Sydney's love for breakfast knows no bounds – we’ll queue for ages, seek out the most photogenic dishes and fight the corner of our favourite brunch spot with a passion. This is a city where the choices are many, but these are the dishes that are a cut above – think classics done right, new spins on eggs, coffee like liquid gold, menus that break new ground, seaside locations and service that'll have you happy you rolled out of bed. Presenting Time Out's guide to the best breakfasts in Sydney.
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The 29 best breakfasts in Sydney
Order the: Ottoman eggs
This breakfast – fit for kings, queens and sultans – is all about texture: a base of garlicky labne, surrounded by brown butter and fried sage, is topped with a disc of eggplant fried in a katsu-like shell. It’s crisp and golden on the outside, meltingly tender on the inside and topped with two spot-on poached eggs and a nest of fried leek for crunch. House-baked focaccia takes it firmly into all-day breakfast-brunch territory. Throw in Parramatta’s best coffee and it’s a place to go back to, over and over.
Order the: Liquorice bread with house-churned cultured butter
Yellow at brunch was once a place of housemade bacon and 63-degree eggs in ham-hock consommé, but since the bistro transformed itself into Sydney’s finest vegetarian fine diner, its brunch menu followed suit. Those soft-set eggs now sit in a vegetable broth rich with kohlrabi and mushroom, and the scrambled eggs are shot through with kombu. But the liquorice bread still holds court. A big wodge of warm, toasty, black-as-night bread sticky with melted liquorice and liquorice-root infusion. This is what banana bread wants to be when it grows up.
Order the: Mapo mushroom on toast
Single O has always been about pushing boundaries, be it championing single-origin beans way back when, or introducing a self-serve batch-brew bar stocked with four rotating single-origin coffees. The brew bar is part of a renovation that brings more seats and a menu overhaul that twists classics in new directions with native ingredients. There’s the crocodile “Croc-ettes”, for example, served with Japanese curry sauce, but the highlight is the mushrooms on toast: fat portobellos tossed with a rich and spicy mapo tofu sauce on toasted sourdough, topped with salty karkalla and a soft-poached egg. O my.
Order the: Corn fritters
These bad boys are a classic for a reason. Bills practically invented Australian breakfast, and several years and a few offshoots later (including one in Tokyo) they still do the best corn fritters in the city. Served with bacon and roast tomato, and optional avocado salsa ($4; do it for a whack of freshness), it’s the perfect entrée to a Bloody Mary seasoned with Clamato, lime and coriander, or a sweet white peach Bellini. Throw in the bright, breezy aesthetic and it becomes a morning to remember.
Order the: Soufflé pancake
Taking inspiration from the ultra-light and fluffy Japanese spin on this classic breakfast dish, Edition’s cloud-like soufflé pancake is a must-order at the Scando-Japanese stalwart. Ultra-whipped, and rising high, the toppings change with the season – it might be mango, peach and cream cheese in summer, or sencha cream, rhubarb and elderflower in the spring. Whatever the flavour, the dish never fails to impress, nor does the dark, moody space or the exceptional coffee. Win.
Order the: Curried scrambled eggs, LP’s sausages and English muffin
Imagine the sausage and egg McMuffin of your wildest hangover fantasies, but cooked by a top chef at the top of his game. That gets you halfway to this outstanding breakfast offer. But it’s the curry that chef Clayton Wells folds through his soft-set eggs, the spiced sausage made by Luke Powell at LP’s Quality Meats, and the prospect of exceptional Single O coffee to go with it that seals it. Breakfast sausages not your thing? Try the XO omelette with blue swimmer crab, then grab a signature muffuletta from the front window to go.
Order the: Shakshuka
Kepos knows full well that in Sydney breakfast goes on well past midday, so the soft-baked eggs and tomato shakshuka headlines both the breakfast and lunch menus. Smart move. Two eggs with just-set whites and runny yolks land in a sea of spiced tomato and capsicum sauce sauce topped with generous spoonfuls of tahini and coriander. Believe us, order a second slice of toast. You’ll want it to mop up every last bit.
