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Give me your BEST Cheesesteak joint in PHILLY and WHY

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  • 10023 Dec 2, 2004 12:52 AM
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I'll be travelling to Philly this weekend attending the Army/Navy game. Please tell what cheesteak place you would recommend and provide some reasons why.

I am aware of the usual suspects and I'm assuming the following will be discussed:

Abners
Chinks
Chubby's
Dalessandro's
Geno's
Jim's
Pat's
Ricks's
Sonny's
Tony Luke's

I'm looking for a convincing argument from a a fellow foodie to sway me into Cheesesteak nirvana.

THanks in advance. I cant wait.

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  1. n
    Newgirlintown

    Mr Myers your timing is perfect but be prepared to wait in line.
    The best cheesesteaks in philly are at Johns Roast Pork at Weccecoe and Snyder Ave in SouthPhilly behind IKEA..across the street from the parking lot at Target.
    It's not even on your list, referring to your post, there is nothing to discuss about the places mentioned,Johns is far superior.
    1.Good Meaty Flavor.They slice thier own meat.
    2.Crusty Roll
    3.They make no more that 3 at a time so the plancha is always hot and the meat cooks quickly and stays super juicy (very important).

    Any variation you get will be delicious.
    My personal fave.....with fried onions,bacon and Sharp provolone and make sure you get some hot peppers on the side, tiny bit of ketchup......it rocks!!
    Not just the best cheesesteak but the best sandwich in philly period.

    Sadly they have never been open on weekends but as your luck will have ...as of this saturday dec 4th...they start serving on saturdays.
    It's about 10mins from the Lincoln Financial Field.

    Dont be a little girl and try to take it anywhere, as soon as you are handed that sandwich, it is imperative to unwrap it and eat it ASAP or you are missing the whole point.

    Good luck.
    Expect tospend about 8 dollars.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Newgirlintown

      My favorite is at La Pizzeria, on South Street. Their meat is thin, tender, juicy (not greasy), no grisle. The provolone is melted in the layers, so that it becomes one with the meat. The meat and cheese is in harmonious proportion to the shiny, crusty-but-soft-in-the-inside roll (Amoroso's of course)--not overly stuffed, but not skimpy by any means. I get it w/o, because more flavor is just not necessary.

    2. Here's the problem with your question...there is no definitive answer because it simply depends on your tastes. We can give you the best of the best in all aspects (you have most of them listed), but it is tough to give you a single choice without knowing your preference. Do you like mor meat than roll, more roll than meat, an equal balance....what kind of cheese to you want....are you going to add things other than fried onions like mushrooms, peppers, or dare I say bacon.....is ambience of any value (of course cheesesteak ambience is far different than any other ambience)....

      Here is my opinion (or what I would do if I were in Philly for one day and hade cheesesteaks on my mind) the morning of the game, head to D'Allesandros. Pickup one with mushroom and swiss. Take time to relax and eat it there. Head to Tony Lukes on the way to the game (not the center city one, but the original). Grab a steak with provolone there (or if you are feeling a bit risque, get a roast pork italiano, or get both and take them to the game). Tell them that you are going to the game and they will wrap it right for you. During the game, drink heavily. After the game, head to Pat's and Geno's with the millions of others. Get one steak from each place...wiz with. Party in the streets like its 1999. As you come out of your drunken stupor, head to south street and pick up a steak from Jim's. Walk around and have a good old time looking at all the messed up stuff. Head over to Old City and hit it up with the ladies (or men, whatever your preference). At 1:50 am (not any later or you will have to wait in a ridiculous line) walk out of the party and head to Sonny's and get a steak american with jersey style (the cheese gets mixed throughout before being placed on the roll). You shouldn't have to eat for an entire week after that, but you will be fully satisfied.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Hojo

        That is the BEST description of Philly cheesesteak joints I have ever seen! Thank you.

        1. re: Susan H

          Makes me think back to the days of my youth at Penn! I'm drooling!

        2. re: Hojo

          I DID THAT! My brother and his girlfriend were in from Portland and she had never had a cheesesteak. (gasp!) We first hit South Street. Ishkabibbles was a dissapointment. Roll had no bite and the meat was limp. We then went to Jims. Also sad. The meat seemed steamed. After that we hit Ginos and then Pats. This was within 1 hour and we split the cheesesteaks three ways. It gave us enough to taste, but not so much that we couldn't eat more.

          Out of those four, we voted for Ginos. The roll was so good. A combination of chewy/crusty and the meat was very flavorful. We all would have liked the onions a bit more caramelized though.

          I highly recommend doing a best of tasting. You take a local speciality, or just a particular dish, and sample tons of them. I also did it in Charleston with She crab soup and it was great.

