If you’re visiting the City of Brotherly Love for business, pleasure, to check out the Philadelphia houses for sale or for any other reason, there are just some things you have to do, like climbing the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art like “Rocky” and paying homage to the Liberty Bell in Independence National Historical Park.
But this city also takes its food rather seriously, especially when it comes to its most iconic offerings. While you’re here you won’t want to miss trying its most famously delicious eats.
The most iconic Philly food of all is the Philly cheesesteak, invented by Pat Olivieri of Pat’s Steaks back in 1930 with the establishment owned and operated by the same family ever since, although it’s still debatable as to who makes the best.
The minimum requirements are thinly sliced beef and a crusty roll, but depending on the sandwich shop, the cheese might be American, provolone or even Cheez Whiz.
Many feel Pat’s King of Steaks is the only place to go, but its rival across the street, Geno’s Steaks gives it a good run for its money, drawing thousands who often come for a taste-off.
Other options include Steve’s Prince of Steaks, Jim’s Steaks and Tony Luke’s which all have many local fans.
Yes, Philly is the place to come for sandwich lovers with the hoagie its signature answer to the sub, jam-packed with cheeses, meats and veggies.
The high-quality bread is what makes it really stand out, with local bakeries providing fresh rolls every day to shops like Sarcone’s and Amoroso’s. Paesano’s makes what many have called a “dream hoagie,” the kind sandwich fantasies are made of with options like the Daddy Wad, the basic Italian version with sweet and hot peppers topped with an oregano vinaigrette.
Pizzeria Beddia is nationally acclaimed and even has a “secret” hoagie room that includes a special tasting menu.
The Soft Pretzel
Soft pretzels in Philly are like bagels in New York. You can find this cheap tasty street snack just about everywhere you look.
They originally evolved from the Celtic harvest knot, with Germans absorbing the practice as they migrated from northern Europe into the Rhineland. Early German settlers then introduced them to America.
They’ve long been a favorite in Philly, purchased everywhere from bakeries to corner stores and street vendors.
You’ll find them in a variety of forms, classic pretzel shaped, nuggets, sticks, braided and more, served with spicy mustard, or beer cheese at restaurants and bars. They range from golden to chestnut brown and may have a crisp crust, or one that’s buttery and tender.
One of the most popular spots to pick up Philly’s soft pretzel is at the historic Reading Terminal Market. Look for Miller’s Twist, which bakes tender pretzels with a crisp outside and a very moist inside, Amish-style.
Locals often head to Philadelphia Soft Pretzels, in the North Philly neighborhood of Frankford for over a half-century. Every one of the fluffy golden twists are formed by hand.