Order the: Breakfast ramen
Half motorcycle workshop, half café, Rising Sun Workshop does breakfast, lunch and dinner with a Japanese bent. That means katsu burgers and noodle soups at lunch, steak with ramen butter come dinner and a glorious bowl of ramen for breakfast. Said ramen starts with a big beautiful base of rich bone broth infused with buttered toast, then adds firm, stretchy noodles made to Rising Sun Workshop’s own specifications, and tops it off with a just-set onsen egg, shards of crisp bacon and charred tomato: savoury and ultra-comforting.
Order the: Broccoli sandwich
Brickfields supplies sourdough to a bevy of cafés around the city, and there are good things to be had on a slice of toast or two, but the broccoli sandwich is an institution for a reason. Fat roasted florets tossed through chilli oil, lemon and parmesan all served on a ciabatta roll sauced with chilli mayo. And of course there’s no leaving without ordering a Persian love cake, fragrant with spice and orange blossom. Breakfast dessert FTW.
Order the: Scando breakfast
Do you prefer your morning meal to be as precise and segmented as an edible Lego set? The Scando breakfast at Cornersmith, everyone’s favourite community-focused café, is for you. A big wedge of gentle, creamy and slightly nutty Maffra cloth-bound cheddar, a piece of seasonal fruit and a dish of sweet apple and quince jam are joined by two finger-scalding boiled eggs, thinly sliced rye bread and a pat of Pepe Saya cultured butter. Approach it like a cheeseboard, turn it into eggs and soldiers, or treat it like a three-course toast tasting platter – there’s no wrong way to graze. And why not grab a jar of pickles for the road while you're at it?
Order the: Mi Goreng toastie
Dutch Smuggler is a hole in the wall that specialises in transforming slices of Infinity Bakery’s traditional tin loaf into killer toasties that demonstrate the stretching potential of good cheese. The best is the Mi Goreng, a genius collision of two great late-night snacks. Dutch Smuggler’s version squeezes in noodles, a fried egg, spring onions, a double meltdown of cheese (oozy mozzarella and sharp cheddar) and a mysterious “magic sauce” between crunchy triangles of bread. Originally a special, it now has permanent status on the menu. We reckon it deserves it.
Order the: Corn pudding
Saga is worth visiting for the outrageously beautiful cakes and pastries alone, but the corn pudding is the dish breakfast dreams are made of. A poached egg sits proudly in the centre of a ring of spelt grains, charred corn kernels, a creamy corn purée base, and cornbread in a textural adventure. Parmesan adds grunt while the combination of fresh and pickled celery brings zip and freshness. Don’t leave without a Paris-Brest for the road, piped full of pecan-pie filling and salted-caramel Chantilly cream.
Order the: Sourdough chocolate croissant
A Sydney institution, Iggy’s is as renowned for its dark-crusted, moist-centred sourdough as it is for the queues out the door. But as much as we love tearing the end off a still-warm loaf on the way home, the sourdough croissants at the site of the original bakery make an even better breakfast. Flaky, seeping butter and with a crisp caramelised base, they're one heck of a mouthful, made more lush when the chocolate is still setting inside the warm shell. Add a filter coffee from the counter, then hit the ocean pool down at Bronte.
Order the: Toast skagen
It's a good thing the menu at Fika is all-day, because it would be hard to wait until the afternoon to get your hands on one of Sydney's most sought-after iterations of something-on-toast. Here, a slice of sourdough comes loaded with prawn meat tossed in lemony mustard-mayo, studded with chives and fresh sprigs of dill and finished with a crown of radishes and a bright orange roe. What a wake-up call.
