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Philly cheesesteak hunt

This is going to sound ridiculous, but I've never had a Philly cheesesteak sandwich. OK, that's sort of not true. Yesterday, a friend took me to lunch and I had a Chicken Philly at a closet-sized place called Philly Grill (corner of Olympic & La Cienega in the strip mall, next to the 7-11). IT WAS FANTASTIC... a piping hot, gooey mess of onions, mushrooms and peppers. Granted, it was made with provolone, not cheese whiz, but now I'm obsessed with finding more of these heavenly sandwichs. Where are they?

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  1. Markie D's Taste of Philly in Culver City, simply, it rules. We used to live in the neighborhood and just tried it because it was convenient, it was so good, we were hooked
    my BF gets the Cheese Steak with onions and American Cheese and I get the Chicken Steak with the same.


    Note they are closed on Sundays.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Lyndalh

      I tried Markie's too on a recommendation from someone I met at a Christmas party. I wasn't as impressed. They had the lingo, but I didn't love it like I love it back home. It's an option to get you by, not a replacement for the real deal. I go home for the cheesesteak first, family a close second.

    2. Philly West - on Westwood just south of Santa Monica is my favorite. I love the hoagie steak - mushrooms, onions, cheese, meat - sooo good. They make them with provolone.

      There's also a place called South Side in Westwood Village that serves them with cheese whiz - never had it this way - but? Some folks must like it.

      This is vague - there's also a place on the North side of Venice somewhat near H.D. Buttercup that has wings - and I think cheesesteaks. I think their wings are supposed to be delicious - not sure about the steaks. Good luck! Glad you're hooked b/c they are so yummy!

      2 Replies
      1. re: dtud

        Wings & Hoagies, they might do a cheesesteak, they opened a 2nd location on La Cienega south of Pico in the old Benitos Taco Shop space. There is also the place on Lincoln north of Venice, The Great Philly Cheesesteak Co. ?

        1. re: Burger Boy

          >>>>There is also the place on Lincoln north of Venice, The Great Philly Cheesesteak Co. ?

          Great Western Steak and Hoagie (AKA "3,000 miles to Philly") on Lincoln @ Superba. It's usually the last place mentioned in Cheesesteak threads here.

          It's OK if you grew up with it (as I did), but a "cheesesteak purist" will have none of it. Can be satisfying - it's a "hit r' miss" kind of thing (Pepper-cheesesteak w/provalone, light pizza sauce). Better off going to Markie-D's in Culver City, but this will do in a pinch.

      2. I like the mushroom steak (with whiz) at Markie D's. But I would start there. They don't use the Amoroso rolls like they do back east, but to be honest, it should be about the meat, and Markie D's does it right.

        1. Make one. Go to 99 ranch market and get Ribeye sliced, salt pepper and minced onions. Fresh french roll, but I have been eating mine with multigrain lately.. =(
          If you want, order from Lobels.com and have a feast. Then add some cheap .69 cent Louisiana's hot sauce, ketchup and mustard. I haven't had a good one in a longggggg time...
          And they aren't using ribeye :]

          Sorry I don't know any good philly cheesesteak places :]

          3 Replies
          1. re: eezerik

            Even though home made is (almost) always best, I'm going to have to say that what really makes the cheesesteak is the roll... an amoroso's roll. Some places around LA ship them in, which is what truly takes a regular sandwich into the level of Philly Cheesesteak. Otherwise, all you got is a steak sandwich :0)

            1. re: Marianna215

              I used to agree, until I tried the sandwich at Markie D's, which doesn't use an Amoroso roll.

              1. re: Marianna215

                Philly's Best (chain) uses those rolls.

            2. Recent thread on this topic:

              I like the cheesesteak at Luigi Ortega's and the one at Lee's Hoagies (both in Pasadena, on Colorado).

              1 Reply
              1. re: ElsieDee

                Ooh, that's great. I'll check that thread out.

              2. This Philadelphia native highly recommends South Street (locations in Burbank and Westwood - www.southstreetcheesesteak.com.) IMHO (and as SauceSupreme rightly pointed out), one of the things that makes a true Philly Cheesesteak is the Amoroso roll (www.amorosobaking.com). To my knowledge, South Street here in LA are the only ones that understand that detail, as they have the rolls shipped to them. (I think the dough is frozen and then South Street bakes it here, but don't quote me on that. I realize that doesn't really sound ideal, but the effort for a real Amaroso roll is truly worth it.) The place isn't fancy, the Philly decor is pretty out of control, there's always a sporting event on the flatscreen TV in either location, but damn the cheesesteaks are good. Added bonus: they even sell other Philadelphia food items like water ice, Goldenberg's Peanut Chews and, best of all, Tastykakes!

