Breakfast is the closest thing we have to a national cuisine. Here we pay tribute to Melbourne’s best; places shaping the very definition of the pre-midday meal. Others we’ve selected for consistent performance – they’ve nailed the classics and learnt how to handle the crowds that follow.

Some are big, some are small. Some are secluded neighbourhood prizes, others pull customers from across the city. But they all have one thing in common: they represent the best morning dining Melbourne has to offer.

Related pages:
Best Coffee in Melbourne
Best Juices and Smoothies in Melbourne
Best Bagels in Melbourne
Best Healthy Cafes in Melbourne

Napier Quarter

At this all-day Parisian-style diner, you can stay right through from morning croissants to late-night cheese. For breakfast, the anchovy on toast is a rightful classic, but there are always plenty of interesting dishes on the changeable menu to discover.

359 Napier Street, Fitzroy

Lagotto

From the team behind Congress and Future Future, this cafe, grocer and wine bar's morning menu features braised beans with sausage and fried eggs; cured trout, peas, mint and ricotta; and – our favourite – cacio e pepe eggs.

1 York Street, Fitzroy North
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The Kettle Black

This is one of the cafes responsible for elevating chef-prepared breakfasts and brunches to the same level of respect as lunches and dinners. And, even after changing hands a few years back, it's still one of the best places in town or a morning meal.

50 Albert Road, South Melbourne

Rudimentary

Sustainability, simplicity and even transportability are the guiding principles of this Footscray cafe. On the menu you'll find Asian-inflected classic brunch dishes, with a strong roster of single origin coffees to choose from to drink.

16-20 Leeds Street, Footscray

Moby

The owner of this cafe trained directly under Yotam Ottolenghi, and the influence shows. There's a Middle Eastern influence in many dishes and the servings are hearty. Plus, at lunchtime there's a killer range of sandwiches.

1150 High Street, Armadale

Ascot Food and Wine

A vibing cafe that puts plenty of effort into its food, with experimental – but very tasty – results. The inventiveness stretches through to the drinks as well. Try the salted cashew smoothie.

320 Ascot Vale Road, Moonee Ponds

Lenny

At this beachy brunch and lunch spot – from the duo that brought us Moby – you'll find a range of creative but approachable dishes. It's all set within a light-washed, coral-accented space with room for plenty of people.

113 Victoria Avenue, Albert Park

Plain Sailing

This spot comes to us courtesy of a well-oiled cafe machine. And they've taken their tried-and-true classic formula to Elwood, with great success. Enter for inventive, generous brunches; great coffee; and an elegant fit-out that lets in plenty of light.

144 Ormond Road, Elwood

Port of Call

A bright and breezy daytime diner from the team behind Left Field, Plain Sailing and Tall Timber. You'll find light and bright interiors, terrazzo floors and plenty of timber. On the menu: a globe-trotting line-up of brunch favourites.

7 Bay Road, Sandringham

Ned’s Bake

This is much more than a bakery. Sure, the bread's great and so are the sweets. But what you really want to do is stay here for a meal. The brunch menu – whose past dishes have included mascarpone pancakes and chicken-liver pâté on brioche – is just too good not to try.

134 Toorak Road, South Yarra

Via Porta

Via Porta serves up the flavours of Southern Italy with a little French influence. Dishes include Scotch egg encased in a sausage and crumb crust, accompanied by shaved brussels sprouts, pancetta and candied walnuts. There’s also fried eggs in a spicy Arrabiata sauce, given a lift with ‘nduja, garlic and peppers.

677 Whitehorse Road, Mont Albert

Code Black Coffee Brunswick

This cafe and roasting house is one of Melbourne's most established brunch spots. But even after all these years, it's still at the very front of the pack. Dishes are still delicious and creative, the coffee's still great and the space is still slick.

15-17 Weston Street, Brunswick

Fitzrovia

The chef behind the pans at this all-day diner worked in some of London's top restaurants for over two decades. And you can taste that experience across even the most casual dishes.

155 Fitzroy St, St Kilda
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Nine Yards

The menu has two distinct styles: one indulges the sweet tooth, and the other creates nourishing, healthy meals. Both are highlighted in the breakfast board.

228-230 Dorcas Street, South Melbourne

Auction Rooms

This buzzing, industrial-chic spot is one of the area's most popular spots for brunch, for good reason. The coffee's great and the dishes – which aren't as revolutionary as they were when Auction Rooms first opened – are well-executed.

103-107 Errol Street, North Melbourne

Industry Beans

Coffee roasted in a big warehouse with a wide-ranging breakfast menu – you've seen it before, but these brothers do it with notable flair. Although the Industry Beans empire has expanded to other parts of Melbourne and even interstate, the original is still our favourite.

Warehouse 3 62 Rose Street, Fitzroy

Wide Open Road

Even though it opened back in 2009, this cafe and roastery is still one of the most popular cafes in Brunswick. The interiors are spacious, with comfortable chairs and cosy booths. And the food is adventurous, but it won't veer too far away from anyone's comfort zones. The coffee is, predictably, excellent.

274 Barkly Street, Brunswick

Monk Bodhi Dharma

A tiny brick cubby serving up breakfast, lunch and the occasional dinner. The menu here is completely vegetarian and no eggs are used, too. If you think it's not brunch without eggs, then think again – after a couple of bites of whatever you've ordered, you won't even know they're gone.

Rear 202 Carlisle Street, Balaclava

Lokall

A casual cafe with three-cheese toasties and katsu sandos on house-made Japanese shokupan bread, plus pork belly and kimchi brown rice bowls. It all comes in a beautiful space. This large corner spot (which seats 100, with 40 outside) has floor-to-ceiling windows and a clean, sleek fit-out.

582 Swan Street, Burnley