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  1. There are tons of opinions on this subject in other threads. I'd recommend searching and going through some of those old threads, but my personal favorite is:

    Steve's Prince of Steaks 7200 Bustleton Avenue in northeast Philadelphia. It is by far the best cheese steak I have ever eaten. I believe that Steve's is considerably better than Geno's/Pat's/Jim's. Again, this is just my opinion and if you search some of the threads you'll see that the preferences vary greatly. If you were looking for a cheese steak in the South Philly area I'd recommend John's at Wecceccoe & Snyder (check their hours first) or Tony Luke's at 39 East Oregon Ave (I should also note both places make a terrific roast pork sandwich).

    9 Replies
    1. re: YoccosFan

      Thank you YoccosFan, i will check the other post about this subject... But thank you for your opinion.

      1. re: YoccosFan

        George's in the Italian market - the one at the top of the market, not the one across from Fante's - makes an awesome cheesesteak. They're known for their other sandwiches - veal, tripe, really interesting stuff - but I never get to try them because I had a steak the first time and now whenever I'm there I have to get one.

        One reason George's is so much better than Pat's/Geno's etc. is that unlike some of those big-name places that bank piles of cooked meat to cover tons of orders, George's makes your steak fresh to order. Combine that with good ingredients and great technique and you have my favorite cheesesteak in Philly (Steve's Prince of... is my second fave).

        1. re: GDSwamp

          Kudos for mentioning George's. I've left the city for a little over a year now and I miss that place. He veal bbq sandwich with the sharp prov (what else!) is amazing.

          I totally hear you on the "banked" versus fresh made steaks.

          Pats/Genos are really for late night after hours food - nothing can be that because by then even though it's banked, the steam from the little bits of onion and fond accumlated throughout the day gives you that unmatched flavor...lol plus you're drunk so things taste even better.

          Tony Luke's roast pork is also up there as one of the greats.

          I miss Philly.

          1. re: MFoxM

            Next time I go to George's I'll have to order two sandwiches - it's the only way I'm ever going to taste the veal or the tripe.

            Any other spots you especially miss? I'm always looking to add to my list of must-trys.

          2. re: GDSwamp

            What's the closest cross street to where George's is?

            1. re: Den

              It is just south of Christian St on the west side of 9th

          3. re: YoccosFan

            John's italian beef with greens and sharp provolone is awesome as well, for me best of the three, will try Steve's, know of it, but have not been there, thanks
            As long as you are at George's go around the corner and try Chickie's vegetarian hoagie with sauteed hot peppers

            1. re: YoccosFan

              mind posting the links to those old threads, that'd help a lot

              1. re: YoccosFan

                I visited Philly this weekend from Montreal and had my first cheese steak at Steve's on Bustleton Ave. and i ended up eating two right there and taking a third one for the car ride home. It was so delicious. I wish i had the time to try some of the other places listed here.

              2. Never had Steve's, but do agree John's and Tony Luke's are much better than the tourist traps.

                1. Best I've had in Center City is Campo's.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: mediafoodie

                    i agree, campo's is awesome! and if you're going with someone who doesn't like cheesesteaks..there are plenty of options for them too!

                  2. Can you be more specific as to what makes it a good Philly Cheese Steak? What about Steve's is so much better than Geno's and Pat's? Bread? Seasoning? Tenderness of the beef?

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: baekster

                      I think Steve's separates itself from the others because they use the best quality meat. The meat is incredibly flavorful and the onions have just the right taste. The roll is not very doughy at all. They call it more of a torpedo style roll and so you taste more of the steak and less bread, but the bread is very good. But, it all boils down to using top quality meat and that is what makes it the best cheese steak in the city, in my humble opinion.

                      1. re: YoccosFan

                        Alright. I'll try Steve's in near future and contribute to the post again. I really DISAGREE with the person who said 'cook-by-the-order' cheesesteak is better. I do believe that the seasoned griddle has something to do with how the meat and vegetable cooks (as it is true with all street food across different cuisine). That's why it's hard to imitate the taste at home even when you have all the right ingredients.

                        1. re: baekster

                          Huh? The objection was not to the griddle, but to the practice of preparing huge quantities of meat and just letting them steam in a huge pile on the griddle, rather than preparing each steak separately.