        3. I will put in my usual vote for Steve's Prince of Steaks. Steve's has the somewhat thicker sliced steak and the longer, crispier rolls. When I'm in Philly (from D.C.) I always go up to Steve's (it's on Bustleton, south of Cottman near a pretty big mall the name I never remember) in north-east Philly.

          I also always get one from Pat's and if you go there, the long lines at both Pat's and Geno's will move quickly.

          I'm pleased to read John's is open on Saturday's soon, as I've only been once in my life and had the highly touted (rightly so) roast pork. If you go to John's as well (you should hit several places) you'd do well to sneak in a roast pork (w/ sharp provelone & rabe) into your cheesesteak-a-rama.

          Go Navy, Beat Army! (or vice versa)

          Thanks,

          K

          Link: http://hollyeats.com./StevesSteaks.htm

          1. p
            Paulie From South Philly

            There is no debate and the irony is that it is not on your list. I have eaten cheese steaks just about everywhere and the only one that comes close to the best is Chinks. Jim's is for tourists. The only with the absolute best roll is Johns Roast Pork. The most important thing is to order it and then eat it right away. It's on Snyder near Front.
            Dont let anyone else fool you. There is no other best.

            1. I've tried to put in the link to Craig LaBan's piece on the "Cheesesteak Project" from the Inquirer, below. It has a pretty comprehensive (and amusing) survey of cheesesteaks.

              Link: http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/ente...

              1. John's Roast Pork -- on Snyder near Delaware, I think. Why? I suspect it's because they are fanatic about their cheesesteaks. The line is long, because the grill is cleaned after every few sammiches. The bread is perfect. My only complaint is that the provelone is so excellent (and there's so much of it) that it overwhelms the taste of the meat, so we have started getting ours cheeseless. The roast pork is also outstanding.

                Craig LeBan and his high school mentees also gave John's their top billing.

                1. I think that Chink's is probably the best. John's is very good, but I put John's in a slightly different catagory because of the semi-hard sesame roll. I do love it though. Steve's on Bustleton is a close 3rd. to those guys. The beauty of the cheesesteak in Phila is the small differences in all of them. I tell anyone from out of town the same thing. No matter where you go on that list of yours, you are going to get a good sandwich! All of the "big time" places will give you a good steak. I do have favorites, but if Pat's is most convenient for you, go to Pat's, if John's or say tony luke's is most convenient, go there!

                  John's does have the BEST roast pork though! That can't really be disputed!!! Ha Ha.... And also. Jim's by far gets a bad rap coz it's on South Street. Once again, slightly different catagory because the meat is chopped up, but c'mon. People who trash Jim's can't really eat one and say, "it sucks". It doesn't suck. It's good I think. South Street sucks! Jim's with american&whiz is awsome. Some hot peppers on side, and a Dr. Brown's black cherry! Makes you forget for minute that you are on S.Street! Until you walk outside and realize you smell like you laid down on 48 cheesesteaks! (bad ventilation)

                  1. I agree that this is a tough and personal question. I am a chopped steak person. My heart is with Delessandro b/c 20+ years ago it was the best steak around. I'm not sure that is the case now, at least judging from my last visit. But they're still quite good -- based on the bread, meat & heft index. Based on the latest three years of taste testing, I have decided that Chinks is currently the best around of the places I have tried. I like the steaks at Tony Lukes but would rather eat their roast pork. I ate at Steve's Prince of Steaks (sliced not chopped) about a half a dozen times last year to see whether I would become a convert and while I thought they were very good most of the time, there were times when they were not -- the meat was not always consistent, and I find I still prefer chopped. I 've never cared much for Pat's or Genos and haven't been back to either one since the early 80's. and Jims never did it for me either, although a friend of mine will not eat anywhere else when he comes back to Philly. I've never made it to Johns or White House in Atlantic city. They're on my to-do list for 2005. Seriously, you should try several (at least four anyway) to get a sense for yourself. You also have to determine whether you're a wiz, american or provolone person. That's a whole nuther argument and perhaps a reason for a second visit.

                    1. Best cheesesteak joint or best cheesesteak??... While I haven't been to John's yet and am fully counting on that to be my new favorite steak, I vote for Chubby's or Jim's hands down. Reason is simple. They have plenty of inside seating and a bar.

                      1. I would like to thank everyone for their their timely and thorough replies.

                        I have decided to go to Johns before the game and I'll report back what I think.

                        Following the game we have a 6p reservation at Le Bec Fin. From one extreme to the next.

                        I cant wait.

