Philadelphia is just a hop and a skip away from New York, an hour and a half on the Amtrak brings you right into this historic city. Any foodie thinks cheesesteak when they hear Philly, and if you watch enough Food Network, then you know all about the three most famous spots that serve this Philadelphia delicacy. One thing is for sure: Once you ate cheesesteak in Philadelphia, nothing else compares. I took my twins Sasha and Nicolas for a taste test not too long ago, on a beautiful sunny day.

Jim’s Steaks

Whenever I go to Philadelphia, I go to Jim’s for a cheesesteak. Founded in 1939, this place is located on South Street, which is actually one of three locations. The lines are usually long to this two-story restaurant with black and white checkered tiles. As you wait in the zig-zag lines, you see the endless pictures and autographs of Philadelphia celebrities that have indulged here. Behind plexiglass you can watch your cheesesteak being prepared. Just beef and cheese here, nothing fancy. There are a few other options to choose from, but personally I don’t see the point. I had their cheesesteak numerous times, and it was as delicious as usual. I absolutely love it. The kids and I tried the original with cheese wiz, and one with onions and cheese wiz. I could honestly eat tons of these, they are so good.

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Pat’s King of Steaks

Pat’s and Geno’s are the other two famous cheesesteak stands that are most famous in Philadelphia. They are located across the street from each other, on 9th Street and Passayunk Avenue. Pat’s was actually the original restaurant to serve up this Philadelphia classic, having opened in 1930. The consistency of their cheesesteaks was very much like Jim’s, chopped and delicious. There is no inside seating, but there are red tables and benches all around the restaurant. The place is triangular shaped, and as you take a seat, you have a full view of Geno’s across the street. There is supposed to be a rivalry, but I think people are actually too full to discuss the difference. Here we ordered two original steaks, one with mushrooms. This location added a little more cheese, so Sasha absolutely loved this place! Nick and I did too, but I’m still loyal to Jim’s!

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Geno’s Steaks

So, Geno’s really is right across the street from Pat’s. Of course this is nothing strange for a New Yorker. We have an average of 2 restaurants per city block. This location is actually the youngest of the three, having opened its doors in 1966. Geno’s is set up much like Pat’s, a triangular corner building with seating outside. It’s a good thing we did lots of walking and sightseeing in Philadelphia before coming to this location, because even a food veteran like me can only fit so much steak in one day! Geno’s steak is more in bite size pieces, as opposed to the chopped meat from its competitors. We ordered two more here,  all of us trying it, and actually taking some home to New York! This may have been my son’s favorite with the chunky steak.

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At the end of the day, this was such a great one-day getaway! It was almost impossible to pick a winner. I guess we each had a favorite, and we’ll have to call it a tie! The matter of the fact is: I honestly never had a cheesesteak this good outside of Philadelphia, and I won’t even try anymore! These yummy things are only a couple of hours away….

Until next time!