Brisbane

The Best Breakfast Spots In Brisbane

Skip over the smashed avo this time around.

Hellenika

We all think it’s getting out of bed, but the first task of every morning is seeking out breakfast. Without the promise of crisp waffles, gooey eggs, or even just a strong cup of (decent) coffee, Brisbane would cease to function. What can we say? We’re a bunch of early rising, coffee chugging, nourish bowl-loving brunchers. Perhaps it’s all that non-weather of ours…

Lucky for Brisbane locals, then, that this town plays a strong hand when it comes to breaking the fast. Don’t DIY, here’s where you’ll find the best breakfasts in Brisbane.

Morning After

West End

The hype around Morning After sets it apart from the upturned milk crates demarcating most West End cafes. The astroturfed clad cafe on the corner is most easily recognised on weekends by the queue of people snaking down the block. And while queuing certainly doesn’t denote merit or a guarantee a good meal, in this case it absolutely does. Morning After is worth the wait (plus, locals know to stick it out—the queue moves fast). On their minds are a cup of 5 Senses coffee and one of Morning After’s signature breakfasts: the breakfast MaMuffin (just like Macca’s, only fancy) and the breakfast carbonara. 

Scout

Petrie Terrace

It’s been eight years since Scout first flung open its doors on their café-come-living room-come-workers cottage, and the local love has never once wavered. The specialty here is bagels; a menu resplendent with schmears and stuffings all destined for your belly via the iconic vehicle that is the bagel. Homemade brownies fresh out the oven are piled high at the counter, and a juice menu written on brown butchers paper hangs happily by the cash register. Serving serious coffee by Supreme, come for the brekky, stay for the quality banter; breakfast at Scout feels like breakfast at your mate’s place.

Plenty

West End

Thanks to their reliance on seasonal harvest there’s no such thing as an old faithful at Plenty. Omelettes with organic greens and pumpkin puree, poached eggs on thick-cut sourdough, French toast specials (recent iterations include sherry poached pear, candied pecans, House made chocolate halva, sesame tuille, and orange crème fraiche) and loaded sandwiches stuffed with locally cured pastrami, the all-day breakfast menu changes constantly, flirting with new flavours but sticking firmly with the hearty classics. 

The Plenty kitchen has a sweet tooth, baking enormous cakes sold by the slice—think, chocolate mud cake, lemon chiffon, and mango coconut. Serving specialist coffee, selling a fantastic array of house pickled veggies and condiments, you just have to go in and spin the wheel with the trust and faith that it will always land on something seasonal, sustainable, and made entirely from scratch.

Florence Cafe

Camp Hill

Part café, part pantry, Camp Hill lucked out when Florence moved into the neighbourhood. With a commitment to sustainability, low waste, and local produce, their breakfasts and daily counter spread are known for bringing freshness and vibrance to the morning. The menu changes according to the local produce available, but dishes of note include the omelette with zucchini, piquillo peppers, goats curd and pangrattato, or the savoury mince of calamari and sobrasade ‘bolognaise’ heirloom tomatoe, buffalo curd and seaweed vinaigrette. Don’t forget a jar of pickles from their selection of house picked veg for the road. 

Naïm

Paddington and South Brisbane

When Adi Shabtay and Guy Frawley opened their little Paddington café, Naïm (previously named Shouk) in a gorgeous old Queenslander, they set the bar high. Neatly walking the line between tradition and innovation, Naïm introduced the incredible colour, delicacy of flavour and rich history of Middle Eastern cuisine to the city fringes. Turning out Tunisian shakshuka alongside corn shawarma ratatouille and decadent waffles, it’s been named one of Brisbane’s best cafes countless times. It’s so popular in fact, that a second, larger venue, now graces the streets of South Brisbane, dishing up its famous dishes both sides of the Brisbane River.

Hellenika

Fortitude Valley

While trips to Europe are still off the table, breakfast at Hellenika is the closest we’re going to get to a Mediterranean summer. Housed on the rooftop of The Calile Hotel, book a table poolside (the only Brisbane breakfast joint to boast views poolside) and go full Hellenic with the rizogalo (rice pudding), crab omelette, or firm favourite ‘eggs on eggs on eggs’—lashings of taramasalata, salmon roe pearls, and perfectly boiled eggs on house bread, all washed down with a strong and syrupy Greek coffee. 

Kiki

South Brisbane

Trading exclusively in Bellissimo coffee, Doughluxe doughnuts, Chouquette pastries and a short menu of banh mi, Kiki’s little brick kiosk breaks up the banality of the commuter coffee route.

Huddled in a newly refurbished nook of Fish Lane, it serves as the perfect commuter pit-stop, its lush plants spilling out across its alfresco courtyard. The perfect spot to demolish a banh mi.

