There are so many excellent breakfasts to be found in and around Sydney, with the pre-midday dining scene really shaping up these past few years to rival Melbourne’s gold standard. It also helps that some of these places really show off those million dollar views, absorbing all that atmosphere to really smack you awake while you scoff down a perfect eggs bennie or a silky soft berry-laden pancake. We’ve looked far and wide for some of the city’s best breakfasts, as well as some outside of Sydney that are worth the short drive. This isn’t a definitive list – some obvious ones have been left off (Cornersmith, Sokyo’s buffet, and bills Bondi for example) – but these are definitely breakfasts you need in your life.
Fika Swedish Kitchen (Manly)
Head out to Manly and veer a little off the corso to find this bright Swedish gem. It’s one of the best places to eat in Manly, with homemade recipes served in a shop that looks like it was transported straight from IKEA. A traditional Swedish Breakfast Tray will be your best bet here, it comes with fralla, muesli, natural yoghurt, a free range boiled egg, and orange juice. Other good options include the Toast Skagen, which is a sourdough stacked with prawn, dill, and lemon mayo mix with avocado, and the Pytt i Panna, which is a mash of finely diced potato, beef, and pork hash hiding underneath a free range egg with pickled beetroot served on the side.
West Juliett (Marrickville)
Tucked away in the backstreets of Marrickville is where you’ll find this mega popular local. Get there early because it’s worth grabbing a seat and tucking into their monstrous breakfast plate, a comprehensive all-you-need option that includes thick sliced leg ham, perfectly seasoned tomatoes, ricotta, avocado, a poached egg, and a few pieces of toast. Yeah, plenty of places do big breakfasts, but very few can match up to this quality. If that’s not your thing try one of their rolls – bacon and egg, or haloumi and egg with wilted greens, both some with amazing chilli marmalade aioli.
Harry’s Bondi (Bondi)
This is one of the best cafes you will find in Bondi, which is saying a lot as there’s plenty to love around here. Harry’s have a cult following, and they’ve recently sharpened their focus on Bondi-friendly clean-eating meals that have resulted in some seriously delicious breakfast options like the ricotta hotcakes with seasonal berries, organic maple, lemon balm, and double cream. That’s the top pick here, but it’s also worth grabbing the very attractive coconut chia pudding with cranberry granola and berries, or for something a bit meatier: the pulled pork roll with fried egg and a smokey coffee bacon jam.
Kansas City Shuffle (The Rocks)
By night you can head along to their sister bar, Tuxedo, and go to town on different expressions of the espresso martini. By day, head along to Kansas City Shuffle for some of the best breakfast this side of the CBD, a stone’s throw from Wynyard where you’ll find these gorgeous nine inch pancakes that come oozing with lemon curd and fresh seasonal berries, the flavour helped by crunchy almonds, cream cheese parfait, and lemon myrtle. It’s the best thing on the morning menu, rivaled only by the KCS style beef brisket and waffles that come soaked in smoked chilli butter with a poached egg on time. Delicious.
Edition Coffee Roasters (Darlinghurst)
For one of the more unique breakfasts in the area take a trip here and you’ll find a playful blend of Swedish and Japanese flavours. If you like some squishy, juicy mushrooms go straight for their Mushroom Pond, but even better is the creamy Fisksoppa Soup, it’s basically a cod chowder with steamed carrots, shallots, leek, potato, dill, and watercress. You’ll have a lot of fun with this menu, and once you taste their coffee consider yourself a regular.
The Boathouse (Mosman)
Take a trip to this breezy side of town and park yourself in The Boathouse, one of the most stunning cafes in that side of the bridge. Order up some Croissant French Toast, which comes with fresh berries, whipped ricotta, fairy floss, macademias, and a generous drizzle of maple syrup and say no more. It’s simple, incredible breakfast here, and the lifestyle it offers will remind you just how beautiful Sydney really is.
Fleetwood Macchiato (Erskineville)
There’s more than just cheery puns and some top notch coffee at this tiny Erskineville hidden treasure. Simple is the best way to go with the likes of house-made lemon myrtle yoghurt or a smashed egg breakfast roll, though we’re quite fond of the hot smoked salmon dish, which comes with almond cream, lentils, sorghum, radish, poached egg, and pickled onion. Make sure to grab a jar of house-made pickles to take home.
