March 20, 2023
16 mins Read
It took multiple weekends away travelling the beach-to-country corridor from Sydney to research the best places for breakfast in Canberra. And, in doing so, we’ve narrowed it down to a list that includes sprawling lobby restaurants, places to play ‘stacks on’ with a mound of pancakes and packed cafes that do a thoroughly decent avo on toast.
A lot of Ainslie locals treat Edgar’s Inn as an extension of their living room. That’s because Edgar’s is part of a sprawling multi-venue space that is all things to all people.
From Wakefield’s Bar & Wine upstairs, considered one of the best bars in Canberra, to The Inn, where you can join arty locals for afters. But for our purposes, it’s Edgar’s – Canberra’s most under-the-radar cafe – that has us making a beeline for the front door early in the morning.
If you’re a toastie fiend, Edgar’s uses Three Mills sourdough and then smooshes ham, cheese and tomato together until it’s meltingly unctuous. The smashed avo with goat’s feta, mint and parsley dukkah is also divine.
Must-try menu item: Order the mushrooms and pesto on sourdough, which is owner Frank Condi’s personal recommendation.
Address:1 Edgar St, Ainslie ACT
You don’t need to be staying at Ovolo Nishi to enjoy the breakfast buffet at Monster Salon Dining Room. But if you were to zero in on it from your suite at the arty hotel, you’d best wear something fashionably outlandish for the occasion.
As the name suggests, Monster is a behemoth of a venue. It’s also cosy, colourful and quirky. The fact it’s perpetually packed to the rafters is also down to the plant-based menu, which is popular with non-vegetarians too.
Breakfast is from 7am to 10.30am every day. You need to strategise in order to do the buffet justice. Start with the miso soup. It’s so nourishing. Move onto the fruits and muesli, or opt for a la carte options such as Monster French toast or the house omelette.
Must-try menu item: The Ovolo green shakshouka with green vegetables, baked eggs, jalapeno, coriander, shiso pepper and mushroom.
Address: Ground/25 Edinburgh Ave, Canberra ACT
This industrial-chic cafe is one of the best places to eat with kids in Canberra. The artisan bakery and cafe has an undercover courtyard adjacent to play equipment, which will keep the kids (and parents) from going cray-cray while waiting for their food.
Take your pick between bread with spreads, eggs benedict with herbed potato rosti and sautéed spinach or the hugely popular brekky burger. Get your caffeine fix with a cup of ONA coffee and pick up some bread to go.
Must-try menu item: Pancakes with ice cream and maple syrup for the kids and poke bowl for the parents.
Address: 8 Townsville St, Fyshwick, ACT
Hey little piggie. Fall in line. This little place is hot to trot. A quick browse of the Little Oink menu gives us permission to be as perfectly pun-tastic as we can.
Choose between the Oinko Burger, You’re all I Avo wanted, Scramble Everything For Love, Bun in a Million and Get in my Pork Belly. You can also plump for the Pimp my Meal option, where you can pick and choose additions such as marinated halloumi and gluten-free toast.
The hum of conversation at Little Oink is pleasant and comfortable and it’s the sort of lovely light-filled cafe that you wish existed in your neighbourhood. Fun. Fun. Fun.
Must-try menu items: The Keep It Simple Stupid, which comprises two eggs, buttered sourdough toast, pico de gallo, jalapenos, avocado and salsa verde.
Address:22 Cook Pl, Cook ACT
Most of the best places for breakfast and brunch in Canberra include French toast on the menu. Space Kitchen in Phillip levels up with its version, layering it with strawberries, passionfruit curd, mascarpone, strawberry compote, caramelised meringue and white chocolate.
You will find space cadets struck dumb with indecision when trying to choose between breakfast corn, zucchini and halloumi fritters or the full signature brekkie with fried eggs, bacon, mushrooms, potato cakes and roast tomato. The unicorn hotcake is a kiddie-pleaser, a sugar rush of maple custards, vanilla ice cream, waffle cone and fairy floss.
Want to grab a last-minute birthday cake in Canberra? You will find your sweet spot with the cookie monster cake for kids and the Ferrero Rocher to impress friends at a fancy dinner party.
