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Matteo's Delicatessen panino
Photograph: Parker Blain

The best sandwiches in Melbourne

These are the best things, since, and between, sliced bread

Jade Solomon
Written by
Jade Solomon
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Melburnians certainly know how to ride the wave of a good food trend, but one phase that has stuck around is our collective love and appreciation for the humble sandwich. And for that, we are thankful. Arguably the most versatile food. You can eat it for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and the possibilities for fillings and combinations are endless. Start your day with a breaky sanga filled with ooey-gooey eggs, bacon and cheese, munch on a meatball sub for lunch, and get a lil' fancy with a Croque Monsieur for dinner. However you take yours, it seems the sandwich trend is not going anywhere for a while, and for that we ain't complaining. Work your way through our round-up of the best sangas in town. 

Looking to change up your usual sandwich routine? Check out the best bahn mi in Melbourne. Wash it all down with the best ice cream and gelato around town

Melbourne’s best sandwiches

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Richmond
  • price 1 of 4

Hector's Deli has been serving the good people of Richmond its signature sandwiches since 2017, and has developed a cult-like following in that time (evidenced by the never-ending queue out the door). With expansions into South Melbourne and Fitzroy, Hector's have continued its commitment to its promise to serve simple, authentic and delicious sandwiches, made with ethically sourced ingredients and produce of the highest quality. Crowd favourites include the signature chicken schnitzel with tarragon butter and housemade pickle mayo on a steamed potato bun, the tuna melt with pickled green chilli and onion on light rye, and the brisket with mustard pickle spread and kraut on toasted rye – just to name a few. 

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Collingwood

Falco serves up an inimitable egg salad sandwich that keeps locals and regulars coming back for more, and more. Those in the lane snaking down Smith St share a collective, unspoken understanding; the wait, no matter how long, really is worth it at Falco. All the sandwiches at Falco are special, owing greatly to the housemade dense slices of bread with the perfect crust. Save space for a selection of the outstanding pastries and baked goods too, such as the always-popular cookies. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Malvern

As sandwiches have been having a moment in Melbourne for a while now, technically Stan’s Deli’s 15 minutes of fame should have come and gone. But the fact that it hasn’t, is not only testament to the timelessness of the sandwich, but also to the bloody good way they get it done at Stan’s. While North-siders seem to be spoiled for choice with a sandwich joint popping up on every corner, Stan’s Deli brings the goods to the South with their New-York inspired, green-hued shop in Malvern. Sandwich specials change often but whatever you choose, make sure you get one of their signature salt ‘n’ vin hash browns on the side. We are thankful we live in a world where a fat sandwich is considered acceptable breakfast fare. 

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Fitzroy

Rocco’s excels in many things, but none more so than the cult-favourite meatball sub. Rocco’s famous pork and veal meatballs, which also make an appearance in the mainstay spaghetti on the menu, are smothered in sugo, salsa verde, parmesan and signature white-sauce, making this a sandwich you won't forget for some time. Rocco’s combines the warmth of an Italian mom-and-pop restaurant with a menu that is elevated comfort food – every dish is meticulously curated and crafted with care.

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Nico's
Photograph: Supplied

5. Nico's

Nico's serves up stellar sandwiches to queues of people lining up outside its CBD, Brunswick and Fitzroy stores most days. Nico's have amped up the humble Cuban sandwich by adding not one, but two types of meat. Think layers of smoked pork belly and grandma ham with Nico’s original salad cream, Emmental cheese, dill pickles, apple cider reduction and American cheese between grilled, buttery slices of bread, and a side of pickled chillis to cut through the richness. And don't miss the vegan schnitzel sandwich stuffed with cheese, lettuce, salad cream, koji chimichurri and pickles. 

  • Restaurants
  • South Yarra

Lactose intolerant? Keep scrolling. Iron guts? Read on, for Maker and Monger is the stuff of cheese dreams. Operating out of Prahran Market, you can't go wrong with any of its delicious toasted cheese sandwiches, but we have a soft spot for the fondue number. This is no pedestrian ‘I’m-a-bit-peckish-where’s-the-jaffle-maker?’ affair. This is loads of molten Marcel Petite Comté and Swiss Gruyere, shallots, wine and garlic reduced into a sharp, umami burst, all encased in crunchy, butter-slathered sourdough bread and finished with a light sprinkling of salt flakes.

