A Cheesesteak Query [split from MSP]
(Note: This thread was split from the Minneapolis-St. Paul board at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4423... since it was meandering over to cheesesteaks in Philly instead of in MSP. -- The Chowhound Team)
I'm headed to Philadelphia the end of the month. Which restaurant should I go to for a Philly Cheesesteak?
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Get a cheesesteak anywhere in town. They are just about better than anything you'd find outside of Philly. Some are a bit better than others and some are worse. There, you can say that you went to Philly and had a cheesesteak. Having done that, then head to DiNic's in the Reading Terminal Market. Most likely there will be a long line. There is a good reason for this. If you are lucky you may be able to snag a seat a the small counter. Order the roast pork with provolone and broccoli rabe (or spinach greens are ok too). You could even order it "wet" and get it extra juicy. One bite of this sandwich will make you forget about that cheesesteak.
Enjoy your visit!
You can kill two birds with one stone and get arguably the best cheesesteak AND roast pork sandwich at John's Roast Pork. Go with another person and split the sandwiches. You'll get the whole Philly blue-collar vibe since it's a little shack smack in the middle of an average commercial district. This should be your first stop for the best representations for both sandwiches. Sit at the picnic tables outside and try to have a chat with Vonda. She's the owner's mother, gray hair, glasses, very interesting. She's kind of an informal historian about how Philly used to be.
Next, go to the Reading Terminal and go to Dinic's. For me personally, the Italian pulled pork with sharp provolone and long hots is the finest sandwich they have. DiNic's has always been popular, but now it has absolutely exploded in popularity since being featured on different tv shows.
Then, go to Pat's and Geno's. Yes, you can definitely get a better cheesesteak than Pat's and Geno's, but it's still fun for a first timer. You'll also get to experience what should be your new expectation for an average cheesesteak. I don't say that as a dig, but rather that it will provide you with a good point of view.
Finally, walk a few blocks up to Paesano's. They don't have cheesesteaks, but they do have a number of sandwiches, and all of them are flat-out excellent, particularly their chicken and pork sandwiches. If you complete this tour, you will be just as knowledgable as anyone else when it comes to Philadelphia sandwiches (well, at least cheesesteaks and roast pork, hoagies are a whole other story). I do hope you'll have company on your trip though. These sandwiches are no joke, you'll need all the help you can get.
Since all of the above have been previously mentioned, I'd like to throw in Dalessandro's in as my personal favorite. It's a bit further from Center City than the other places, but as long as you hit the places mentioned earlier, you'll be fine.