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Hungry for Philly Cheese steak in San Diego

It's been years since I've had a Philly Cheese steak sandwich.
Any one know where I can get a_good_one in San Diego?



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  1. As a Philly native who has been in SD for 12 years, admittedly, I'm still searching for that perfect cheesesteak here on the west coast. I've tried a few places, including Balboa's (College Area) and the Philadelphia Sandwich Co. (Kearny Mesa). They're fine--about a 6 of 10 rating. However, so far, the best has been Gaglione Brothers (8 of 10) in Point Loma. Strangely, I've never been to their shop, but rather, had a really good steak from their booth at Artwalk back in May (April?). The meat was flavorful, the grilled onions were sweet, and importantly, the rolls sprang from an Amoroso's box. Oddly, their website says their bread is baked in-house, so I don't know WTF to believe. Also interesting is that the owners aren't from Philly and are quite upfront about their Bay-area roots. For me, that doesn't matter. The taste was on-point, and besides, if you’re gonna steal, then steal from the best. Check their website: www.gaglionebros.com

    4 Replies
    1. re: gpdexter

      I've always liked the Philadelphia Sandwich Co., though you cannot, I repeat, cannot get the Provolone. Insist on Yellow American or Cheez Wiz (my favorite). I haven't tried the other places.

      As for the bread. . .why would anyone want bread that's baked 3000 miles away when you can have fresh bread via Solunto's.

      1. re: gpdexter

        My personal favorite is Alex's Brown Bag on Laurel between 4th and 5th Aves. Remember, this is a day time, M-F operation. They do open at 7am so you can enjoy an elbow dripping Philly Steak sandwich first thing in the morning, truly the breakfast of champions. Alex's uses Solunto's bread, as they feel it works out better than flying in Amoroso's par baked, which they used to do. Gaglioni Bros. is my second favorite, but theirs is not quite as juicy as Alex's.


        1. re: Captain Jack

          Thanks Captain Jack,
          I think checking out Alex's is a good enough reason for ditching work some day soon.


          1. re: Captain Jack

            ditto the Brown Bag; they are in my office bldg so I had to cut down on the number of trips but their cheesesteak is great. avoid discussing teams in Philly if they aren't playing well...

        2. Philly Frank's in San Marcos is pretty good to me (and to my Philly-born bf). http://www.phillyfranks.com/

          They have Amorosos rolls flown in daily and also sell Herr's and Wise chips and Tasty Kakes. And Italian ices. All good.


          2 Replies
          1. re: leanneabe

            Philly Franks is ok. I was always a mushroom steak guy when i went to school in Philly but I must admit i like the works +(whiz)at Franks.

            1. re: leanneabe

              Third vote for Philly Franks. I went to college outside Philly and this pepper cheese steak (hot and sweet peppers) is very close to what I got on the corner at school.

              I have been going to Philadelphia Sandwich company since they opened and always like their cheesesteaks and the hoagies.

            2. I've had good ones here:

              Amoroso rolls, and they also sell Tastykakes.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Josh

                I have had a good sandwich there as well, although they were out of Tastykakes the last few times I went.

                  1. re: imafattyfoodie

                    Sortof like a chocolate twinkie. Beloved for reasons that escape me by people who have escaped Philly.

                    1. re: Ed Dibble

                      Ed. Does Ronnies on Ave A still have good Philly Cheese steaks? Talking about them is what got us thinking about where in San Diego to get one.
                      Wouldn't mind driving to Yuma for one though.

                      1. re: starkoch

                        No. Honestly, I only tried them once. When I asked for hot sauce, they all looked at me like I was crazy. Ronnie's pizza is good though. I must say that I am very picky about Philly Cheese Steaks as a grad school buddy of mine and then later another friend are both from Philly, so I have eaten pretty close to the real thing on several occasions.

                        Bernardo's in the Foothils does better versions of cheese steaks and serves them with good salsa. The Bernardos are from Philly, but they do not call their sandwiches Philly Cheese steaks as that title is too big of a burden to carry. Still not worth driving to Yuma for, but if you are driving through around lunch time worth a stop. In back of a small stripmall just west of the exit at Foothills Blvd.

                1. Philly Grill on University about two blocks east of Park Blvd.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: mikec

                    YES, I would love to hear other opinions on this place. I ate there once and thought it was the best Philly cheesesteak I have had in San Diego. I am no authority though, only been to Philly once.

