The 20 Best Cheesesteaks In Philadelphia

Nearly everybody knows that Philadelphia is famous for its cheesesteaks. The first was made in 1930 by Pat Olivieri of Pat's King of Steaks, working as a hot dog vendor at the time; in a moment of divine inspiration, he decided to toss some meat on his grill one day to make a sandwich. A local taxi driver saw how delicious it looked and asked for one. Thus, the iconic Philly Cheesesteak was born; today, it is regarded as one of the best greasy foods across America. They are so beloved, in fact, that one Pennsylvania man even requested to be buried with one.

Over the years, many food purveyors have incorporated cheesesteaks into their menus. Some extraordinarily well, and others... not so much. These sliced steak sandwiches, typically topped with cheese whiz or provolone, have become a true art form in the City of Brotherly Love as the tourist-friendly and obscure alike take pride in selecting top qualities of meat and cheese and presenting them in perfect portions on fresh baked bread.

In such a crowded market, you're bound to find those who hope to stand apart. You'll see unique gourmet takes on the classics, like the $120 Philly's Barclay Prime version that employs A5 grade wagyu ribeye beef, truffle butter, truffles, foie gras mousse, and truffled cheese whiz. But when it comes to the best of Philadelphia's best, sometimes the best is also the most basic. 

Who are the top contenders in the world of Philly cheesesteaks? Read on to find out. 

1. John's Roast Pork

Address: 14 E. Snyder Avenue

Since 1930, the corner of Weccacoe and Snyder Avenues has been home to John's Roast Pork, a South Philly institution if ever there was one. Their roast pork sandwiches — made with an old family recipe and house-roasted daily — are the stuff of legend. But their cheesesteak is every bit as good as the roast pork, and arguably better.

John's cheesesteak toiled in relative obscurity until 2002, when the Philadelphia Inquirer's restaurant critic Craig LaBan hailed it as the city's best. And it is essentially a perfect cheesesteak. It starts with a soft and crusty seeded roll delivered fresh from nearby Carangi Baking Company every morning, which has some of its insides scooped out before being loaded with a full 12 ounces of thin-sliced loin tail (which has less gristle than the usual ribeye). Meat is grilled to order atop diced Spanish onions and allowed to brown on one side before being flipped and separated, but not chopped. Five slices of American cheese are then added (sharp and mild provolone are also available) and folded in as the cheesesteak continues to cook; this way, every bite of the sandwich is loaded with meat, onions, and cheese. Fried Italian long hot peppers and ketchup are optional, but certainly don't detract from this cheesesteak's perfection. 

2. Angelo's Pizzeria South Philly

736 South 9th Street (Bella Vista) –

Take one look at its Instagram page and you'll be planning a trip to Philadelphia just for Angelo Pizzeria's incredible-looking Italian bread. Established in South Philly, it has been lauded in publications like Condé Nast Traveler, which implored diners to "Brave the line" as "the cheesesteaks are worth the wait."

The menu at Angelo's Pizzeria South Philly offers several different types of cheesesteaks (in beef or chicken), including its Diavlo Pizza or Buffalo Chicken. Cheese options include Cooper Sharp, Provolone, and American. You can also opt for regular or long hot cheese whiz. Toppings of your choosing include items like hot cherry peppers and roasted Italian long hots.

They all come on a small loaf of Italian sesame seed bread, which is slightly crisp on the outside and appears hollowed out on the inside to fit a massive amount of meat and cheese. As one customer puts it on Instagram, "Your bread is g**damn perfect." It's what puts this place over the top, making it one of the best places for a cheesesteak in Philly. Angelo's Pizzeria South Philly, which has a 5-star rating on Tripadvisor, also sells phenomenal pizzas and subs.

3. Rocco's Italian Sausages & Philly Cheese Steaks

2200 W Oregon Avenue (South Philadelphia West) -

Shopping at Home Depot has never been so delicious as it is in Philadelphia, thanks to Rocco's Italian Sausages & Philly Cheese Steaks. The first location was started inside the store's Northern Boulevard, Long Island City location in 2001. After becoming a big name in Queens, Rocco Guardino opened several franchises in Philadelphia and New York, all of which cohabitate with the hardware store.