                10 Replies
                1. re: steviejoe

                  Well... I don't hate South Street. But, having been extremely recently to Philadelphia on the tour de cheesesteak, it just doesn't stack up. Other places have Amoroso rolls, and other places are better. John's Philly Grille on Katella and Euclid in Anaheim; Markie D's in Culver City; Over-Under on 14th and Santa Monica in the People's Republic; even Philadelphia Sandwiches on Magnolia between Vineland and Lankershim.

                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                    Over-Under on Santa Monica Blvd. and 14th? I drive by there occasionally and I'm not familiar. I could stop in while I'm getting my car serviced nearby on that auto-row stretch. Is it on the north or south side of street? What makes their cheesesteaks worthy?

                    1. re: nosh

                      Northwest corner of 14th/SM. They used to be Markie D's, and though I haven't been in a very long time, I remember them keeping the recipe.

                    2. re: Das Ubergeek

                      I have had the eternal search myself... and nothing -Nothing in LA compares to Philly cheesteaks in Philly and the surrounding areas... I simply have to go home to get one!
                      - Love,
                      the cheesteak snob:)

                    3. re: steviejoe

                      The Philly's Best chain uses Amoroso's rolls, as does Luigi Ortega's in Pasadena. Both are less expensive than South Street last time I checked.

                      1. re: steviejoe

                        Philly's best has Goldenberg's Peanut Chews!?!?!?! I'm a philly native as well, but that's the one true philly thing I miss...well, and soft pretzels, but I always stock up on Goldenbergs when I'm back east, so this is good to know. Will have to go by.

                        1. re: Quesera

                          oh yeah! My in-laws were especially delighted to find the peanut chews. They bought like 10 packages to take home with them. Highlight of their dining experience by far.

                          1. re: Quesera

                            I too am a philly native- haven't found a craving satisfying cheesesteak yet (tried marky D's but thought the bread was way to sweet and weird- good meat though). anyway, my other craving is always soft pretzels and after years of trial and error i have found a way to kind of get them. When I'm in Philly, i buy them fresh from federal pretzels (6th and federal) and then wrap them in a paper bag, wrap that in tin foil, and wrap that in plastic and then freeze them. defrost at like 250-300 for about 12 minutes or until perfect and woah- so good. Obviously not the same, but darn close.

                          2. re: steviejoe

                            Tried South Street in Burbank last night. Was shocked to see the place completely empty at 7:30. It was very clean and bright inside, the backroom was much bigger than expected.
                            The roll really did make this sandwich, very good and fresh. The meat...eh. I had Whiz With and thought they did a decent job. The first few bites were amazing, then it got a bit greasy and heavy. Part of the fun, I suppose!

                            I've been to Pat's in Philly once and miss that very specific 50 (or however many) year old grill flavor.

                            Oh, the fries seemed fresh cut and were very good. The glob of cheez whiz on top could have been meltier, but all in all, a good value. Two huge sandwiches, cheese fries and a pitcher of Rolling Rock (yes, I know they don't brew in Latrobe, PA anymore) for just over $20.

                            1. re: steviejoe

                              Yea, I must say I enjoyed this place greatly. I loved the cheesesteak, with very little greese, and just enough cheese, and yoru choice of hot pepper paste to put on it, and make it just the perfec spiciness. The fries are pretty damn good too.


                            2. Philly West is a divy bar but makes an excellent cheesesteak. Very reasonable size and price, but fries are mediocre and drinks are at bar prices. They also make a superior fire-charred thick burger, oblong, served on the same roll with all the toppings. They get my top cheesesteak rating.

                              Markie D's is a lot brighter and also has TVs and sports memorabilia. Also a very good cheesesteak, and they often have some sort of discount coupon available on their website. They also serve pizza and other selections. Very solid.

                              Hoagies and Wings at the Venice (near Hauser) location is more of an outdoor patio stand. (I haven't been to the La Cienega branch.) Their cheesesteak was good, though a bit more of a hoagie with lettuce and tomato. Incredibly eager service, couldn't do enough for the customer, and they seem to be doing a good wing business with delivery and I wish them well -- it would be great to have them available where I live.