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  • Restaurants
  • Brunswick East

This is the place you go to for grand, hunking baguettes and sandwiches you hope will never end for lunch. Toasties arrive thick as a forehead and as big as a face, yet achieve the all-important mission of properly melting the abundance of sweet and nutty Comté inside couched around sticky, worcestershire-rich onion. Meanwhile, old-school salad sambos achieve new crush status when folded into chewy sourdough baguettes, lifted with the zip of pickled carrot and tempered with soft avo and roast beetroot.

  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Collingwood
  • price 1 of 4

It’s time you got acquainted with tortas, otherwise known as hot Mexican sandwiches. Slow cooking is an arduous process which deserves all the recognition it can get, and this is definitely the case with the cochinita pibil torta by Frankie's Tortas and Tacos. Tender 24-hour slow-roasted pork shoulder, melted Oaxaca cheese, pickled onion, lettuce and coriander come sandwiched in a toasted roll and warrant a stadium full of people clapping in its favour. There’s also a pollo milanesa torta which comes with Milanese chicken (a lunch staple in many Mexican homes) and a mushroom torta for vegetarians.

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  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Mentone

While it may seem that northsiders get to have all the fun as far as sandwich shops go, Applehead Deli is playing its part in changing that by bringing a stellar sanga offering to the south with its store in Mentone. Most of the ingredients are made in-house, including slow-cooked pickled beef, housemade Russian dressing, pickled cabbage and gherkins, and 15-20 kilograms of meatballs are made each week. Venture off your usual path to lunch next time you're in need of a sanga, and check out Applehead Deli for an outstanding meatball sub, an unmissable Rueben or a delectable tuna melt. And save room for one of the best cinnamon scrolls going around Melbourne (sebbys.scrolls).  

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Richmond

What makes a sandwich great? Quality bread, certainly. Ingredients that play well together: acid cutting through creaminess, meat cut with pickles. And if it's a toastie, the perfect degree of toastie-ness, snatched from the grill after the bread has become crisp and golden and just before it begins to char. All of the sandwiches on the short menu at Indonesian sandwich joint Warkop meet that bill, but our favourite is the pork belly, the fattiness of the meat complimented by shallot, lime leaves, lemongrass and tomato. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Carnegie

Saul's Sandwiches brings the heart of New York’s delis and diners to Melbourne's south. With outposts in Carnegie, Bentleigh East, Balaclava and Hawthorn, this is where you come for loaded sandwiches that don't compromise on flavour. There's a daily rotation of sandwiches on offer, some of which include the smoked pastrami, manchego, cavolo-nero slaw, horseradish mayo and kosher pickle sandwich; the Hoagie, filled with mortadella, salami, ham and provolone; a classic tuna melt; the chicken parm; and its vegetarian alternative – the eggplant cutlet.

  • Restaurants
  • Australian
  • Fitzroy
  • price 1 of 4

Looking for a sandwich with a bit of a kick? Then Belles Hot Chicken’s southern-style chicken sandwich is for you. A fiery piece of deep-fried chicken thigh fillet joins forces with double cheese, shaved onion, lettuce and good-good sauce on a soft milk bun, and comes with your choice of side and pickles. There’s also an equally succulent mushroom version for vegetarians. These ones are finger-licking good. 

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Rocco's Delicatessen
Photograph: Rocco's Delicatessen

13. Rocco's Delicatessen

Yarraville was voted one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world in 2020, and Rocco’s Delicatessen in Yarraville definitely lends itself to that title. Run by passionate Italians who know their food, they offer a variety of panini which follow the cardinal rule that thou shalt only have thinly sliced, ribbon-like cold cuts. Choose between crisp ciabatta or the traditional soft bread roll and pick your deli meat. Mortadella, prosciutto or salami are on offer and come with varying combinations of grilled eggplant or artichokes, provolone, green split olives, grilled capsicum, and tomato pesto.

  • Restaurants
  • Fitzroy

Sandwiches are by no means a new invention, but Melbourne’s obsession with them has intensified in the last few years. Enter Jolly Good Sandwiches, a former pandemic pop-up sandwich bar now with permanent premises nestled within corner side craft beer bar Near & Far. The menu is short but sweet – and absolutely delicious. Try the French dip, a roast beef melt that comes with a stout gravy for dipping. Or go for the cheese salad with cheddar, beetroot, carrot, alfalfa, lettuce, mayo and mustard for something light but still satisfying.

