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May 8, 2005 11:19 PM

philly cheesesteaks

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I'll be visiting from toronto next weekend and I'm absolutely dying to try an authentic philly cheesesteak. I've heard so many mixed reviews as to who makes the best, so I'm interested to hear your reccomendations. Thanks

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  1. South Philly. 9th & Passyunk Geno's or Pat's. They face each other "head to head" across the street from each other. It's a decades old competition.
    I personally like Geno's, but many swear by Pat's. You can get one of each and make the call.

    By the way, the way to order them "South Philly style" is by saying the type of cheese and whether or not you want onions. For example, you don't say "a cheesesteak with cheese whizz and fried onions." You can, but if you want to sound like someone from the neighborhood, you say "whizz with". (My personal recommendation). Enjoy.

    9 Replies
    1. re: mums

      This is not a consensus on Chowhound. I'd say the majority of us avoid both Genos and Pats at all costs. Do a search on this board for cheesesteaks and you will find the lengthy debate and lots of opinions.

      Susan H

      1. re: Susan H

        Now we don't necessarily avoid them at all costs, just during the day, when we have time, and want the best do we avoid them....

        However, if you are here for pleasure and are out when the bars close at 2am, there are no better steaks to be found than those at Pat's and Geno's.

        If, however, you are looking for that quintessential steak that shows you what a cheesesteak really is all about, and you have time during the day to travel about, then there certainly are better places.

        1. re: Hojo

          I haven't tried Geno's, but Pat's was the second worse cheesesteak I've had in Phila. (the worst being Rick's in Reading Terminal). I found them to be tough and grisly.

          IMO, the best 2 a.m. cheesesteak (on weekends) is Sonny's, in Old City.

          1. re: gina

            You won't be disappointed with Jims. To soak up local flavor go to Geno's, avoid Pat's. When you get there you will see why! Geno's is as clean as an operating room, Pats.....well you will see!

            1. re: Johnny Boy

              I totally concur that the best, what I call "commercial", cheesesteak is Jim's.

              Regarding Pat's vs Geno's, maybe the fact that Geno's is as clean as an operating room while Pat's isn't explains why Pat's has considerably more flavor than Geno's? :)

              The Pat's vs Geno's argument is one that will go on forever. I don't know many people that like both.

              However, there are so many places in the suburbs that just blow these places away, such as...

              Pudges (E. Norritown on 202 and Jeffersonville on Main St)
              Phil's Tavern (Ambler on 73)
              Steak and Hoagie Factory (Warminster on Street Road, Abington on York Rd). The one in Warminster is open 24/7!
              Yellow Submarine *my personal favorite* (Maple Shade)
              Big John's (Cherry Hill)
              Gaetano's (Willingboro, Maple Shade)

              1. re: mitch h


                "Yellow Submarine *my personal favorite* (Maple Shade)
                Big John's (Cherry Hill)
                Gaetano's (Willingboro, Maple Shade)"

                I use the Gaetano's on Rt130 in Cinnaminson, and they are great also.

                We used to go to Big John's regularly, at the time it was one of my all time favorites for cheesesteaks. Ever since it changed hands, and "John" sold the business it has gone downhill and not as good. Haven't been there for years, is it any better now?

                I will have to try the Yellow Submarine. Where is it near?

                1. re: Johnny

                  The more I think about it, Big John's is definitely not what it once was. I was there last year and I was very disappointed. The size of their sandwiches have gotten significantly smaller and the quality is not what it once was.

                  Yellow Submarine is down the road from the Jug Handle. I think it is on Fork Landing Road. It has been owned by the same individual since the 80's and is as good as it ever was.

        2. re: Susan H

          Avoiding Pat's and Geno's is not a consensus either. We all have our preferences, and Pat's and Geno's are among the choices.

          There will never be a consensus when it comes to Philly cheesesteaks. Just personal preference.

          1. re: Susan H

            It depends: do you want a "South Phila cheesesteak experience" or just the Best Sandwich Possible?

        3. I am very fond of Tony Luke's on Oregon Street, but a couple of reviews on the web say that John's Roast Pork on Snyder is better is that true? Looking to pick up some sandwiches to tailgate at the U2 concert, so seating and ambience are not an issue. Just want the best sandwich.

          3 Replies
          1. re: yellojkt

            John's Roast Pork is better, but unless things have changed, it's only open through mid-afternoon. And with Tony Luke's, unless you're there well before 6pm on a concert night, well, there's going to be a long line.

            1. re: yellojkt

              Try Ishkabibel's or Jim's on South Street,or maybe Jim's at the corner of 62nd and Noble Streets.

              1. re: yellojkt

                Try Ishkabibel's or Jim's on South Street,or maybe Jim's at the corner of 62nd and Noble Streets.

              2. See? It's unanimous! LOL

                1. Big John's in Cherry Hill is terrible. We stopped in here yesterday, and the steaks, though big, were tasteless and greasy.

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