Best Cheese Steaks in Philadelphia

Here's Where to Get an Unforgettable Philly Cheesesteak in Philadelphia

Certain cities are known for certain foods. Philadelphia is no exception, and many visitors to this city go in search of the best cheesesteak. Depending on who you speak to, their ideas of the best steaks may vary greatly, but generally, city-goers tend to agree on the same top venues. These restaurants are known for their expertise at turning out cheesesteaks really well. They've pinned down the ingredients, mastered the process, and gained a strong following as a result. Locals can't get enough of popular menu selections at spots like Jim's Steaks or at Tony Luke's, both major players in the field. Others prefer destinations such as Dalessandro's in Roxborough, or one of the rival steak shops in South Philly. Whatever your cheesesteak preferences (and there's a lingo that goes along with regulars who oder at these shops, so listen for it), you're sure to find a shop or two that makes these sandwiches to your liking. Part of the joy of finding that perfect sandwich lies n the search, so feel free to make discovering your just as much of an adventure. Do you prefer your sandwich with cheese, and if so what kind? Do you now what Cheez-Whiz is, and that it can be quite tasty on a steak? How about ketchup? Sauce? Onions (fried or regular), peppers (on the sandwich or on the side). The choices are a delicious part of the discovery process. Make sure you see what all the fuss is about.


Get your authentic cheesesteak on at Cosmi's Deli in South Philly. In operation since the early 1930's, these hoagie-masters know the art of the sandwich inside and out. Stop by for a more low key cheesesteak experience, but a delicious one nonetheless. If you're more of a hoagie kind of person, relish the fact that there are plenty of varieties of those to select from as well. Sandwiches and sides and beverages and desserts are plentiful, and many will make your sandwich shine in accompaniment. Don't let others tell you otherwise, this South Philly eatery knows food and knows how to do it right.

Recommended for Cheese Steak Shops because: A delicious option in South Philadelphia where patrons can feel at home and enjoy a superior sandwich option.

Sharon's expert tip: Don't be afraid to order like a local, and enjoy your steak like one, too.

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What started as a small mom-n-pop grocery back in the 1940s has evolved into one of the signature places on Market to enjoy a Philly cheesesteak. Is it the best in town? You be the judge. Just know that you're not going to find to find a friendlier place to enjoy the city's signature sandwich. If grilled rib-eye topped with provolone and onions doesn't strike your fancy, don't fret: They also serve up great hoagies, sandwiches, and even a few vegetarian options along with scrumptious sides, drinks and desserts designed to satisfy. Stop by to avoid the long lines at some of the other cheesesteak venues, and get a taste of why people find it so good.

Recommended for Cheese Steak Shops because: A deli with a great cheesesteak and a great local following makes this eatery a sure bet when in the neighborhood.

Sharon's expert tip: Campo's offers a gluten-free roll for those in need of such, which makes dining here great for all kinds of folks.

Read more about Campo's Philly Cheesesteaks →

Sonny's Famous Steaks
Photo courtesy of Sonny's Famous Steaks

The crowds outside this humble little storefront on Market tell the whole story – Sonny's makes some of the best sandwiches you can hope to find in Philly. You won't find much on the menu, but everything that is listed, from the burgers to the onion rings, are done just right. Cheesesteaks, of course, are the fan favorite, and Sonny's are made by cooking the steak in its own natural juices, stuffing the meat in a soft, fresh-baked roll, and topping it with fried onions and, of course, a healthy helping of Cheez Whiz. Feel free to pick a different cheese, and top it with peppers or the condiment of your choice for a delicious meal.

Recommended for Cheese Steak Shops because: Sonny's constantly gets great reviews for its friendly and helpful staff, which are especially helpful with those new to the cheesesteak world.

Sharon's expert tip: This venue is not too far from area tourist spots, so make it a stop for lunch or dinner when nearby.

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Venture into this fine eatery for steaks, as well as hoagies, chicken, fries, salads, burgers, sandwiches and appetizers. Steve's has several locations, and started out as a small corner store in a mall. Three decades later it is thriving and serving up delicious food to hungry Philadelphians. This restaurant serves its steaks sliced, for folks who aren't fans of theirs chopped, and tops it with your choice of cheese, onions, peppers, and a host of delicious condiments which are self-serve at the counter. There's also a sister eatery in Center City for those who find it easier to get their steak-fix on there.

Recommended for Cheese Steak Shops because: Not everyone likes their cheesesteak with chopped meat, so this eatery doesn't disappoint with sliced meat in their rolls.

Sharon's expert tip: Delivery and curbside pickup are available at Steve's, so take advantage if you're not in the mood to dine inside.

