Thursday, September 8, 2011

Can Philly's Best Overtake John's?

Philly's Best
30461 Avenida De Las Flores
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688

About two months ago we reviewed John's Philly Grille. You can read that review here. Not wanting to ruin it for you, but we really liked John's. It was the first cheese steak we had reviewed, and it might be the best one that our county has to offer. In the comment section, one of our readers, MikeHu, had asked about Philly's Best. He wanted to know our take on Philly's Best and how it compared to John's. Since this involved me eating another cheese steak, I was more than happy to oblige him.

Philly's Best is a southern California based chain, which has 22 units, and half of those are in OC. They not only specialize in cheese steaks and hoagies, they also sell other Philadelphia food staples, like Wise Chips,  Tastykakes, and Frank's Soda. I am not here for any of this, I am here to see if Philly's Best can take down John's Philly Grill. Let's see how it all turns out.

Of course I am going to tease you a little before we get to the cheese steaks. Katie was not in the mood for the famous Philadelphia sandwich, so she went with the Philly Turkey Breast Hoagie. The hoagies, as well as the cheese steaks are made on Amoroso rolls. Amoroso rolls are as authentic to Philadelphia, as the Liberty Bell itself. They also use Boar's Head meats here. Katie really liked her sandwich, but felt there was way too much mayonnaise on this. The bite I had was good, but even I felt the mayo really was over done here.

Now on to to the cheese steaks. First, this cheese steak hybrid, the Philly's Best Chicken. This chicken cheese steak, which would probably be frowned upon in the city of brotherly love, had mushrooms and sweet peppers added to it. Sara could not finish this sandwich, so I gallantly stepped in. The sandwich was good, but lacked the bite because of the classic cheese steak. If you are not a big beef eater, this might be the sandwich for you.

Now, the reason we are all here, the Philly's Best Cheese Steak.  The first thing I noticed, when compared to John's was the core temperature of the sandwich. At John's the sandwich contents were molten hot. Here, the sandwich was more on the warm side, so it was easy to dive right in without any chance of burning your mouth. The meat was good and the bun held up, but this sandwich lost me because there was no burst of flavor. The sweet peppers and mushrooms added nothing here, and the cheese was barely noticeable. All of this combined to make this an average cheese steak. An average cheese steak is still better than most of the sandwiches out there though.

Philly's Best is no John's Philly Grille. Philly's Best does serve its purpose though. If you are nowhere close to Huntington Beach, and want a cheese steak, chances are there is a Philly's Best close to you, and this place will probably quench your cheese steak craving. The store was clean and the service was good when we were here. The prices are what you would expect for a sandwich shop. Just under $10 will get you a large cheese steak. We are still looking for someone to dethrone John's Philly Grille, so if you know of a place, please let us know.

Out of five boxing gloves, (in homage to the Rocky movies set in Philadelphia), five being best to zero being worst, Philly's Best gets 2.5 boxing gloves.

For more information on Philly's Best, click here:

Philly's Best on Urbanspoon


  1. I have never been able to convince myself to order a regular sub or chicken Philly. It looks like my gut (pun intended) was right.

    One thing puzzles me. Nor fires or any other side? You should have at least tried the pizza fries. Nacho cheese and marinara topped french fries. Not great but pretty good.

  2. Taylor - The other sandwiches at Philly's Best were okay, but I think you are right, stick with a cheese steak when you are here.

    We did have fries, but they were so average, and my picture did not turn out, so I left it out. Thanks for the tip on the pizza fries, maybe that would have made these fries better.

    Thanks for the comment.

  3. Yes, drowning the fries in nacho cheese and marinara does improve them but you have to eat them kind of fast because they get soggy. Don't make a special trip just to try the fries, they aren't spectacular...

  4. You've got to try Frank's Philadelphia in Costa Mesa. I was a fan of both John's and Phillys Best when a friend told me about them. Go and try the "Franks Choice". I haven't had anything else off the menu. Guy behind the counter recommended the sandwich 1st time i was there and i love it so much i keep ordering it.

  5. Taylor - Cheese and marinara could make anything taste better. Thanks for the comment.

    Ken - I will put Frank's on my list of places to try. I have eaten there a few times, but have never had the Frank's Choice sandwich. Thanks for the tip.