The General (Dulwich Hill)
Dulwich Hill’s food scene is fairly modest compared to other inner-west hubs but cafes like The General are impossible to look past. They do some great burgers and toasties if you’re in for an afternoon feed, but breakfast is where it’s at with the likes of the Healthy Start, a kitchen-sink approach to clean eating with quinoa, pumpkin, pepitas, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, kale, a hard boiled egg, and tomatoes. For something a bit sweeter go for the Sticky Date French Toast with poached pear, ginger crumble, honey and cinnamon butter, or stuff your face with one of their excellent Corn Fritter Butters, which is built with smashed avo, bacon, egg, smokey BBQ, and hot sauce.
514 Marrickville Rd, Dulwich Hill || Facebook
Left Bower (Sutherland)
A few minutes walk from the train station, the Bower is stocked with cutlery and tables looted from a nearby Vinnies – which gives it an unconventional but unique sense of character. While the main menu is constantly changing, the B.L.A.T. is always a pick that’s certain to deliver, but there’s also the Oven Baked Chai Pancake or the brilliant Colin’s Pork Sausage, made with toasted fennel seeds and nutmeg, served on sourdough with smashed sweet potato, seasonal greens, house-made pickles, pale ale mustard, organic sauerkraut, and relish. You’ll have to fend of Sutherland’s small but fierce hipster community, but the flavours are worth it.
1 Adelong St, Sutherland || Facebook
Cuckoo Callay (Newtown)
If you live in Sydney chances are you’ve at least walked past this charming little cafe that’s by your side when you enter/exit Newtown station. Chances are, being that it’s in a train station, you’ve wondered if it’s any good. It is. It’s very good in fact, and their desire to constantly keep things fresh has led to some joyously delicious menu options like the mega-popular Bacon MacDaddy, a sightly sandwich of double smoked bacon, bacon mac ‘n’ cheese, a 63* poached egg, and tomato relish all in a crispy toasted croissant. Other essentials include the Holy Grail, a pricey but generous bowl filled with corned beef and potato hash that’s been mixed with shredded carrot, cabbage, leek, and beetroot hollandaise, with a poached egg sitting pretty on top; and then there’s the Magic Mushrooms, a stack on sourdough built with wild mushrooms, truffled goat’s cream, spinash, roasted truss tomatoes, smoked almonds, and a crumbed egg. They like their flavours as big as the breakfasts, brunches, and lunches themselves.
There’s nothing quite like Shuk, the homely neighbourhood cafe is such a treasure with their strong commitment to rustic Israeli-Mediterranean food. Their ‘Shuk by Night’ menu is one of the best dinners you’ll fine in the Eastern Suburbs, but breakfast is too good to be kept as a secret hogged only by the locals. There’s a bus stop right outside so getting in and out during the early hours is a must should you want to try the likes of their essential Israeli Breakfast, which is 2 eggs (fries, scrambled, or 60/60) with an Israeli salad of olives, labne, hummus butter, house-made jam, avocado, tahini, granola, and yoghurt. Equally delicious is there Teff Pancake with ricotta, sweet dukkah, maple syrup, banana, and optional bacon.
Somer Sivrioglu’s contemporary Turkish institution isn’t only just of the best spots in Balmain for lunch and dinner, but heading along for breakfast is just as vital. There are over 30 types of small-plate Turkish delicacies to share, a $32 all-inclusive buffet that will see your table fill with a variety of cheeses, olives, spreads, house-made jams, seasonal veggies, fruits, hot dishes, breads, and Turkish tea. It’s a breakfast that has won awards in the past, and until Sivrioglu brings the same concept over to his other restaurant, Anason, in Barangaroo (we can only hope!) you’ll have to head out to Balmain for a weekend breakfast to experience it. It’s a group kind of thing, so make sure you take some good company.
Platform Eighty Two (Concord West)
This is the place to go when you feel like a big breakfast isn’t big enough. Platform 82 have these ridiculously large three-tiered breakfast buffets that you could easily share between a group of say about 4 or 5. Instagram has sent this place viral, but it’s not all cheesy gimmicks here, these breakfast towers are the real deal with eggs served three ways, a tonne of bacon, goats’ cheese, sausage patties, pork belly, avocado, pancetta, mushrooms, hash browns, roast tomato, toast, hell there’s even the option to top it all off with waffles, French toast, or some pancakes. Like Dr Dre said: “you never been on a ride like this befo’.