You'll find inventive creations at Rocco's Italian Sausages & Philly Cheese Steaks like the "Big Mac(k)" with meat, cheese, pickles, and special sauce or "The Gavone" a combo of sliced beef and chicken with both spicy and sweet peppers, onions, and a smothering of cheese. Other flavors include garlic and teriyaki. Heads-up: If you want to cut carbs and ditch the bread, you can get your sandwich on a platter.

"This was quite possibly the best cheesesteak I've ever had,"  a customer wrote on Yelp, where the restaurant has 4.5 stars. "Living in this area, you get a lot of great cheesesteaks. Husband got the sausage & peppers – 1/2 sweet & 1/2 hot. It was outstanding. Bread can make or break a sandwich for me and their seeded roll was fantastic – flavorful and soft."

4. Woodrow's Sandwich Shop

630 South Street (Society Hill) –

This sub joint competes with Philly's top contenders when it comes to its cheesesteaks. In 2019, USA TODAY named it as one of the top five places to visit in Philadelphia after you check out the Liberty Bell. They even encouraged readers to bypass the originals (Pat's King of Steaks and Geno's Steaks) to avoid tourists and head straight over to Woodrow's Sandwich Shop in Society Hill.

When it comes to Woodrow's, there's one key differentiator: It's in-house-made cheese whiz, which also has comes in a truffle flavor. One of its signature cheesesteaks is the Woodrow's Whiz Whit with the aforementioned whiz, cherry pepper mayo, and caramelized onion on shaved ribeye.

Its Facebook and Yelp pages (the latter of which boasting a 4.5-star rating) are filled with fans who call it the best cheesesteak they've ever had. "Absolutely breathtaking. It was astonishing," writes one Yelper. "The Philly cheesesteak here couldn't get any better. Great service and good vibes." 

5. One Pound Cheesesteaks

2661 Kensington Avenue (Kensington) –

Located in Kenzo (a.k.a. Kenzington), One Pound Cheesesteaks is famous for its measurably massive, sliced steak sandwiches. According to its menu on Yelp, this place serves them in 1 lb., 1ft., and 2 ft. options. Not only will you marvel at the sheer size, but also at the taste of the gooey cheese and fun flavors that include a Pepperoni Pizza Steak (with tomato sauce, melted mozzarella, and pepperoni over sirloin strips).

One Pound Cheesesteaks isn't a gourmet cheesesteak spot, per se. They have between 3.5 and 4-star ratings online. But this mom-and-pop shop is a favorite local spot for late-night eats at a fair price.

"Don't count it out. It's got more spirit than the big names and it's trained on the streets. It has nothing to lose," a One Pound Cheesesteaks (and apparently, "Rocky") fan wrote on Yelp. "After you eat here, you will believe. FIVE STARS. Undisputed Cheesesteak Champ in the One Pound Division." 

6. Mike's BBQ

1703 S. 11th Street (East Passyunk) –

Mike's BBQ, named Eater Philly's "Casual Restaurant of the Year" in 2018, is known for "old school" smoked meats cooked fresh every day in a Lang stick smoker. This South Philly favorite (which started out as a pop-up operation) is open from noon until sell-out, which is typically around 6 p.m. Aside from slabs of brisket, chicken, pork, and ribs, it also sells some killer cheesesteaks. According to GrubHub, there are two on the menu: One with smoked chicken, and another with brisket.

The Smoked Brisket Cheesesteak has been praised all over the internet. It comes with a hearty serving of meat, fried onions, and homemade whiz using Cooper Sharp White and American cheeses alongside heavy cream on a seed-encrusted roll. Courier Post reports that Mike's BBQ's brisket is made "Texas-style" and given a dry rub of cumin, salt, pepper, onion, and garlic. "When out-of-town visitors need a cheesesteak to make their visit to the area complete," the publication writes, "this is the one I will give them."

7. Joe's Steaks + Soda Shop

1 West Girard Avenue (Fishtown) –

Joe's Steaks + Soda Shop has been slinging sliced steak sandwiches since 1949, when it was originally known as Chink's Steaks. The current owner, Joe Groh, worked there as a teen and ended up buying the business and changing the name. Its original store in Northeast Philly was among the many small businesses harmed by the COVID-19 shutdown,  but its second spot in Fishtown is still going strong. Despite the new moniker and location, this joint still makes its cheesesteaks using the same recipe from more than 70 years ago, claiming "We perfected the cheesesteak."

