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Best Philly Cheesesteak (San Diego)?

oerdin Aug 12, 2008 11:46 AM

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. Josh RE: oerdin Aug 12, 2008 02:25 PM

    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. m
      mikec RE: oerdin Aug 12, 2008 05:57 PM

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

      1 Reply
      1. re: mikec
        Bobierto RE: mikec Jan 29, 2009 07:31 AM

        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. l
        LarryP RE: oerdin Aug 12, 2008 08:16 PM

        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
          keena RE: LarryP Aug 12, 2008 08:23 PM

          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
            araknd RE: keena Jan 28, 2009 05:04 AM

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

            1. re: araknd
              jmtreg RE: araknd Jan 28, 2009 11:24 AM

              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
                araknd RE: jmtreg Jan 28, 2009 11:46 AM

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

                1. re: araknd
                  jmtreg RE: araknd Jan 28, 2009 12:28 PM

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

          2. re: LarryP
            ibstatguy RE: LarryP Feb 4, 2009 01:07 PM

            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
              stevewag23 RE: ibstatguy Feb 4, 2009 01:14 PM

              So Alex's Brown Bag is has new owners?

              How is it compared to the old?

              Better, worse, same?

              1. re: stevewag23
                ibstatguy RE: stevewag23 Feb 4, 2009 04:15 PM

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

                1. re: ibstatguy
                  stevewag23 RE: ibstatguy Feb 4, 2009 07:20 PM


                  Great to know!

          3. i
            imback RE: oerdin Jan 27, 2009 09:09 PM

            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. a
              araknd RE: oerdin Jan 28, 2009 05:06 AM

              "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
                cstr RE: araknd Jan 28, 2009 10:45 AM

                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
                  nessy RE: cstr Jan 28, 2009 12:45 PM

                  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. a
                araknd RE: oerdin Jan 28, 2009 01:04 PM

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

                1. ibstatguy RE: oerdin Jan 28, 2009 09:22 PM

                  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. s
                    stevewag23 RE: oerdin Jan 28, 2009 09:51 PM

                    "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
                      stevuchan RE: stevewag23 Jan 29, 2009 08:23 AM

                      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
                        daimyo RE: stevuchan Jan 29, 2009 02:26 PM

                        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
                        cstr RE: stevewag23 Jan 29, 2009 02:19 PM

                        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. b
                        Bobierto RE: oerdin Feb 2, 2009 08:37 AM

                        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. l
                          LisaSD RE: oerdin Feb 6, 2009 02:36 AM

                          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
                            jmtreg RE: LisaSD Feb 6, 2009 02:22 PM

                            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
                              Bobierto RE: LisaSD Feb 9, 2009 11:22 AM

                              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
                                stevewag23 RE: Bobierto Feb 11, 2009 03:13 PM

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

                                1. re: stevewag23
                                  Bobierto RE: stevewag23 Feb 12, 2009 07:39 AM

                                  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. s
                              stevewag23 RE: oerdin Feb 6, 2009 06:11 PM

                              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.

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