Sydney's Best Waterside Brunch Spots for 2024

Sit back with a mimosa and take in the sparkling views at these waterside cafes.
Katie Mayor and Leisha Kapor
Published on April 01, 2023
Updated on May 12, 2023

Sydney's Best Waterside Brunch Spots for 2024

Sit back with a mimosa and take in the sparkling views at these waterside cafes.

When the weather gets warmer in Sydney, we love to boast about our many beaches — there are more than 100, in case you hadn't heard. And then there are our stunning rivers, sparkling estuaries and numerous other bodies of water. So, what we're trying to say is, there are very few excuses for not spending the sunny summer mornings basking in rays reflecting off one of these waterways.

These eight waterside brunch spots are perched by a pool, sitting pretty over the sea or next to a harbour and reached by ferry, and they all have one thing in common – good coffee and tasty morsels with a side of vast waterfront views. If good food and even better scenery isn't enough to get you going in the morning, what is?

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    Part of the waterside scenery of Sydney’s lower north shore for decades, Bathers’ Pavilion is a waterfront dining institution sporting a loving makeover it received a few years back. Here there are a few different dining options, but your best bet for brekkie is the Bathers’ Bistro. The breakfast menu caters for every mood, from fruit, granola and pastries if you’re not too hungry, to classic hot dishes like pancakes or eggs. The pick of the dishes is the Moroccan baked eggs with labneh and smokey tomato, and if you’re feeling a bit rusty, you can lean on the hair of the dog with a selection of breakfast cocktails on the ready. All of this is paired with stunning views of Balmoral Bay. If the weather is good and you’re up north, consider stopping by this divine waterside brunch spot in Sydney.

    Image: Nikki To.

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    Renovated in early 2014 by Pip and Andrew Goldsmith, the power team who brought us The Boathouse in Palm Beach and the Armchair Collective in Mona Vale, the Boathouse is a glorious improvement on the modest cafe it once was. It’s hard to look past the seafood when you’re sitting outside in the sunshine on a deck suspended over the ocean. For breakfast and brunch, we recommend you add smoked salmon to the pea fritter served with sprout salad, avocado and a couple of perfectly poached eggs. And for lunch, try the beer battered flathead served atop a mountain of thick cut chips with a side of Boathouse tartare. Sure, the food is a little pricey, but at the Boathouse, you pay for the stunning view of the beach.

    Image: Jessie Ann.

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    breakfast dishes at Cornersmith Annandale - home to some of the best breakfast in Sydney.

    Next time you’re looking for a hearty meal in Circular Quay, head to the MCA. Its in-house cafe, which has a lovely outdoor terrace overlooking the harbour, transformed its menu in 2019. On offer, you’ll find a truly stacked Verdura bowl filled with nourishing goodies like roast pumpkin, quinoa, zucchini and salsa rossa; or the heartier roast beef, piccalilli and beetroot slaw sandwich on sourdough. Alongside the stunning views of the Sydney Opera House (which few waterside dining destinations in Sydney can beat), there’s also spicy Korean chicken burgers, beer-battered fish and chips and cafe options like freshly baked Anzac biscuits and blueberry muffins.

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

    The owners of Celsius Coffee Co. could have easily rested on their pylon laurels — given that they do sit atop a ferry terminal just opposite Sydney Harbour — but the food here is just as memorable as the rustic wood-and-window structure it’s served in. The waterside cafe is doing inventive things with breakfast’s biggest love — eggs — with twists across the menu like chilli-buttered eggs, house-made balsamic glazed eggs, or eggs served with a Japanese yuzu hollandaise.

    Image: Destination NSW

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  • 4

    They say change is as good as a holiday and at Church Point we argue that brunch is as good as a holiday. This family-run general store on stilts may be in the far reaches of the Pittwater, but that just adds to the serene and scenic atmosphere. Kick back on the breezy deck and watch tug boats and tinnies drift through the water before you, and stare off onto the gum-covered expanse of the Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park in front of you. The deconstructed breakfast tacos and french toast with mascarpone and bacon are also very viable reasons to visit. It may be a ways out of town, but it is still one of the very best waterside brunch spots in Sydney — making worthy of the trek.

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  • 3

    Come get your breakfast cocktails. If a Seaside Spritz or Bower Bloody Mary won’t sort you out, the sea breeze drifting by surely will. In Manly, beaches beckon at every turn and this window-fronted Sydney restaurant sits on the sea wall not far from Cabbage Tree Bay. Ever felt somewhat vague about the exact construction of your coffee preference? Its handy coffee guide will help (and let’s face it, if you need a morning cocktail you may need a few mind prompts). The breakfast gnocchi or the double bacon and egg burger served with hash browns will probably knock out a few cobwebs as well.

    Image: Destination NSW

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  • 2
    Chiosco by Ormeggio

    From the minds behind Sydney’s two-hatted restaurant Ormeggio at the Spit, Chiosco serves up top-notch Italian eats from 11am for takeaway and 11.30am for dine-in. Located at the Mosman Jetty, mere metres from the water’s edge, Chiosco offers spectacular 300-degree views of luxury yachts and sparkling sea. While Ormeggio (which is Italian for ‘berth’ or ‘moor’) is a fine-dining affair, Chiosco (which is Italian for ‘kiosk’) has adopted a casual approach, serving Italian street food and takeaway with a ‘barefoot and BYO’ ethos. Highlights of the menu include an impressive antipasti selection that’s calling out to be sampled as part of a late lunch, and some exciting pasta dishes like the aged carnaroli risotto with zucchini and smoked scamorza cheese. Whether you’re looking for casual dining or a finer affair, this waterside restaurant in Sydney will have you sorted.

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    Next Door Cronulla

    Serving a notch above traditional cafe fare, Next Door has been a local favourite since opening its doors in 2016. The beachside cafe has become so popular that the establishment had no choice but to launch a dinner menu for its many fans. Head Chef Luke Arnull cooks with the philosophy that you should only serve what you love to make to your friends, and his menu lives up to this mantra. On the brunch menu you’ll find classics like B b&e rolls and avocado toast, plus some more unique breakfast creations. Venture away from your usual weekend fare and order the jalapeño corn fritters or the maple spiced granola which comes with lemon curd, fresh berries, coconut and mint atop a bed of greek yoghurt.

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Top image: Bathers’ Pavilion by Nikki To.

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