The Maillard Project

CBD

A specialty café, roastery and training hub, The Maillard Project is an ambitious one, recently opening its doors in the CBD. An offshoot of Adam Wang’s wildly popular Coffee Anthology (one of a handful of highly specialised coffee shops in Brisbane) it offers seven different blends daily (four espresso and three filter) and a neat menu of breakfast options. The chilli scrambled eggs, or pork congee get top billing, with a selection of house made croissants and pastries for grab-and-go option.

Bear Boy Espresso

Windsor

A favourite Gold Coast café come north, Bear Boy has been welcomed with open arms by Brisbane’s breakfasting community. Everything from the décor, the exceptional service and seasonal menu elevates Bear Boy Espresso’s weekend breakfast. Settle in for chicken and waffles, or grab your coffee, croissant, and some merch to go. 

Corner Store

Toowong

Evoking the same convenience and reliability as their suburban namesake, locals flock to Corner Store from right across town whenever they need a break from the malaise of the city. Executive chef Dylan Brace and head chef Jordan Mckenzie have a laser-sharp focus on the locality of ingredients, the bulk of their produce coming straight from said garden; the dedicated organic herb and veggie patch out the back. Corner Store’s approach to their menu is slightly fancy comfort food, served generously, in a revamped, century-old cottage, complete with a garden overlooking the property’s gardens. 

Cafe O Mai

Annerley

Cafe O Mai’s traditional Vietnamese breakfast dishes have patrons lining up round the street seven days a week. A southside institution, Café O Mai serves up fresh pho, seven types of banh mi, and condensed milk iced coffees like a well-oiled machine. Also up their sleeve is classic breakfast dishes like baked eggs and French toast (what’s known as ‘range’ in the biz)—all with a Vietnamese spin. So popular are their French-style baguettes that they even put in a pop-up window for banh mi and coffees to take away. Perfect for recovery mode.

Industry Beans

Newstead

Industry Beans is one of those roasters that takes an almost surgical approach to their execution of the perfect brew. The precision and dedication to flavour looms large over this Melbourne-born, light-filled Newstead café, their breakfast menu undergoing equally impressive attention-to-detail. 

Reading like a fine dining banquet, dishes like the pandan bubble waffles with blueberry gelato, coconut gel, sesame brittle and banana coconut foam, and the sous vide Coral Coast barramundi folded omelette with sambal oelek, crispy chilli, soybean oil, mango coffee togarashi, native succulents, bonito flakes and sourdough, needless to say, are as delectable as they are delicious.

Miss Jones

New Farm

A vision of pink on Brunswick Street, the doyenne Miss Jones has charmed the pants clean off the Brisbane breakfast set. Head chef Emily Bartholdt is hot on the tools, tweaking an already abundant menu with classics (the eggs benny loaded with hickory smoked pork shoulder) to lofty new heights.

Get amongst instant classics like mango Weiss granola, kiss my peach açai, and the Australian icon that is smashed avocado, only sexed up with maple pepitas, roast beetroot, garlic hummus and snowpea sprouts. Wash it all down with Single O Paradox Blend coffee. That Miss Jones, she’s a real morning pulse-racer.

King Arthur

New Farm

James Street in Fortitude Valley is known for its swanky offerings, but while King Arthur may rub shoulders with the high end of town, this Brisbane bolthole keeps things real when it comes to morning meals. They know you want a fresh, tasty refuel at any time of the day, which is why their brunch menu is available from open to close. 

Think classic breakfast buns with chilli jam, haloumi, and fried egg, nourish bowls, and indulgent dishes like red velvet waffles, yuzu custard semifreddo, poached stone fruit and crumble. Even with two storeys and outdoor seating, this small but mighty cafe still has people spilling into the street for want of their daily cakes and pastries piled high behind the counter.

Paradise

Fortitude Valley

If the checkerboard fit-out of Paradise doesn’t provide enough intrigue, then perhaps the oddity of a breakfast cafe beside empty nightclubs will. Owners Dutch and Becky Brills resurrected the old Alf’s Pizzeria building, turning the once vacated lot into an elegant Brisbane café fit to rub shoulders with the best pancake slingers in town. Ex-MasterChef contestant, Chloe Bowles is behind the pans, focussing on a tidy menu of classics – but you’ll fall for their classic breakfast fry-up and coffee made on Padre specialty beans.

Felix For Goodness

CBD

Finding somewhere decent for breakfast in the CBD is a sensation similar to hitting the jackpot. Finding somewhere slinging specialty coffee, homemade jams, and a seasonal and nourishing all-day menu—all under the same roof (!) – is almost unheard of, so the fact Felix does all three so well make it quite the catch. Hidden along Burnett Lane, Felix’s all-day brunch is varied from indulgent blow-outs to considered vegetarian and vegan. 
Chocolate sourdough hotcakes with salted caramel cashew cream, roasted pears, and buckwheat brittle, chimichurri scramble with scrambled eggs, chimichurri salsa, daikon, and chilli pickle and paprika oil, and vegetable-stuffed ‘hippy bowl’ of veggies, seasoned nuts, and seeds, and served with a creamy vegan dressing. If you drop in for a coffee, be prepared to leave with an arm full of impulse buys, notably their irresistible cakes which adorn the counter and their displays of glass jars, full of pickled veggies, jams, and condiments, just aching to be taken home.

