Best Breakfast in Sydney

Updated 3 months 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 Sydney’s cafes crammed with diners scraping their plates clean of smashed avo on sourdough, jazzed-up porridge and more. Thanks in large part to the late Bill Granger, Aussie 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 venues are increasingly offering the most important meal of the day, from Japanese cafes to Thai spots like Haymarket’s Boon and Parramatta’s all-day Med powerhouse Misc. Here, we’ve curated the places that are shaping Sydney’s breakfast landscape – as well as those that have nailed the classics (and learnt to handle the crowds that follow).

  • Walk past Happyfield any day of the week and there’ll be a crowd of people lining up outside. They’re here for pancakes – fluffy, Instagrammable stacks of them – drenched in 100 per cent Canadian maple syrup with Pepe Saya butter on the side. Also, choc-malt shakes and Bloody Marys spiked with Canadian vodka.

  • The much larger spin-off to Potts Point institution Room Ten counts a couple of Sydney’s top chefs among its legion of fans. Neil Perry and Josh Niland both hail its next-level brunch fare (think scrambled eggs with caponata and huge cauliflower sandwiches) and Mecca coffee – best enjoyed al fresco in the picturesque laneway.

  • Thaitown’s destination cafe and Asian grocer seamlessly blends Thai and western cuisines into a style all its own. Dishes might include shiitake and crab congee, Thai-style baked eggs, and fig and walnut toast – with everything from the cashew butter to the chilli relish made in-house.

  • If you’ve never had Japanese comfort food for breakfast, do yourself a favour and hit this low-key cafe in the inner west. Onigiri with miso soup, congee with grilled salmon and roe, chirashi bowls – you name it. It’s by the same team behind Cool Mac Cafe in Kirribilli, and you’ll find a tighter edit of the same dishes there, too.

  • This modern neighbourhood cafe has an old soul, serving up classic brunches with top-tier Sydney produce. Come for an outstanding ploughman’s board or a three-cheese toastie, and stick around for Mecca coffee served any way you like.

  • One of Sydney's first new-wave cafes is still going strong, with its Middle Eastern-influenced menu and consistently great coffee. The Ottoman eggs – poached eggs with crumbed eggplant and garlic labneh on house-baked bread – has been a staple since the early days.

  • If you'd asked five years ago, we wouldn't have said there were many parallels between Nordic and Japanese cuisines. But that was before Edition came along. Breakfast here might look like fluffy scrambled eggs with charred avocado, salad and house-made Japanese milk bread. And if you’re dining at Edition’s HQ in Darling Square, the experience is like being inside an elegant Japanese farmhouse.

  • The “unusual” eggs on toast – sourdough topped with fried eggs, stracciatella, peanut butter, sesame sauce and chilli sauce – is the move at this destination all-day diner. It’s been serving some of the north shore’s most creative brunches since 2016.

  • The first dine-in venue from Bondi’s Lox in a Box is serving Sydney’s first bagel high tea. Head to the old old Cornersmith site to try it – or maybe some hot salt beef on rye, or a stellar brisket burrito.

  • Hovering over Kirribilli wharf is one of the city’s most picture-perfect cafes. A swish space inspired by the Hamptons packs in social-media famous waffles and some mesmerising harbour views.

  • Back in 2012, the idea of a tiny neighbourhood cafe leading the conversation around food waste and ethical eating seemed radical. Several cookbooks and many jars of pickles later, Cornersmith is still quietly doing its thing – from a bright corner spot with an in-house deli. If you like seasonal salads, house-made preserves and kombucha with your free-range eggs, this one’s for you.

  • An unpretentious corner cafe serving all day crowd-pleasers and Single O Coffee. Batch brew on tap – served cold, hot, or topped with whipped cream – is about as fancy as it gets here. For food, try the comforting black-sausage sanga, or the vegan tofu scrambled “eggs”.

  • Few places have had a bigger influence on Sydney’s cafe scene than Devon. It was one of the first in Sydney to eschew the standard model of eggs and toast – and instead served restaurant-level breakfasts that draw on the city’s cultures and cuisines. The menu's real mainstay is Breakfast with Sakuma’s – miso-grilled market fish, a 63-degree egg, smoked eel croquettes and a seasonal salad.

  • Parramatta Park’s lush Med-inspired eatery is all about communal dining. Build your own brekkie plate with focaccia, sujuk, smoked labneh and more. Or grab fancy pantry items for a picnic in the park.

