Fast Food Review: New! Ultimate Angus Philly from Arby’s

Well, it’s official. Add Arby’s to the list of best fast food and fast casual sub restaurants.

Earlier this month Arby’s rolled out the third sub in its “Ultimate Angus” line when the chain announced that it had perfected the “best Philly sandwich outside of Philadelphia.” I may not have eaten at world-famous cheesesteak meccas like Pat’s and Geno’s in the City of Brotherly Love, but as someone who was born not a half hour outside the city, I do think I’m qualified to appreciate a good cheesesteak. Having reviewed and raved about the first of Arby’s Angus subs, I was excited to see if the Ultimate Angus Philly really deserves its marketing title.

The Ultimate Angus Philly from Arby’s:

The Ultimate Angus Philly is featured on our famous toasted sub roll and piled high with thinly sliced Angus beef. We season the warm beef with Italian herbs, and then top it with fire-roasted green bell peppers, onions and melted Swiss cheese, all finished with a roasted garlic aioli.

At $4.99 for just the sandwich, the Ultimate Angus Philly may be the same price at a Subway footlong, but make no mistake about it: this sandwich is the antithesis of what they serve at Subway. I mean that in a good way, because where Subway tends to fall back on skimpy portions of oversalted roast beef and cold-toasted cheese, Arby’s gets it right by over-stuffing their hoagie style rolls with plenty of juicy Angus beef.

The presentation alone is enough to make you salivate. Opening the container, I found the sub to not only be warm, but exuding a fair amount of steam. I honestly have no idea how they assemble the whole thing, but it had that kind of “hot off the griddle” aroma, with the Angus beef literally melting the layer of Swiss cheese before my eyes. I was a little uneasy by not seeing the peppers and onions but after opening up the sub I found them plentiful and well charred.

Key word is charred. What you’re getting here really does look and taste like grilled onions and peppers, which lend an air of light crunch and sweetness to the beef. Make no mistake about it though, the beef is the star here. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — if Arby’s regular roast beef is Carl Buddig, then Arby’s Angus beef is Boar’s Head. It really is top of the line. Lean but juicy, it tastes strongly of garlic and black pepper, even boasting a savory crust and tender interior that shows no sign of chewiness or stringy texture that you sometimes get with unmelted intramuscular fat. Incredibly savory and just the right temperature, it gets a creamy and mild counterbalance from the Swiss cheese, which unlike the kinds of cheese most fast food places use, actually comes melted.

Even the garlic aioli has a pleasant, but not overpowering, taste and tang.  It provides a needed hydrophobic element to keep the structural integrity of the bread. That’s another thing I love about this sandwich — the bread. Served warm, the bread stays chewy and neutral, absorbing the juices of the meat and fusing with the melted cheese while providing a slightly crusty exterior that allows the protein to shine.

I really can’t say enough about this sub. While I can’t help but wonder if the addition of Arby’s outstanding bacon would make this even better, I can definitely see myself ordering the new Angus Philly on a regular basis. That Arby’s has introduced a kind of “Angus rewards” program — which lets you redeem ‘stamps’ on the purchases of four Angus subs for a free fifth sub — only means I’ll have extra incentive to pick up the Angus Philly in the future. Best Philly Cheesesteak outside of Philadelphia? Well,that’s debatable, but for $4.99 I’ll gladly save a trip fighting traffic on 95 to get my cheesesteak fix by going to my local Arby’s.

Pros: Flavorful, top of the line Angus beef taste. Over-stuffed hoagie roll. Charred peppers and onions have pleasant sweetness and just enough bite. Melted, creamy Swiss cheese. Garlic aioli lives up to the hype. $4.99 is comparable price for high-end fast food sandwiches.

Cons: Sodium bomb. Over 1000 calories when you add a small order of fries (guilty). Maybe a little too much in favor of the meat to bread ratio. Cheese is a bit mild tasting. Would be best thing ever with bacon.

Taste: 9.25/10
Value: 7.25/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 5.50/10
Price: $4.99

Overall GrubGrade: 8.75/10

More Info: Arbys.com
Nutrition Facts:
Arby's Ultimate Angus Philly Sub
Calories: 610
Total Fat: 30 grams
Saturated Fat: 9 grams
Cholesterol: 90 mg
Sodium: 1670
Total Carbs: 49 grams
Fiber: 3 grams
Sugars: 4 grams
Protein: 40 grams
Calcium: 30%

36 comments on “Fast Food Review: New! Ultimate Angus Philly from Arby’s

  1. missouri says:

    100% right on with this review – by far, this is my new go to sandwich at Arby’s. Hope they make it a permament menu item.