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Shooter McGavin's is bringing housemade brioche scrolls, pancakes, thick shakes and some superb sandwiches to Carlton. The menu is broken down into fresh, toasted and hot sandwiches, and no matter which direction you head in, you're in for a treat. We can't go past the fish butty, with fried market fish, chips, tartare, lettuce and malt vinegar stuffed between thick white bread and the hot honey-fried chicken with ranch, pickles and iceberg sandwiched between a biscuit bun. Sweeten the deal with a choc malt thick shake and pancakes with coffee ice cream for dessert, and you're in for a real treat. 

  • Restaurants
  • Prahran
  • price 2 of 4

Entrecôte’s classy take on the mitraillette is worth knowing about. Slices of succulent grilled entrecote, frites, and a silky herb butter sauce come together in a crisp baguette. All that’s missing is a sunny park and your friends. This may not be an everyday sandwich, but it ticks all the boxes for a special lunch. 

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King William Takeaway
Photograph: Supplied

17. King William Takeaway

If you, like many, have developed a new found appreciation for the classic meatball sub, this is the place for you. Free-range pork meatballs are coated in sugo and topped off with spinach, basil salsa verde and the holy Italian trinity of cheeses – provolone, scamorza and Parmigiano-Reggiano, all in a neat little sub.

  • Restaurants
  • Footscray

The team at Ollie's Deli were dealt a very tough hand all the way from the venue's birth during a pandemic right through to it being damaged by a fire. But like the phoenix, this sandwich joint has risen from the ashes and is serving sangas, coffees and pastries in Footscray. These are some of the west's most coveted sandwiches, including a pastrami and buttermilk fried chicken number.

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  • Restaurants
  • Altona

There’s a modest thrill in any deli that’ll slap its cold cuts into a sandwich for you on the spot, rather than you having to do so yourself at home. At Matteo’s Delicatessen in Altona, customers have the choice of several panini stuffed full of the deli’s cold cuts and various other fresh and pickled accoutrements. The namesake panini, the Matteo’s Original comes filled with your choice of cold cut and bread (ciabatta or baguette) plus marinated eggplant, olives, capsicum, provolone and a slathering of pesto. Grab a coffee (or a That’s Amore cannoli) and enjoy your sanga on the nearby Altona Beach for extra points.

  • Restaurants
  • Melbourne

Bowery to Williamsburg aims to bring a little bit of New York to the streets of Melbourne. Reubens, turkey clubs and Cubanos are just some of the Yankee sangers that make an appearance, and meal upgrades come with your standard fries and choice of soda. The classy take on a Philly cheese steak sub here takes a long, warm white roll, tender beef brisket roasted for 14 hours, strips of sweet and softened onion and capsicum and coats it all with melted provolone. It’s so juicy and flavoursome that your taste buds are bound to break out into song.

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  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Abbotsford

Kelso’s Sandwich Shoppe focuses on making "legit sandwiches, house-made pickles and damn fine coffee". It’s a simple café with a retro feel, notably cheerful service and cheeky green pickle characters dotted about the shop. We know that tinned tuna divides people, but what sandwich list would this be without mention of a few excellent tuna melts? Kelso’s does a damn fine version: buttered dark rye is loaded with a super creamy tuna and mayonnaise blended with plenty of house-made pickles and red onions to prevent things from being too rich. 

  • Bars
  • Carlton

Roast porchetta is one of the finer things in life. It’s hard to beat the perfect union of pork and fennel, made all the better with crackling pork skin. King and Godfree’s deli manage to elevate slices of roast porchetta with friarielli and salsa verde. And for lovers of caprese salad, there’s a fior di latte, basil and tomato panina, along with a variety of other sandwich options available in the deli. 

Or how about a picnic?

Taste the world

  • Restaurants

Sandwiches are having a moment right now, and it's not hard to see why. To pay homage to the ancient art of cramming our favorite ingredients between two slices of bread, we're shining a spotlight on the world's 25 best, most sensational sandwiches right now. If these stackers could talk, they'd tell stories of resilience, survival and boundless innovation. Check them out here. 

 

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