                              South Street in Westwood is not as bad as some of the naysayers say, but IMO isn't quite as good as the others. On the other hand, if you order a combo it comes with fries, a small side salad, and a beverage bar for $8+. Also has TVs, and is right next door to the free public parking garage on Broxton and is close to Diddy Riesse for cookies or an ice-cream sandwich and next to Stan's for dessert.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: nosh

                                Where is Philly West? ... Never mind, I just saw that dtud had said where it was above...

                              2. my vote goes to big mikes in hermosa ...they got the best meat !!! then again, i admit, it seems like when i eat there , i've had a few too many drinks around the corner so my palate may be off a bit !!!

                                1. Enough with the over embellished cheesesteaks. In Philly it's served very simply, Basic Configuration: Roll, Meat, Cheese and fried Onions (optional). If you want to get fancy, ketchup, hot sauce, mushrooms and an accompaniment of pickled hot peppers and fried dried peppers. That's it!!!

                                  But No GREEN PEPPERS or Mustard or Alfalfa Sprouts etc!!!!

                                  1. If you don't mind venturing south into the OC you must try Philly's Best. Not only do they use Amorosa rolls, but they have TastyKakes, Frank's soda and Yuengling. My in-laws, who grew up in Philly, make us take them there several times during each visit as its the only place outside of Philly that they've had a "real" Philly cheesesteak. There are several locations, but we frequent the one in Irvine on Barranca Parkway, between Culver and Jeffrey.

                                    9 Replies
                                    1. re: OCGirl

                                      What are the others? Google is failing me badly here. Is there on in Anaheim, Orange, Garden Grove or Fullerton? John's Philly Grille is my usual OC cheesesteak destination (mmmm, provolone wit) but I'm willing to branch out!

                                      1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                        There's one in Yorba Linda (or that might be Placentia). Let me do a quick search for the address.

                                        Ok, here's what I found on Yahoo... the only two I can vouch for are the Irvine and Placentia locations, although I'm sure the others are part of the chain.

                                        198 E Yorba Linda Blvd
                                        Placentia, CA

                                        1804 N Tustin Ave
                                        Santa Ana, CA

                                        8309 La Palma Ave
                                        Buena Park, CA

                                        11879 Valley View St # A
                                        Garden Grove, CA

                                        4250 Barranca Pkwy # R
                                        Irvine, CA

                                        806 W Arrow Hwy
                                        San Dimas, CA

                                        18691 Brookhurst St
                                        Fountain Valley

                                        26612 Towne Centre Dr # H
                                        Foothill Ranch, CA

                                        1. re: OCGirl

                                          Wow, THANKS! I actually passed the Placentia branch this weekend and thought, "Hm, I should try it," but it was next to something (a Fuji Grill?) that made me go, "Aaaack, might be mall-type sandwiches, ick."

                                          I'll try it next time.

                                          1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                            I've been to the San Dimas location several times. It's definitely worth a stop if you're in the vicinity.

                                          2. re: OCGirl

                                            Fantastic. Philly's Best and Markie D's seem to be the first two places I should go...

                                          1. re: Marianna215

                                            I hear ya. TastyKakes and birch beer is easy, just as easy as having banners from the Eagles and Phillies. Having beer from America's oldest brewery is far more impressive.

                                            1. re: SauceSupreme

                                              It's funny you say that. My in-laws were more impressed with the TastyKakes than they were the rolls! Or maybe I should say they were more excited about the TastyKakes. Ha! They live in Chatanooga though, so perhaps they're a bit deprived.

                                          2. re: OCGirl

                                            Has anyone found any Yuengling in the LA area? I know there was a post a while back, but if it's made it to the OC it must have made it here too, right? That's another must have each visit back east, usually in the airport right before coming back here...

                                          3. I love Papa Jakes.. there's locations in BH and Manhattan Beach. There chicken cheese with mushrooms is my fav..

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: zivagolee

                                              Agreed. Papa Jakes makes a good steak sando. I also like their garlic fries.

                                            2. Since moving to LA, I have been to Papa Jakes in Manhattan Beach and Wings and Hoagies on La Cienaga/Pico. I actually thought Wings and Hoagies was the superior sando, but Papa Jakes is still pretty good. You are probably not going to finda place that does cheese whiz.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: augustus gloob

                                                Plenty of places serve it Wid Whiz (I prefer half provolone, half whiz)

                                              2. I liked the philly cheesesteak place in fashion island's food court better than Philly's Best.

                                                But, the best place in there is the deli and their prime rib sandwich.

