Philadelphia is known for a lot of impressive things, but one particular item is the City of Brotherly Love’s trademark sandwich: the cheesesteak. This local delicacy is a mouthwatering combination of tender pieces of beef and melted cheesy goodness on a fresh Italian roll. Most establishments offer a choice of Cheez Whiz, American, or Provolone cheese and the option to add fried or raw onions. If you’re coming to Philadelphia and looking to try a cheesesteak, here are some local spots to try.
Amid the bustling streets and iconic landmarks, the cheesesteaks in Center City are a savory emblem of Philadelphia’s vibrant food culture and stand as a savory emblem of Philadelphia’s vibrant food culture.
Address: 108 South 18th Street
Founded in 2016 by a brother and sister team, Cleavers is a Center City Philadelphia eatery that diverges from the traditional Philly Cheesesteak scene. With a background in cheesesteak manufacturing, the duo wanted to offer gourmet options made from top-quality ingredients. Their menu features a variety of ribeye and chicken-based sandwiches with artisanal additions, including a portobello mushroom and veggie cheesesteak.
Address: 237 South 18th Street
This fine dining restaurant put an elegant spin on the cheesesteak in 2004. Their $140 version uses Wagyu beef, decadent foie gras, truffled cheese whiz, and caramelized onions on a sesame seed roll. This perfect highbrow meets working-class meal is served with champagne.
South Philadelphia is the home to the rival cheesesteak spots: Pat’s and Geno’s. While these two eateries spark debate over which has the better sandwich, there many other must-try cheesesteaks across the neighborhood.
Address: 736 South 9th Street
This cash only cheesesteak joint in South Philadelphia has been cranking out cheesesteaks since it was established in 2013. Their sandwiches start with the basics: a soft Italian roll and fresh-cut steak, but it’s the bonus cheese option that fans rave about. Angelo’s offers Cooper Sharp cheese, along with the originals: American, Provolone, and Cheese Whiz. Let’s be honest, it’s not just the cheeses that draw the crowds, this sandwich is the total package.
Address: 1219 South 9th Street
Joey Vento opened his rival steak shop right across from Pat’s in 1966 following the success of his curbside grill at the same location. The difference? He started serving sandwiches with slabs of the beautiful, marbled meat, instead of chopping it up. It worked. Geno’s has turned into an industry icon thanks in large part to its 24-hour glowing neon signs, prompting the corner to earn the nickname “Cheesesteak Vegas.”
Address: 517 South Street
Ishkabibble’s name comes from an old Yiddish saying: “Do I look like I care?” The famed South Street “hole in the wall” started pumping out high-quality steaks in 1979. They put their own stamp on Philly sandwich history when they introduced the chicken cheesesteak.
Address: 400 South Street
This two-story diner-themed spot has been serving up mouth-watering steaks on South Street since 1976. The line regularly wraps around the block and the griddle cooks never forget a face. Try the traditional chopped cheesesteak or branch out with a pizza steak.
John’s Roast Pork
Address: 14 East Snyder Avenue
Roast pork might be the namesake of John Bucci’s 92-year-old South Philly sandwich joint, but locals know the secret star of the show is something he calls the “Ultimate Cheesesteak.” It features 12 ounces of choice meat, smothered in either provolone or American cheese. Don’t ask for Cheez Whiz here.
Address: 1703 South 11th Street
The Mike’s BBQ Brisket Cheesesteak is a greasy love letter to Texas BBQ and Philly’s favorite sandwich. Owner Mike Strauss smokes his brisket for 10 hours before letting it rest for another five. He tops it off with a homemade “whiz” of Cooper Sharp, American, and heavy cream.
Address: 2654 South 10th Street
Oregon Steaks gives you all the ambience of Pat’s and Geno’s without the lines. They aren’t afraid to “sizzle the gristle” to charred perfection while finely chopping the onions into pearls. Plus, they are open 24 hours for late-night cravings.
Pat’s King of Steaks
Address: 1237 East Passyunk Avenue
Pat’s King of Steaks, the original cheesesteak joint, has maintained its authentic charm since opening. They have a sign that instructs visitors on how to properly order: “wit” or “wit-out” (that’s slang for topping your sandwich “wit” onion). The classic cheesesteak can’t be beat and is a great place to start for anyone trying their first steak.
Address: 2234 West Passyunk Avenue
Order from the window at this traditional South Philly take-out spot. Open 24 hours, this delicious spot sits away from the hustle of “Cheesesteak Vegas”. Pro tip: order the Old Fashion Steak, served with provolone, grilled tomato, long hots, onions, and ribeye.
Tony & Nick’s (formerly Tony Luke’s)
Address: 39 East Oregon Avenue
Tony & Nick’s takes so much pride in their work that they created the “10 Commandments of Cheesesteaks.” For example: you can only use 100% ribeye and don’t think of adding ketchup or Swiss cheese. The shop ships their steaks nationwide, packed in ice and microwave-ready. But the best place to enjoy one is at their original South Philly location, preferably after a Phillies or Eagles game.
Imagine enjoying your cheesesteak immersed in historic Old City, observing the blend of modern life and historic ambiance.
Address: 214 Market Street
This has been the go-to steak spot for people strolling the cobblestone streets of Old City since 1947. The Phillie Phanatic has been known to pop in too – it’s his second home after Campo’s opened at Citizens Bank Park. The move? Order the “Heater,” featuring thinly sliced ribeye melded with jalapenos, Buffalo sauce, and jalapeno cheddar.
Sonny’s Famous Steaks
Address: 228 Market Street
Located a stone’s throw from the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, Sonny’s keeps it simple. They skip seasoning the meat in favor of letting the fatty natural juices take over. It works. Spice it up with Cheez Whiz and Spanish onions.
Charlie’s Roast Pork
Address: 1301 South 3rd Street
Charlie’s Roast Pork checks all the boxes: plenty of seating, friendly service, and high-quality chopped ribeye comfortably wedged into a Caranji seeded roll with American cheese. It doesn’t hurt that you can pair your cheesesteak with a half-price growler at nearby Pennsport Beer Boutique.
Address: 600 Wendover Street and Henry Avenue
This tiny Roxborough rowhome rose to fame in recent years thanks to Jimmy Fallon and The Legendary Roots Crew. Fallon visited the joint and showcased its steaks on his show. Locals have been flocking here since 1960, fighting for a coveted counter seat and a whiff of ribeye amid the clanging spatulas which finely chop each piece of meat.
Address: 2459 North 54th Street
Basketball legend Kobe Bryant used to fuel up on Larry’s super-sized Belly Filler: a 2-foot take on a classic cheesesteak. Bryant visited every time he was in town, and they even shipped sandwiches to him in Los Angeles. Their location, across from Saint Joseph’s Fieldhouse, still honors the hoops legend.
Address: 3653 Germantown Avenue
This North Philly monument, in the heart of Nicetown, is where Michael B. Jordan schools the world on how to use the word “jawn” in the movie “Creed.” It’s also one of the best cheesesteak joints in town, best known for using 100% sirloin – no ribeye – and serving it on a 2-foot sub roll.
Steve’s Prince of Steaks
Address: 7200 Bustleton Avenue
It wasn’t too long ago that only locals knew about this cozy eatery nestled inside a Northeast Philly rowhome since 1980. Now they boast four locations, including a Center City spot across from Liberty Place. Steve’s insists on not chopping their ribeye cuts and serving their gooey steaks on an Amoroso roll.
Looking for more activities to surround your cheesesteak journey? Visit our things to do page for more iconic Philadelphia experiences.