Best Katsu Sandos in Melbourne

Updated February 22nd, 2023

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Since the early 20th century, much of Japanese cuisine has taken inspiration from Western cuisine. It's a genre the Japanese call yoshoku (“Western food”). That fascination can lead to the obsessive replication of classic dishes, which is why you're just as likely to find excellent pizza in Kyoto as you are in Naples. But it can also lead to the reinterpration of Western staples into something uniquely Japanese.

The katsu sando is a great example of yoshoku. A katsu (a shortening of the Japanese word for cutlet, katsuretsu) is breaded and fried, and sandwiched between two slices of shokupan, fluffy white Japanese milk bread. Sando is the Japanese abbreviation of sandoitchi, which means sandwich. It's a triple-threat snack: photogenic, texturally interesting and deliciously moreish.

Katsu sandos are everywhere in Melbourne right now, and only getting more popular. Here are the best places in town to get your hands on one.

Related pages:
Best Japanese Restaurants in Melbourne
Best Sushi in Melbourne
Best Ramen in Melbourne
Best Sandwiches in Melbourne

  • This cosy sake bar delivers izakaya staples and a communal vibe. The chicken katsu sando is not to be missed, but the rest of the menu is well worth a look-in, too. You can also buy records and sake here.

  • Papirica's sandos are a joy for a few reasons. Firstly, there's a filling for everyone. You can go for a classic pork cutlet, panko-crumbed eggplant or tamago – Japanese scrambled egg. Secondly, the shokupan made for the sandos is house-made by the loaf. Lastly, it comes toasted. A katsu toastie.

  • At this Japanese cafe, almost everything revolves around fluffy-house baked shokupan (which you can get to take away). You'll also find fried-chicken katsu sandos with house-made miso sauce, teriyaki fries and airy sponge cake.

  • Kuu had sandos on the menu far before they were so pervasive. They've been great since day one. There are prawn and chicken options, but the tofu is the standout: it's one of the best vegetarian katsu sandos out there.

  • A crumbed meatball katsu sando with tonkatsu sauce and kewpie mayo is a highlight at this Richmond favourite. Its delicate plates of sashimi, gyoza, agedashi tofu and hibachi-grilled veg are also worth your time.

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  • Hibiki’s daily rotating sando has all the polish we’ve come to expect from this Japanese cafe-bar. Past instalments have included a pork and beef burger with teriyaki sauce and yuzu-lemon mayo. And a Thai fish cake with apple slaw, aojiso ponzu and sweet chilli. It all comes between two slices of fluffy white bread.

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  • Wabi Sabi does a bit of everything: bountiful bowls, ramens, curries and katsu sandos. There’s usually a range – from chicken cutlet to crumbed eggplant – all jammed between crustless slices of shokupan.

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  • Although sister venue Wabi Sabi Salon has the more extensive sando line-up, predominantly plant-based diner Neko Neko has showcased many solid options. You might find a swordfish katsu burger with curry mayo, or an all-vegan smoked tofu katsu burger with vegan Thai basil mayo.

  • A pint-sized bakery specialising in shokupan, the katsu sando's carb of choice. If you want to have a go at making your own sandos at home, we recommend stopping by this teeny bakery in the CBD, which sells shokupan by the loaf.

  • Do a few things really well – that's the ethos at this dedicated katsu sando and coffee bar. Expect the gamut of katsu sando flavours – from pork, to prawn, to wagyu beef. Plus, perfectly spongy castella cake.

  • “Cibi” is Japanese for “little one”. But this cafe and homewares store is not so little anymore. It's in a light-filled warehouse with a spacious, homey kitchen; there are traditional breakfasts alongside a subtle and classic take on the pork katsu sando. There's also a grocery section with a range of produce and pantry goods to take home.

  • At this vegan-friendly bakery, you can get pillow-soft milk bread by the whole or half loaf, as a classic katsu sando, and more. It’s an extension of cafe Fuumi Fuumi, which has locations in West Melbourne and Port Melbourne.