The CBD has come a long way. We've now got access to buttermilk hotcakes topped with mascarpone, sourdough sangas stuffed with Thai salads, breakfast tacos, Italian pastries and some of Sydney's best coffee. It used to be that finding a good feed in the city centre was unthinkable before at least lunchtime. Now, breakfast in the CBD is a genuinely exciting prospect. Whether it's avo on toast at a new hotspot or congee in a decades-old institution, these are our picks for the best breakfasts in the CBD.

Related Pages
Best Restaurants in Sydney's CBD
Best Breakfasts in Sydney
Best Coffee in Sydney
Best Unconventional Breakfasts in Sydney

Kuro

A degustation only Japanese restaurant that doubles as a casual eatery and bar that begins the day with coffees and sees out the night with cocktails, draft beers and snacks.

364-372 Kent Street, Sydney

Kitchen by Mike

Welcome to the cafe zeitgeist: seasonal, minimalist, health-aware, produce-focused and made in-house. That's all thanks to Mike McEnearney, a chef who was playing with all the above concepts back in 2011 when he opened Kitchen by Mike in Rosebery. Like that now-closed original, this warehouse-like space revolves around daily salads, sandwiches and bigger meals often based on woodfired cooking.

1 Bent Street, Sydney

Cross Eatery

This is where Noma chef and owner Rene Redzepi ate breakfast while he was in Sydney. Likely because it was a classic example of what Australian cafes do well: fresh salads, great coffee, good produce and a relaxed atmosphere. On the latter, this and Kitchen by Mike are the pick of the lot. Cross Eatery's high ceilings, wide table spacing and slick design make it a particularly good meeting spot.

155 Clarence Street, Sydney

Industry Beans

The popular Melbourne roaster's first foray in the Sydney market is ambitious. Look at its coffee menu, which has a "cold brew bubble" made with coffee-soaked tapioca pearls and a sweet house-made soy milk, and an iced coffee with wattleseed and panela syrup. The food is just as interesting without being unrecognisable. The last seasonal menu had a coffee-rubbed burger patty, fruit salads served next to coffee panna cotta and oats with spirulina foam.

40 York Street, Sydney

Boon Cafe and Jarern Chai

At night, this cafe-grocer hybrid serves some of the spiciest Thai in Sydney, but its day service mixes traditional flavours with cafe standards. From 8am try pan-baked eggs with smoked fish sausage or a big breakfast with a side of congee and a Single Origin coffee. Wait for brunch and you'll be in the only cafe in Australia serving pasta with wild ginger and Thai herbs, as well as Brickfields sourdough stuffed with holy basil stir-frys.

1/425 Pitt Street, Haymarket

Pablo & Rusty's CBD

This coffee-roasting flagship is busy from the moment it opens until the end of lunch. The coffee here is darker than how it comes at most other places on this list, and the food is progressive; it mixes cafe expectations with a rotating list of seasonally-expressive creations.

161 Castlereagh Street, Sydney

Hills Bros

From the same team that brought us industry-leading cafes Paramount Coffee Project and Reuben Hills. This miniature lobby cafe works with a lot of the same ideas: wide spaces, industrial materials, bright coffees and a menu that reflects the coffee-growing regions of the world. Like at its predecessors there are influences from the Americas, particularly with the achiote tacos, but at Hills Bros there are more Southeast Asian influences, with a nasi goreng and a brown-rice congee.

5 Martin Place, Sydney

The Grounds of the City

At the CBD venture from the team behind the classic Grounds of Alexandria, you can order anything from a grilled rainbow trout to a poached chicken and brown rice savoury porridge.

500 George Street, Sydney

Matteo Downtown

There are just a few options here, all of them Italian and all of them excellent. This place is from the folks who run Matteo Double Bay and it's reflective of it; it has all the Eastern Suburbs shine mixed with a bit of the CBD's aesthetic. It's also probably the only place in Sydney to eat an egg version of cacio e pepe (scrambled eggs, Pecorino, pepper and pancetta on bread). If you're a stickler for Italian traditions and you want just a coffee and a pastry, there's also a daily selection of house-baked goodies.

20 Bond Street, Sydney

Regiment

A tiny cafe with glossy interiors and succinct menu made and developed by the owner, Zach Hiotis. Due to the size of the cafe much of the offering is led by convenience – a $10 coconut pudding is smashable on the sidewalk, and the pork and egg burger has the structural integrity to last a trip to the office. Brews are courtesy of Veneziano beans and some of the most high-tech coffee gadgetry available.

Ground Floor 333 George Street, Sydney

Bacco Osteria e Espresso

Angel Place's all-day eatery does some of the best Italian grub in Sydney. Starting from 7am, try either a traditionale breakfast with just a coffee, strong of course, and a pastry, maybe a flaky, ricotta-filled sfogliatelle or an Italian croissant (sweeter and less flaky than their French cousins). Or, for something more substantial, try the $9 omlette or an egg, pancetta and jam sambo. Seating and service is more basic than the mid-range restaurant next door: mostly plastic seats and takeaways.

Shop 1 2-12 Angel Place, Sydney