  2. Ryan says:

    I don’t understand why Swiss was used in this Philly at all, but I definitely will give this a try.

    • Nick says:

      It should be provolone, but they use Swiss on the other sandwiches. You bring up a good point though. Just because something has peppers and onions on it, doesn’t justify calling it “Philly”. Any time a FF joint does that guarantees it won’t be remotely close to a cheesesteak. At least they could’ve called it Arby’s Angus Deluxe or something slightly less lame.

    • Larry says:

      I don’t think this “do not use the word Philly” thing can be overstated.

      This is like ordering New England clam chowder and receiving a tomato-base chowder (Manhattan style). The word “Philly” denotes the particular recipe. Just because something has mustard and pickle on it does not mean its a Cuban sammich.

      That being said, I loved the old Philly Beef & Swiss so much (one with the diced onions and peppers on plain white sub bun) that I ate them 3 or 4 times a week for almost 3 years then they were discontinued. About that time I moved from the midwest to the Philadelphia suburbs and was excited to try “the real deal”. First food I put it in my mouth was a cheesesteak. I was so excited. Then I was like, “what the heck is this crap?” No peppers or onions, meat was completely different, crusty roll instead of soft white sub bun.

      I didn’t care for them at first but they kind of grew on me. Every sandwich/pizza joint around here sells them, and none of the places even stock swiss. I actually see these with American cheese more often than Provalone, but the wiz/onion thing is correct. Someone else pointed out that the actual Philly is steak, not roast beef. There is a huge difference. The steak is not seasoned whereas Arbys roast been is a lot like a corned beef. Its been brined and seasoned, and its not ribeye. Not being a food snob, trust me. I prefer the Arbys over ribeye.

      If you are ever lucky enough to visit our beloved city (it really is friendly. I had more teenagers hold doors open for me the first week than I had in my entire life elsewhere) I just don’t want you to be shocked when you try the cheesesteak. Think of my chowder analogy. It is a good sammich though. I recommond you avoid those clowns at the Passyunk intersections (Pat/Gino)… Worst cheesesteaks I’ve ever had. Bland like you can’t imagine, and you will wait in line to pay double for it and eat it on a sidewalk (very windy here, your napkins will blow away and trust me you will need those).

      • Larry says:

        Almost forgot me review…

        I enjoyed it thoroughly. I’ve had these about 6 times now and plan to get more. I prefer the original Philly Beef and Swiss, but somewhere along the line they reformulated the way they brine their roast beef and it then had a funny flavor and was kind of dry. Sammich just wasn’t as good. But back to the Angus review:

        Pros: the garlic sauce was interesting. That is an improvement over the old one. Its a bit more bold. Bread is very nice, and sturdy too. If you have to save it for later and reheat, the bread will stay intact. I like the peppers but they could be more flavorful (see cons section). Price is perfect. They could have jumped the shark and marketed this as some premium item and charged $6+ but didn’t.

        Cons: just wayyy too salty. Its not just a health concern, it has a dramatic efect on the flavor. It overpowers the peppers. After my second bite of this think I actually opened it up and looked around for the salt layer. Not even sure how they stuff that much salt into a sammich. Also, the reviewer’s sammich is bigger than any one I have received. One had about half that amount of meat. And they seem to be put together kind of sloppy, like meat/peppers shoved to one side. Of course you can adjust things like that, but if they put plenty of sauce on one side and just a tiny smear on the other, its hard to fix and spoils the whole recipe.

  3. Nick says:

    That looks really, really damn good. Add banana peppers, and dunk that whole thing in au jus (I like Italian beefs).

    5 bucks for sammich is pricey, but not terrible considering what Subway charges for their “premium” line of what you get at Quizno’s.

  4. SkippyMom says:

    Everyone is going to be screaming this isn’t a Philly cheese steak because of the swiss cheese – when they make theirs, in Philly with Cheez Whiz. [ick, btw]

    This sandwich looks amazing – and if I could eat it, I would get a side of au jus to dip it in

    I loved the Carl Buddig/Boar’s Head analogy. It makes me want to buy this sandwich so, so, so much. Thanks.

    • Ryan says:

      I go provolone over whiz.