                          1. re: Buckethead

                            But from what I've seen, the meat pile usually doesn't sit there for that long, at least from what I've seen. :)

                            1. re: baekster

                              well, I definitely DISAGREE right back. Seasoned grill - absolutely. There's no substitute for the layers of cooked-on flavor that a well-used griddle imparts. But pulling my sandwich filling off of the top of a wet heap that's been sitting there for hours is another story. Just as an example: one of the best cheesesteaks I've had was the first time I want to D'alessandro's in Manayunk. It was late in the day (so, seasoned grill) and they made my steak to order, and it was intensely flavorful. One of the worst I've had was also at D'alessandro's - it was the middle of lunchtime rush and they'd banked a huge pile of meat to fill orders quickly. It tasted gray and greasy and I haven't been back.

                              Just try one from George's (or Steve's - I believe they make everything to order) before you commit to disagreeing with me on this. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

                            2. re: Buckethead

                              Absolutely. Seasoned griddle, onions cooking all day, meat freshly prepared for each sandwich, cheese melted (sorry, not a whiz fan) but still visable thus creating just a little extra fat on the sandwich, not a doughy roll but one with a slightly crisp exterior so it doesn't fall apart from the sandwich juices...mmmm

                      2. What makes it a good Philly Cheese Steak?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: josephml1

                          I am not sure (as I'm new to the area). But from I hear...crusty bread and good cuts of beef. I'm asking the question myself.

                        2. I second Steve's.
                          #2 Jims
                          #3 Tony Luke's
                          #4 Pat's
                          #5 Geno's

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: littlecmad

                            Jim's is the best I've tried, but Steaks on South does a nice job as well, cooked to order. I think they both beat Pat'd and Geno's. But I'm looking forward to trying Georges or Tony Luke's next time I'm in town.

                            1. re: littlecmad

                              Do you just put Pat's 4th and Geno's 5th, because so many people have heard of them? They are a waste of time and a waste of calories. They ALWAYS have grizzle and I am never satisfied at the end.
                              I still go with D'alessandro's, in Roxborough, regardless of one bad experience. If you know they are better late in the day then don't go during a lunch rush. However my husband likes Jim's, or Billybob's in West Philly. Oh and if you like a good chicken cheesesteak, down the street from Jim's is Ishkibbibles. Don't miss their cheese fries-yummers!

                            2. whereas I'm familiar with all you enthusiasts of Tony Luke's and the 9th & Passyunk contingent, I truly believe the best cheesesteak in Philly is on Torresdale Avenue. Chink's has the best sandwiches made in the city. They also serve up a dynamite milkshake. Give it a try and you won't be scurrying around south philly anymore.

                              1. I was around the Italian market yesterday and figured I would try George's based on the recs here. I was disappointed...that I didn't get 2 cheesesteaks. Man was it good. Made to order with a little onion and some sauce. I had it wrapped and ate it in my car or I definitely would have gotten another. What a great little spot.

                                1. what do you prefer: provolone or whizz

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. I have eaten many cheesteaks in my life through out the city (CC, N. Philly, S. Philly, Roxborough, manayunk, W. Philly, etc. Some are good w/ sauce and fried onions. Some have only so-so sauce and deserve the hoagie treatment (lettuce, tomato, mayo, raw onion and oregano) and some you eat b/c no cheesesteak is really inedible w/ ketchup and mayo./ However, in my opinion the best cheesesteak resides in beautiful Roxborough, at Dalessandro's Steaks. This place has a counter, 1 table that fits 3-4 people, no restroom and a line out the doors most days of the week. Their meat glistens on the griddle as they add onions to the meat the have shaped to fit perfectly in the roll and then topped w/ cheese and the roll to make sure it's good and melty. About mid-way through your cheesesteak, your basket (that is how they are served when you eat there) has bits of yumminess that you can scoop up w/ their customary spoon. It is located on Henry ave. It is a must eat cheesesteak shop.

                                    1. I am passing thru Philly in a week or so and plan to stop in because my wiofe has never had a real cheesesteak. I had always gone to Jim's when I am there but thats because thats where my friends liked going. I've done Pat's and Geno's and came away unimpressed. But like someone mentioned it may be better at 2 AM drunk. Where is Steve's and is it an easy on and off I-95 to get to one?

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: countgrog

                                        Now. None of the above mentioned places use "better quality" meats than the next. They all use select ribeye. Period. The cut is ribeye, and the quality is select. Select being 3rd out of 3 on the "quality chain" of beef. It has more to do with the roll, and the cooking technique. The seasoned grill thing is also about the same all across the board too because the grill only accumulates flavor for one day at a time. They clean the hell out of those griddles at the end of the night with steel wool, and chemicals til it is silver again. It isn't like a cast iron pan.