Not only have they perfected, but they've also innovated. In addition to selling its sandwiches nationwide on Goldbelly, it also serves a vegan cheesesteak —made with vegan beef, cheese, and mayo with mushrooms and onions on a dairy-free roll— alongside its steak and chicken ones. 

"The vegan cheesesteak tasted great!! It was full of flavor," wrote a customer on TripAdvisor. "The service was very friendly and we didn't wait long for our food. This is the best place to get cheesesteaks in Philly."

8. Cosmi's Deli

1501 S 8th Street (Passyunk Square) –

Cosmi's Deli was founded in 1936 by an Italian immigrant who worked a variety of construction jobs in NYC before moving to South Philly to pursue his dream of opening a grocery store and deli. Though a fire destroyed the grocery store in 2000, Cosmi's powered through and continued making its famous sandwiches. Since then, they've received shoutouts from celebrities like Questlove, have catered for "The Sopranos," and been named on "best of" lists.

Cosmi's is still a prime spot for Philly cheesesteaks. Its extensive menu has large, separate sections for both its steak and chicken varietals, some of which are deliciously over the top. The Jacked Up Steak is overflowing with bacon, mushrooms, pepperoni, fried onions, hot and green peppers, grilled tomato, and extra cheese for an extra sandwich. You also have a choice of seeded or non-seeded freshly baked bread and seven types of cheeses.

"Absolutely divine cheesesteak. Get it on a seeded roll and ask for onions. Probably the best cheesesteak in Philly," raved one customer on Yelp, where Cosmi's Deli has four stars. "The steak is incredibly juicy and the cheese and onions complement it perfectly. Not to mention, the neighborhood is a great working-class area perfect for a post-cheesesteak walk to make yourself feel better after eating the generously sized cheesesteak."

9. Gooey Looie's Deli

231 McClellan Street (Pennsport)

People regularly cross state lines to eat one of Gooie Looie's overstuffed sandwiches. This small Pennsport convenience store with a deli counter (located in the Pennsport Mall) won't strike you as fancy, but its cheesecakes are "in a league of their own," according to one fan on Yelp. Customers say that these sliced steak subs are so good, you can skip the cheese.

"That's their secret, they know how to cook a steak to perfection without drying it out one bit,"  a customer wrote on Yelp. "It's done so amazingly, it retains all that gooeyness that makes it so flavorful and juicy and they do it with an amazing white Cooper Sharp cheese that blows the doors off of American, provolone or whiz!"

They don't have a website or official social media page, except for a Facebook group page which appears to be driven by their fanbase. So, you'll have to stop by Gooey Looie's Deli yourself if you want to check out their menu and get your goo on.

10. Hog Island Steaks

785 Starr Street, Phoenixville –

Located just northwest of the city in Phoenixville, but still in the Philly-metro area, Hog Island Steaks is a must-visit. Dmitry Shafir bought the brand as an existing business and declined to rename it after learning about the local history. Hog Island was the area on which the Philadelphia Airport currently stands,  and its employees were known as "hoggies"; their spouses gained a reputation for making them massive-sized sandwiches on hollowed-out bread filled with meat and cheese, "hoggie" eventually morphed into the word "hoagie," and a national love affair was born.

"Here at Hog Island, we are bringing back the original concept of the 'hoggie.' Fresh-baked rolls stuffed with your favorite meats, cheeses, and vegetables—everything a 'hoggie' was intended to be!" the company's website states.

Hog Island also sells premium pizza, wraps, and some of the best cheesesteaks around. Its extensive menu boasts at least 13 different varieties of ribeye sandwiches, all sliced fresh daily onsite. You'll find your classic varieties along with unique creations like the Chipotle Chicken Cheesesteak with barbecue sauce, provolone cheese, and hot sauce. Lettuce and tomato are $.25 extra, but other toppings like pickles, hot peppers, or condiments are free of charge. "Awesome cheesesteak has so much meat packed in you could make a 2nd sandwich easily," a fan on Yelp wrote. "I got the cheesesteak with fried onions and bacon it was delicious."

11. Tony Luke's

Several locations in Philadephia and six other states -

Tony Luke's is a legend in the cheesesteak game, featured on "Throwdown with Bobby Flay" and "Man vs. Food." It has also received accolades for its chicken cutlets and roast pork sandwiches. The first location was opened in South Philadelphia in 1992; it currently has 17 locations (some of which are franchises) in the Mid-Atlantic area.