Order the: Green pea pancake
This little café up the north end of Bondi Beach is always busy, but it’s well practised at handling the queues outside on weekends. While the chilli labne eggs are an honourable mention, the green pea pancakes are where it’s at. Will Smith is said to be a fan (if taking breakfast cues from the Fresh Prince is your thing), but we say you should order it for the crisp green base, the whipped feta, the house relish, the runny-yolked poached eggs and the ultra-fresh topping of avocado, snow pea shoots and herbs. Feeling dusty? Add a Bloody Mary. Garnished with cucumber, celery, pickles, tomatoes and lemon, it’s basically a meal in itself.
Order the: 'Milk and Honey' panna cotta
This corner spot understands the importance of condiments on a haloumi and egg roll. Not only is the bun spread with herby aioli to go with the fried egg, cheese and greens, there’s also a swipe of blackened tomato relish to brighten the whole situation. After something more adventurous than a brekky roll? Gerard has the answer in a signature dish of wobbly yoghurt panna cotta surrounded by a sea of berries, honeyed puffed rice and granola – call it breakfast dessert.
Order the: Baked goods
The signature waffles get a lot of airtime at this perenially packed, family-friendly corner spot in Marrickville, but there's a lot to be said for what comes out of the oven in the form of muffins, cakes and cookies. What's on display is worth a good, hard look, but the housemade chocolate chip cookies sprinkled with pink salt are a triumph. Have a frothed up coffee on hand for dipping and set that inner child free.
Order the: Carrot cake waffle
This plate is so pretty it deserves a Hollywood screen test (the ribbons of carrot and edible flowers are especially good looking), and what’s more it’s totally GF (vegan, even, if you skip the mascarpone). Made with coconut milk, grated carrot, mixed nuts and a scatter of spices from the cabinet (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice), the waffle tastes like gingerbread hitting on carrot cake. Who said you couldn’t have both style and substance?
Order the: Eggplant pahi scramble
The decorative scheme veers a bit retro Miami while the menu takes cues from China, Mexico, India and paleo mums in Bondi. The winner here is a whopper of a scramble, creamy and soft, submerged beneath an avalanche of roasted eggplants and capsicums spiced with turmeric, ginger and garlic. Goat's feta adds the requisite tang, but make sure you ask for the housemade hot sauce for an extra sweet-sour hit of heat.
Order the: Pandan custard croissant
A café-grocer combining Thai flavours with Australian café sensibilities, Boon is a one-of-a-kind venue. There are the likes of rice bowls with crab cakes and soft herbs at lunch, an all-Isaan menu at night, and a breakfast menu with too many options to take care of in one visit. The plan? Warm up with a crab congee, sip on a flat white made with Single O beans, chase it with a life-giving cold-pressed green juice spiked with a shot of turmeric, and follow it with a Brickfields croissant smeared with pandan custard. Sweet, fragrant, crisp and fluffy, there’s no better way to start the morning.
Order the: Bacon and egg roll
If you just want a simple, hand-held brekky it doesn’t get much better than a bacon and egg roll, and they make a very good one at the Shop, a little café and wine bar on Curlewis Street that’s the size of a walk-in-wardrobe. The kitchen is tiny, but they’ve got their systems sorted so that by the time your coffee is ready they’ve warmed up a soft, fresh brown roll, slapped aioli on both sides, daubed it with chipotle relish, crossed it with two bacon rashers and capped it off with a fresh poached egg.
Order the: Hoppers
It’s worth upgrading to the egg hopper ($9 for three), complete with a gooey-yolked egg in the middle. They’ll arrive with cracked black pepper across the top and a dish of lunu miris chilli sambol on the side. Sure, you could use cutlery, but it’s much more satisfying to make like a local and eat with your hands. Tear off bite-sized pieces and dip them into the runny yolk. The faint tang you can detect is from the batter, which is made from fermented rice flour and coconut milk.