                                        In my estimation, John's Roast Pork has by far the best cheesesteak in the city. The seeded roll is what does it for me. There is more meat in the roll than most other places, but also a good amount of cheese. The other places that put a decent amount of meat in the roll don't have enough cheese flavor. John's is balanced. And no matter how busy they get (and they get busy) they pretty much cook the meat as it is ordered. Now they will put 5-6 sandwiches worth on the grill at one time, but that's fine. They have to keep up with the people on lunch break ordering. And c'mon who wins a James Beard award without really having their shit down?

                                        I think Chink's is a close second with Jim's. Jim's people like to talk smack on coz it's kinda touristy, but it is no doubt a solid steak. Tony Puke's on the other hand is gross! I don't know why people feel the need to keep plugging this place? SOme of their sando's are good, but their steak is just bad, and served up with more than a normal dose of attitude. Who needs that crap? Part of the experience my ass. Those Manayunk steaks Chubby's and Delassandros are ok. Del's is better, but they are to inconsistent for me. I lived out there for a little while and went at all times of day/night and they were usually different everytime. John's no matter what is gonna be the same every time. AWESOME! And for the record they have the best roast pork too.

                                        1. re: mlpkroffal

                                          I'm sure that no one else has qualms about the use of the word because I am sure you meant it to mean it's original definition right? So.................
                                          now you have a one up on TP game.

                                          1. re: mlpkroffal


                                            Have you tried Steve's Prince of Steaks? If so, what is your opinion? I live in North Jersey, not exactly a cheesesteak mecca. Once I decided to make the trip to Philly to try an authentic Philly cheesesteak. I decided on Steve's because of the many positive posts about them. I loved my sandwich but have no basis for comparison since it's the only one I've had.

                                            1. re: hotdoglover

                                              John: I'm telling you man - contact me. We'll do it right and go to all and any of the places on your list or mine. Then you'll be able to compare just the way you do with all of the hot dog purveyors in your neck of the woods. You know how to contact me (through that other site).

                                          2. re: countgrog

                                            Steve's Comly location is easy to get to from I-95. Directions and more here. http://www.stevesprinceofsteaks.com/
                                            Steve's is my favorite, with John's a very close second. I don't care for Dalessandro's.

                                          3. Even though this is a frequent topic here, I always enjoy these discussions. The most recent cheesesteaks I've had have been at John's, George's on 9th and Tony Luke's. It's been a while since I've been to Delassandros but was never a big fan. I've got to try Steve's based on all the high recs here. I agree that cooked to order is the way to go. The steak gets seared instead of being steamed in a big pile and the searing gives the beef flavor.

                                            1. Ohhh Yeah, ....
                                              From Princeton Area (Sat afternnoon), just drove down to hit Steve's - Bustleton with some family in from Phoenix. Boys did an american witout. I did american wit, and mushrooms. A bit messy with the shrooms.
                                              Killer none the less!

                                              1. I realize that this post is getting dated, but just ate at Steve's Prince of Steaks for the first time on the recommendation of chowhounddog. It will definitely be a common reoccurence! Although I do like Tony Luke's in So. Philly, Steve's is it! A whole lot less greasy than TL.

                                                My wife and I both had provolone with. The meat is really good and the rolls are the perfect texture, soft, with the right amount of crunch and chewiness. Can't wait to go back!!!

                                                1. I planned my whole trip to New York around going to Philly and trying the cheese steak let me tell you it wasn't just not the flight from Florida it also wasn't worth the drive from New Jersey I swear iv had better cheese steaks in Florida I was shocked first I went to PATS no taste the only thing I like was the cheese fries then I went to TONY LUKE'S expecting much better but again I was disappointed after dreaming about the day I would go to Philly and sink my teeth in to a real cheese steak I should say TONY LUKE'S was better then PATS but nothing to write home about

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: AbuMuhammad

                                                    shoulda went around the corner from Tony Luke's to John's...

                                                  2. In the city: Tony Luke's, though I admit I'm more a fan of the roast pork sandwich with sharp provolone and broccoli rabe.

                                                    In the suburbs: La Spada's in Aston, PA. They use a better quality american cheese than most places I've been to and it gives the whole steak a luxurious creaminess. Throw in the deeply caramelized onions, and you have a winner.

                                                    1. can't remember if I've seen this post before or not, will read, then > make my assessment. like the original poster wants to know, opinions.......I need 'em too. will be there tomorrow and again wednesday and again thursday, so that's 3 times I have a chance to go get the best. without reading this yet, my top picks would never be Ginos or Pats. I did find one of them better the day I actually went from one to the other, both 'em both, then took them home to try. attitudes in there=both ''shameful''. rude, arrogant and simply annoying to this non philly girl. not what I was used to especially when I'm about to drop some coinage in their proverbial cash box. Also Red Term, not good either, not worth the money or the experience. hope I can get good ideas from reading this.