  • Breakfast at Rising Sun is an experience like no other. Much of the dining area sits above a vintage motorbike workshop, for one. And the hero dish? A one-of-a-kind breakfast ramen with curly noodles, bacon, egg and roasted tomato in butter-toast broth. It’s also serving Hokkaido sausage and egg buns, dashi omelettes and high-quality coffee.

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  • Bill Granger didn't invent avo on toast, but he's certainly responsible for popularising it. Ditto for ricotta hotcakes. His breezy, licensed cafes (also in Surry Hills, Darlinghurst and Double Bay) are still some of the best – and most beautiful – places for breakfast in town.

  • Set within the Paramount Building, this architecturally striking cafe has food to match the sophistication of its surrounds. Order the classic avo on sourdough, made here with heirloom tomatoes, pickled onions and a raspberry vinaigrette. For the less health-conscious, there's also a killer fried-chicken waffle with maple-bacon gravy.

  • Central and South America are the jumping off points for Reuben Hills’ breakfast menu, starring entirely delicious dishes such as huevos divorciados (fried egg tostadas with smoked cheese and salsa). The bonus of doing breakfast here is the coffee, which is roasted upstairs in the micro-roastery.

  • The owners of Shuk serve the kind of meals they would eat with their families in Israel: a modern interpretation of traditional cuisine with a few global influences. Whether you visit Bondi, Elizabeth Bay or Chatswood, Shuk’s classic shakshuka or slow-cooked lamb with hummus are still outstanding after all these years.

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  • The cuisine-crossing menu at Blackwood also exists outside the confines of time. Chicken schnitzel sandwich at 8am? Easy done. Or perhaps a prawn poké bowl with black rice, ginger pickled beetroot, cashew butter and greens? No problem. It’s the same story over at Blackwood’s second location, in Bondi.

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  • From the team behind Grumpy Donuts, this flash spot serves the rich comfort food you’d find in a New York or LA diner. By that, we mean pancake stacks, fried chicken sangas and plenty of filter coffee. This is also one of the most impressive cafe fit-outs we’ve seen in Sydney.

  • Perfect for a post-swim coffee, Porch and Parlour has been a leader in Bondi’s barefoot hospo scene for more than a decade. From the pea pancakes to the kimchi toastie, the greatest hits are solid gold for a reason.

  • Details are everything at this retro bakery in the city’s south. The team behind pizzeria My Mother’s Cousin are making sangas with cross-section charisma, fruit-filled danishes and sourdough worth lining up for.

  • Acclaimed chef Michael Rantissi combines Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flavours to create the kind of breakfast spot only Sydney could produce. After all these years, this bright little corner eatery still does some of the best brekkie falafel around.

  • What is fika? It’s a Swedish concept all about the ritual of taking a break, or maybe catching up with friends and family. At this seaside cafe, you can do just that – but with good coffee and skagen toast: poached prawns smothered with a mayo, dill and lemon mixture atop sourdough.

  • The original Bronte eatery may be closed, but Three Blue Ducks continues to fly in the face of mediocre morning meals at its Rosebery sequel. On the menu, scrambled eggs on toast is given a deluxe Vietnamese twist, smashed avo is singular, and baked eggs are exactly what you need after a big night out.

  • Behind a low-key roller door is vegetarian cafe par excellence, which also does epic pasta dinners. Sustainable and made on-site is the ethos here, and the cabinet is loaded with sandwiches and doughnuts to takeaway.

  • Rock up to the beachfront patio for oysters with mignonette and kingfish ceviche, or settle in for a breakfast and lunch menu full of easy classics.

  • Set within a heritage-listed, 1840s-built stone cottage, Quick Brown Fox Eatery is one of Sydney’s most impressive – and constantly evolving – cafes. Come here for the congee, topped with house-made XO sauce, glazed speck, fried shallots and a gooey 63-degree egg.

  • Decked out in raw oak, this breezy spot is one of a few Sydney cafes serving traditional Japanese breakfasts, plus brunch classics. The tea-house aesthetic is fitting – artisan green teas from Japan are brewed here daily.

  • The Aussie lifestyle brand’s eponymous cafe means business. From the seasonal menu with Asian influences, to the solid curation of cocktails and local beers, this place has your weekend covered – whether you ride two wheels or not.