Order the: Pork hash
It’s been years since we first went to Excelsior Jones, a café in the quiet suburban streets of Ashfield, and ordered the pork hash breakfast. That dish was a revelation. Pulled pork hock, crisp potatoes, eschalots and herbs topped with a poached egg. The latest version keeps the essentials but with a twist. An onion purée underscores a pile of salt-roasted potatoes and crisp pork meatballs topped with fresh herbs and that single perfect poached egg. Still as strong as ever.
Order the: Omurice
Devon has something of a reputation for big flavours and Instabait (think truffled soft-serve with fries for breakfast), but there’s no denying the comfort factor in a plate of buttery, garlicky tomato rice topped with a just-set open omelette drowned in a savoury mushroom demi-glace. Too little? Add some chicken karaage for some crunch and heft. Too much? The green bowl holds the key to your breakfast pleasure.
Order the: 485 Breakfast Plate
This satisfying Middle Eastern plate of sour, salty and spicy things comes with a warm bagel or pita, which proves to be essential. Dip the dough of your choice in the small bowl of eggplant and capsicum baba ghanoush, labneh, marinated olives, pickles, a half boiled egg and pilpelchuma – a Libyan-Jewish chilli sauce.
Order the: Brioche with Persian fairy floss
You’ll see it stationed on every other table, and all over Instagram. And there are good reasons why the brioche piled with fruit, flowers and hot-pink fairy floss is the pin-up-pretty number that everyone wants to order at this Petersham café. Yes, it’s designed to rack up double taps and approving emojis, but this dish is actually delicious. Served like French toast, the brioche slices are dusted with crumbled pistachio and partly sealed with mascarpone. A ring of mixed berries, Canadian maple syrup and salted caramel surrounds the toast like a security detail. And the crown of Persian fairy floss tastes like pure rosewater, not the oversugared frizz you’ll find at carnivals. For a dessert with an OTT presence online, it’s a surprisingly balanced mix of sweetness, nuttiness and well toasted carbs.
Order the: Toast with sides
Room 10 is the place for when you just want breakfast straight up, no tweezers, no edible flowers, no fuss. That maybe goes some way to explaining the queues outside this local haunt that snake down Llankelly Place on weekend mornings. The toast with sides is another reason. Choose your bread, then add whatever takes your fancy: smoked trout, prosciutto, soft-boiled eggs, rightly seasoned smashed avocado, fresh tomatoes, feta... the list goes on. Yes, there’s a line, but the staff know how to move it, slotting punters into stools in the pokey place and reciting weekend specials with practised efficiency. Throw in good coffee, and this is the kinda place that made Sydney breakfasts such an international sensation in the first place.
Order the: Lemon myrtle cured almon
These guys understand that you can mess with the classics, but not too much – there are certain expectations when it comes to a café breakfast. Of course, you want silky scrambled eggs on sourdough, but here they are topping them with silky strips of lemon myrtle-cured salmon. The side salad of leafy greens, fennel and pickled cabbage sits like a healthy shrub on top of a sour swipe of natural yoghurt. In one dish you get the things you want as well as the things you need. Smart.
Order the: Ora plate
You get two eggs fried in ghee alongside a pile of greens sautéed with mushrooms and topped with turmeric-rich, gingery chilli sauce, some mashed-up avo, and pink, nicely sour sauerkraut. You also get sai bread; the dense, seedy, totally delicious bread they make in-house (which they now sell by the loaf to take away). Not that hungry? Try a snack of the same bread topped with soft Central Coast cheddar, sauerkraut and olive oil.
After a handheld hangover buster?
Whoever first put cured, fried pork and soft, melty eggs together deserves a seriously prestigious award, in our opinion. Stuff them between two layers of soft white bread, spread on a heap of butter and you’ve pretty much got food nirvana right there. So we took it upon ourselves to traipse the streets of Sydney to find you the best bacon and egg rolls to fix any hangover, heartbreak or hard-earned snack. Man, it’s a tough job.