Brisbane

The 12 Essential Food Experiences To Have In Brisbane

Same Same

Knowing the way to her inhabitants’ hearts is through their bellies, Brisbane is flush with food experiences you won’t find anywhere else. While many of them can be found in classic dining institutions across the city, some of the best things to eat in Brisbane are where you least expect them.

For without perseverance there is no reward, or something like that. Here’s 12 essential food experiences in Brisbane. Dig in.

The Prawnster

Dockside
The dish: King prawns and Moreton Bay Bug platter
Given Brisbane’s moniker as ‘the river city’, it continues to surprise that there aren’t more restaurants taking advantage of said river and its million-dollar views. The Prawnster, a 1970’s ex-trawler boat moored in the CBD’s dockside, knows that location is everything—and when you’re serving up fresh seafood, the river serves as the perfect backdrop.  

One of the best things to eat in Brisbane is the region’s incredible array of fresh seafood, not least because of its proximity to Moreton Bay, home of the Moreton Bay Bug. Order one of their towering seafood platters, complete with Moreton bay bugs, king prawns and salmon sashimi, then squeeze a wedge of lemon over your hoard. Job done.

SK Steak & Oyster

Fortitude Valley
The dish: Kiwami steak
Carving out a reputation as one of the best fine dining restaurants in Brisbane, SK Steak & Oyster’s modus operandi is to bring back the old-fashioned glitz and glamour of dining out. White tablecloths, polished silver, a grand baby piano by the bar, and the finest wines and produce money can buy, this is luxury in all its glory. Two dishes you’d expect to be particularly show-stopping are the restaurant’s oysters and steaks. It’s in their name. With a marble scoring of 9+ (translating to ‘outstanding excellence’ in Japanese wagyu rating) SK’s kiwami steak is, by all interpretations, the best of the best. Order medium rare and pair with SK’s side of classic mash and gravy. You will not regret it.

Ramen Danbo

South Brisbane
The experience: Authentic Japanese noodle bar straight from the southern island
While there are dozens, if not hundreds of excellent ramen joints dotted across Brisbane, when Ramen Danbo opened its first Brisbane store on the southside, it was met with much fanfare. A humble Chikushino ramen operation, from the southern island of Kyushu, gained enormous popularity in Japan, and has since become one of its most famous ramen exports.

Their secret? It’s their strict adherence to a traditional tonkatsu ramen recipe; the broth must be made just-so to get its famous silky texture and umami flavour. With only eight dishes on the menu (including one vegan option), Ramen Danbo is the finest example of Japanese ‘ramen-ya’ and should be a must-try on any discerning Brisbanite’s quest for the best food in the city.

Agnes

Fortitude Valley
The dish: Smoked lamb neck, ancho mole, herb salad, garlic yoghurt, flatbread
The concept at Agnes is very simple; cooking over open flame and smoke, resulting in a unique dining experience not much explored in Brisbane’s dining scene to date. While head chef Ben Williamson turns the humble vegetable into something that would turn even the most carnivorous, there is something to be said about the cuts of meat coming out of the kitchen – the smoked lamb neck in particular.

Charred on the outside, perfectly tender in the middle, the lamb falls off the bone and is served with house-made flatbread, ancho mole, herb salad and garlic yoghurt, designed to be constructed (devoured) at the table.

Sprout Artisan Bakery

Rocklea Markets 
The experience: Market-born artisan bakery producing some of Brisbane’s best pastries.
Making a name as one of the tastiest little bakeries in the Brisbane produce market circuit, Sprout has been wowing tastebuds with its delicious iterations of classic European pastries. A wildly popular 2020 pop-up on Robertson Street in Fortitude Valley only solidified Sprout as masters of their craft—with news of a permanent location to hit James Street later in 2021.

Get your fix of their famous tarts with perfectly flaky, Portuguese-style bases, or their exceptional takes on classics like the blood orange and almond frangipane on sweet Bostock, or buns with peanut butter jam and peanut brittle. Just don’t leave without getting one of their miche sourdoughs to go.