But they didn't always have cheesesteaks on the menu. Those were added simply because the sandwich is a local favorite, then kept because it remained a best seller. Now, Tony Luke's is known as a "Philadelphia cheesesteak joint," with sliced steak sandwiches made from 100 percent ribeye (sourced from farms in the Midwest) and Southern New Jersey-grown veggies on fresh-baked bread; it's all a closely-guarded recipe.

The original location, at 39 East Oregon Avenue in Bella Vista/Queen Village, is now named "Tony and Nick's Steaks" and has a 4-star rating on both Yelp and Tripadvisor. 

"Tony Luke's puts attention into their cheesesteaks and you can tell after one bite," a customer wrote on Tripadvisor. "Their menu is varied and you are bound to find something you like. Portions are on the big side and you likely will feel full."

12. Delco Steaks

3401 Walnut Street (University City), Broomhall and Folsom –

Delco Steaks was started by two brothers and a childhood friend, with the goal of offering "better cheesesteaks" than those you'd find at local pizzerias. Philadelphia Magazine reports that it somehow managed to defy the odds and survive — and thrive — and currently have three locations in Broomhall, Folsom, and Philly with another on the way in Merion, according to its website. They also have a food truck, and even do weddings.

"Delco Steaks unmistakably falls in the really-good-cheesesteaks column," the Philadelphia Magazine wrote in 2022. "What was clear from the outset was that the owners were using much better meat and rolls than most joints do. Their seasoning blend, which they tell me is proprietary, takes the sandwich up another notch. And each cheesesteak is crafted with a little extra Delco care — some might call it love." 

Delco's Instagram page will make anyone's mouth water. In addition to steak burgers, hot dogs, nuggets, bowls, and fries, you find a short but solid cheesesteak menu that includes the classic, a chicken offering, and a vegetarian option powered by portobello mushrooms. There's also the Welshie's Barnyard, which comes with steak, bacon, and chicken. Choose your cheese — whiz, provolone, or Cooper Sharp — a seeded or non-seeded roll and add-ons like cherry peppers, long hots, or fried onions (for a bit extra), and you'll soon be in cheesesteak heaven.

13. Pat's King of Steaks

Address: 1237 E. Passyunk Avenue

On the intersection of South Ninth Street, Wharton Street, and East Passyunk Avenue in South Philadelphia are two cheesesteak giants: Pat's King of Steaks and Geno's Steaks. They both have a fiercely loyal clientele, each of which will tell you that their favorite is superior. Pat's claims to have invented the cheesesteak as we know it: As the story goes, in May 1933 brothers Pat and Harry Olivieri, who owned a hot dog stand on the corner, thinly sliced a steak and fried it with onions, and a legend was born.

Pat's and Geno's serve a similar product (with both using thinly sliced ribeye steak), but there's one main difference: Pat's chops up its meat while it's on the grill, and Geno's keeps its slices whole. Which one you order comes down to personal preference, but the only way to find out is to try them both. Just make sure you learn the lingo first — "wit" means with onions, "wit-out" means without onions — and know which kind of cheese you want (Cheez Whiz, provolone, American, mozzarella, or none) before you start your order. 

14. Geno's Steaks

Address: 1219 South 9th Street

Holding down the corner with longtime rival Pat's, Geno's Steaks was founded in 1966 by Joey Vento, who was a regular fixture there until he passed away in 2011 (his son, Geno, who was named after the restaurant, now runs it). The walls and even the roof are decorated with memorabilia and framed photos of celebrities who have dined there, and the seating areas are utilitarian at best. But really, it's all about the cheesesteak.

As opposed to Pat's, where thin-sliced ribeye is chopped up on the grill, at Geno's the sliced steak stays whole. Vento was always in favor of provolone, but you get your choice of Cheez Whiz, provolone, or American. You can also order a pepper, mushroom, or pizza steak, or a roast pork sandwich. Save the roast pork for the third or fourth visit, though; a cheesesteak from Geno's, whether it's with onions or without, or with provolone or Whiz, is something that every Philly visitor should experience.

15. George's Sandwich Shop

Address: 900 South 9th Street

Since 1936, the under-the-radar George's Sandwich Shop has been quietly serving some stellar cheesesteaks in the Ninth Street Italian Market in Bella Vista. The roast pork, sautéed ground veal, Italian sausage, meatball, and even the tripe sandwiches are all to die for, but the cheesesteak is really something else. The coarsely chopped meat is tender and juicy, and the cheese is gooey and coats every last bit of meat. The bun is soft and moist. It's simple perfection.