      • Chefprotoss says:

        Whiz pwns

        • Hakeem says:

          I was there for a pitoorn of my college (Georgia Tech) as well, and I did go to Woody’s. From the outside it looked like they were going to get it correct, but yeah, again with the mustard. Fortunately there is a Rita’s around the corner (was that there when you were there?), so I got the taste out of my mouth with good water ice.

  5. Rusty Shackelford says:

    The Arby’s in the Richmond, Va area use Cheese Whiz instead of swiss on these. They also use Whiz on their Beef and Chedder and don’t use that horrible bronco berry sauce. Much better. Whiz has no trans fat as well.

  6. Chuck says:

    That actually does look pretty good- compared to like subway

  7. Thrash says:

    Wiz on my Philly please…

  8. Thomas says:

    I wish places would just call these Cheesesteaks instead of Philly anything. I guess Philly makes it easily identifiable, but just call it a cheesesteak.

    I will have to see if my Arby’s does that punchcard thing. $5 is price, but if I get one free that’d be good.

  9. Tracy says:

    I’ve lived in Philly or the suburbs of Philly all my life (which is a long, long time). Philly cheesesteaks have wiz or provolone, not swiss. They have fried onion, when requested hot or sweet peppers but not green peppers. The sandwich looks really good but I really wish companies would stop calling them Philly cheesesteaks. It’s a great price for the size of it. I don’t know anywhere you can get a cheesesteak for that price.

  10. Adam says:

    Well, for the record they are not using the term “cheesesteak.” And I don’t understand complaints over price, especially because your getting the same, if not more meat and cheese than you’d get on a Subway sub.

  11. kikurage says:

    I respect this review.Very good.

  12. Keith says:

    Great review, Adam – this does look tasty.

    I also agree that Arby’s calling this a “Philly” is misleading and incorrect. Remember the lashing John Kerry got for ordering his cheesesteak with swiss at Pat’s while running for president?

    A Philly Cheesesteak is one thing only – thinly sliced, grilled rib-eye, “wit or wit-out” onions, and hot cheez whiz on an Amoroso (or Vilotti-Pisanelli) roll. I also give a pass to those who prefer sharp provolone over whiz. Many people think it’s the steak, or the cheese that’s most important but it’s not – it’s the roll. Anything else is just a generic cheese steak.

    A cheese steak hoagie is steak and cheese with lettuce, tomato, onions and mayo.

    But, semantics aside, this looks like a great sandwich for fast food and I know exactly what Adam is trying to say – Subway is not good. Their meat is awful – the steak and chicken are salty and soggy, the gross cold cuts appear to have been a liquid at some point or another and their bread smells like feet.

    I’m going to try ordering this with the cheese sauce instead of the swiss.

  13. Charlotte says:

    Holy moley that looks good.

  14. Matt says:

    Great to hear that Arby’s is coming out with some stellar products. The Angus line is great – the meat is great and the bread is phenomenal. I’ll stick with the Three Cheese & Bacon but this is another good expansion of the line.

    My only gripe, as state above, is the use of the name Philly, because this has not one, not two, but three strikes against the use of that name (green peppers + swiss cheese + it’s not steak). The commercials use the tagline “It might be the best Philly outside of Philly”. I beg to differ…

  15. SPM says:

    610 calories ain’t too bad. Looks decent.

  16. Natalie says:

    You know, the commercials/ads for this didn’t really look too appealing, but your review and pictures makes it look a lot better. I might try it…I’ve never had any of their angus roast beef sandwiches, but maybe I’ll get this next time I stop by.

  17. M86 says:

    I knew the second I saw this sandwich introduced, that there would be hoards of people crying about the “Philly” part, and that it’s not an authentic Philadelphia cheesesteak, yada, yada, yada…
    /rant

    Seeing this, I had to try it. And I did last night, and it really was pretty good…considering I picked it up around 10 PM… Any type of fast food can be hit or miss once it gets that late.

    A few negatives:

    The sodium count is crazy! The sandwich, with a small curly fry, is over 2,800 mg of sodium. Sodium is one of the main reasons I avoid fast food.
    I would have preferred a few more green peppers, and way more onions. And, like many have said, I would have preferred provolone, or even Cheez-Whiz… I didn’t care for the Swiss.

    Positives:

    Price is decent. I found the bun-to-meat ratio perfect, and the bun was awesome. The meat was tasty and tender, and way better than the normal Arby’s roast beef

    I’ll definitely get this again… but on rare occasions. The sodium level is frightening… but, it is fast food after all!

