Cafes in Sydney

Cafes in Sydney

Coffee culture is strong in Sydney, whether you’re after an espresso, flat white, long black or a latte… with pretty much any milk under the sun. And the only thing better than a good brew is a great accompanying breakfast or brunch. Yes, you’ll find cafes dishing up Aussie favourite smashed avocado on toast, but there are plenty of other ways to start your day.

Breakfast dish available on the menu at The Boat House, Palm Beach

The Boat House, Palm Beach

Surry Hills & Bondi

We couldn’t count the number of cafes in inner-city Surry Hills if we tried to. Walk a few steps in any direction and you’ll find a hangout to while away your morning in. A perennial favourite is Bills, where there are two things on the menu you should not miss: the cloud-like ricotta hotcakes and the sweet-corn fritters with avo salsa. Order a bloody mary on the side for good measure. More breaky cocktails await at Cuckoo Callay, where the jaffa espresso martini beats any cappuccino. Then around the corner, flaky croissants, zingy lemon-and-curd tarts, and the best pork-and-fennel sausage rolls you’ll ever eat await at Bourke Street Bakery. 

Barista making morning coffees at Artificer Cafe in Surry Hills, Inner Sydney

Artificer Coffee, Surry Hills

If you’re serious about caffeine, Artificer roastery serves nothing but coffee, Paramount Coffee Project rotates its beans every six weeks, and you can join a free tasting session at Reuben Hills. While you’re in the latter, order a bulging breaky burger. And while Sandoitchi may be small, everything on the menu is big in flavour. If your last meal on Earth is their pork katsu sando, you will not be disappointed.

Friends catching up for coffee and juice at Kawa in Surry Hills

Kawa, Surry Hills

The good life – surf, sunshine, sand – of Bondi naturally attracts a plethora of achingly cool cafes, many of them serving up health-conscious fare, like the pea pancakes that people queue for at Porch and Parlour– ocean views sweeten the deal. Eat inside a bookshop at Gertrude & Alice, or look out over the ocean (and all those beautiful people swimming in it) from Icebergs Terrace. A Bondi institution since 1928, Speedos serves up rainbow-coloured bowls and smoothies that are almost as pretty as the view – even Hugh Jackman is a fan.

Inner West

Try a wedge of one of the world’s most Instagrammed cakes, Black Star Pastry’s strawberry watermelon cake. The original café is in Newtown, but there are three other outlets across the city. Raspberry-lychee, orange-fig and chocolate-chiffon are other must-try cake flavours. The Grounds of Alexandria is another venue where you’ll want to have your camera handy – from the lush gardens to the fairy lights and perfectly-plated meals, this place is social media heaven. Added bonuses: the food and coffee are seriously good, plus there’s a kids’ petting zoo; make sure to say hello to the resident pig, Harry Trotter.

Couple enjoying food and drink at Celsius Coffee Co., Kirribilli

Celsius Coffee Co., Kirribilli

West Juliett Cafe in Marrickville makes a mean green bowl (there are plenty of outdoor tables if you have a pooch in tow). And Brickfields is the kind of place you won’t want to leave. Come here for more-ish almond croissants, danishes and stellar brews

Coffee with water views

Sydney has its fair share of cafes with standout views. Perhaps pipping them all is the rooftop at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Circular Quay. Celcius Coffee Co. is set in a glass-fronted ferry wharf overlooking the harbour, while The Boathouse Palm Beach does rustic-chic overlooking the water. Locals love the striking art deco Bathers’ Pavilion Cafe on Balmoral Beach. Fancy a swim after your breaky?

Portuguese desserts available for purchase from Sweet Belem Cake Boutique, Petersham

Desserts at Sweet Belem, Petersham

Coffee with a side of culture

There’s no Aussie worth their weight in salt who doesn’t love Vegemite or smashed avo on toast. But if you want to travel the globe over your morning meal, we have a few ideas. Savour the dashi omelettes with purple rice at Rising Sun Workshop, a communal motorbike workshop and cafe in Newtown. Order inspired Middle Eastern dishes at Nour on Crown Street in Surry Hills. Head over the Sydney Harbour Bridge for Scandinavian at Fika Swedish Kitchen in Manly (there’s also an outlet in Bondi). Grab a Portuguese pastry from Sweet Belem, which sells between 600 to 1,000 custard tarts on a weekend day. Or devour a bagel with a shmear at The Bagel Coin Rose Bay. The challah here is dreamy as well.

Friends enjoying high tea at the Gatehouse Tea Rooms, Parramatta

Gatehouse Tea Rooms, Parramatta

High tea

Tea is still caffeine, so it counts, right? In a nod to Australia's colonial heritage, high tea is an English tradition that has been enthusiastically adopted by Aussies. Enjoy delicate cakes, crustless sandwiches and petite pastries in heritage buildings at The Tea Room QVB (we also recommend a flute of champagne). Meanwhile Strangers’ Restaurant at Parliament House (overlooking the Domain), Estate Vaucluse House and Gunners' Barracks in Mosman all deliver dapper waiters and tiered platters of sweet and savoury snacks to see you through to dinner. Cheers to that.