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Cheese and mushroom sandwich at Dutch Smuggler
Photograph: Anna Kucera

The best toasties in Sydney

We propose a toast to 12 different pressed sandwiches that prove there’s more to this lunchtime staple than meets the eye

By Jordan Kretchmer

Nailing the comforting combo of two bread slices and hot, melted innards might seem easy, but success isn’t always a guarantee. We’ve searched the city far and wide for the pans and presses responsible for making the most delicious toasties – think creative fillings, quality bread, the ooziest cheeses, and good coffee to go along with ‘em. From Rockdale right through to Lane Cove, here’s where to find the best golden sangas in Sydney.

Hungry for more handheld goodness? Scope out the best burgers and best sandwiches in Sydney, or if you prefer to ditch the bread, have at some of the city's best fried chicken.

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The best toasties in Sydney

Hand holding Toastie Sandwich at Brickfields bakery
Photograph: Jordan Kretchmer

1. Brickfields

Restaurants Chippendale

Order the: Mushroom melt
You know you have a good toastie in your hands when it’s made with Brickfields bread, so going straight to the source is a very smart idea indeed. The mushroom melt takes field mushies, rich truffle mayo, pops of piquant jalapeño and plenty of melty Gruyère, and places all this creamy, umami-packed goodness between two pieces of thick-cut white sourdough. If you’re feeling inspired, take home a loaf to recreate this masterpiece from the comfort of your kitchen.

A four cheese toasted sandwich on a plate
Photograph: Emily Lloyd-Tait

2. Penny's Cheese Shop

Shopping Delis Potts Point

Order the: Cheese toastie
America can keep its famed grilled cheese sandwiches – we’ve got our own national treasure thanks to Penny’s Cheese Shop in Potts Point. The only thing better than a toastie filled with cheese, is a toastie that also wears cheese on the outside like a salty, crisp coat of armour. Owner Penny Lawson grates an ever-changing line-up of four kinds of cheese (!) and layers them all on the outside (!!) and within (!!!) – you can also add optional jalapeños and ham. Bottom line: don’t think, just go.

Toastie sandwich at Room 10
Photograph: Jordan Kretchmer

3. Room Ten

Restaurants Cafés Potts Point

Order the: Gypsy ham sandwich
Serving up some of Sydney’s most consistently good café fare in a surprisingly tiny space, this small and mighty production line also churns out one of Sydney’s best toasties. The only trouble you’ll have here is tossing up between your toastie filling: slow-cooked lamb brisket, lemony-fresh chicken or a good ol’ ham-and-cheese combo. We go with the latter, and are rewarded with two slabs of seriously toasted Brickfields bread, which house sliced and perfectly gooey free-range Llandilo Farm eggs, six layers of Gypsy ham, roma tomatoes, sweet chilli jam and cheddar cheese. These guys also know the importance of keeping the fresh elements of a toastie cool and crisp, adding a hefty serve of rocket to the sanga after it comes off the press, providing a refreshing contrast to the melty interior.

toastie sandwich at Cavelier
Photograph: Jordan Kretchmer

4. Cavalier 2.0

Restaurants Cafés St Leonards

Order the: One you think sounds the best
Nostalgia is in full force at this backstreet St Leonard’s café: Madison Avenue and Tina Arena playing on the stereo and toasties that comfort like only mum’s cooking can. They’re essentially dinner between two cuts of Bread and Butter Project bread. They mix up the toastie menu here on the reg, but on our visit it’s a luscious beef tongue Bolognese – which takes two days to cook – that binds the bread slices together. The crust is dusted with paprika and fennel seeds, for extra oomph. Much like lasagne, it’s all about the layers in this epic number – there’s a generous daub of creamy béchamel and a soft poached egg on the outside, and the fragrant curry leaves and soft red onions inside cut through all that richness beautifully.

