Best Breakfast in Sydney

Updated 1 month ago


Breakfast is the closest thing we have to a national cuisine. Here we pay tribute to Sydney’s best, the places shaping the definition of the pre-midday meal. Some are big, while others are small. Some are neighbourhood prizes, others pull crowds from all over the city. But they all have one thing in common: they represent the best morning dining Sydney has to offer.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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”.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 Pantry 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 sophisticated American-style spot serves the kind of 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.

  • 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.

  • An all-day bistro, bakery and French deli serving a slice of Parisian life north of the bridge. Pick up a coffee and kouign-amann in the morning, pop in for salade niçoise and chardonnay at lunch, and get a fresh baguette at any time of day.

  • 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.

  • 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.