In a suburb where morning runs, dawn surfing and AM yoga are part of your daily routine, breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. We got up with the sun to find the best brekkies in this clean-living corner of Sydney. For more, check our guides to the best coffee in Sydney's CBD, Sydney's best cycling cafés and Sydney's best coffee cocktails.
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Bondi's best breakfasts
Order the house smoked salmon
Forget everything you think you know about cured fish – at this beautifully appointed café in North Bondi they are curing, smoking and dry aging their salmon in house and the result is ribbons of smoky, pink fish that has a proper meatiness about it. They lay the fish like shingles over toast topped with a dill yoghurt, with a fresh tangle of bitter leaves, cherry tomatoes and shaved fennel on the side. A squeeze of lemon juice and freshly ground pepper and that’s a five-star start to your day right there.
Order the EFS omelette
This ace brekky option is halfway between those famous egg pancakes that Kylie Kwong does down at the Carriageworks Markets and a Vietnamese spring pancake. They mix eggs with a little coconut milk and turmeric to make a golden fluffy omelette that has a gentle tropical spice flavor, and then fold it like a taco around fresh bean shoots, snow peas, red capsicum and mushrooms. A lug of ginger, lime and sesame dressing gives it a zippy kick that makes this one of the most creative breakfasts in Bondi.
Order the poke bowl
This place is either everything you love about Bondi, or everything you hate about it all rolled into a one-stop shop. It’s a surf shop and café where you can buy a handplane for bodysurfing, a white singlet, some natural sunscreen, a smoothie bowl and the latest trend in healthful eating: poke. Now that smoked salmon is par for the breakfast course, it’s time to graduate to raw salmon, which here comes on a bed of quinoa and is mixed in with bright green soy beans, red and green onion, cucumber, red cabbage and a little seaweed salad. They dress the lot in a ponzu and sesame sauce that give everything that extra fresh citrus sweet kick, and while it doesn’t look huge, it’ll fill in all the edges
Order the 'south side' smashed avo
The ‘South Side’ smashed avocado is so-named because it’s seasoned with seaweed scooped off that stretch of Bondi Beach. The dried, crunchy specks of algae bolster the breakfast staple; instead of the snoozy avo-and-lemon cliché that haunts humdrum cafés, the Nine gives its version extra heft and contrast, thanks to a nutty layer of tahini, light fennel shavings, two kinds of sesame, a shower of salty feta crumbles and a #cleaneating cameo by kale. (Hey, it’s Bondi, after all.)
Order the Woodsman
This little café up the north end is very popular, but also very good at dealing with the queues outside on weekends. Order the ‘Woodsman’ even if you earned your breakfast by splashing about in the water rather than felling sequoias. There is no room for sides when you’re facing down a dish of two golden squares of polenta cake, pan-fried mixed mushrooms, a swipe of goat’s curd and a soft boiled egg rolled in dukkah. Feeling dusty? Add a Bloody Mary. It’s basically a meal in itself, with cucumber, celery, pickles, tomatoes and lemon as a garnish
Order the lox bagel
Bondi might be a suburb known for shunning unnecessary carbs, but a salmon bagel is an essential addition to any breakfast best-of list, and Lox Stock and Barrel is the place to get one when you’re in this neck of the woods. A warm, soft bagel with onion pieces and fat juicy capers on top is spread with cream cheese, packed with salmon and brightened with the gentle tang of pickled red onions and fresh spice from some rocket.
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 tomato relish, crossed it with two bacon rashes and capped it off with a fresh poached egg.
Order the ricotta hotcakes from Bills
Bill Granger forged what is now a well-worn path for Sydney brunch with his thick, fluffy ricotta hotcakes, and more than a two decades later, that breakfast still stands up to all newcomers. We’ve yet to manage eating all three of the fluffy golden pancakes filled with seams of ricotta that strike the perfect balance between salty and sweet with the honeycomb-spiked pat of butter on top. Want it sweeter? That’s what the maple syrup and fresh banana on the side is for.
Order the Nest at Sean's Panorama
Sydney’s café breakfast credentials are peerless, but if you want to upgrade your morning meal further it’s worth treating yourself to a fancy brunch at Sean’s Panaroma. This long-lived dining destination is now open on weekend mornings with a short, sharp take on brekky that includes crumpets, scrambled eggs with spanner crab, and the Nest – two eggs from the Moran family farm perfectly poached and balanced on two crisp, golden brown fried potato hash cakes. A splash of green from the fresh cress is the finishing touch on this elegant, tasty breakfast.
Order the shakshuka
The titular dish from this North Bondi café and bakery is also their standout offering. The tomato sauce that the eggs are cooked in is thick and rich, almost like a Napoletana. A scattering of olives reinforces the Italian accent on this Middle Eastern dish, and a side order of halloumi – pan fried and then added to the sauce so that it stays soft and melty – throws a little Greek twist in there for good measure. The thick, toasted, house-baked bread on the side is sturdy enough to ferry every last bit from pan to face – their ratios are spot on
Explore more of Bondi
You'll find luxury labels, organic cosmetics, locally made activewear, playful jewellery and ethically made denim all on the one strip in Bondi Beach. If all that retail therapy is making you hungry, fill up on some of the best breakfasts in the 'burb before hitting that world famous beach.
Need a drink instead?
Based on Instagram posts alone, you'd be forgiven for thinking Bondi was only about sunrise yoga, surfing and high intensity cardio session. But this beachfront 'burb also possesses an ace collection of bars for when the old exercise you want to be doing is bending the elbow.