Mi groeng sandwich at Dutch Smuggler
Photograph: Anna Kucera

5. Dutch Smuggler

Restaurants Cafés Sydney

Order the: Mi goreng toastie
If you ever find yourself feeling a little dusty after a big weekend and in search of something easy, greasy and comforting, head straight to the Dutch Smuggler. Here you will find the infamous mi goreng toastie, alongside a weekly special. On our visit, juicy fried chicken thigh, Kewpie chilli mayo and cheese all snuggle together happily in the middle of two thick squares of sandwich bread. The starchy slabs are the perfect vehicle for this messy, finger-lickin’, hangover-busting bomb.

Toastie sandwich at Clementine’s
Photograph: Jordan Kretchmer

6. Clementine's

Restaurants Cafés Pyrmont

Order the: Broccoli superior sandwich
Broccoli – you love it in curries, salads and every other lunchtime staple, but what about putting it in a toastie? This Pyrmont café peddles a killer toasted sanga starring the hearty florets. Having some greens to rein you back from the edge of cheesy TTO (total toastie overindulgence) is smart and practical, given the broccoli retains heat and also offers a nice soft bite in contrast to the crunchy, toasted surrounds. Add sriracha mayo – or housemade chilli if you want a serious kick – and you’ll be telling all your mates about this toastie as soon as you finish it.

Toastie sandwich at Birdwood
Photograph: Jordan Kretchmer

7. Birdwood

Restaurants Cafés Lane Cove

Order the: Croque monsieur
The croque monsieur here could well be dubbed the croque monster – five-finger-wide slices of fluffy white bread hold together three kinds of cheese (parmesan, cheddar and Gruyère), with a touch of sour cream to bind it all together, along with béchamel sauce, leg ham and bitey seeded mustard. Only one side of this bad boy is toasted, which melts the extra cheese spread on top and leaves the bottom slice soft and white. Throw in coffee by Double Roasters and first-name-basis-friendly service, and it becomes no mystery why this remains one of Lane Cove’s most beloved cafés.

Toastie sandwich at Porch
Photograph: Jordan Kretchmer

8. Porch and Parlour

Restaurants Bondi Beach

Order the: Kimchi toastie
This North Bondi staple dishes out some seriously great brunch dishes day in and day out, and the toastie is no exception. Crunchy kimchi is an inspired contrast to melted cheese and dark, malty rye bread. The toastie is neat and compact, making it ideal for dipping into the blob of garlicky Japanese mayo that comes on the side, for that extra unctuousness factor. Pair it with a coffee and coconut smoothie for the ultimate morning jumpstart.

Cheese kaak at Nineteen43
Photograph: Supplied

9. Nineteen43

Restaurants Cafés Rockdale

Order the: Wagyu basturma kaak
This buzzing bakehouse located right next to Rockdale Station tackles toasties a little differently. The kind-hearted owners high-five and hug locals on entry, popping in for Reformatory Lab coffees and kaaks – pressed Lebanese bagels. A wagyu basturma (air-cured beef that’s like bresaola) number comes with a lick of tahini-infused yoghurt, a fried egg and cheese.

Handheld baguette sandwich at Omeio
Photograph: Supplied

10. Omeio

Restaurants Delis Paddington

Order the: Baguette of your choice
In this little deli, right on the fringe of Paddo, you’ll find gorgeous Organic Bread Bar baguettes just waiting to be toasted. A sliced baton of crusty goodness seals in Westmont pickles, jamón and melted Swiss cheese. The crusty French bread makes this a little more substantial than your average sanga, and proves to be a worthy side-step from the typical toastie.

Toastie sandwich at Saga
Photograph: Jordan Kretchmer

11. Saga

Restaurants Cafés Enmore

Order the: Lee Tran
Sydney writer and Time Out contributor Lee Tran Lam is the namesake of the main toastie on the menu at this Enmore bakery. The heroes are the thick-cut bread and the salty pop of capers; the long broccolini stalks are a little tricky to munch through, but a wedge of charred lemon adds a nice acid hit, and is a citrusy reprieve from the cheesy overload in this two-handed affair. Why not order a vanilla malt milkshake, which tastes like the inside of a liquified Malteser while you’re at it? And if you’re really going all out, save room for one of Andy Bowdy’s legendary cakes.

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