thing: Philadelphia Cheesesteaks.Philadelphia certainly isn't lacking in the cultural foods department. We've got multiple famous sandwiches, namely
Our cheesesteak has been the topic of books, tastings, and many, many tv and video segments. One thing still hotly contested is where you can find the absolute best cheesesteaks in Philadelphia. We've compiled a list for you of the winners in our book.
With hundreds of eateries grilling up cheesesteaks throughout Philadelphia, we'd love to hear if we left out your favorite. Leave your recommendation in the comments, and we'll be sure to try!
Carmen’s Famous Italian Hoagies & Cheesesteaks - Located in the famous Reading Terminal, this cheesesteak is one of the best. The cheese is plentiful and evenly distributed throughout. The quality of meat is notable - well-seasoned and cooked in a way that it just about falls apart in your mouth. For their rolls, they choose Liscio’s, fresh-baked and delivered from Jersey every morning. Need more proof? Carmen's was the choice of President Obama during his 2010 visit to our city.
Carmen's Famous Italian Hoagies & Cheesesteaks
51 N 12th St (Reading Terminal)
Philip's Steaks - Praised by Foobooz, Philip's is located in Passyunk, a neighborhood well-known for their eateries. Their roll is from Aversa’s Italian Bakery, another Jersey bakery serving up breads with chewy centers and a bit of a crust - perfect for the best Philadelphia Cheesesteaks. Their steak is flavorful, and they offer complimentary hot sauce for those heat lovers. They're also famous for their "Old Fashioned", a steak sandwich topped with melted provolone, grilled tomatoes, Italian peppers, oregano, and the standard salt & pepper.
2234 W Passyunk Avenue
Sonny's Famous Steaks - Winner of GQ's Best Philadelphia Cheesesteak Award, it's easy to see why critic Alan Richman was so wowed by this Old City shop. They use Amaroso rolls, another popular choice of Philadelphia delis. Sonny's separates themselves from the competition with their friendly service and predominantly cooked-when-ordered steak, (no steak pre-cooking on the grill like you'll find at a lot of the touristy places). We also like that they allow casual ordering - so if you're not skilled in the "wit or wit out" language, they'll be happy to assist you, anyways.
Sonny's Famous Steaks
228 Market St
John's Roast Pork - Third-generation and family owned, this is a long-standing favorite of Philadelphians. Don't let the name fool you - while their roast pork is arguably the best in the city, they also cook up a mean cheesesteak. Why won't there ever be a second location or franchise opportunity for this South Philly business? Owner John Bucci says, "...the thing is, the quality wouldn't be the same - people don't care the way I do. This is my passion."
John's Roast Pork
14 E. Snyder Ave
Sorrentino's - We're hitting all the corners of Philly with this list, and next up is Northwest Philadelphia in the neighborhood of Manayunk. The 'Yunk was Philly's very first historic district, and the many old-school, family-owned businesses throughout the neighborhood reflect that. Sorrentino's is no exception, currently run by 2nd & 3rd generation owners Patsy and her son John Westerfer. Their high-quality meats and cheese are sourced from Dietz and Watson, yet another Philadelphia family-owned company, now in their 4th generation and having been family-operated for 75+ years. Their rolls are baked fresh at Conshohocken Bakery, and Patsy said she's been going there for over 30 years because she's "never ever received a bad roll", and she knows it's going to create a perfect cheesesteak each and every time. For any vegetarians out there, they've also some killer vegetarian Philadelphia cheesesteaks, (and at the same price as their standard cheesesteaks).
4361 Cresson St
Campo's Deli - Shown off on the Food Network, this place has been serving up sandwiches in Old City since 1947. Their steak is cooked to order, and they take care to melt the cheese in with the meat, rather than folding around the steak as some local spots do. Even when busy, we're always impressed with the customer service, which is friendly and accommodating. Also important to note - they are one of the only top delis serving Philadelphia cheesesteaks that also consistently carry gluten-free rolls, allowing their cheesesteak or any of their other famous sandwiches to be made gluten-free.
214 Market St
Joe's Steaks + Soda Shop - The only on our list to be located in the far Northeast, Joe's has a relaxed retro vibe and plenty of space to enjoy your steak. They're nearly as well known for their delicious milkshakes as they are for their authentic Philadelphia cheesesteaks. Best of all? It's BYOB, meaning that you can enjoy or a beer with your steak, or even have them make you a beer float. And, if you don't want to travel to the Northeast, they've opened a second location more convenient to Center City in Fishtown, (as a bonus at the Fishtown location, gluten-free rolls from Sweet Christine’s are available).
Joe's Steaks + Soda Shop
6030 Torresdale Ave
Steve's Prince of Steaks - One of the most popular spots in Center City to get your Philadelphia cheesesteaks, Steve's originally started out as a mainstay of steaks over in the Northeast. The meat is served unchopped, so if that isn't your style you'll want to try a different steak shop - but it's definitely worth your time as a classic Philly cheesesteak. They've also got a complimentary pepper bar if you'd like to spice up your steak.
Steve's Prince of Steaks
41 S 16th St
Cosmi's Deli - Named after Cosmi Quattro, the original owner back in the 1930s, this place has stood the test of time as it's been passed down through the generations. Unlike the vast majority of Philadelphia cheesesteaks, who predominantly use ribeye, Cosmi's owner Mike Seccia opts to use loin tail, as he believes it retains more moisture and flavor than the traditional cut. They're also one of the most welcoming in terms of customer choice, with 3 different rolls to choose from. Their strategy must be working, as they've been a favorite of locals, food critics, and celebrities alike for years.
1501 S 8th St
Dalessandro's - This Roxborough treasure has won the hearts of many - including comedian Jimmy Fallon and Serious Eats. Besides the well-seasoned steak and more relaxed ordering style, choosing this Northwest shop versus heading to South Philly offers other benefits as well - such as easier parking, a more finely chopped ribeye, and the availability of adding takeout beer to your order.
600 Wendover St
Blackbird Pizzeria - Philadelphia makes the best cheesesteak in the nation, and it only makes sense that we make the best Vegan cheesesteak, as well. Gooey, dairy-free "cheese whiz", a roll baked fresh in-house, and a seitan base (also made locally) offer a satisfying taste into Philly's food culture for those herbivores in our midst.
507 S 6th St