                        1. I've eaten at most of them, and I like Jim's

                          1. I have tried all the ones on south street(though many years ago. I realized I had found the "best" when I went to the Explorer's Den by La Salle. Is it still open? It has been at least 5 years since i went. Then it was a hole in the wall in a questionable neighborhood but it was the best steak in the world. As Philly neighborhoods have spiffed up in the last copuple of years what has happened to this area.

                            1. I'll carry my laptop so when I get there, I'll be able to read these words of wisdom..........thanks for posting this even though I never asked, I was going to....

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: iL Divo

                                iL Divo, one of the best cheesesteak places is in Old City--Sonny's, on Market St. between 2nd and 3rd, conveniently located about a block away from Sugar Mom's. :)

                                1. re: gina

                                  I know Market street well, usually Market around 9th where Georges is.
                                  I'll try to walk to Old City Sonny's next time, thank you

                              2. Tough call, but I'll add Joseph's on Oxford ave. near 5 points in the Great Northeast, with Whiz, onions and pickles, or a pepperoni pizzasteak.

                                1. We just went to both Tony Luke's and Geno's tonight. At Tony Luke's we had a Pork Italian with provelone and rabe, wow what a great sandwich! Flvorful, hot, juicy, and the cheese really had a lot of flavor. Highly recommended.

                                  At Geno's we had steak with wiz and onion and a side of fries. The fries sucked but wasn't expecting much. The steak was I though on the small side, a bit greasy and really didn't do much for us.

                                  We only went to Geno's after driving to Chink's only to find out they were closed around 6pm on a Saturday.

                                  1. The best steak in Philly is Steve's Prince of Steaks in the Northeast (7200 Bustleton Avenue at St. Vincent) The meat is the best, all cheese steak rolls are baked at the same place, Amaroso bakery, which is 2 blocks away, but the main thing is the HUGE assortment of peppers, pickled and dried, in jars and boxes in the restaurant. They make it truly "philly"

                                    1. I have to say that, as an out-of-towner who until recently had only had Pat's, Geno's, Jim's and Sarcone's, you all don't know what you're missing. Cosmis's is, hand's down, the best hoagie and cheesesteak joint I've visted in Phila, and while I only hit town twice a year, I average 2-3 sandwiches per day each time I'm there. It's a dep (that's a Quebecois term for convenience store) and a deli and a godsend.
                                      The name escapes me for the moment, but they have a hoagie that's to die for...Prince something or King something, if memory serves.
                                      I know that they were recently recognized by some local weekly, which is the only reason I'm permitting myself this posting. I figure, if the word is out, chowhounds everywhere deserve to know.

                                      22 Replies
                                      1. re: pouletsecret

                                        pouletsecret, did you ever figure out the name of the joint, or street crossings could be good too.

                                        1. re: iL Divo

                                          They said it was Cosmi's. Its at 8th and Dickinson. Its the name of the sandwich they forgot. You could just read the menu to see which one I guess.

                                          1. re: lalagirl76

                                            hum, how could I figure that out? should I just go and ask them what's the name of "that" sandwich

                                            1. re: lalagirl76

                                              There is no "Prince" or "King" (or any other royalty aside from Howard Eskin who is on royalty in his own mind) on the Cosmi's menu - http://www.cosmideli.com/best.html

                                              1. re: Bigley9

                                                perhaps things have changed, since 2006?

                                                1. re: Bob Loblaw

                                                  What hasn't changed: Cosmi's still makes good hoagies. The cheeseteak is good if you get the seeded roll, but not as good as the hoagies.

                                                  1. re: barryg

                                                    love Cosmi's - thats why I was looking for a sandwich/hoagie I didn't recognize!

                                                2. re: Bigley9

                                                  well I'd love to know what's on the Howard Eskin, but they don't list. Guess I'll have to call. just did, talked to Mike...it's proscuitto/ sharp provalone/ green&red peppers/black&green olives. sounds good to me. Mike's also gonna tell me where to get the best cannoli's on the same street 8th next time I'm there.
                                                  he told me it's close to 9th and Market which is where I always shop, so should be easy to walk. thanks

                                                  1. re: iL Divo

                                                    I wouldn't call Cosmi's exactly "close" to 9th and Market. I suppose any distance is walkable, but just know that it is 16 blocks away. You can hop on the bus on 8th St and be there in a few minutes.

                                                    As for the cannoli, Cosmi's is down the block from Termini's.

                                                    1. re: Philly Ray

                                                      look at you........... :) that's the name of the place Mike told me, but I told him I'd forget it so he could remind me when I got there. My hotel is on Race and 17th. I walk from there, it's already a good walk, so if I need to, I'll just gps Cosmi from hotel and go straight there. thanks for the hint.....