Must-try menu item: Go south of the border with Mexican-inspired huevos rancheros and breakfast burritos, then stay and play for the Willy Wonka afternoon tea.
Address: 12 Furzer Street (corner Of Furzer St &, Worgan St, Phillip ACT
If you’re trying the 16:8 fasting regime you might want to forgo a big breakfast and just opt to fuel up on coffee at Lonsdale Roasters. Locals obsessed with caffeine peg Lonsdale Street Roasters to be one of the best places for coffee in Canberra and we’re all about it. In fact, the specialty coffee on offer here is good enough to have two stores on the one street.
If you’re in Canberra for business for at least 72 hours, you might want to return for the all-day breakfast, which includes a hot breakfast apple crumble and toasted panini with a rotating roster of fillings.
Bring back a bag of Canberra’s best beans and then order them online when you need to replenish. This is tipped as one of the best cafes in Canberra for a multitude of reasons. Do check it out.
Must-try menu item: The Roasters breakfast with two eggs, Lyneham sausage, mushroom and tomato tart, beans, Pialligo Estate bacon on sourdough.
Address: 7 and 23 Lonsdale Street, Braddon, ACT
Canberrans love a bakery. And this Braddon outlet of the Sonoma chain is a place for breadheads to unite. You’ll see them bonding over their teacup poodles while standing in line at this artisanal bakery located in Lonsdale.
You’ll find all the usual suspects on the menu: cultured butter croissants, pain au chocolat, almond croissants and Portuguese custard tarts. Grab a kalamata olive sourdough to go before exploring the national capital. Each handcrafted loaf of artisanal sourdough takes 36 hours to make, so do order the signature baguette sandwiches such as the ham croque forno.
Must-try menu item: A morning bun with coffee on the side.
Address: 1/21 Lonsdale St, Braddon.
As you press into the New Acton precinct, you will find heritage buildings sitting alongside modern hotels draped in greenery, and some of the city’s hippest bars, cafes and restaurants. Mocan and Green Grout is one of them.
New Acton is home to some of the city’s cultural treasures and this leafy, courtyard-style cafe is one of the shining jewels in its crown. It’s so colourful it’s like walking into a rainbow. Sit at the bar and watch the chefs taking care of each dish while plating up at the pass.
The cafe doesn’t just walk a line between grungy and cool, it positively struts. Everything from the bare wood tiles to the concrete countertop is totally tactile. But don’t go weird and start stroking stuff. Just focus on the food under favourites such as the avocado and chevre on sourdough, the apple bircher with mango berries and nuts.
Must-try menu item: We love a chef that gives a shout-out to his suppliers. So for that reason, we’re all about the B&E roll: Box Gum Grazing bacon, Smiths Farm egg, Black Horse relish and Three Mills Bakery roll.
Address: 19 Marcus Clarke St, New Acton, ACT
Fyshwick is having a moment. Located in the quasi-industrial fringes of Canberra, it’s where you will find places like Capital Brewing Co, one of the best places for a beer in Canberra and Cup and Coaster, an industrial-chic cafe with loads of charm.
The French toast here is very pretty on the plate and constructed with Instagrammers in mind. It is served with seasonal fruits, vanilla ice cream, roasted almond, butterscotch sauce and mango sauce. It’s a Herculean effort to get through, but it’s worth every bite. Burn off the calories with a lap around Lake Burley Griffin, considered one of the best things to do in Canberra.
Must-try menu item: The all-day Filipino-inspired breakfast of tapsilog, which comprises filo-marinated dry beef, garlic rice and fried egg.
Address: Unit 2, 64 Wollongong Street, Fyshwick
You’d be hard-pressed to find a better brew in the morning than at The Cupping Room – especially when world-champion barista Sasa Sestic is tamping your freshly ground ONA beans.
Arrive early to claim a spot among the bearded, nose-ringed crowd at this concept cafe, designed by the team from ONA Coffee specialty roasters. Geek out over an ONA education, then cap it off with a chia and sago pudding with strawberries and lychee.
The meals here are so celebrated that the team crafted The Cupping Room Cook Book so customers can try to replicate the experience at home.
