Looking for the best cafes in Brisbane? Some of our long time favourites didn’t make it through the complexities of the past 2 years but others have remained tried and true. There are also a few interesting newcomers on the scene.
With a smile on their face, an inspired menu and a little something extra, these are our top picks for your next social brunch with friends or a leisurely breakfast for two.
With things largely back to normal on the cafe scene, it’s time to take stock and ensure we are supporting those we want to see around for the long haul. It’s been a tough couple of years of social distancing, your favourite cafes were often at 50% seating if you were allowed to linger at all and food was served in takeaway packaging at your table. Sadly some old favourites are no longer around to bask in the recovery.
This article looks at some of our brunch time besties from all around Brisbane that deserve a try if you haven’t discovered them already. What they have in common is a fabulous and diverse menu, consistent quality and service, banging coffee and a little something extra to boot. Whether that is their location, their vibe, their people or their philosophy they all have something special that sets them apart.
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So where are the best cafes in Brisbane?
Medley (Kangaroo Point)
With its indoor and outdoor dining right on the riverfront in Kangaroo Point, it’s not surprising that Medley is as popular as it is. They have a delicious menu that changes up regularly serving from breakfast until dinner and drinks but our favourite time here is definitely a lazy brunch.
The winter brunch menu I had a bit of a leaning to the sweeter options making good use of the Queensland winter strawberry harvest but I’d have to say it’s hard to go past some of the savoury options in summer, the pulled pork crepe and salmon croquette are both standouts.
There’s no judgement here about choosing a cocktail with bubbly or adding a tipple to your coffee with brunch either, the options are right there on the breakfast menu. There’s also an enticing range of freshly squeezed juices, an interesting tea menu and great coffee.
The outdoor tables under the shade of old trees and canvas umbrellas offer uninterrupted views of the river and are perfectly positioned on the wide breezy boardwalk that follows the river all the way into Southbank and beyond.
There’s a small amount of parking available behind but we’ll usually stop in on a walk and for those coming in from surrounding riverside destinations it’s conveniently located between the ferry stops at Kangaroo Point and Mowbray Park.
Located at: 62 Wharf St, Kangaroo Point QLD 4169 or you’ll find them here on Instagram
Joedy’s (New Farm)
Joedy and his team are also a fantastic example of Aussie resilience. They opened in early 2020 just weeks before lockdowns hit the hospitality industry hard and took another blow in March 2022 with the Brisbane floods. It’s a credit to the team that there is always a friendly smiling face, incredible food and great service here.
With a focus on ethical sourcing of local South East Queensland produce this cafe was always going to make my ‘must try’ list but they really do excel on every front.
There are a lot of really good options on the brunch front but my iconic Joedys pick has to be this flakey croissant eggs benedict. The eggs are perfectly poached of course then topped with a rich and decadent truffle-infused hollandaise, fresh greens and you can only just spot it poking out here, the added indulgence of a slab of melt in the mouth, tender pork belly. So so good!
Joedy’s cafe is located just across the road from New Farm Park, perfect to head across for a walk after your meal or to stop in and grab a quick coffee. On the weekends there are Jan Powers markets nearby to stop in for fresh produce or head down to the ferry terminal and explore the city from the river. The New Farm end of the city riverwalk is also not far away.
Located at: Shop 2/938 Brunswick St, New Farm QLD 4005 – see more of the menu on their Instagram page here.
Wild Canary (Brookfield)
A beautifully presented garden centre and a great cafe are a match made in heaven. When you’re headed out west in search of the perfect leisurely brunch you’ll find Brookfield Gardens have it all going on on both fronts.
Wild Canary, the botanical bistro, is welcoming, with attractive indoor and outdoor seating options. The creative and delicious all-day menu has something for everyone from buddha bowls to classic big breakfasts, breakfast pannacotta to braised duck leg. There’s also a well-stocked cake cabinet to peruse inside if you had something lighter in mind.
You’ll find many of the plants are locally grown throughout the centre offering something a bit out of the ordinary and the curation of their pots and decorative pieces is excellent.
If you’re feeling a bit short of inspiration for your own backyard project the gardens are sure to get you thinking. I particularly love the huge kitchen garden that always seems to be fully planted and looking fabulous.