                                                      1. can not wait for the next 3 days, I have my work cut out for me

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: iL Divo

                                                          At least do yourself the favor of trying a roast pork sandwich at least once instead... You won't be sorry!

                                                          1. re: bluehensfan

                                                            but why? I want the authentic/ness of a beef philly ches-stk

                                                            1. re: iL Divo

                                                              Many Philadelphians would argue that the Roast Pork sandwich with sharp provolone and Broccoli Rabe is more of a "true" Philadelphia Sandwich than the much-hyped cheesesteak

                                                        2. Well here's the report. Went to George's on 9th and Washington or whatever that cross street is. I am hoping it was the right one. Didn't know about go to the top of the street not the one by Fanta's. Anyway, I took 5 of us there. Had the cheesesteak. Had the pork sandwich also. We bought 8 sandwiches in total and went to some bar on the corner for beer for the group. It was good, okay, definitely not spectacular but I did enjoy the guy serving the stuff up. He gave us a deal, one sandwich free and I got my soda free too. We said our goodbyes and waited for our cab. That's when we red the sign on the window...........buy any two sandwiches at the regular price and get one free. We bought 8 and got one free. In other words, we got taken being out of staters and all, plus what a great tip we gave him. Just another day in paradise, Steve's'll be next.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: iL Divo

                                                            Are you working your way up from the bottom of the list?

                                                            1. re: bluehensfan

                                                              we aren't working our way from down to up. I've been to several of them. The others I was with haven't been to any. never made it to Steves but will, just ran out of time and had to leave state, so sometime in the future

                                                          2. unfortunately being a cheesesteak flipper isn't exactly everybody's dream job... I would imagine the turnover is pretty high, which is why so many of these places are inconsistent. probably the quality of the steak is due as much to the cook as the establishment.

                                                            I've eaten cheesesteaks all over the city, and honestly pat's & geno's are more consistent than most... (but not the best) if anything because their product is constantly moving and the bread stays fresh, etc... the meat moves and doesn't dry out or overcook or whatever.

                                                            I wish someone would open up a higher quality cheesesteak joint that isn't gimmicky - no foie gras or kobe b.s, please.. I would pay $12 for a steak if it was good enough.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: silverbullet69

                                                              and you know SB, I didn't like Pat or Gino's regardless of the price, the distance I walked to get there or the fact that they were or weren't rude, I just thought they were mediocre. I make better myself and I live in California. If it's all about the meat/cheese/bun/toppings I can do better. I like them with a good quality cheese, not whiz. < That to me isn't even cheese, it's fakko cheese product. Provolone is good/great if it's good quality and there's enough of it on there to see/smell/taste etc. The bun, I could make Moomie buns the right size [and then serve the toppings on those] and to me the onions/bell peppers steaming away on the grill makes a great sandwich. Seasoning is very important too. Nothing should lead, in any way shape or form, to a dry PCS. < Which is what I got at George's on 9th.
                                                              I'm with you on the notion of someone being willing to upon an upscale, honest to goodness PCS cafe, heck, I'd do it if I lived closer and could guarantee a dyno business.

                                                            2. will be in Phil next week for work again and plan on hitting Steve's Prince of Steaks.
                                                              I'm either gonna rent a car so I can get to Daddypops too.

                                                              7 Replies
                                                              1. re: iL Divo

                                                                Steve's is good, not great and if you're going to hit DaddyPops in Hatboro, Blue Bell is not that far away. If so, go to Pudge's on 202 neark Skippack. Closed on Sunday, though.

                                                                1530 Dekalb Pike
                                                                Blue Bell, PA 19422
                                                                (610) 277-1717

                                                                1. re: IamStarving

                                                                  when are they moving to their new location?

                                                                  1. re: crazyspice

                                                                    good question. Aren't they moving to the strip mall right next door? The one with the Vietnamese restaurant in it? Pho something. Their web page says open Sundays, hmmmm.

                                                                2. re: iL Divo

                                                                  If you will be on RTE 95 near Delaware border, place called DeCostanza's whose grandfather supposedly started the whole thing at the naval base many decades ago.
                                                                  452 exit, one hundred yards east(left) It is my choice, John's at Snyder/Front and Steves ok as well. Advantage of all three is everything is cooked to order, no huge pile of meat steaming itself into oblivion

                                                                  1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                    What DeCostanza's is known for and has been making for ages are their hoagies. THAT'S what they lay claim to starting near the Navy Yard. Not cheesesteaks.

