What would Philadelphia be without its famous philly cheesesteaks? The meat and cheese sandwiches are a tasty treat for omnivores, but can’t be enjoyed by those who stick to a vegetarian or vegan diet — or so you thought. With more and more people moving toward plant-based nutrition regimens, Philadelphia restaurateurs are crafting mouth-watering meatless substitutes for the hefty hoagies. Meatless cheesesteaks have become so popular in Philadelphia that for the past two years Philly.com has hosted a vegan cheesesteak contest, asking people to vote for their favorite herbivorous variety of the city’s classic sandwich. Here’s some of our picks for the best vegan philly cheesesteak in the city.
Can I take your order? Get the philly chicken cheesesteak made with soy chicken and vegan cheese and grilled in olive oil.
Insider’s tip: “It’s the unlisted special sauce that makes this sammie so grand. And messy. I’ve been known to spurt the entire contents of the roll into my lap with the first bite, so be forewarned to eat carefully.” — Abigail, A (Soy) Bean
Can I take your order? Choose the seitan cheesesteak made with rosemary and garlic seitan, vegan cheese whiz and grilled veggies.
Award-winning: Last year, the people of Philadelphia pronounced Blackbird’s tasty concoction to be the best vegan cheesesteak in the city. This year it came in second place.
Can I take your order? Have your pick between beef or chicken flavored seitan with daiya vegan cheese and add toppings like broccoli, mushrooms and spinach.
Clean eating: Carmen’s prides itself on making real food. The restaurant uses only fresh vegetables, no chemicals or additives, and local, lean meat for non-vegetarians.
Can I take your order? Savor the vegetarian cheesesteak, made with seitan, sauteed onions, long hot peppers and provolone cheese. (Skip the cheese for the vegan option.)
Accommodating customers: “I ended up getting the veggie burger and they cooked everything separate for me. I think the fries are cooked in vegetable oil anyway but the waitress and other staff were super careful and really nice about it.” — A.N., Yelp
If you haven’t tried a meatless cheesesteak yet, Philadelphians, it’s time to dig in!