82 Queen St, Concord West || Facebook ||
Diggies has been standing in this beautiful heritage listed building for years now, it’s one of the most adored business in Wollongong, and for very good reason. They do an amazing Acai Bowl with fresh blueberry, strawberry, banana, toasted coconut, pumpkin seeds, goji berries, and toasted coconut – the type that’ll make you taste what all the fuss around clean eating is about – but for something closer to traditional breakfast go for the Happy Days, it’s a plate of fresh asparagus, bacon, rocket, tomato, a poached egg, and shaved pecorino stacked on a sourdough. Get here early and watch the sunrise, it’s impossible to have a bad day after that.
Rising Sun Workshop (Newtown)
This motorcycle workshop-cafe hybrid in Newtown is the newest entry on this list, but they’ve found their legs rather quickly with a cult following that’s as deep as those big bowls of breakfast ramen. Yep, breakfast ramen; where the broth is made with buttered toast, a pool for pre-arvo standards of bacon, egg, and tomato. There’s other Japanese inspired breakky meals like the Pig Jam Toast, with spicy sobrasada and an optional egg, and soft, fluffy hokkaido milk buns with egg, cheese and kimslaw complementing either bacon or mushroom.
Big Tree House (Rydalmere)
Try to grab a spot in their leafy backyard and try to blend in with the locals as you settle into this neighbourhood cafe. They focus on good quality, simple breakfasts here, like the Goats on Toast, giving you warm French goats cheese that’s been drizzled with honey and organic nuts on a thick slice of sourdough. Even sweeter is the Brioche French Toast which comes with vanilla mascarpone, maple syrup, and fresh seasonal berries. For something a bit different go get the Three Mushroom Crepe which is soaked in a cream sauce with a small salad.
Henri Marc (Penrith)
One of Western Sydney’s best cafes. No question about it, head off to this hidden gem in Penrith for coffee from Reuben Hills and bead from Brasserie Bread, two connections which should be enough to let you know how discerning the husband-and-wife owners are. Grab their Caramel on Toast breakfast which is on the all-day menu, it’s toasted Brasserie sourdough that’s been smothered in caramel sauce, the kind that doesn’t overplay it on the sugary side but is beautiful and balanced. Just as good is the ricotta buttermilk pancake with fresh wild berries and homemade berry ice cream, though the menu changes regularly so consider yourself lucky if you catch these must-haves.
Harry & Mario is Cronulla’s local cafe and deli with enough cured meats and pastries on display that you’d feel all drooled out by the time you’d have even sat down. Save some of that exciting through because you’ll need the energy to finish a Deli Breakfast Plate with perfectly sliced jamon, tomato, ricotta, avocado, and a boiled egg on sourdough. Other favs include the ham hock and fried egg roll with relish, cheddar, and BBQ sauce; the Burrato Bruschetta which has fresh burratta dressed up with vine riped tomatoes, dukkah, rocquette, glazed walnuts, truffle infused honey, and rosemary.
The Tiny Giant (Petersham)
They do all day breakfast at this busy little cafe that’s been dominating your Instagram feed for months, dishes which are playful and inventive just waiting to be shot, uploaded, and smothered in hashtags. It’s not just about over-styled aesthetics though, yeah this is heaven for your everyday Instagram blogger but there’s also a reverence for quality produce and big flavours. For proof get the brioche toast with berries, cinnamon ricotta, and one very bright mound of pink fairy floss – looks good, tastes better.
Circa Espresso (Parramatta)
No breakfast in Sydney list is complete without venturing out to Parramatta and the influential Circa Espresso. Having been standing as a local favourite – and award winner – for a few years now, it’s raised the bar for Parramatta, an unquestionable innovator for a suburb that is only now growing a real dining scene. My personal favourite on the current breakfast menu is the Ottoman Eggs, they do them perfectly here with perfectly poached free range eggs with crumbed eggplant, garlic labneh, burnt chilli, and sage butter; use the seeded sourdough to mop it all up. They also do one of the best croque monsieurs around, and are quite nifty with their avocado bowls, which come dressed up with 12 year old pedro ximenez vinegar, cherry tomatoes that have been marinated in basil, feta, green olives, paesanella ricotta, dukkah, and pickled shallot dressing, all with some sourdough.
Contributions by Chris Singh, Nathan Atkins, David Hunter, Mikki Gomez, Larry Heath, Fergus Halliday
Headline image: Coconut chia pudding w house made granola & berries from Harry’s Bondi | supplied.