A tiny little shop with a handful of stools, a takeout window, and a small amount of outdoor seating, George's is about as old school as it gets. Some might say that is doesn't have much ambiance, but if you're looking for that classic sandwich shop experience, it doesn't get more traditional than George's. 

16. Campo's

Address: 214 Market Street

Don't expect anyone to hold your hand at Campo's, an Old City deli that's been making cheesesteaks the same exact way for more than 40 years. You might get served a side of attitude along with your steak (don't ask for extra napkins!), but the cheesesteak is definitely worth it. They start with a crunchy and airy long Italian roll from Liscio's Bakery (with seeds or without), and load it with a huge amount of ribeye that's been freshly griddled and lightly chopped. Added to that is your choice of American, provolone, or Whiz and onions that might be chopped a little too large, although nobody seems to mind.

Campo's is crowded and not particularly comfortable, but again, people don't line up here for the charm. They come to this family-run shop for that old-school Philly experience ... and one heck of a cheesesteak. 

17. Dalessandro's

Address: 600 Wendover Street and Henry Avenue

When a Philadelphian travels all the way to Roxborough for a cheesesteak, you know it's good. And at Dalessandro's, they've got the cheesesteak formula down to a science.

These beauties start with crusty rolls from local legend Amoroso's, as well as thinly sliced ribeye that this place chops up on the griddle more than just about any other cheesesteak shop in town. It's then allowed to slowly brown in its own fat and juices, with the fine chop ensuring that it doesn't dry out (in fact, its juices might find themselves running down your arm while you eat it). Your choice of American, provolone, or Whiz is fully incorporated into the meat, binding it all together. Fried onions top it off, but don't miss their selection of pickled or roasted peppers; a sprinkling of hot pepper relish cuts through the richness perfectly.

18. Ishkabibble's

Addresses: 337 South Street, 517 South Street

A South Street institution since 1979, Ishkabibble's is a hole in the wall with a few seats at the counter inside and a walk-up window facing the shaded sidewalk. While they pride themselves on being the inventor of the increasingly ubiquitous "chicken cheesesteak" (made with chicken tenders instead of steak), you should still order their cheesesteak. A fresh loaf of bread is lightly toasted and piled with steak that's grilled with onions and chopped to order. While purists can stick with the Whiz, a combination of both Whiz and provolone takes this sandwich to the cheesesteak stratosphere.

Make sure you get a side order of onion rings or their perfect fries, which are both super-crispy, and wash it all down with a "gremlin," or a mix of grape soda and lemonade. 

19. Steve's Prince of Steaks

Address: 7200 Bustleton Avenue, 2711 Comly Road

Steve's Prince of Steaks got its start more than 30 years ago on Bustleton Avenue in Philly's Great Northeast neighborhood, which kept it off the radar for a while. But now there are four locations, including one in Center City, so it's finally getting the recognition it deserves, with lines typically out the door and around the corner on weekends. And it deserves plenty of recognition: These steaks are long and thin (some might even call them dainty), made with hand-sliced ribeye that's not chopped up on the griddle.

Opt for Whiz and it'll come right out of the can and onto your sandwich — and will most likely get all over the place as you try to eat it (which isn't a bad thing). Other cheese options include American, provolone, and mozzarella, and you're also given the option to go double-meat. We've heard their burgers and chicken parm sandwiches are good, too, but when you're at Steve's, you get a steak. 

20. Sonny's Famous Cheesesteaks

Address: 228 Market Street

Sonny's Famous Steaks, located on Market Street in Old City, offers a quintessential Philly cheesesteak experience. Old-school and with lines sometimes out the door, this sparse yet welcoming shop knows the right way to make a cheesesteak: They use whole slices of ribeye, tossed on the griddle to order and roughly chopped into big chunks during the cooking process.

A surprisingly large number of cheesesteaks are made with beef that's been pre-cooked and left to steam (and get tough) on the grill, but you won't find any of those shenanigans here; this meat is juicy and beefy to the max. The bread is soft as can be, and when that beef is mixed together with perfectly soft onions and just the right amount of Whiz, you can definitely understand why GQ Magazine named it the best cheesesteak in Philadelphia.