The Best Sandwiches in Adelaide

Updated 1 day ago

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When John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, assembled the world's original sandwich in the 1700s, he probably had no idea how far it would go. We don't just mean geographically, either. Sandwiches are now the vehicles for just about every edible item on earth.

Here in Adelaide we've embraced the lot, from the Reuben to the Cubano; the Japanese katsu sando to the cold meat roll – aka the Vietnamese banh mi. We’ve recently seen a resurgence in big Italian style numbers filled with every cut of deli meat imaginable. Whether they're simple, elaborate or completely outrageous, here's where to find Adelaide’s best.

  • Lucia’s most popular creation, the Number One, is so beloved that local artist (and former Lucia’s sandwich-maker) Billie Justice Thomson immortalised it on a tea towel. Crusty Italian bread is smothered with olive oil, then layered with mozzarella, prosciutto, tomato and basil. Just get to the markets early to avoid missing out.

  • Focaccia baked in the woodfired pizza oven at Anchovy Bandit next door is the foundation for Bandito’s Italian-flavoured sandwich menu. The mortadella with tapenade, stracciatella, roaster peppers, artichoke and spinach is a worthy contender, but our pick is the freshly sliced sopressa with fior di latte, basil, fresh tomato and fermented and pickled chilli.

  • The whole menu at this tiny takeaway bar on Henley Square is based around the mighty Cuban sandwich – a culinary handshake between Cuba and Florida that emerged sometime in the early 1900s. Here, they’re made with inventive fillings such as citrusy mojo chicken, pulled pork, beef, refried beans and more. There’s also coffee, Mexican sodas and handmade desserts to go with them. Temporarily closed for refurbishment.

  • The “accidentally nostalgic” menu at this new-wave sanga shop might feature slow-cooked sarsaparilla pork with apple slaw, a sous vide chicken roll, or an inspired spin on the ham-and-cheese toastie (with strong Hawaiian pizza DNA).

  • The staff here say this sandwich will “cure all that ails you”. The Wallace has been on the menu since this corner coffee nook opened, and comes with generous servings of avocado, pancetta, chipotle mayonnaise, roasted peppers, tomato and mojo verde (green sauce). There’s also a vegetarian version with haloumi and a vegan version with mushrooms.

  • This chic, glass-walled coffee shop has an impressive list of sandwiches and rolls. The top-seller is an egg-and-mortadella sandwich (a take on the bacon-and-egg roll) – Swiss cheese, aioli and chilli oil between thick slices of fluffy white bread. As well as being damn tasty, the shop’s sangas might just be the most visually pleasing in Adelaide.

  • Dare we say this Jewish deli-inspired cafe's Reuben comes close to those served at the landmark Katz’s Deli in New York? We dare. At Flying Fig, the team layers house-made corned beef, house-made sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Russian dressing between slices of dark rye to create one hefty, very delicious sandwich. This one requires two hands.

  • The menu of classic toasties and fresh focaccias – including a Reuben with “burger sauce”, an ooey-gooey tuna melt, and one with mortadella, salami, provolone and giardiniera – is inspired by the Italian ethos of simplicity. It’s all in contrast to the deli’s “retro future” design aesthetic.

  • It’s all about the paninis and sandwiches at this colourful one-stop shop. You might find a meatball and sugo ciabatta, or a Chicago-style beef roll inspired by the hit TV show The Bear. Grab one and head out the back – you’ll find a park-like setting with planter boxes (growing herbs and edible flowers for the kitchen), tables and chairs, and a large grass area to lay out a picnic rug.

  • Wine bar Proof’s golden toasties have been a go-to late-night snack for drinkers since 2013. The menu changes regularly – but past highlights include mushroom with truffle and gruyere; beans with salsa, jalapenos and “Dorito dust”; and a spicy Moroccan lamb number inspired by the homey Algerian cooking at Le Souk in Adelaide Central Market.

  • A former Magill Estate pastry chef is behind this tiny artisan bakery inside Plant 4. Not only is it a one-stop-shop for slow-fermented sourdough, croissants and doughnuts; it also does a solid lunchtime trade in baguettes. There are usually two fillings to choose from: a meat option such as smoked Wagyu beef, and a vegetarian number with avocado, beetroot hummus, carrot and tomato.

  • The katsu sando, a menu mainstay since this Japanese superstar opened in 2017, has changed a little over time. It usually takes the form of crumbed pork meatball, tonkatsu sauce, mayo and shredded white cabbage sandwiched, in perfect harmony, between two fingers of fluffy white bread, and hard to look past on a menu brimming with hits.

  • This singular sandwich joint comes with an on-site recording studio, which is available to hire for podcast and music sessions. Once you’ve laid down your hit stick, stick around for a panini or sandwich on house-baked bread by an ex-Osteria Oggi chef.

  • This tiny cafe from the owners of Kent Town’s Pogo Coffee Roasters takes the bull by the horns with classic sandwiches (think Reubens with house-made sauerkraut), a cool and colourful fit-out and, naturally, Pogo coffee.

  • A seaside sandwich joint inspired by Italy’s takeaway panino bars. Come for chicken-salad sangas, tuna melts, toasties with mushroom ragu, Hark coffee and Boulangerie 113 pastries.

  • The Dolly team's next-door nook is a masterclass in paninis and toasties. At night, it flips into a cosy wine bar with clever dishes and a tight edit of stirred cocktails. Grab fancy pantry items from the retail section on your way out.

  • Japanese breakfast sets and home-style sandos are on the menu at this delightful cafe. To drink, it’s specialty coffee, sake and matcha with salted cheese foam.

  • A small, relaxed city hang serving sandos and pastries with a Filipino twist.