The Best Breakfast in Melbourne

Updated 3 weeks ago

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Breakfast is the closest thing we have to a national cuisine. That’s clearest on the weekends. You’ll find Melbourne’s cafes abuzz with diners scraping their plates clean of smashed avo on sourdough, jazzed-up porridge and more. This breakfast culture has been exported globally, from the Bluestone Lane chain in the US to Hardware Societe’s French outposts and Caravan in Seoul.

The scene at home is evolving, too. For more than a decade, it’s been dominated by Western dishes. But a wider range of spots are increasingly offering the most important meal of the day, from Japanese cafes to Thai joints like West Melbourne’s Udom House and all-day Korean diner Ondo. Here, we’ve curated the places that are reshaping Melbourne’s breakfast landscape – as well as those that have nailed the classics (and learnt to handle the crowds that follow).

  • This cafe has an old soul, with an unpretentious feel reminiscent of the pre-Instagram era. Its pared-back, produce-driven menu looks different day to day (but standouts have included a cured-fish plate and riff on eggs Florentine).

  • Meet the city’s standard-bearer for Japanese breakfast. Come for its beloved teishoku (a set meal of fish, rice, miso soup and pickles) alongside onigiri and mazesoba (dry ramen). Plus, Wide Open Road coffee and matcha and lattes.

  • Coracle’s owners share the food they grew up eating in Vietnam and Hong Kong, alongside knockout dishes from across Asia. A comforting congee comes with sliced barramundi, and the hot Vietnamese coffee follows a treasured family recipe.

  • There’s not much that this bakery-cafe doesn’t do well. Try each of its specialties over breakfast, from perfectly crisp croissants to Mediterranean brunches (yes, including pasta.) And if the sun’s out, beeline to the al-fresco area.

  • If mopping up egg yolks and bagna cauda sauce with hunks of thick-cut bacon and crisp, golden potato hash sounds like a good time to you, proceed to Proud Mary. This red-brick landmark serves some of Melbourne’s most enduring brekkie plates.

  • Melbourne’s bridge to Tokyo is rightfully a breakfast destination. The dish people flock here for? A classic set with grilled salmon, tamagoyaki (rolled omelette), seasonal vegetables, rice and miso soup. Even Harry Styles had one.

  • The menu has two distinct styles: one caters to sweet tooths, and the other to those after nourishing, healthy meals. Plus, find house-blend coffee, Mork hot chocolate, smoothies and cold-pressed juices.

  • From humble beginnings as a standing-only uni cafe, Standing Room graduated with first-class food honours (and plenty of room to sit down). Order gochujang-slathered fried eggs on corn bread and house-blend coffee. Also in Parkville.

  • A daytime hangout from the team behind north-side favourite Florian. Come for fresh sandwiches, nourishing salads, a next-level mushroom congee, and a no-fuss takeaway menu.

  • This paddock-to-plate cafe and bistro sources much of its produce directly from the owners’ Gippsland farm and uses it to serve up creative morning feeds. The farmhouse breakfast is a fine way to sample its staples.

  • Sustainability, simplicity and even transportability are the guiding principles of this singular community cafe. It’s set within a recycled shipping container, and surrounded by an abundant kitchen garden that informs the no-rules menu. Kimchi toastie? Bubble and squeak? You have some choices to make.

  • Skip Macca’s and hit Hector’s for its banger brekkie muffin, which is a dialled-up version of the fast-food classic. For a caffeine hit, add in an iced coffee spritz. It blends cold brew and lemony soda in a perfect ratio. Also in South Melbourne and Fitzroy.

  • 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 for a morning meal.

  • Located across from Queens Park, this expansive cafe goes beyond the rudimentary with its brekkie offering. Go for cilbir (Turkish eggs), excellent prawn rolls or cinnamon scroll pancakes. And with 75 seats, it’s ideal for big groups.

  • A local landmark from Melbourne cafe royalty. Visit for chilli scramble on toasted Turkish bread, satisfying eggs Benny and blueberry and ricotta hot cakes. There’s also smoothies, matcha lattes and Aussie-style coffee.

  • Terror Twilight takes its name from a song by American rock band Pavement – but there’s nothing scruffy or faded about this Collingwood classic. The polished menu is two-fold – there’s a section with classic all-day options like smashed avo toast, and another in which you can customise a broth or rice bowl with add-ons and proteins. A smash hit.

  • This homely cafe serves up classic Thai breakfasts alongside Chiang Mai-style coffee, pink nom chompoo (Thai pink milk) and more. Pull up early for its hearty Isan breakfast khao niaow hor (sticky rice with your protein pick), pandan toast and pastry jaffles.

  • 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.

  • This spot comes to us courtesy of a well-oiled cafe machine. And it’s taken its 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.

  • 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.

  • The team behind Kettle Black and Top Paddock go beyond cafes with this spacious CBD spot, set in a former power station. Order fluffy ricotta hotcakes or chilli scramble with smoked yoghurt and saltbush. Plus, hot coffee and sharp cocktails.

  • Pasta for breakfast? Go on. This homely cafe, set in a 100-year-old building, serves up impressive Sicilian-inspired dishes. Go for breakfast pasta with guanciale and a slow-cooked egg; baked sardines on sourdough; or hearty meatballs. Plus, hot coffee from nearby Code Black.

  • Set in a former milk bar, this breezy brunch spot has a menu full of pan-Asian flavours. You can start your day with matcha-pandan waffles, XO scrambled eggs with crunchy rosti, or gingerbread porridge with lemongrass poached pears.

  • 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 reliable brunch menu – with baked eggs floating in peperonata – is too good not to try. Its Armadale, Middle Park, Albert Park outposts are also worth your time.

  • A bright white successor to the coffee roaster's old flagship site down the street. Single origins and ground-breaking brunches still reign supreme, served within a skylit warehouse splashed with greenery. You’ll also find its exceptional brunches in the CBD and Chadstone.

  • This started as a milk bar in ’56 before morphing into one of the suburb’s most charming cafes. Part of the allure comes from the neighbourhood vibe; the rest comes from Med-style dishes that punch above their weight.

  • Want to explore Korean cuisine beyond barbeque? This cafe has hard-to-find dishes, such as bibimbap with beef tartare and makguksu (buckwheat noodle salad). Add on a selection of banchan (small side dishes) and a black sesame latte.

  • Work up an appetite for this corner cafe in a pocket of Carnegie. Here, the team behind Touchwood and Tall Timber offer one of Melbourne’s most colourful French toasts, pulled pork eggs Benny and Insta-worthy smoothies.

  • It’s easy to settle in at this spacious 170-seat eatery, set in an old denim factory. The standout is a stellar roast-chicken roll with stuffing and gravy. For something slightly more breakfast appropriate, order the eggs Benny spinoff with slow-cooked short ribs.

  • This cafe has beautiful bones (think soaring ceilings and arched windows) and a globetrotting menu. Stick around for Turkish eggs, Japanese omurice inspired by an iconic Kyoto spot, and a pour-over station for coffee lovers.

  • This beautifully designed cafe, backed by Dukes Coffee Roasters, is a staple port of call for discerning Windsor locals. You might need to be patient to get in on weekends. But it's well worth the wait for its signature avocado hummus toast with candied bacon.

  • This spot, by a trio of Melbourne cafe legends, has a neighbourhood famiresu (family restaurant) vibe. Find katsu curry Benedict with house-made spam and Japanese curry hollandaise, AM Bakehouse pastries and whisked-to-order matcha.