Must-try menu items: Pork belly benedict with crispy skin pork belly, kimchi hollandaise, fried egg, pickled slaw, horseradish powder.
Address: 1/1-13 University Ave, Canberra, ACT
Locate Doubleshot by looking for its ivy-clad walls, which have dressed up Deakin Court with its stylish ambience. The food here makes this one of the best cafes in Canberra. It’s a lovely place to brunch before or after visiting the National Gallery of Australia, one of the most popular attractions in Canberra.
There’s so much to love on the mod-Oz menu. And yes of course, they have smashed avo, levelled up with Meredith feta, turmeric and mustard vinaigrette, herbs and almond dukkah.
Must-try menu items: Sauteed wild mushrooms, Meredith goat’s cheese, kale, caramelised onion, torn basil, hazelnuts and olive sourdough.
Address: Shop 7 Hopetoun Circuit, Deakin, ACT
Vegans don’t always want to be virtuous. Enter Sweet Bones, one of the OGs on Lonsdale St, which hits the spot with its vegan treats. The cafe’s cinnabons have a cult following as does the bacon (probs facon) cheeseburger. The rustic Braddon cafe run by Emily and Russell Brindley has a lot of Tex-Mex-style brunch options, too.
Expect a playful vibe, with its wall of street art, canteen-style tables and chairs and great energy thanks to the artfully dishevelled customers. Try the towering nacho mountain, which is dolloped with cilantro sour cream and avocado, or the signature big breakfast which has tofu scramble, sauteed mushrooms, wholemeal sourdough, coconut bacon and smashed avo.
Whatever you try, you’ll vow to return to work your way through the menu, which does right by local ingredients. Sister cafe Scullin Bones also has a grungy vibe and a similarly fab brunch menu.
Must-try menu item: The Black Mountain Burrito, with brown rice, smokey beans, tofu scram, queso and chipotle kale.
Address: Shop 8, 18 Lonsdale St, Braddon, ACT
Head east to Silo Bakery in Kingston for a plate of chilli jam eggs with tomato, and a baguette to go. The best part of enjoying breakfast at a bakery is that all the bread and pastries are freshly made on-site.
Described as “part Brooklyn, part wartime Parisian bakery…” by the New York Times – it’s certainly one of the best bakeries in Canberra. Sidle up to the counter to ogle a little of what you fancy before placing your order. The question is: how are you going to decide what to indulge in? A croissant with smoked ham and Maasdam cheese or the Gruyere omelette?
Must-try menu item: Eggs Florentine with sautéed spinach, poached eggs, parmesan, olive oil on a toasted baguette.
Address: 36 Giles St, Kingston, ACT
It’s easy to fall into a scroll hole while admiring Ricardo Cafe’s Instagram page. It’s seasoned with eye-popping colours and a big dash of deliciousness. But the act of visiting here for a lazy weekend breakfast or brunch in Canberra is far superior to the virtual experience.
Ricardo’s is a fun, loud place for a gatho with gusto. Take your extrovert mate along so they can loudly slap out a few superlatives over the coconut hotcakes and French toast. Sure, they sound simple, but they are really works of art.
Savoury options are also memorable and we’re all about those breakfast fritters; there is nothing subtle about the full-on flavours. The mixture of spiced corn, zucchini and halloumi has been given heft with the addition of poached eggs, herb yoghurt, roasted cherry tomato, chilli butter and avocado.
Remember: the more full-on the feast, the more vibrant the fodder for your feed. This really is one of the best places to breakfast and brunch in Canberra.
Bookish types should cross over Capitol Hill to Muse, the charming nook for books in East Hotel, between Kingston and Manuka. The cafe is dedicated to enjoying seasonal ingredients and you’re as likely to find academics, students and politicians scribbling away in the corner here.
Make your first meal of the morning substantial with sriracha eggs benedict or nasi goreng or an indulgent Eton Mess. Buy a great literary work or brainstorm your next novel at this convivial cafe, which celebrates Canberra’s modernist heritage.
You can even enjoy a tipple with your literary leanings in this cosy nook that offers a bookshop brunch menu on weekends with three tiers; Paperback ($54pp) house prosecco, a local Canberra District ‘Hardback’ NVF Gallagher Duet Pinot Noir or Chardonnay ($68pp) and a premium First Edition option ($120pp) paired with a Nathalie Falmet cuvee brut French Champagne.
