The Best Cafes in Sydney

Updated 4 weeks ago


Sydney’s cafes are recognised around the world, and it’s easy to see why. We have former fine-dining chefs in kitchens, fit-outs from top interior designers, and a level of service that’s gained international attention. The standard is high wherever you look, but Sydney’s best cafes stand out, regardless of criteria. From cuisine-crossing menus to baristas who know how to get the best out of their beans, these all-rounders feel more like daytime restaurants than cafes. They’ll get your morning off to the perfect start.

  • From Neil Perry to Josh Niland, top chefs love this heaving spot and its "everyday" brunch fare for good reason. Soaking up the European vibe in Llankelly Place with a plate of eggs and caponata is peak Sydney.

  • Japanese comfort food by the Cool Mac crew. Specialty coffee paired with onigiri, a staple sashimi bowl and the occasional ramen pop-up has turned this cool and unassuming cafe into a weekend hotspot. Arrive early.

  • The idea of a tiny cafe leading the conversation around food waste and ethical eating seemed radical in 2012. Several cookbooks and many jars of pickles later, Cornersmith is still doing its thing – from a bright corner spot with an in-house deli.

  • A Cali-inspired rooftop bakery from the teams behind Ester, Reuben Hills and Paramount House Hotel. Ascend for sourdough bread made with old-world wheat, sell-out pies and one pastry we can’t stop thinking about.

  • At one time, the breakfasts at Bill Granger’s sun-drenched cafe were the yardstick by which all the city’s cafes were measured. This blonde-wood institution still hits with avo on Iggy’s bread, poached eggs with elevated sides and ricotta hotcakes.

  • Find this cavernous Thai grocer and cafe in the heart of Sydney’s Thai Town. Despite serving burgers, bowls and pasta, Boon doesn’t mix elements of Thai and western cuisine – it reimagines them like they always belonged together.

  • The first thing you’ll spy at this no-rules bakery is a pile of pastries in the front window. They're not an accessory to your coffee – they're the main event. Expect anything from charcoal dough to spanakopita filling in your croissant.

  • Set within a historic former church, this social impact cafe empowers at-risk women through hospitality training and a sense of community. It also collaborates with top Australian chefs to curate monthly specials, events and more.

  • Traditional Japanese mountain houses were the inspiration behind Edition’s flagship cafe. Enter this astounding space for fine-dining level breakfasts fusing Scandi and Japanese flavours, and some of the best coffee in Sydney.

  • All kinds of chewy, dense bagels are boiled on-site at this Bondi favourite every day. For the classic Ashkenazi-Jewish deli experience, go for the signature with chopped liver, egg, onion and a side of zingy pickles.

  • 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.

  • Central and South American flavours power the menu at this cool cafe by one of the city's most respected names in coffee. The bonus of doing brunch here? Your coffee was roasted right upstairs by the best in the business.

  • Walk past this sunny corner any day of the week and there’ll be a crowd of people lined up outside. They’re here for pancakes – fluffy, Instagrammable stacks of them – drenched in 100 per cent Canadian maple syrup.

  • Set within the Paramount Building, this destination cafe has a menu to match the sophistication of its surroundings. Asian influences are woven throughout, and coffees from international guests are brewing at the filter bar.

  • 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.

  • Devon ditches eggs on toast in favour of restaurant-level breakfasts that draw on the city’s diverse cultures and cuisines, with big nods to Asia. Few places have had a bigger impact on our cafe scene than this flash spot.

  • The unlikely pairing of ramen and motorcycle repairs produces some pretty spectacular results at this casual all-day diner. Come for one of four signature ramens (including an outstanding breakfast number), izakaya snacks and lo-fi wines.

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  • 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.

  • Sydney’s narrowest cafe is still going strong after more than a decade, thanks to a Middle Eastern-influenced menu and consistently great coffee. The poached Ottoman eggs are a must order, and a staple since the early days.

  • Killer coffee from a pioneer in the city’s third wave coffee movement. The main event is where you can get a seasonal feed and all the details about your brew in one sitting. Hit the sideshow for a theatrical display of coffee gadgetry.

  • Meals with Michelin-star cred are the drawcard at Blackwood, from elevated poke bowls to build-your-own breakfast plates. The easy-breezy vibe here is a perfect match for the beachside setting.

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  • From the team behind Grumpy Donuts, this sophisticated American-style cafe serves the kind of fuss-free food you’d find in a New York or LA diner. Think pancake stacks, fried chicken sangas and plenty of filter coffee.

  • The brunches at this heaving inner west cafe are as photogenic as the locals who line up for them. Go for those, plus Single O coffee on tap (whipped cream optional) and plenty of natural light.