Read more about Steve's Prince of Steaks →

Formerly a hotspot known and frequented by mainly Philadelphia dock and construction workers, this venue has seen a recent upturn in clientele and popularity. Now folks from all walks of life stop here to see what the fuss is all about, and may claim it is truly the best sandwich stop in the city. You be the judge, and try a delicious roast pork sandwich, a cheesesteak, or a roast beef sandwich complete with sides and a beverage and see what you think. They're open from 7am to 7pm after years of closing at 3, so now there's more hours to enjoy the food that comes so highly rated.

Recommended for Cheese Steak Shops because: With its own take on what type of roll should be used, John's fills it with the meat, onions and cheese for a super satisfier.

Sharon's expert tip: Don't be put off by a venue with the word pork in its name. This spot kicks out some seriously delicious steaks.

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South Street

It's best to know your P's and Q's before visiting this South Street cheesesteaker, where the grillmen take their choice top round very seriously. At Jim's, all steaks come with onions (that's just how they come, simple as that); subsequent "extras" range from "Whiz" and provolone to roasted bell peppers and mushrooms. Hoagies, soups, salads and even a few breakfast items round out the menu. Even if you're not in Philly, you can still enjoy a bite from Jim's – They'll send a sandwich wherever FedEx delivers in the US. Now that's superior service no matter how you slice it up.

Recommended for Cheese Steak Shops because: Off of the beaten path of the Pat's and Geno's corner, Jim's is a solid cheesesteak choice for hungry locals and visitors.

Sharon's expert tip: Take time to also visit funky South Street while you're in the area, as it's entertaining and fun.

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Pat's King of Steaks

The self-proclaimed "King of Steaks," Pat Olivieri started out with a hotdog stand on the lower end of the Italian Market back in the 30s. As the story goes, one afternoon he decided to try something a tad different and grilled up some chopped steak, placed it on an Italian roll and topped it all with onions, creating the world's first-ever Philly Cheesesteak. The rest, as they say, is history. Today, Pat's Cheesesteaks remains an Olivieri Family tradition, and their legendary sandwiches have been enjoyed by everybody from city cops to Larry King to Senator John McCain. Will you be next?

Recommended for Cheese Steak Shops because: It's hard to visit Philadelphia without a stop at the place that dubs themselves the King of Steaks.

Sharon's expert tip: Not sure how to order when here? Not to fear, there's a helpful sign to lead you through the process and get you the steak you want faster than ever.

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Geno's Steaks

One of many places billed as Philly's "Best," Geno's certainly has its fair share of devotees on the south side of town. Begun in 1966 by a fella named Joe Vento, this 24/7, take-out-only joint has the art of serving cheesesteaks down to a science. That is to say, at the first window, order your sandwich. Without prompting, indicate American, provolone or Cheese Whiz and whether or not you want onions. Pay, pick up your order, and move down to the next window for a drink. And just in case you're curious, you really shouldn't leave town without trying the Cheese Whiz variety.

Recommended for Cheese Steak Shops because: Those eating cheesesteaks in Philadelphia at least know the name of this eatery, and it deserves a mention in any such list.

Sharon's expert tip: Many joke that the staff here is gruff with patrons, but watch how others order and have fun with speaking like a Philadelphian when up at the window.

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Tony Luke's Old Philly Style Sandwiches

First-timers may ask, "What's an 'Old Philly Style Sandwich?'" The answer is right here, just a stone's throw from the I-95 over-pass. Tony Luke's has garnered accolade after accolade over the years, and its walls are adorned with the faces of celebs who've dined here and enjoyed every last bite of their Cheez-Whiz-covered steak and Italian pork sandwiches. Of course, the place has never ceased to connect with its more blue-collared customers â€" the reasonable prices and good-natured staff see to that. Stop in to sample a sandwich, grab a few sides, throw back a beverage or all of the above and leave happy.

Recommended for Cheese Steak Shops because: Why keep a great eatery like this one a secret? Whether during a ball game or not, Tony Luke's is good eats.

Sharon's expert tip: Don't go here thinking you're going to sit down inside. Seating is picnic table style and ordering is done at the appropriate window.

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Modest signage announcing "Steaks Beer-Hoagies" and the simple redbrick facade in no way prepare you for what this Roxborough treasure has in store. Indeed, those in the know claim that Dalessandro's may serve up the area's top cheesesteak – there's just something special about the way they cram fried onions, seasoned steak and American cheese into those tasty hoagie rolls. What else sets this place apart from those closer to Center City? Well, at Dalessandro's you can chase your delicious cheesesteak with a cold brew, making it the perfect way to end the day or perk up your regular workweek.

Recommended for Cheese Steak Shops because: South Philly is many times lauded as the home of the best cheesesteak, but Roxborough comes through this time with steaks to remember.

Sharon's expert tip: This place features incredibly delicious food, but its very small. Be prepared that you may not get seating, and there are no restrooms.

Read more about Dalessandro's Steaks →


Meet Sharon Rigney

Sharon is a native to the Philadelphia area, but loves to wander from its familiar borders. She has traveled to more than 30 countries, trekked five continents, ventured out with family,...  More About Sharon