  18. Kevster says:

    Had this today. It was decidedly underwhelming. Not bad, but certainly not great even by Arby’s standard.

  19. NJ says:

    I had this tonight for dinner. I don’t even like Arby’s, but my husband made me go and i had a coupon. OMG it was so good. i loooved it. i want to get a 2nd already. at first bite i thought the meat was too peppery, but as i kept eating, it was just perfection. I see myself being an Arby’s lover now, just for this tasty little treat.

  20. Sandy says:

    Only 610 calories?! Wow, that’s less than two lean cuisines!

  21. I’m sure this sandwich isn’t bad. Many people seem to enjoy it. But seriously, the association of it with Philadelphia & cheesesteaks is ridiculous.
    Swiss cheese? Try American, wiz, or provolone. No grilled peppers. Aioli suace? Um… definitely not on any Philly cheesesteak I’ve ever had. Also, you’ve got to chop up that steak.
    The ads are even making me hate the sandwich. Most of you have probably seen the one with the man hanging from William Penn’s hand and people protesting below. First off, many have already mentioned this, who calls a cheese steak a Philly? NO ONE. Second, who shows up to protest a sandwich with the exact sandwich in their hand? Terribly stupid commercial.

  22. Griffin says:

    Theres an interesting article on cheesesteaks in philly on Serious Eats. It seems lots of places in philly have many different renditions of a cheesesteak or steak hogie. Maybe Arbies was playing off this culinary aspect in the philly title and wasnt trying to pertain to Pats or Genos in their marketing.

  23. Ryan says:

    Tried the Angus Philly a couple of days ago.

    What I liked: the box packaging, the bread, the Angus beef.
    What I disliked: surprisingly little impact from the peppers and onion, Swiss together with the spread was pretty bad.

    Verdict: There’s a Firehouse Subs right by me that serves up a great cheesesteak. I’ll pass on the Arby’s.

    GrubGrade: 6.75/10

  24. […] the Phillies out of the playoffs and the Eagles off to a horrible start, this probably won’t make Philadelphians happy. But, this might. (via Grub Grade and […]

  25. David says:

    The one I just ate looked nothing like the one in your pic. A couple of bits of diced onion and peppers. Nowhere near the same amount of meat. Pretty disappointing. I guess the Arby’s here is cutting corners.

  26. Never Arby's customer says:

    Well I just ordered this sandwich thinking I was getting a cheesesteak. How wrong I was. The bread…overseasoned…the meat completely covered with dried herbs….the cheese mixed with garlic mayo….this was so disgusting I couldn’t get past bite number 4. My stomach is still turning in disgust…and even more while reading these positive reviews. I never thought I would find a restaurant menu item that would completely turn me off. Thanks Arby’s to prove me wrong. Gross gross gross

  27. […] and I’ll take Subway over Quiznos anyday, although I stand by my feelings that Arby’s makes the best beef subs with their Premium Angus line. A good sub? Nope, and not a great one either. But Subway manages to create a damn good sub at a […]

  28. Joe says:

    Never got what I ordered. Count your stuff; you might get less than you paid for.

    Today I ordered a big meal for lunch for some business partners. At the pickup window, they were short of two drinks already, which I mentioned. Also they didn’t have any trays for the cups, and packed into bags, where one of them already leaked at deliver. I put it back and asked for a new one.

    Then at our place, I found out that three sandwiches and two fries are missing. Bad situation when you serve your guests!

    I called the restaurant and asked for a solution. I asked to get the missing stuff delivered. They apologized and promised me to call me back.

    They did call back after one hour 15 minutes. The waiter who claimed to have served me said that he packed all stuff. I asked him if I should call my business partners to witness that this was not the case. The only solution he offered was to get on some write up list for the next visit there. Under the given situation, I gladly declined, since my decision, not to have a meal with Burger King after this occurrence is firm. At the same time, I guarantee that I will post this wherever I can to make sure that others are warned to count every pack of fries when eating at Burger King.

    Restaurant was on Broadway in Denver, CO

    • Chefprotoss says:

      Are you sure you have the right post/website? You just posted a complaint to bk about the wrong order on an arby’s sandwich review. 0_o

  29. Karmal says:

    It’s really not swiss that they use on there. It tastes more like white American cheese (same as Subway uses).