Top 5 Vegetarian Cheesesteaks in Philadelphia
As a native Philadelphian, vegetarian and avid junk food enthusiast it comes to no surprise that I have a deep admiration for vegetarian cheesesteaks. Luckily for me, there are tons of restaurants that offer vegetarian versions of this Philly favorite and I have certainly done my research. After careful consideration and a few days of an all cheesesteak diet, I’ve narrowed it down to my top 5.
5. Vegan Tree
Vegan Tree’s cheesesteak is of the basic, no frills variety. They don’t give you anything to complain about but they don’t exactly leave you raving enthusiastically. The sandwich is served on a fresh roll, with a generous portion of onions and heavily marinated “meat.” Everything melds together to give the sandwich a soupy quality, causing it to melt in your mouth, releasing its full flavor capacity and leaving you pleasantly satisfied. The fun, zany atmosphere and bargain prices at Vegan Tree definitely make it worth the trip.
4. Hip City Veg
I absolutely adore Hip City and their “Philly Steak” is just one example of their phenomenal menu options. In addition to seitan, onions and mushrooms, Hip City stands out among the rest by adding ketchup, lettuce and tomato to their cheesesteaks, adding a special sweetness to the mix. True to form for this super cutesy restaurant, the “Philly Steak” always gives me a tasty, smiley, comfort food boost.
3. Govinda’s Gourmet Vegetarian
Govinda’s is definitely a classic Philly sandwich spot and their cheesesteak definitely has that distinct Philly style. The “chicken” cheesesteak at Govinda’s is nothing short of a flavor explosion. In addition to their finely tuned combination of meaty sweetness and soy cheese, they add some finely chopped green peppers to the mix, creating subtle zest that enhances the entire sandwich. Trust me, sampling this sandwich once will keep you coming back to Govinda’s for a lifetime.
2. Sabrina’s Café
Like all the dish at Sabrina’s, their vegetarian cheesesteak is a big, beautiful, one man feast. The enormous roll is packed with thick chunks of seitan, provolone cheese and sautéed onions until it is bursting with greasy, gooey mouthfuls of overwhelming deliciousness. It’s a precisely sculpted tribute to everything a cheesesteak is supposed to be, served with a mountain of thick, crispy French fries, all together; this titan of a meal will leave you bursting at the seams.
1. Blackbird Pizzeria
The seitan Cheesesteak at Blackbird is by far my favorite sandwich in the city. Everything about their cheesesteak is perfectly crafted, making it clear that they hold their food to a very high standard. The roll is ridiculously fresh and the seitan is homemade and sliced extremely thin, perfectly emulating the traditional, non-veg, Philly Cheesesteak. The sandwich is served with an abundance of melted Daiya cheese, peppers, onions and a very unique accompaniment of white mushrooms, all mashed together in a drippy, oozing meaty mash that soaks into the bread and creates an undeniably amazing combination of flavors. It seems like the chefs at Blackbird employ an almost scientific approach to constructing their food, precisely matching flavors and textures in order to make the ultimate vegetarian cuisine. If you think my excitement for Blackbird is over the top, I challenge you to try them out; I can guarantee you’ll be hooked.
Hopefully this list will serve as a guide to vegans, vegetarians and curious carnivores as they get a taste of Philly culture. I urge out-of-towners to waste no time zeroing in on all of these treats and Philadelphians to use it as a guide for finding your own local favorites. Seriously, go out and do your own research, this city takes cheesesteaks so seriously that no matter where you eat, you can’t go wrong.