Kiki

South Brisbane
The dish: Breakfast Banh Mi
Kiki is doing big things down one of Brisbane’s burgeoning laneway. Operating as a breakfast haunt from 6am daily, Kiki switches gears after lunch, turning into a sexy little cocktail bar, giving the people a classy spot day and night, the clever chaps. Not an obvious place to break the fast, Kiki’s tight menu of all-day Banh mi—a vegetarian option and Laos sausage, with egg and Vietnamese salad—plus a handful of Doughluxe doughnuts and Choquette pastries, make for a welcome alternative to that breakfast wrap you were eyeing. 

Superthing 

West End
The experience: A pastel-hued croissanterie serving up beautiful flaky creations
Quite the departure from NYC Bagel Deli owners, Eddy Tice and Ania Kutek’s Superthing combines Parisian baking sensibilities with a kaleidoscopic fit-out and an equally nutty menu to match. Naturally, the classics—pain au chocolate and plain, buttery croissants—are all present (and perfectly formed), but there’s also eye-catching versions stuffed with strawberries and cream, coated in lashings of hazelnut sauce, or dusted with matcha. There are also little gems like kouign-amaanns, cruffins, and croissant dough buns stuffed with vanilla custard for when you need a sweet fix.

Snack Man

Fortitude Valley
The dish: Char sui bao
Brothers and owners of Brisbane dining institution, Happy Boy, Cameron and Jordan Votan kept it in the same culinary vein for their follow up venture, Snack Man. Residing right next door to Happy Boy, the original concept was to support to overflow of customers, keeping diners suitably satiated with their enticing menu of natural wines and a few snacks before their booking over at Happy Boy. As it happens, and in typical Votan fashion, Snack Man is equally as successful, having evolved into a dining destination in its own right.

The selection of small plates on offer means technically, you could, and should, get a bit of everything. But the one non-negotiable is the Char Sui Bao. All steaming, pillowy soft goodness filled with BBQ chicken, your choice of being steamed or fried. Okay, two: the Yan Si ji crispy chicken ribs are too good to pass up.

Shunsai

East Brisbane
The experience: A tiny 18-seater Japanese restaurant specialising in the exceptionally rare cuisine of kaiseki.

The height of Japanese haute cuisine, Kaiseki is more than a meal—it’s an art form. The simplest description of ‘kaiseki’ is a traditionally prepared Japanese meal comprising of many small dishes, but to belittle centuries of tradition and its deep ties to Buddhism would be remiss. So rare is this particular style of Japanese cooking in Australia, Shunsai is the only restaurant of its kind in the city.

Owner and head chef Shun Mori has recreated the exact look and feel of a traditional kaiseki restaurant in East Brisbane’s Wellington building, offering a selection of set-course menus as is the cuisine’s tradition. Grilled eel, handmade sushi, perhaps some satsuma wagyu (with an eye-popping MB+12 score), each dish is meticulously presented and accompanied with sake or plum wine. Guests sit along the bar (akin to a chef’s table environment), where dishes are skilfully prepared in front of you by Mori himself. Special doesn’t even begin to cut it.

Same Same

Fortitude Valley
The dish: Roasted pork belly pad see ew, with pickled chilli
A marriage of old and new, Same Same showcases the very best of Thai cuisine, serving reimagined classics that show off the diversity and complexity of Thai food. The Richards and Spence-designed space is a light-filled palette of beige marble and vast ethereal-like ceilings; a striking contrast to the explosion of colour and flavour in Same Same’s menu. Perhaps the ultimate comfort food, Same Same’s pad see ew is a turbocharged riff on the humble noodle dish, loaded with salty, crispy cuts of pork belly tossed in short, round, chewy noodles instead of the traditional flat variety.   

Commercial Road Public House 

Newstead
The dish: Spicy Boi pizza with extra burrata
Pizza, cocktails, and club beats; Commercial Road Public House flips the humble pizzeria on its head, opting for a New York Fashion Week, circa 80s aesthetic. Décor aside, the pizza is some of the best in the city. With only five pies adorning the menu, if you find yourself unable to pull the trigger, defer to the ‘Spicy Boi’; adorned with Calabrian nduja, roast capsicum, capers, basil, and lashings of chilli oil. Ask for their house-made burrata to be chucked on top. A very nice touch.

Stanley

Brisbane CBD
The experience: Sunday champagne yum cha
A dazzling Cantonese restaurant overlooking the Brisbane River, Stanley sprawls across its pocket of Howard Smith Wharves, taking in uninterrupted city vistas. Split over two levels of the heritage-listed building, it is one of only a handful of locations in the city where you can indulge in exquisite Southern Chinese fine dining. 
While Stanley is revered for its Cantonese-style roast duck, Sundays here are dedicated to yum cha and champagne – and Brisbane loves a long lunch. Designed by head chef Louis Tikaram (of EP & LP fame in Los Angeles) a traditional banquet of dumplings and small dishes—handmade prawn har gow, scallop siu mai, xo seafood dumplings, garlic chive & prawn dumplings, and pork siu mai—are served alongside Louis Roederer champagne.

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