                                                                    1. re: cheesewit

                                                                      Did not mean to imply what you said, but his steaks are cooked with his sauteed peppers cut in and, l think, very good.

                                                                3. I have asked and asked what PCS is the best.
                                                                  As with everything else, no one can come up with a true gem of a sandwich.
                                                                  Now, just reading this, I am once again wondering where to go.
                                                                  I guess now I shouldn't venture off to Steve's or John's whatever it's called.
                                                                  By the way, I am going to travel via train if that's available from downtown Philly to Hatboro, but otherwise, not being a person familiar with driving in snow, I am skeptical about renting a car. Anyone know if train goes from downtown Phil to Hatboro?

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: iL Divo

                                                                    Get a car and GPS (and we're getting snow here?). In my experience, going anywhere outside of Philly without a car is an annoyance at best and impossible at worse.

                                                                    Also, there is both a Steve's and a John's. If you're going to just one, go to John's. I personally don't like cheesesteaks at all, but I still think John's version is a pretty decent sandwich - really, though, get there early and get the roast pork. Besides, John's has a James Beard award - that's got to count for something, right? :)

                                                                  2. My son and I spent a day in Philly; Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Rangers vs. Flyers, and a trip over to Passyunk to figure out who was better, Geno or Pat. It was the first food odyssey he and I had together, and being from out of town, we hit the most "touristy" places. We had the same from both places, cheez whiz steak w/o, he is only 8 and not ready for prime time yet. We sampled Geno's for lunch and Pat's for the ride home. After some deliberation he and I agreed that Geno's had the better cheesesteak, but by the slimmest of margins. We also enjoyed cheesefries and a Birch Beer. The look on his face after the first bite was priceless; a grin from ear to ear, and a new fan of that venerable Philly institution, the cheesesteak. I will say that the sandwiches were comparable, taste and price was similar, though I think Geno's might have been $0.50 cents less. The man who helped us at Geno's was friendlier, in spite of our Rangers jersey's, and that might have been the final piece of the puzzle. Geno's gets our vote.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: irosenfe

                                                                      I've taken dozens of people to do the challenge over the years, and not a single person has ever picked Pat's as the outright winner. Most say they are about the same or when pressed pick Geno's.

                                                                      1. re: DDR4040

                                                                        "It was the first food odyssey he and I had together...he is only 8..."

                                                                        That sounds like my son and I many years ago. Those were the best times, our little road adventures, even when they were touristy places. He's 23 now and we still do it. Hey son, let's drive up to John's Roast Pork and try them out! Or, it's out of our way but let's go to Sarcone's on the way home and pick up a couple hoagies. Great idea dad. Let's go.

                                                                    2. Jim's is ok but Steve'e Prince of Steaks is better. But just my opinion and you know what that is worth.

                                                                      1. John's Roast Pork in South Philly has the best. The owner was ill last year, does anyone have an update on him? Tony Lukes, Genos, Pats are way overrated. Oddly the best cheesesteaks are found outside the Philly area because the people use better quality meat and cheese. Other than John's , I've had better cheesesteaks in Utah, California, New York, you name it.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: TeamPhilly

                                                                          In the article that announced the James Beard nominees last week (?), including Craig Leban's nomination for the article he wrote about John Bucci's illness, said that his oncologist was "optimistic".

                                                                        2. I am definitely not an expert on cheesesteaks. Indeed I have never lived in the Philadelphia area. I did however stop at Steve's Prince of Steaks in NE Philadelphia recently. It is an incredibly satisfying sandwich. Really high quality crusty bread, flavorful relatively tender meat, and a good bread to meat to cheese to ratio, not overstuffed but not stingy. not cheap either but well worth it!

                                                                          1. I live in the Roxborough/Manayunk/East Falls area and used to go to D'Alessandro's all the time. Their steaks are good. HOWEVER, someone pointed me in the direction of Barry's Steaks, also in Roxborough, and I have been going there ever since. Barry's is the BEST. The onions are carmelized, the rolls are superb, the meat is juicy and not greasy. Everything is just the way I love it. AND. . . . . . if you are not worried about your waistline try the fries. They are super-thick, about 1" across and are soooooooooooooo good.

                                                                            1. Best Philly Cheese steak is from Erma Deli in Erma NJ!!!!!!! Also, awesome cheesesteak stromboli. Amaroso rolls and white american cheese. Only way to go.