Located at: 2371 Moggill Rd, Brookfield QLD 4069 or check them out on Instagram
Todd and Pub (Moorroka)
Todd and Pup have had a consistently strong menu and performance over the years. On our most recent visit, they hS moved to an app on your mobile phone to place your order and pay. It’s a change but a necessary one to keep staff safe, healthy and the doors open but does slightly reduce that ‘local’ feel that their friendly front of house team gave the cafe.
Their signature item from the breakfast menu is the Fried Chicken Benedict. The chicken is always juicy and infused with a fantastic depth of flavour from the chilli brining process. Add some smoky bacon, wilted greens, perfectly poached eggs and spicy mayo and you have a winning brunch.
Other dishes are equally good and I’m a definite fan of the current autumn mushrooms. Built on a bed of sourdough, the ginger and soy sauteed button mushrooms are delicious but layers of flavour are added from the fried maple chilli peanuts, shiso and pickled ginger and an unusual salty floss of fried enoki that tops the flowing poached eggs.
This one is bang slap in the middle of a suburban street but that doesn’t stop us from driving 30 minutes for brunch from the other side of the city, it’s that good. If you are looking for somewhere to walk off the indulgence and get some fresh air after your meal it’s only a 5-minutes drive to the Toohey Forest Park picnic area and the start of the walking trails.
Located at: 398 Tarragindi Rd, Moorooka QLD 4105
Groundhog Social (Manly)
One of the closest cafes to where we lived in Brisbane and a goodie too, we’d more often stop by for their great coffee or chai but they are open from 6 am until 3 pm so there is plenty of opportunity to stop by and enjoy breakfast, brunch or lunch here.
I love a good brunch any day of the week and their mushroom benny on rye is fabulous topped with crispy fried enoki, a good heap of locally grown mushrooms, perfectly poached egg and their chilli hollandaise.
My partner in brunch however finds it impossible to go past the succulent fried chicken and prefers this katsu chicken benny on a buttery croissant with the curry hollandaise.
The location here is great. It’s positioned directly across from the Manly marina and parklands, adjacent to the weekend markets or to take a stroll along the waterfront afterwards. The folding windows across the front of the cafe open up fully giving a great indoor – outdoor compromise away from passing traffic but with gentle sea breezes.
Located at: 443 Esplanade, Manly QLD 4179 or find them on Instagram
Rafter and Rose (Ipswich)
This one was a bit of a surprise. We’d explored a bit of Ipswich in the morning and were wandering up from the Riverheart Parklands into the city aimlessly thinking about where we should go for lunch when we were drawn into the leafy garden down the side of this inner-city cafe.
Both the indoor and courtyard seating is super cute, outdoors the leafy courtyard blends in seamlessly with the heritage part of the city and indoors the atmosphere is light, bright, rustic and cozy.
The menu did not disappoint either. I normally opt for a savoury brunch but their french toast decked out with seasonal fruit and fresh flowers were too adorable and delicious to go past. The freshly baked cakes and pastries in the cabinet all look absolutely incredible too so whether you are after a meal, just a coffee or a treat alongside your morning cuppa this is a great choice.
Rafter and Rose are open from 6.30 am for the early risers until 2 pm for the stragglers like us.
Located at: 17 Ellenborough St, Ipswich, Queensland 4305, Australia or find them on Instagram
The Blue Room (North Stradbroke Island)
Taking a ferry to get to your lunch spot might seem a bit too much effort for some but North Stradbroke Island is one of our favourite city escapes, just 30 minutes on the Stradbroke Flyer and it feels like you are a world away.
Brunch or lunch at the Blue Room is one of our favourite inclusions either before or after the stunning gorge walk. They are also open for dinner if you are staying on the island.
Sitting here through winter we repeatedly watched whales spout and breach from our cafe table. The casual tropical island styling has a wonderfully relaxed vibe to enjoy your meal.
I love their smoothies, the coffee is good and every food preference seemed to be catered to including gluten-free, plant-based, vegetarian and raw but the mainstream isn’t neglected either.
Haloumi tacos, brightly coloured granola bowls with tropical fruit, pancakes with berries, fully loaded burgers or a classic big breakfast. It’s difficult to make a bad pick.
Located at: 27 Mooloomba Rd, Point Lookout QLD 4183. These guys are more about good living than the ‘gram but you’ll find a few photos here.
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