                                                1. I finally tried John's Philly Grill for the first time over the weekend, and their cheesesteak was excellent. I think I might rate it slightly better than Philly's Best and Frank's Philadelphia in Costa Mesa. The bread tasted like the Amaroso roll (or it was something very similar that was very good), but there didn't seem to be options for the cheese. They were served with white American cheese, which is my preferred cheese type on cheesesteaks. I didn't see Cheese Wiz or provolone on the menu, so I'm not sure if they offer it or not, but I'll definitely go back, maybe trying a hoagie next time.

                                                  There are 3 locations in OC, I tried the Goldenwest location in Huntington Beach.

                                                  1. Lee's in Pasadena, Philly's best (you can get tastycakes,) John's Philly grill (OC)

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: LuigiOrtega

                                                      You know, many will add Luigi Ortega to the mix. :D

                                                      1. These latest Philly threads have got me on the great cheese steak hunt. Following the advice of some other Valley Chowhounds: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/326541
                                                        Today I went to
                                                        Sam's Philly Steak Depot
                                                        18966 Ventura Bl.
                                                        Tarzana, CA 91356
                                                        818 776-9494

                                                        It was slightly better than South Street in Burbank...with lots of Meat, the bread was a bit to "chewy" for my taste and I'm pretty sure he uses yellow American cheese, didn't have any of those great caramelized onions that make a great philly sandwich but it was tasty and worth it IF you are in the area... lousy parking and a busy Ventura blvd can be a deterrent from going there often..... Markie D's Taste of Philly in Culver City is my next stop this Friday....

                                                        1. Don't know what the big deal about the Amoroso roll is. I don't know that Pat's and Geno's uses Amoroso rolls and I know my favorite Pepper Mill Cheese Steak in West Chester, PA doesn't. If you go to the Amoroso site, they only have Jim's as using their rolls. If Pat's and Geno's did I am sure they would list the two most famous as their client don't you think?

                                                          1. I would not know a good cheesesteak if it walked up to me and smacked me on the face, but there is a new place (I believe it is called Fredo's) on North Lake (just north of Orange Grove, ease side of street) in Pasadena. It just opened and when I drove by it yesterday around 1-ish it was jumping. I believe it is the grand opening.

                                                            6 Replies
                                                            1. re: WildSwede

                                                              There's already a Fredo's in P-town, is this one a new branch?

                                                              1. re: ozzygee

                                                                I am not sure since I did not go in. I know that It was just being remodeled as recently as a month ago and was not there previously. I know there is a Fredo's Pizza on Colorado in Pasadena, but this says something like Fredos Philly <something>.

                                                                1. re: WildSwede

                                                                  I drove by Fredo's (which I mentioned above) yesterday and there was a van parked in front advertising Amoroso Rolls there was also a small sign attached to a lightpole advertigisn the same. In case anyone is interested.

                                                                  1. re: WildSwede

                                                                    address? i was in that area yesterday eating at tarantino's

                                                                    1. re: phant0omx

                                                                      720 N. Lake Ave., Suite 8, Pasadena.
                                                                      It was recently talked about in the Pasadena Star News. For those interested in the article here is a link...... http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/busin...

                                                                      1. re: f_favila

                                                                        The website has been changed to www.fredosphillys.com . It's no longer myfredos.

                                                            2. Just tried Markie D's for the first time yesterday. Brought along three hungry munchkins who ganged up on me in laser tag, and were all in disagreement for lunch suggestions. I decided for them by choosing Markie D's. This would end debate and serve to try a Chowhound rec as well.

                                                              Mind you, the Westside is where I call home (aside from a few stays here and there) and I've never been to Philly. My only other encounter with a hoagie was the Great Western Steak and Hoagie place on Lincoln in Venice as a high-schooler looking for protein and goo to keep this teenager's ravenous internal combustion engine going. Also, this building that Markie D's sits in used to be the long time home of Pizza Man, probably some of the most questionable food that I had personally run across. So between my relative naivite' about this gift from Philly, and my long time aversion to this particular street corner, Markie D's received but a fleeting glance from me.

                                                              We ordered two hoagie franks for two of the kids, a turkey and provolone cold hoagie for another, and I got the steak hoagie with provolone, grilled onions, and hot chile peppers.

