Cheese, bread, and heat. Sometimes the simplest dish is the best. Now, put that heart and belly-warming recipe in the hands of Sydney’s best cafes, restaurants and cheese shops, and you’ll get one pretty bloody incredible roundup of diverse, delicious, and quirky toasties.
From eight-cheese blend creations to mi goreng jaffles, twists on the classic croque monsieur, and kimchi, curry or brisket-filled wonders—Sydney is certainly not short on options if you’re looking to go to toastie heaven.
To help you find the cult classics, established giants and hidden gems, here are 13 of the best places to find a cracking toastie in Sydney.
Dutch Smuggler | Magic Mi Goreng Toastie
Since opening its doors in 2016, Dutch Smuggler has focused on nailing two things: coffee and toasties. If you’re quickly popping through for a roasted house blend with an inch of space in your stomach, just try and resist the sights and smells of their toasted sandwiches. Forget tomato and cheese; this CBD shop’s speciality item is the “Magic Mi Goreng” toastie–with Indo Mie Goreng and magic sauce, a runny egg, mozzarella, cheddar, and house-made aioli between semi-white sourdough.
“We were fortunate enough to have an awesome Indonesian chef who made epic Mi Goreng and inspired us with her family’s secret magic sauce recipe,” co-owner Chewie Stevenson told us. “We knew we had something special and wanted to put our own Aussie take on it by slamming it into a cheese toastie. We trialled it as a special for a week and were blown away by people’s response.”
The rest of the menu is nothing to shy away from either. There, you’ll find toasties like the Reuben, mushroom truffle, “Slap Tha Cheesy”, and the “Nacho Libre” Mexican toasted sando. Best part? All of these toasties cost $10 or under.
The Mayflower | Truffle Croque Monsieur
If The Mayflower’s famous croque monsieur hasn’t come across your social feeds in all its drool-worthiness, let us gladly inform you. Finding a fine balance between aesthetically pleasing but still deeply decadent dishes, the Darlinghurst cafe’s crowning achievement has to be the melted-cheesy goodness of its French-inspired toasted sandwich. The croque monsieur comes filled with jamon serrano ham, melted gruyere cheese, bechamel, smoked mozzarella, Dijon mustard, a generous lather of truffle paste, and a side of guindillas peppers. While this creation is great all year round, we definitely recommend it in winter with some added truffle shavings.
Penny’s Cheese Shop | Cheese Toastie
As the name suggests, Penny’s Cheese Shop is a fitting spot to get your hands on a proper cheese toastie. Owner and cheese expert Penny Lawson doesn’t muck around with a big menu or mind-clouding options. With only one toastie on the board, it’s a put-your-trust-in-me situation. And trust her, we do. Every week, the special changes, with a rotating blend of selected cheeses (generally between six and eight varieties) and a mix of meat and veg, like leg ham, salami, smoked wagyu, kimchi, mixed onion or jalapenos. Choosing from what’s available that week, you select what goes on your sandwich made fresh on the spot–but one thing is compulsory. “Cheese is non-negotiable,” says Lawson. “You have to have cheese.”
In the spirit of a limited menu, the shop only makes available 20 - 30 toasties available Tuesday through Friday and 50 on Saturdays. So don’t waltz in early Saturday arvo with a hunger for oozy, melted cheese between bread, because these bad boys are usually snapped up by mid-morning. Keep your eye on their Instagram page each Saturday for updates on toastie numbers.
Wingmill | Sourdough Grilled Cheese
Wingmill specialises in cooking up authentic American wings of all flavours and spices, and it’s also home to some of the best burgers in Sydney bound to make you forgo any current diet. But there’s a lesser-known menu item we want to give some love to. Alongside the “American Smash Burger” and the slate of fried chicken options is the humble but carefully considered cheese toastie—made with sourdough, garlic and herb butter, and a melted American cheese blend. Not only is this a killer toastie that oozes cheese from all sides, but it’s also wonderfully malleable. If you’re so inclined, why not add poutine and dip it in house gravy? House chilli? Smashed beef patty and onions? Or, as has actually been done before, why not order two of them as decadent burger buns?
Toastettes | Lamington Toastie
There’s perhaps no Sydney shop more deserving of a spot on this list than one called "Toastettes". This Inner West eatery’s menu is almost entirely dedicated to the beautiful art of making jaffles—and we love them for it. Putting your basic, at-home jaffle concoctions to shame, Toastettes is pressing together flavours like Mediterranean with garlic, mushroom, oregano, eggplant, roasted capsicum, olives and triple cheese, or Greek-style slow-cooked lamb with spinach and fresh herbs. If you’re looking to reminisce on old times, opt for the pickles and cheese or the baked beans and relish. And if you’re up for it, you can order toasties for both your main and dessert. A major highlights from the sweeter side of the menu has to be the lamington toastie, filled with Golden Rough, desiccated coconut, Nutella, and marshmallow.
Cheat Day | The Nuggalo Three-Cheese
PARRAMATTA AND PEAKHURST
Let’s keep the indulgence coming—enter, Cheatday. As the name suggests, this is your one-stop shop for a cheat day. And we mean Dwayne Johnson-level eating, with totally outrageous burgers, bulky brekky classics like butter chicken and waffles, and a Lotus Biscoff menu that includes the widely beloved Biscoff custard tarts. The ethos of this joint is pretty simple: if you’re going to have a cheat day, do it right. Whether you’re bulking up or you’ve never picked up a weight in your life, your attention should go straight to Cheatday’s sourdough toastie menu. Start with something "light" like the classic three cheese blend toastie. Or go big with options like three cheese buffalo chicken nugget toastie with ranch sauce, or the three cheese smoked beef brisket monster. But if you need to pack in a few extra carbs, you can’t go past the Mi Goreng three-cheese with a fried egg.
