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Best Philly Cheesesteak (San Diego)?

The best I've found so far is Alex's Brown Bag in the Banker's Hill area. At first I thought my co-worker (who is from Philadelphia) was putting me on since the place looks like such a hole in the wall and I became even more dubious when he told me authentic Philly Cheesesteak comes with cheese wizz instead of melted swiss cheese but I decided to give it a try. To my surprise it was actually damn good and cheap! I also tried a bit of Scrapple which is supposedly another culinary tradition from Philly though I was less impressed with that.

So now I'd like to compare so I'm on the hunt for the best Philly Cheesesteak in San Diego. Does anyone have any suggestions?

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  1. Haven't been to Alex's, but Giorgino's Deli in Golden Hill gets the Amoroso rolls flown in for their sandwiches. I think they're very good, but I haven't ever been to Philly to compare.

    1. Philly Grill on University east of Park Ave is worth trying.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mikec

        I stopped in here recently, after it was featured in the Reader's "Tin Fork" column - disappointing. Not bad, and the woman who runs it is a hoot, but a wee bit pricey for a big roll with not enough meat on it.

      2. Alex is opening a new store on Garnet in the the shopping center where Great News is 1700
        They are the best here, I am from Philly .
        The new place is called Pops and will open about Sept 1

        9 Replies
        1. re: LarryP

          Philly Cheesesteak Co. on Convoy is good and they have Tastycakes. I also like Olde City Grille on Garnet (used to be Theo's) they also use Amoroso's rolls. They also have Italian water ice. The cheesesteaks are a bit overpriced but as good as you get in this neck of the woods...oh how I miss Geno's and Pat's and Jim's.....

          1. re: keena

            The one on Convoy is The Philadelphia Sandwich Company and they do very authentic cheesesteaks and hoagies.

            1. re: araknd

              I have to third the Philly Cheesesteak Co., on Convoy. But they don't use Amoroso's rolls. Instead they use bread from Solunto's.

              1. re: jmtreg

                And Solunto's is locally made, so it's usually very fresh.

                1. re: araknd

                  And, off topic, has the best damn eggplant parmigiana sandwich in town.

          2. re: LarryP

            Pops isn't Alex's Brown Bag. My understanding is that it is run by the former owners who were supposed to not re-enter the market for a specified time period after they sold Alex's. They basically breached their contract, for which they received a lot of money. Apparently the dispute was resolved in court this week.

            1. re: ibstatguy

              So Alex's Brown Bag is has new owners?

              How is it compared to the old?

              Better, worse, same?

              1. re: stevewag23

                the new guys, Dave and Jim, have been there for a few years. Still very good; probably the same as before, perhaps better.

          3. Ive tried a lot. Gagliones is a decent attempt but definitely not the best. Alex brown bag makes good sandwiches but im embarrased to say i have not tried their philly cheese.

            LA FIESTA LIQUOR in mission valley, by the stadium, makes the BEST philly cheese steak in San Diego, in my opinion. They are in the Rancho Mission Plaza on the east side of the stadium. Try it, it's a bomb of a sandwich, you won't be disappointed!!

            1. "Authentic" is a relative term. Cheese whiz is used on Pat's Steaks in South Philly, but those who like Geno's across the street deride the use of the whiz. It's really a matter of choice. most of the cheesesteaks that I've had in Philly had provolone or american on them. It's all good.

              2 Replies
              1. re: araknd

                I agree, IMO it's all about what type of roll and meat they use, hopefully sliced ribeye. I can't get too emotional over onions and cheese whiz or prov.

                1. re: cstr

                  It is not the traditional Philly cheesesteak, but Pete's Meats in Little Italy does a great steak sandwich with am. or prov. cheese and grilled onions that will make you think "THIS is what a Philly cheesesteak was supposed to be!!"

              2. In North County, San Marcos, try Philly Frank's on Rancho Santa Fe Rd.

                1. the Brown Bag. and they will tell you that cheese whiz is not authentic because cheese whiz came into being long after the cheesesteak.

                  1. "The best I've found so far is Alex's Brown Bag in the Banker's Hill area. At first I thought my co-worker (who is from Philadelphia) was putting me on since the place looks like such a hole in the wall"

                    That is where you get Cheesesteaks: Hole in the Walls.

                    What did you expect Le Cirque?

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: stevewag23

                      Gaglioni Brothers is my go spot, have yet to try Alex's BB. Pops in PB as well Old City make good steaks.

                      1. re: stevuchan

                        Gaglioni's is my favorite as well. I prefer whiz and I like their bread the best. I've always been a little disappointed with Alex's and don't really like the Philly Sandwich Company on Convoy.

                      2. re: stevewag23

                        Hole-in-the-Wall places pack a lot of character, I like them, it usually tells me about the owners putting all they got in to their chow offerings. How about some sammie details, length, type of meat, price.

                      3. Thanks, due to this post we stopped by Alex's on Saturday ... it was great! Huge delicious sandwich, good hole-in-the-wall anti-ambiance, reasonable price. We'll definitely head back ... doubly delighted because it's in my neighborhood. Thanks for the tip!

                        1. Speaking of a Hole-in-the-Wall, have you had a cheesesteak at that Sausage place across the street from Filippi's in Litle Italy? My husband tried the cheesesteak sandwich and really liked it.

                          The new Savannah Grille in Rancho San Diego has a real tasty cheesesteak sandwich! Tender roll, lots of meat and the veggies were cooked just right!

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: LisaSD

                            Pete's Quality Meat - giggle inducing name, excellent sausage sandwiches. Interesting story - I was over there for lunch about a year ago or so, and the guys from Filippi's worked out a deal to use Pete's grill to cook sausages in exchange for some mortadella. Now the Filippi's guys didn't want to buy Pete's sausage, but rather, wanted to cook their own. So they convinced Pete that their sausage had chicken in it so that he wouldn't be offended.

                            Pete's Quality Meats
                            San Diego

                            1. re: LisaSD

                              A couple of years ago I needed a custom order of Italian sausage, the old feller who runs Pete's (Pete, perhaps?) was an ornery old cuss. I spoke my middlin' Italian to him - it gets me by in Italy!) - and he practically grouched me out of the place. Anyway now if I need a custom order I got to Iowa Meats. May not be authentically Italian but the service is friendly and courteous like you get in Italy ...

                              1. re: Bobierto

                                You should check out Mona Lisa for a custom order of Italian sausage too.

                                1. re: stevewag23

                                  Hmmm, good idea, I shop there all the time but never thought to make a special order. We like to have them make us a big long tube of sausage - not tied off in links. In Sicily, they curl it up in a big spiral, put two skewers through in a cross shape to keep the spiral in one piece, then grill it. You just cut off hunks and eat with a squeeze of lemon. With some pasta con salsa cruda, rosé wine and lots of hand gestures. Heaven.

                            2. It is actually kind of funny everyone is calling Alex's Brown Bag such a "hole in the wall".

                              (and it kind of is)

                              But its in the Mr. A's building.

                              Arguably, the best view in SD from that building and when it was built, arguably the nicest building in town.