                  2. I second Philly Franks in San Marcos... i love them!!

                    1. Thanks to all for your help. I didn't have a clue as to where to begin.
                      I think I'm going to have a great time checking these places out, and also tasting the Philly Cheese Steak with the different cheese choices. I think I'm leaning toward the Cheez Wiz to start with anyway.


                      2 Replies
                      1. re: starkoch

                        There is a brand new contender. Olde City Grill on Garnet between Bayard and Cass in PB. American Kobe beef, Amoroso rolls. This place is really good. It is run by two Philly guys and one from Brooklyn. I have been really impressed.


                      2. Another to consider is Giorgino's Deli: http://www.giorginosdeli.com/1.html. They were formerly known as Gotham City Pizza. They, too, use Amoroso rolls and serve it up with the more traditional white american cheese.

                        And a little OT, I see that after the name change they've also fixed up the place and upgraded their menu. Seems like it might be the place I've been looking for myself--serving up sandwiches with mortadella, capicolla, salamis, etc.. :)

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Aengus

                          Amoroso rolls have been mentioned several times now.
                          I'm forced into revealing my ignorance regarding them. Why are they considered the roll of choice?


                          1. re: starkoch

                            Amoroso's Baking Company is based in Philly and they're the roll of choice for the majority of places in the Philly area. Much like New York pizza crusts, locals believe it's something in the water that gives it the distinctive taste and texture.

                            1. re: Aengus

                              That is exactly right, they call their water Schuylkil Punch, named after the river that suplies the drinking water to Philidelphia.

                        2. Oh, so many things in these posts to get my Philly Irish up!

                          As a Philly native, I've never had a cheesesteak with Cheez Wiz. For anyone I know, it's either American or Provolone. As for Tastykakes, they are far more than a chocolate Twinkie! They are cupcakes, "krimpets", pies and other single-serving cakes that most of us Philadelphians grew up with. They are Twinkie-like only in that they are a full line of cakes like Hostess has. My favorite: A Tasty-Klair. www.tastykake.com

                          As for the best local cheesesteak, it's at my house. Otherwise, I like Alex's. They're from South Philly. When they did serve Amoroso's rolls, their sandwiches were just like my mother made (she never served a piece of break without toasting in first.)

                          13 Replies
                          1. re: Divamac

                            I agree about the "at my house line". Is it really that tough to make a cheesesteak at home ?? I think not ! Just buy some thin slced sirloin or top round, cook it on on griddle or frying pan, saute some onions/peppers/mushrooms (if you like), have a nice crusty roll, and top with provolone. Simple, delicious, quick, and a great tribute to one of America's great cities.....E - A - G - L - E - S !!!!!!!!

                            1. re: Divamac

                              Sorry for the Tastykake comment. I've only had them once, and no doubt they had not been improved by going across the country and sitting around for a while.

                              1. re: Divamac

                                I don't know how you missed the WHIZ. Philly is second only to Dallas (think casserole) in whiz consumption. When I went to school at Temple if I wasn't eating a pizza steak my steak had whiz. Whiz on fries is something special.

                                1. re: SeanT

                                  Never heard that Whiz statistic before. How funny!

                                  I did eat Whiz when I lived in Philly, but it was on wheat toast served with a cup of tea. Never on a cheesesteak. I know it's weird. The steak shops serve it, but I think the at-home cheesesteaks all had American or Provolone. I ate far more cheesesteaks at home than I ever ate at a steak shop.

                                2. re: Divamac

                                  Never had a cheesesteak with Cheez Wiz? I guess that means you never made the pilgrimage to Pat's Steaks in South Philly.

                                  1. re: araknd

                                    I lived in Queen Village, within walking distance of Pat's and Geno's and Jim's on South Street. I ate an occasional cheesesteak and never, ever ordered with Whiz. Always American or Provolone. I swear! :) For the record, Jim's was my favorite of the three.

                                    I just can't understand Whiz on steaks. I made cheesesteaks at home a few weeks ago. Provolone. Now Whiz on fries is a whole other story.

                                    1. re: Divamac

                                      I'm a Philly guy too but it's been at least a decade since I've had a cheese steak there. I remember at Pat's they used to have a can of melted orange cheese with a paint mixing stick that they used to apply the cheese to the steak and roll. Is this what people refer to as cheese whiz??

                                      1. re: steveprez

                                        That's the stuff! Personally, I agree with Divamac though, Provolone is the cheese of choice, so I when I did the comparo of Pat's or Geno's I actually liked Geno's better. The steak and sub shop next to my college used white or yellow american.

                                        1. re: araknd

                                          Mid-day, sober, I agree with Provolone or White American cheese.