Lankan Filling Station | Curry Toastie
Lankan Filling Station is one of the best spots for Sri Lankan eats outside of Toongabbie (aka little Sri Lanka). At the inner city restaurant you’ll find plenty of curries, Sri Lankan desserts like thala guli (sesame rolls), and hoppers (bowl-shaped pancakes made from fermented rice and coconut milk). But it’s on the Sunday 11am - 3pm brunch menu that you’ll find Lankan Filling Station’s “Curry Toastie”. Put together between white bread brushed with curry leaf butter, the jaffle fillings rotate each week with a different curry. Just imagine nursing that hangover with chicken curry, mozzarella, and cheddar sealed inside warm, toasted bread.
The brunch menu will return after Sydney’s current lockdown.
La Boite A Fromages | Cheese Toastie
It would have been criminal of us to put together this list without including authentic French toastie makers. Well, we couldn’t be happier to include knowers and lovers of all things cheese—La Boite A Fromages. Established in 2012 by cheesemongers Aurore Ghigo and Tom Ippolito, the Northern Beaches shop offers every type of Aussie and European cheese your stomach desires, with charcuterie boxes, French Raclette, fondue kits, and pantry-fillers like pâté and foie gras. But if you ask the locals, there’s a good chance they’ll recommend the cheese toasties.
The well-known sandwiches come with a three cheese blend (comté, Swiss gruyere and Emmental), bay leaf and nutmeg-infused bechamel, Dijon mustard and Pepe Saya butter on purposefully dryer/older sourdough from Brasserie Bread. From there, go wild with extra add-ons like ham, prosciutto, truffle paste, onion relish, tomato relish or fresh tomato. Otherwise, opt for the mushroom melt with mushroom, bechamel, taleggio, and truffle paste.
Bistro Clementine | Reuben Sandwich
Located in the heart of Pyrmont is Bistro Clementine, a cosy restaurant offering simple but refined brekky, lunch, and dinner menus with twists on classic Aussie and European meals. However, for this list, our interest lies in their sandwich menu (available from 11.30am) and a couple of hot, cheese-filled options that reside on it. You can’t go wrong with either of the two toasties on offer. There’s the roasted broccoli, sriracha mayonnaise and smoked provolone on toasted sourdough. Or the Reuben sandwich with Blackforest pastrami, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Russian dressing.
Nineteen43 | Jack’s Creek Smoked Wagyu Kaak
If you go looking for a classic toastie around the Rockdale area and you come across Nineteen43, you might just find something far more delicious. Named after the year Lebanon gained independence from French colonisers, the locally beloved eatery affectionately blends traditional Lebanese culture and all its incredible food with Sydney cafe culture. Nineteen43’s in-house baked and toasted kaak (traditional Lebanese bagel) sandwiches should be top of your list if you're passing through. While usually eaten plain in Lebanon, the black and white sesame-filled kaak is wielded as the the ideal sandwich bread here. Try the Jack’s Creek smoked wagyu kaak with melted Swiss cheese, pickles and house harissa mayonnaise or the more classic four cheese kaak with options to add sujoq, pastrami, tomatoes or olives.
SOUL Deli | Pork Belly And Kimche Cheese Sandwich
We could name a dozen reasons why you should venture into SOUL Deli, the younger sister venue to SOUL Dining. It could be for their Korean deli goods, KFC (Korean fried chicken) pancakes or their winter truffle menu. But while we’re talking all things toastie—it’s got to be so you can get your hands around the toasted pork belly and kimchi cheese sandwich. Let’s break it down: this is a pressed sandwich with provolone and American cheese, fried kimchi and pork belly served with some house pickles. Pro tip: make sure you add some extra chilli oil made in-house.
LOAF | Ham Truffler Jaffle
Not only does LOAF boast an enviable location, just a stone's throw from Cronulla’s sparkly beach-front, but the cafe is also pumping out some of our favourite Southside jaffles as well. Opened in 2015 by locals Annaleigh Grace and Kirsty Lissa, LOAF has a couple of delicious jaffles you’ll want to check out. And don’t worry, these won’t break the bank at under $10 each. Get nostalgic with the “Cheesymite” jaffle, which is as simple and great as it sounds, or the “Ham Truffler” with ham, cheese and truffle mayo. But make sure to keep an eye out for jaffle specials, which in the past have included the likes of eggplant, spinach and sweet onion, or ham, pineapple and mustard, and even house-made berry jam and brie.
Brickfields | Mushroom Melt
Since opening up shop in 2013, Brickfields has been serving fresh bread, pastries and sandwiches to grateful locals and Sydney hospitality joints. If you work or live in the area, there’s a very good chance you frequent the Chippendale bakery on a semi-regular basis for one of their limited menu items. Besides Brickfields’ famed bacon sandwich, our go-to has to be the winter-warming mushroom melt. As you’d expect from a bakery-cafe, the toastie comes on bread made in-house, holding together mushrooms, melted gruyere cheese, truffle mayo and pickled jalapenos.
Although the bakery likes to rotate their offerings, the mushroom melt is a tough one to take off the menu—even during the summer months. “People love it,” says Brickfields bakery manager Susi Malyon. “I think it’s the small details that make a big difference. For me, it’s the unexpected heat of the jalapeno that makes this sandwich. It also helps that the light rye and caraway bread is very tasty.”
While you're here, check out the best places in Sydney for banh mi.
Image credit: Caitlin Hicks, Caitlin Hicks, The Mayflower, Wingmill, Toastettes, Cheat Day, Bistro Clementine, Nineteen43, SOUL Deli