                                                      1. re: iL Divo

                                                        If you're walking from downtown, it's worth it to walk down 9th St instead of 8th so you can see the Italian Market and Pat's/Geno's (don't get cheesesteaks there, though) and then cut over to 8th somewhere past Pat's/Geno's. The GPS shouldn't really be necessary as Philly is on a strict grid system. Just walk southbound and you can't really get messed up.

                                                        1. re: barryg

                                                          thanks barry, I've been going to work in PHL for 15 years now. I love walking down market and 9th. love shopping at the outside market, for fresh fruit, old book store with cat outside or on my lap when reading, and of course been to G&P's. BIG disappointment to say the least. plus, they're rude there. and G&P's is quite a good distance you're right, that'd be a long walk especially since I always manage to make it into Whole Foods too. love walking the back cobblestone brick streets and smelling what everyone is making for dinner or lunch. love it! I think Cosmi is a special trip alone though, that way, I can see all that street has to offer.

                                                          that day is gonna be a big one though. let's see how can I get the train to Hatboro to Daddypops for blueberry pancakes, then get back in time for lunch at Cosmi, on the train no less? hum, I'll make Cosmi a late late lunch, that way, only 2 meals in one day

                                                          1. re: iL Divo

                                                            The last time I was at Daddypops, the waitress told my wife and I that they use Aunt Jemima boxed pancake mix. That said, we still love their food.

                                                            1. re: Velvet Elvis

                                                              Hey Elvis, oh my gosh, who knew. I hope that was a joke, but probably not. I originally went for the scrapple, which according to GF's show, DDD's, it was home made so I had to give it a try for my husband. It's not home made it from the sysco truck, can you believe it? I was frosted, but then had to eat something so I went for the blueberry pancakes which they said had a Danish background, thin and delicate w/powdered sugar on top. First time I had them, they were good, I swear not as good any other time I've been there though, and that's the truth. I still go just out of familiarity [but not much anymore for the >>] snooty owner and the iffy food :(

                                                            2. re: iL Divo

                                                              After you hit Daddypops, head south for 1 block and make a left. Try the chicken cheesesteak at Silvios. They bake their own rolls.

                                                              1. re: gjet72

                                                                it is across the street from that giant Thrift store or further south?

                                                                what I'm looking for may not exist. I'd love a big sandwich, with lots of meat, lots of onions and bell peppers, lots of cheese and not Wiz, but provalone or whatever, that is sizeable and delicious. probably the closest I got to one was across the street from the hotel I used to stay in which was a Holiday Inn closer to the airport, I think it may have been Jims.a dump and a whole in the wall. At least you got what you paid for, not like Jakes or is it Jacks down the street from my new hotel which makes a fabulous pizza but a tiny scroney little philly cheesesteak for way too much money.

                                                                1. re: gjet72

                                                                  Silvios is good. They use Cooper American cheese on their steaks. It is a little sharper than the typical American cheese, and their rolls are great. That said, their steaks often come out a little dry for my taste, so I have them add extra cheese.

                                                                  1. re: Velvet Elvis

                                                                    I'll ask again..........
                                                                    someone knowing the area may tell me..........
                                                                    it is across the street from that giant Thrift store or further south?

                                                                    1. re: iL Divo

                                                                      If you are talking about the Impact thrift store on Moreland ave. it is one block north of there. It is on Montgomery across from Wawa to the north. If you are on York at Montgomery, it is behind a sign store on the east side of York.

                                                                2. re: iL Divo

                                                                  Sounds ambitious, but if you don't want to take a cab, take the Broad St Line to Tasker-Morris and cut over and up 8th to get to Cosmi's; or grab the 57 bus down 7th St at Market.

                                                                  1. re: barryg

                                                                    The 57 runs up 3rd St and back down 4th through Center City.

                                                                    The 47 runs down 8th and back up 7th (with the 47M on 9th).

                                                                    1. re: Philly Ray

                                                                      Yep I meant the 47, thanks.

                                                3. Dalessandro's for the quality of the sandwich,

                                                  Ttony Luke's for the whole cheesesteak experience including the 3 AM post-bar-closing car ride to deep south philly and the ill-tempered folks who take your order. I live on Long Island now but always make a detour to Tony Lukes on my way back to NY.

                                                  -----
                                                  Tony Luke's
                                                  625 Highway 33, Trenton, NJ 08619

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: ChefSDB

                                                    I think Trenton is out of my locale, but found there are more than one yes? One in Philly too.

                                                  2. (donning asbestos suit)

                                                    The best cheesesteak is not in Philly but in NJ. Chick's Deli in Cherry Hill.

                                                    The downside is you won't get any Sout' Philly addytood from the employees

                                                    -----
                                                    Chick's Deli
                                                    906 Township Ln, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002