Best Halal Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches in Toronto
Toronto foodies love their hand-held food; burgers, hotdogs and pizza are high on the list for many. Halal Philly cheese steak sandwiches are also widely loved, and are in abundance here in Toronto. It’s not the best looking sandwich, but it has won the heart of many and there is a bit of a Philly trend happening so we thought we should profile a few well-known joints.
What is a Philly cheese steak sandwich exactly? Roots go as far back as the 1930s where two hotdog stand owning Philadelphians (Pat and Harry) created the sandwich one day using chopped up beef and onions in lieu of a hotdog. After some word of mouth, and slight modifications, popularity quickly grew and Pat decided to open up a bricks and mortar which still operates today called Pat’s King of Steaks (not halal!)
Meat typically used is thinly sliced rib-eye or round top which is quickly browned in a lightly oiled griddle. Cheese is placed over the meat and allowed to melt. It’s common knowledge that the most common cheese used today is provolone, or American cheese and some people will tell you that it can only be Cheez Whiz (which is not confirmed to be halal). To get Cheez Whiz flavour, we recommend using processed slices that are halal and allow to melt over the meat.
The roll/bun (amoroso or vilotti-pisanelli rolls) is placed over the cheese and then it’s all scooped up with a spatula, pressed and served. Common add-ins include onions, peppers, mushrooms, mayo, hot sauce, salt and pepper.
Of course there are as many variations as there are vendors, and that’s half the fun.
Here are some popular picks for best Halal Philly Cheese steak Sandwiches in Toronto. Please remember to always verify meat sources with restaurant directly as suppliers/ownership might change between when this article was first published to when you actually go in to the establishment.
In alphabetical order:
Toppings, 1-426 Major Mackenzie Drive East, Richmond Hill
Well-known for their meat lovers pizza, wings and beef strip cheese burgers, Toppings has added a steak and cheese sandwich to their menu. Not technically called a philly, but it is close enough and we think this sandwich stands up to being one of the great ones!
*NEW* Top Gun Steak, 251 Augusta Avenue, Toronto
Newest of the group, Top Gun Steak in quirky Kensington Market — they were previously Big Al’s Flyin Philly. With their new facade, name and menu, they’re off to a great start. As the name suggests, they’re all about steak sandwiches. Even though they don’t offer a traditional Philly, any sandwiches off of their classic menu can work if you alter the toppings a bit.
City Fried Chicken and Pizza, 990 Danforth Ave, Toronto
Long time favourite, City Fried Chicken is well known for their version of the Philly. Consistent taste makes them a heavy weight contender for the best cheese steak title. They have a unique process in which their green peppers and onions are deep fried prior to being sauteed with the meat. This allows them to retain their shape and form without becoming limp or overcooked.
Burger Factory, 5130 Dixie Rd, Mississauga
Known for their Juicy Lucy and Funnel Cakes, they now serve a pretty delicious philly sandwiches as well! Known as The Utility, this large sandwich features a generous portion of meat, cheese and fixings.
Flavors Cafe, 2200 Brock Rd, Pickering
After some research and reworking of their original version, they have come up with a new and improved Philly sandwich. Go in for a halal Philly cheese steak sandwich or one of their great gourmet burgers and make sure you stay for a cuppa and some dessert like crème brule. Their eclectic menu and lounge setting makes them a unique spot to visit with friends.
Halal Crown Pizza, 672 Major MacKenzie Dr E, Richmond Hill
This is the Philly that I first tried, many, many years ago in their original Scarborough location. I’m not sold on their Philly authenticity, but their spicy rendition is quite satisfying nonetheless. Their Richmond Hill location is newer of the two and boasts the same menu.
Klassic Kitchen, 10220 Yonge St, Richmond Hill
They operate as an East African BBQ joint but they have a few North American staples on their menu as well. One noteworthy item is their Philly which might not be the best on this list, but came as a welcome surprise. Pair it with some Cherry Cola and masala fries and you have yourself a unique meal.
Milano Foodworks, 7181 Woodbine Ave, Markham
A great little lunch spot, their halal philly cheese steak in both beef and chicken options are tasty and generously proportioned. Service is great and they offer many other interesting items in their extensive menu.
Sam’s Philly Steaks, 213 Church St., Toronto
Also new having just opened up early summer of 2013, this quiet and quaint eatery has heard some mixed reviews. They have many other menu items that taste better in my opinion, which doesn’t do justice to the name of their shop. Personally, I found their halal Philly cheese steak to be underwhelming, but they still bring in their fans so I’m chocking it up as an isolated experience. I hope to try them out again and see if they have improved.
Slice of New York, 64 Edward St, Toronto
Popular items are their pizza and strombolli however, their Philly is a noteworthy addition. Again, not convinced it’s truly authentic and have heard on other reviews that it’s sometimes lackluster, but there are many people who do enjoy it so if you’re in the area, we recommend giving them a try.
Somethin 2 Talk About, 78 Gerrard St W, Toronto
Another long time favourite to many, Somethin 2 Talk About is a beloved halal joint in downtown Toronto. Best known for their shawarmas and sandwiches, their take on Philly (which they called BBQ Cheese Steak) is quite honestly not on target for authenticity which I’m sure they realize hence the name. The addition of BBQ sauce makes it much more intensely flavoured.
Steak & Cheese Factory, 188 Eglinton Avenue East, Toronto
Reviews here leave quality and taste on the questionable side. We personally tried them out at the CNE this year and their beef version, although slightly more acidic with the abundance of tomato, was pretty well done. Their chicken however needed attention as it tasted almost under-cooked. We definitely recommend their beef.
Love halal Philly cheese steak sandwiches and know a place we should add? Leave your feedback below!