                                                              The guys behind the counter were polite, helpful, and prompt. The food came faster than expected, and the place itself had clean tables and lots of Philly memorabilia that drew alot of interest from the kids - all four of us...

                                                              The franks are split then cooked on the griddle - didn't think the kids would like it this way but I was wrong. The curly battered/seasoned fries were nice and crisp on the outside with alot of good flavor from the seasoning - of course a hit with the kids and very entertaining to them since these are somewhat rare in the Westside. The turkey and provolone was cut in two, and was expecting my son to eat only half. He polished off the first half with relish (in the grammatic sense), and started to work on the second half with ease. I had to keep suggesting to him to pull back and take a break - you know what happens with kids when they eat way beyond their limits and then go for a car ride... By the way, he said he really liked the roll - that's part of why he couldn't stop eating...

                                                              I am used to the slices of grilled steak being relatively intact in my hoagie - my only hoagie - so when I saw my hoagie tray on the counter, I was dumbfounded by the different preparation of this hoagie. The steak had been minced along with all of the provolone, peppers, and onions. At first, I didn't like what I saw, but as I took the first and subsequent bites, I picked up speed and totally understood the logic behind this method. All that chopping and clanging noise at the griddle was required to meld the various flavors together. Chopping the ingredients together while sizzling on the griddle produces a synergistic quality that I think results in a much greater flavor than the sum of its parts. Also, it's very practical when biting into the hoagie. Instead of having to make repeated mini-bites into a typical sandwich to "chop away" at the various ingredients, one can make one clean easy bite through the hoagie and almost immediately savor the flavors of this great sandwich. I didn't plan on eating the whole thing there - was planning on bringing it home so my wife could try it - but ended up dispatching it with relative ease. I'm feeling like a self-serving Bastard.

                                                              Even with my unfamiliarity of the Philly hoagie experience, I give their sandwich high marks for what it is. It's a great sandwich with great taste that was put together with great thought in their execution. And the three munchkins give it a hearty thumbs-up as well - mind the ketchup all over their hands and faces...

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                I love Markie D's. No they don't use Amoroso but the quality of the meat makes up for it.

                                                                Blog post: http://taste-buzz.com/gee-whiz

                                                              2. I, like WildSwede, would not know a good cheesesteak it it smacked me in the face. BUT! Having said that, I have found what is an excellent sandwich called a Philly Cheesesteak! I was at Canyon City BBQ in Azusa. I actually ate half of one, shared with a friend. It was reallyy good. Thin sliced Tri-Tip, crunchy sauteed onions and peppers, and some wonderful melty white cheese..... Yummy, Yummy. If that was a Philly Cheesesteak then I like 'um!

                                                                1. Geno’s, Pats, and Jim’s in Philly -- I been there and done that. In Philly I think Jims is best. But here in L.A. it is Big Mike's with a 18 inch long giant. A very good roll (bite, tug and chew) and the steak taste perfect. The cheeses are also just right. Sweet or hot peppers. Get the 18 inch cut into 4 perfect sized meals.

                                                                  Big Mike's Philly Steaks and Sub
                                                                  507 Main St.
                                                                  El Segundo, CA 90245
                                                                  (310) 726-9638

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: Like go grinz

                                                                    i guess my other posts weren't L.A. related. So i'll say this, I don't think Big Mike's is all that. I've been and thought the taste was lacking, cheese was not gooey, rool was so so.

                                                                    Fredo's is better. The only thing I can say about Big Mike's is that the lady behind the counter is awfully nice.

                                                                  2. Big Mo Sub Shop in Canoga Park has a decent "philly." I prefer the hot roast beef sandwich with provolone cheese, but I usually get the philly for my brother. In the last year or so, they've introduced a spicy mayo to their sandwiches. I actually prefer no mayo.

                                                                    Big MO Sub Shop - (818) 884-5131 - 22720 Roscoe Blvd, Canoga Park, CA

                                                                    1. Friends that love Cheesesteak sandwiches swear by this spot in Santa Monica


                                                                      Any feedback on this spot? Photos on the link sure look good

                                                                      Stuart :>)

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: Hypnotic23

                                                                        I have never been to the one in Westwood, but I love the one in Burbank.


                                                                      2. I have to agree. The cheesesteaks at this place are AMAZING. The have a good lasagne as well. I've been going there for about 10 years now.

                                                                        1. There's a lot of places mentioned here that I haven't tried, but one of my favorites is the Philly cheese steak place in North Hollywood on Magnolia east of Lankershim