Brunch is available for a minimum of 10 people and a maximum of 24. You’ll be treated to fresh fruit, house-baked granola and fig yoghurt, scrambled eggs, bacon, asparagus, broccolini, bruschetta, roasted mushrooms and more!
Must-try menu item: The Muse steak sandwich with slow-braised beef brisket, caramelised onion, provolone cheese, house-made tomato relish, mayo and rocket.
Address: Ground floor, East Hotel, 69 Canberra Avenue, Griffith, ACT
This place was launched into the stratosphere through social media thanks to its downright crazy – and delicious – creations. Patissez in Manuka is best known for the infernally evil and divine concoction known as the ‘freak shake’ which managed to break the internet and kickstart the over-the-top trend around the world.
While the cafe and bakehaus defo deserves kudos for bonkers creations such as the Super Chocolate Fudge freak shake pelted with cookie crumbs, it also causes Insta chaos with its tried-and-tested Tijuana tacos and loaded breakfast burgers.
Don’t stress, it’s not all chocolate free pours and fudge by the litre. In fact, Patissez is also popular for its classic brunch menu with low-key options such as hotcakes and avo and Danish feta smash.
Must-try menu item: Crispy corn and zucchini Fritters, which comes complete with poached eggs, Kewpie mayo, pico de gallo, fresh avo, Danish feta and seeds.
Address: 21 Bougainville St, Griffith, ACT
You will always find a happy mix of families, couples and groups of friends spilling out over the tables under the trees that border Manuka Lawns at popular brunch spot Urban Pantry. And it’s no wonder. The fresh, light-filled space offers up modern cuisine in a comfortable, stylish location.
The menu at this Canberra cafe is more Melbourne than Manuka and updates with the seasons. And you’d do well to give it a whirl. Special shout-out to Urban Pantry’s special all-day menu dedicated to staples such as corn fritters and blueberry hotcakes. Oh and you can say bye-bye to your hangover with an Urban Burger stuffed with a fried egg, Brindabella bacon, cheddar, relish and hash brown and aioli.
Must-try menu item: The UP & Go smoothie with blueberries, banana, yoghurt cinnamon oats
Address: 5 Bougainville Street, Manuka, ACT
Continue your crawl around the Kingston precinct in Canberra at Penny University Coffee House, which serves an all-day menu of righteous brekkie options such as French toast, topped with strawberries and cream.
As well as smoothies and freshly squeezed juices, you can order brunch cocktails to take the edge off the morning’s mayhem. The all-day breakfast menu also includes an okonomiyaki savoury pancake and Bircher muesli.
The cafe is kitted out in vintage and recycled objects and is well-frequented for breakfast in the mornings and coffee all day. The coffeehouse is named after the Penny Universities set up in London in the 17th century when it only cost a penny to enter and created a unique social environment.
This Canberra incarnation considers itself to be a modern-day Penny University. But it’s not just for beardy hipsters. Everyone is welcome.
Must-try menu item: Travelling with children under 10? The go-to dish is the green eggs and ham, featuring peas, spinach, and herb-scrambled free-ranged eggs on ancient grain sourdough.
Address: 15 Kennedy St, Kingston, ACT
One of the best things to do in Canberra is to hire an electric GoBoat. Local Press doesn’t open until 8 am, so you have ample time to pootle about in the water before arriving in style at Local Press on the Kingston Foreshore.
Mingle with pet owners who are here with their pooches on the deck overlooking the water. It’s mid-city tranquillity at its finest. The rustic cafe has a communal table at its heart and is all exposed bricks, flower-filled vases, and ferns spilling out of baskets tethered to the rafters.
Sit outside on a sun-splashed day to enjoy roasted granola with lemongrass pannacotta, seasonal fruits and mango gel.
Must-try menu item: Order a glass of the Sublime Pine, a cold-pressed juice with pineapple pear, apple, lemon and mint and toast with eggs, wilted spinach and garlic, and chilli herbs on the side.
Address: On the water, cnr Eastlake Parade & Giles St, Kingston Foreshore, ACT
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