Who Has the Best Cheesesteak in Philly?

Who Has the Best Cheesesteak in Philly?

If you’re a Philadelphia native, you’ve probably joined this debate before. In a city famous for its cheesesteaks, crowning the winner of the best Philly cheesesteak is a tough competition.

We’ve done the research and compiled the best cheesesteaks of Philadelphia, based on popularity, fan favorites, and previous “best of” rankings. Our list of the best Philly cheesesteaks is in no particular order - these are the most common cheesesteak shops mentioned in the many “best Philly cheesesteaks” lists and by Philadelphians.

Don’t see your favorite cheesesteak shop on our list? Join the debate and let us know who we missed in the comments! Vote in our poll for your favorite!

Who is your favorite?

  • Jim’s Steaks

  • Dalessandro’s Steaks and Hoagies

  • Pat’s King of Steaks

  • Geno’s Steaks

  • John’s Roast Pork

  • Steve’s Prince of Steaks

  • Sonny’s Famous Steaks

  • Tony Luke’s

  • Shank’s Original

  • Barclay Prime

Jim’s Steaks

Go to South Street on any weekend and you’ll see that Jim’s Steaks draws crowds that go around the block. While their South Street location is popular, Jim’s originated in West Philly in 1939, and later expanded to Northeast Philadelphia and Delaware County. Despite its popularity among tourists, Jim’s is also a favorite among local Philadelphians, and their cheesesteaks hold up.

Dalessandro’s Steaks and Hoagies

Dalessandro’s is not the tourist trap cheesesteak shop. Located out in Roxborough, Dalessandro’s is the real deal, known by natives of the Philadelphia area for great cheesesteaks. Dalessandro’s attributes their success to using the freshest ingredients, delivered daily.

Pat’s King of Steaks

You’ll have a hard time ranking the best Philly cheesesteaks without mentioning Pat’s King of Steaks. This South Philly cheesesteak shop has been selling their steaks on East Passyunk Ave since 1930, and dubbed themselves the “inventor and originator of the cheesesteak sandwich”. Pat’s is one half of the ongoing Pat’s vs. Geno’s debate, and while the two are commonly considered tourist traps, they maintain their spot on most “best of” lists.

Geno’s Steaks

Geno’s Steaks is located directly across the street from Pat’s, fueling the rivalry between these two famous cheesesteak shops. Many Philadelphia natives consider Geno’s and rival Pat’s to be tourist trap cheesesteaks due to their mass tourist appeal. Still, Geno’s finds itself on most “best Philly cheesesteak” lists, and the numbers don’t lie. Geno’s remains a popular cheesesteak spot, and they claim to make the best cheesesteak in Philadelphia. Disagree? Let us know in the comments .

John’s Roast Pork

John’s Roast Pork is another South Philly cheesesteak contender, although they aren’t involved in any famous rivalries. John’s has been open since 1930, and gained fame for their cheesesteak in 2002 when it won all three categories of Inquirer writer Craig Laban’s Cheesesteak Project. John’s is, unsurprisingly, also famous for their roast pork sandwich, but is ranked among the top Philly cheesesteaks as well.

Steve’s Prince of Steaks

Many Philly natives from the Northeast Philadelphia neighborhoods of the city will tell you that Steve’s Prince of Steaks is the best Philly cheesesteak. Though Steve’s originated in Northeast Philly, they have expanded into five total locations across the Philadelphia area, and their fan base has expanded with them. One of the secrets to Steve’s success is in the rolls, which come from an undisclosed, small local bakery.

Sonny’s Famous Steaks

Sonny’s Famous Steaks hasn’t been around as long as many others on this list, but it’s made a none for itself nonetheless. Located in Old City, Sonny’s is only a short walk from Philadelphia’s historic sites like the Liberty Bell, so it’s an easy stop for anyone touring the city! Sonny’s stands out for frying its steak without adding oil, making it a healthier alternative. They also offer vegetarian and gluten free options!

Tony Luke’s

Another famous name in Philly cheesesteaks, Tony Luke’s offers “the taste of South Philly” to a wide range of customers. This South Philly original has expanded into an international chain, with 12 locations in the Greater Philadelphia area and 22 stores in total, reaching as far as Bahrain in the Middle East. At all Tony Luke’s locations, they remain committed to providing a quality, Philly style cheesesteak.

Shank’s Original

Shank’s Original is another shop commonly found on the “best of” lists for Philly cheesesteaks. This unassuming, old-school shop is on the Delaware River Waterfront in South Philly, with picnic tables overlooking the water. For a classic, no-nonsense Philly cheesesteak, Shank’s is considered one of the best.

Barclay Prime

An unusual addition to this list, Barclay Prime is an upscale steakhouse that has gained some notoriety for their cheesesteak. At $120 a pop, Barclay Prime’s cheesesteak is without a doubt the most expensive. This cheesesteak is made with wagyu ribeye, foie gras, and truffled whiz, and even comes with a half bottle of champagne. Is it worth the hype (and the bill)? Let us know if you’ve tried it!

How Do You Eat Your Cheesesteak?

Along with the debate over who makes it best, Philadelphians frequently argue over the correct way to eat your cheesesteak. Whiz, or another cheese? Wit or witout? Join in on the debate and tell us how you like your cheesesteak!

Whiz or Real Cheese?

When you’re ordering a cheesesteak in Philadelphia, you have three cheese options: whiz, American, or provolone. The classic Philly cheesesteak typically includes whiz, and some steak shops and cheesesteak connoisseurs are sticklers about using whiz.

More health conscious consumers may not be willing to eat cheese whiz (which doesn’t actually contain any cheese) but it is the traditional choice for a true Philly cheesesteak.

What cheese do you use on your cheesesteaks? Vote in our poll or tell us in the comments!

Wit or Witout?

Those who aren’t from Philadelphia may not understand this lingo, but wit or witout refers to onions. Fried onions are a staple of the Philly cheesesteak, but many people still opt to go without the onions. So, wit or witout?

Any Other Toppings?

It’s not uncommon to see a Philly cheesesteak with mushrooms, sweet or hot peppers, cherry peppers, or condiments. Some will say that extra additions take away some authenticity, while others simply enjoy their added toppings.

What else do you add to your cheesesteak?

The Philly Cheesesteak - Final Thoughts

With seemingly endless cheesesteak shops in Philadelphia, and even more across the globe boasting a Philly cheesesteak, it’s hard to say who makes it the best. Tell us about your favorite cheesesteak shop, or share your opinions on the proper way to eat a Philly cheesesteak in the comments below!


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