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Sandwich at The Shop and Wine Bar
Photographer: Anna Kucera

The best sandwiches in Sydney

Sandwiches, sarnies, sandos, sambos, sangas – whatever you want to call them – this is a guide to the best of the bunch in Sydney.

By Divya Venkataraman, Jordan Kretchmer and Maxim Boon
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Sandwiches? Well, they're the best thing to come out of slicing bread. The criteria is pretty simple: very good things in between two very good slices of well-sliced bread. No burgers, bagels, buns or scrolls. No half-hearted strings of romaine here, no siree. We also bypassed toasties (because that’s a whole other list) and bánh mì (they’re a league of their own). Here are the 12 best sandwiches (nothing more, nothing less) in Sydney.

Want more cheap eats? We've picked out 45 snacks around the city under $10.

The best sandwiches in Sydney

White bread with prawn inside
Photograph: Divya Venkataraman

1. The prawn katsu at Sandoitchi

Sandoitchi, an unsuspecting Oxford Street joint, hides an impressive range of Japanese sandwiches behind its poky exterior, with mainstay menu fixtures like nori, dashi and kombu butter. The prawn katsu sando heroes sweet, tender prawns layered in a wafer-thin crumb. It’s all about delicacy and the light touch: a smear of yuzu mayonnaise, a scattering of juicy yellow corn, all held together by pillowy soft white bread that puts up no resistance. No crusts, of course.  

2. The chicken salad at Malibu

Restaurants Surry Hills

At Malibu, which you’ll find down a Surry Hills alley, there’s just one man, Marc Aebi, taking orders, chopping fillings and waving you off with a smile and a ginormous, foil-wrapped sandwich. Pick from an array of tins holding crunchy butter lettuce, sweet beetroot, pickles, crunchy cucumbers. A green, herby mayo forms the base of your ‘wich. Beware: structural integrity could be compromised if you play too fast and loose with additions. Are you sure you need that extra avo? Even if you decide you do, your sandwich will probably still ring in under $10 (just make sure you bring cash). 

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brickfields-01.jpg
Photograph: Oscar Colman

3. The bacon and kale at Brickfields

Restaurants Chippendale

Brickfields raised the standard or the city's bread-making game since it landed in Chippendale in 2013, and it's still going strong. This sambo veers into breakfast territory with layered, multiple slices of crispy bacon tangled with shreds of kale. The salad is slathered with a generous amount of mayo, breaking down the tough greens to make an excellent slaw. We’re huge fans of the mushroom, jalapeño and cheese toastie here too.

Mi groeng sandwich at Dutch Smuggler
Photograph: Anna Kucera

4. The mie goreng at Dutch Smuggler

Restaurants Cafés Sydney

If there were a concept to pique the interest of gluten gluttons everywhere, it’s the idea of carbs wrapped in more substantial, structurally sound carbs. Maybe that's why, despite arguably being a toastie, the stoner-chic mie goreng sandwich at this CBD hole-in-the-wall joint has snuck onto this list. It's so much more than the sum of its parts, like any good sando should be: spicy mayo is slathered on bread, followed by a mess of spicy-sweet instant noodles, an oozy fried egg and shallots. The whole thing is gloriously bound together by a combination of mozzarella and nutty gruyere.

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Shop and Wine Bar
Photograph: Anna Kucera

5. The BLT at Shop and Wine Bar

Bars Bondi Beach

This Bondi hole-in-the-wall is a local's favourite, for good reason. It does a mean glass of red wine once the sun sets, but it's worth a look-in in the daytime, too. Choose between or white or brown bread here then get ready for your two-hand hunger-buster. The shreds of bacon in this BLT are just crisp enough and piled high, contrasted with crunchy lettuce, creamy aioli and fresh tomato slices. 

Food at South Dowling Sandwhiches
Photograph: Anna Kucera

6. The chilli chicken on white at South Dowling Sandwiches

Restaurants Cafés Darlinghurst

South Dowling Sandwiches is named after the street on which the sandwich joint's sign (bearing of course, a sandwich) prompts daily queues from open till close. The warm, lemongrass-heavy Thai-style chili chicken is a top-notch sandwich filling – the marinade on the chicken replaces a need for sauce, while white fluffy bread and lettuce pin things together nicely. Add a swipe of everything from the salad bar for $3 if you’re really hungry – and those pickled carrots have earned a reputation for good reason.

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7. The brain and tongue at Aria Persian Fast Food

Restaurants Merrylands

This Merrylands outfit does Persian sandwiches akin to those you’d find on the streets of Iran. Choose from six traditional sandwiches: the brain-and-tongue combo is the local favourite. Hesitation is understandable, but the sheep’s tongue is tender and the brain creamy. Slices of fresh tomato, lettuce shreds and spears of salty, pickled cucumber complete the massive roll – almost a foot long – but you can get them cut in half for easier, on-the-go lunching. 

Sub sandwich at Saga Enmore
Photograph: Yael Stempler

8. The Alex B at Saga

Restaurants Cafés Enmore

Don't let someone film you eating this sub. From Saga in Enmore, its crux is a tender maize-and-herb crusted eggplant schnitzel. It's given extra saucy power with the combined forces of parmesan custard and a classic tomato passata, plus basil for herbal freshness. The whole lot is then sealed together with a generous amount of melted mozzarella. Grab one of Andy Bowdy's famed pastries (or make-at-home cookie dough rolls) and continue the indulgence. 

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A roast beef sandwich with broth
Photograph: ELT

9. The French dip at Continental Deli Bar Bistro CBD

Restaurants European Sydney

There's no filler. This is a sandwich constructed from the best bits in every category. The layers of roast beef strike the perfect balance between that rare, pink blush and edges of caramelised fat. The meat is uniformly tender and flavoursome with just enough cheese melted on top to bind everything together. Even at this point it's juicy enough, but the bowl of pan juices for your to dip each bite into is what makes this unlike any other sandwich in town.

Brooklyn Bridge Deli
Photograph: Supplied

10. The reuben at Brooklyn Bridge Deli

Restaurants Cafés Sydney

At this CBD joint, they corn the silverside in house, resulting in a peppery, chunky beef filling. The ratio of sauerkraut, Russian dressing and Swiss cheese is wonderfully balanced, so the sandwich is packed with flavour but holds without getting too messy. It’s also filling enough to keep you trooping on throughout the day – but won’t leave you in need of a post-lunch nap.

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Chicken Katsu sandwich from Lucky Pickle
Photograph: Maxim Boon/Time Out

11. The chicken katsu at Lucky Pickle

Restaurants Surry Hills

Some sandwich slingers aim to dazzle with the sheer range of options they can slap between bread. Not so at Surry Hills’ Lucky Pickle. You’ll find just four sandwiches on its concise menu, but this is more a question of perfection rather than lack of ambition. Its bánh mì inspired pork belly baguette is arguably its best-seller, but for our money, the chicken katsu is its true sando supreme. Each panko-crumbed schnitzel is fried to order, so the still-hot and perfectly crispy meat gently melds the flavours of pickled cabbage, sesame and tonkatsu sauce and fresh mayo, infusing the bread with a delicious emulsion.

Go on, get outside

Building positioned over the water at dusk
Photograph: Supplied/Empire Lounge

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Daisies Chicago
Photograph: Neil Burger

The 25 most spectacular sandwiches in the world

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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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