Fish Filet Panini (Okayama Kobo Bakery Copycat)

This fish filet “panini” is a copycat recipe for Okayama Kobo Bakery in Southern California. There is always a line out the door at this bakery, and my favorite thing to get is this fish filet panini! 

What is a fish filet panini?

It’s very similar to a fish filet sandwich with tartar sauce, just assembled differently. I think it’s pressed like a panini, but I’m not really sure. It doesn’t look like one, but I’m assuming it’s pressed since it’s in the name!

One key difference between this and a regular fish filet sandwich is the use of Japanese tartar sauce over American style tartar sauce.

Japanese tartar sauce is made with Japanese mayo, which uses only egg yolks and is known for it’s umami rich, tangy-sweet flavor. The addition of a hard boiled egg is also a characteristic of Japanese tartar sauce. 

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • This is a great dish to bring to potlucks,  as it holds well in the fridge and tastes just as good reheated!

  • It tastes very similar to the real deal. I’ve taste tested side-by-side and actually prefer my recipe, only because it’s not as rich & heavy as the one from the bakery. 

  • This is a great snack or quick meal for kids!  


  • White fish- any white fish is ideal for this recipe. I believe the bakery uses pollack- I use cod because I always have it in my freezer and its relatively inexpensive. 

  • Seasoning– salt, pepper, garlic powder for the fish

  • Brioche hot dog buns- I decided not to make the bread from scratch for this recipe because it’s already ingredient-heavy, so the best option is brioche hot dog buns. I found the perfect ones at Walmart! You can see a photo of it below.

  • Panko-this ingredient is optional. The original recipe uses panko as the breading, so if you already have it then go ahead and use it. Otherwise, you can just use the ends of the brioche hot dog buns to make your own breadcrumbs. It’s a little extra work, but it will save some money on ingredients. 
  • Flour-  to coat the fish.

  • Milk– second step of breading the fish, to help the panko stick.
  • Monterey jack cheese-it has to be slices, not grated or blocks of cheese.

  • Parmesan cheese– optional to add a little grated parmesan cheese to the panko breadcrumbs for a boost in flavor. 

For the tartar slaw: 

  • Japanese mayo- I use Kewpie mayo

  • Relish– dill pickle relish or chopped up gherkins. If using relish, drain the juice as much as you can. 

  • Hard boiled egg- this is one of the things that differentiates Japanese tartar sauce from American tartar sauce.

  • Cabbage, shallots, parsley- to add some flavor and texture 
  • Lemon juice, dijon mustard, and sugar- you only need a tiny bit of these

  • Grated parmesan cheese– this is not a typical ingredient for Japanese style tartar sauce, but I think the bakery adds this and it tastes amazing. 

More fish recipes

If you like this recipe, try some of my other easy fish recipes on the blog! 

Fish Filet Panini (Okayama Kobo Bakery Copycat)

Panko crusted white fish, soft brioche bun, Monterey jack cheese, and Japanese tartar sauce
5 from 15 votes


  • 6 oz cod filet or any white fish
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 6 slices Monterey jack cheese
  • 6 brioche hot dog buns
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs *see note in step 3
  • 1 tbsp parmesan cheese grated
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Tartar slaw

  • 1/3 cup Kewpie mayo
  • 1/2 cup cabbage shredded
  • 1 hard boiled egg
  • 1 tbsp shallot minced
  • 1 tbsp parsley chopped
  • 1/4 cup relish drained
  • 1/4 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese grated


  • Chop the parsley, shallot, cabbage, and hard boiled egg.
  • Combine all the tartar slaw ingredients together: kewpie mayo, cabbage, hard boiled egg, shallot, parsley, relish (make sure to drain juices), lemon juice, dijon mustard, and parmesan cheese. Keep in the refrigerator.
    *This can be made ahead of time!
  • Cut about 1 inch off the ends of the brioche hot dog buns. You can save the ends to make croutons, OR you can make your own breadcrumbs for the fish, instead of using panko.

Make your own breadcrumbs (skip if using panko)

  • Toast the ends of the brioche buns. I toasted these for about 2 minutes on each side, but you'll need to watch it to make sure it doesn't burn.
  • Let it cool completely before blending it in the food processor, then add 2 tbsp of grated parmesan cheese and mix well.

Prep the fish

  • Slice the fish in half so that you have two filets in the shape pictured. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
    *You can also just cut them into 6 strips the length of the brioche buns, but this will take more time to coat in the breading.
  • Coat in all purpose flour
  • Dip the coated fish into milk
  • Then do one final coat in the breadcrumbs (or panko).
    *Add 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese to the panko.
  • Fry in neutral oil at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 minutes on each side.
  • Rest on a wire rack
  • Cut into 6 strips
  • Add Monterey jack cheese slices to each brioche bun, then add the tartar slaw, then add the breaded fish.
  • Place the rack at least 6 inches from the broiler. Broil on low for 2 minutes, then broil on high for another 2 minutes or until the cheese crisps on top of the bread.
  • Serve right away, but these can also be reheated. Just pop them into the air fryer for 4-5 minutes at 375.

*This post contains affiliate links to products that I actually use & recommend. I am not sponsored by these brands, but I do make a small commission from qualifying purchases made through these links.

This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. Sandra Duong

    5 stars
    Just made this for my family yesterday and everyone loved it! This is the second recipe I’ve made of yours and both were a hit! Thanks for so many great recipes!

  2. Wuvsnoopy

    5 stars
    This is the perfect Lenten Friday Meal… tasty, easy, and a wonderful twist on a delectable seafood dinner 😋

  3. @yontel

    5 stars
    This is to-go recipe. Our fam’s fave! Kiddos love it and hubby as well. This did not disappoint! Kudos!

  4. Emi

    5 stars
    This is SO BOMB! Thanks for sharing this easy to follow recipe! 🤤

  5. Hannah Kim

    5 stars
    So so good! Putting it in the air fryer really did make it crisp and delicious. Thank you for sharing!

  6. emily huynh

    5 stars
    tested, tried and true! it was so delicious, thank you stella! <3

  7. Lifeofcristitom

    5 stars
    this is one of my favorite recipes! my family really loves it too!!

  8. Samia Alam

    5 stars
    Pretty easy to make, and very tasty . Every one likes it a lot

  9. Sally Phan

    5 stars
    The recipe is truly stellar. Chef’s kiss 🤌 I just had to try this recipe after Stella raved about how good it was!

  10. Sophia

    5 stars
    This recipe has been a favorite of mine to try during lent! I always struggle to find fish recipes that I enjoy to eat but this one has recently become a family favorite to eat during lent! I always get so many compliments when making it and it’s so easy to make! Will definitely look forward to new recipes! Keep up the amazing work! We love your talent and amazing creations! ❤️

  11. Judith

    5 stars
    I was introduced to this sandwich by your video about how you would try to buy a few when you would go to their shop. I have loved it ever since i trid it as well but I live almost 2 hours away from the shop so having this recipe was amazing. It literally tasted like theirs and wasnt so hard to make. I have tried other recipes but this recent one is the one I wanted to comment on!

  12. Grace

    5 stars
    Thank for sharing this recipe! My Korean dad has been asking for this so excited to eat this one with him when I see him.

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Hi, I'm Stella!

I come from a multicultural background, and cooking has been one of the best ways for me to stay connected to my heritage. My recipes are tried and tested, many of them passed down through family. I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we do!

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