                                          2:00AM, belly full of beer, love that cheese whiz on a greasy steak! ;)

                                          1. re: steveprez

                                            LOL. Under those circumstances, just about anything will taste as good.

                                            1. re: araknd

                                              Well, that's it then. Because Divamac would never over-imbibe nor over indulge.

                                              1. re: Fake Name

                                                It's true - it's a Puritan's life for me. ;)

                                                1. re: Divamac

                                                  Yo-ho, yo-ho!

                                                  Thought I heard that on The Puritans of the Caribbean ride.

                                3. I am a Philly native who's just returned from a trip to San Diego. Olde City Grill on Garnet in Pacific Beach serves as good as if not better Philly Cheese steaks than those you can find in Philly. The owners of this new shop are transplanted Philly natives and it shows. They've even imported the all important roll for the sandwich-- Amoroso!!

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: eagargan

                                    Philly Grill on University is yummy. I don't know real Philly but the woman who owns the place is from there!

                                    1. re: eagargan

                                      Since US Foods and SYSCO both distribute Amoroso rolls in San Diego, I really don't think there's any reason for anyplace selling a cheesesteak not to use them.

                                    2. Philly Frank goes out of their way to make an authentic cheese steak!! the fly in the rolls,the espisito's ice, tasty cakes ,wise chips and herrs. All of the people working there are Family from Philly. These are the best in San Diego!! Hands down.

                                      1. Bumping an old thread, the UT did an article on places to find cheesesteaks. A pretty poor article but info for those looking to check out some new places.

                                        I have been to Eddie's recently and love the cheeze whiz steaks there, the rolls are perfect. Places that serve steaks with mozzarella and call them Philly Cheesesteaks should have batteries thrown at them.


                                        11 Replies
                                        1. re: MrKrispy

                                          The San diego union trib should shut its doors.

                                          That article read like it was written by a 6th grader doing a book report, only worse.

                                          Gaglione Bros. is tops in my book for cheesteaks in san diego.

                                          1. re: stevewag23

                                            Gaglione Bros. is opening a new location on Friar's Road where it intersects with Mission Gorge in the shop that used to be a Submarina.

                                            1. re: phee

                                              I noticed that the Submarina down by Rainwaters closed as well. I wish Gaglione Bros would open there as well.

                                              1. re: phee

                                                I've been to the new location and it's really nice. The other two locations are a little more dumpy.

                                                1. re: phee

                                                  That location was Pisa's Chicago Deli after it was Submarina. The UT article is interesting. I've been to both Pat's and Geno's... though for some resaon I enjoyed Rick's in Reading Terminal Market more.
                                                  I recently spent a couple of months going thru some of the cheesesteaks, and found what I had at Olde City Grill to be the best. Alex's Brown Bag has gone downhill over the last couple of years.


                                                  Alex's Brown Bag
                                                  2550 5th Ave Ste 171, San Diego, CA 92103

                                                  Olde City Grill
                                                  967 Garnet Ave, San Diego, CA 92109

                                                  1. re: KirkK

                                                    KirkK, congrats on your blog getting mentioned in this month's SD Magazine as a local blogger!

                                                    1. re: KirkK

                                                      From Philly people I talk to Pat's and Gino's are the tourist joints, Rick's is supposed to be far far better. I haven't made it over there yet, hopefully next trip.

                                                  2. re: stevewag23

                                                    Do they employ editors at the UT?? Shockingly poorly written and formatted article, in addition a neophyte at the helm of the keyboard. While I have eaten some very good steaks with sesame seed rolls, it is without a doubt not the norm. Mozzarella?!? WTF?

                                                    1. re: SeanT

                                                      They lost all the good writers/editors in the last takeover purge. :-(

                                                  3. re: MrKrispy

                                                    I tried the Cheesesteak at Voltero's today, based on this rec, and it's actually pretty good. Not necessarily authentic with mozarella and no hot/sweet peppers, but a decent rendition. And fairly inexpensive at $7 including either fries or a salad. Much better than Philadelphia Sandwich Co. on Convoy.

                                                  4. I've tried a bunch of the places listed here. I am not from Philly, but I enjoy a good cheesesteak.

                                                    My favorites are:
                                                    1) Philly Franks
                                                    2) McGonagles (saw no one mentioned this one. I took 2 of my friends from Philly, they approved... not outstanding but approval) - http://www.mcgonagle-s.com/
                                                    3) Gaglione's

                                                    tied for I won't go back to get a cheesesteak: Philadelphia Sandwich Co., The Philly Grill, Olde City Grill

                                                    2 Replies