There are not too many cities where you can catch a sunrise at the beach and then head straight for a massive breakfast. While those images of a quintessential Chennai breakfast usually involve piping hot idlis or crispy dosas and a freshly brewed cup of invigorating filter coffee, the city’s breakfast scene goes beyond those cliches. Whether you’re looking for a flat white or a degree coffee (aka filter coffee) or whether you want to start your day with a pongal vadai or an Eggs Benedict, we have you covered.

Photo Credit: Madras Pavillion, ITC Grand Chola

12 Must-Try Breakfast Places In Chennai:

1. Krishna Restaurant, New Woodlands Hotel:

One of the first waves of restaurants in Chennai was sparked by entrepreneurs who moved from Udupi to coastal Karnataka. They introduced Chennai to the Udupi-style Masala dosa. New Woodlands is one of the flagbearers of Udupi-style breakfast staples that have been adapted to the Chennai palate. Try their filter coffee and a wide range of dosas. You can also check out Mathsya and Ashoka Hotel (both in Egmore) for more Udupi flavours.

Where: Radhakrishnan Salai, Mylapore

2. Eating Circles:

Need a taste of Bengaluru (including the slightly sweeter Sambar) in Chennai? then head straight to Eating Circles. From the crispy and fail-proof Masala dosa (dose in Bengaluru) to the crunchy Maddur Vada and the MTR-style Rava idli, this restaurant has it all.

Where: CP Ramaswamy Road, Alwarpet

3. Sangeetha’s:

One of the best spots for a Chennai-style breakfast. We’re partial to their RA Puram and Adyar outlets. Their Pongal vadai and filter coffee are spot on and so are their grainy idlis and range of dosas. But most of all it’s their range of accompaniments – their sambar and chutneys never miss the mark. You can also check out A2B (Adyar Ananda Bhavan) outlets across the city for a Chennai-style breakfast.

Where: Third Cross Road, RA Puram

4. Pumpkin Tales:

Helmed by three women entrepreneurs, this cheerful space with plenty of natural light is a great place to start your day. Tables are tough to come by on a Sunday when regulars land up for their egg Benedict varieties, power smoothies and Morning Glory Bowls.

Where: Bheemanna Garden Street

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Photo Credit: Pumpkin Tales

5. Madras Pavilion, ITC Grand Chola:

It’s tough to pick our favourite breakfast buffet at a luxury hotel in Chennai. Madras Pavilion has a slight edge for its perfect blend of international favourites, healthy options and one of the best South Indian sections. There are not too many luxury hotels that get their filter coffee and idlis right even in Chennai.

Where: ITC Grand Chola, Mount Road

6. Ciclo Cafe:

If you’re heading out early down the coast (on East Coast Road) towards Mamallapuram or Pondicherry, Ciclo Cafe makes for the perfect pit-stop. From hash browns to sausages and from waffles to French Toast, the menu has a host of international options and also offers the comfort of parathas if you’re looking for a wholesome breakfast to kickstart your day.

Where: PVR Heritage RSL, East Coast Road, Uthandi

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Photo Credit: Ciclo Cafe

7. Geetham Veg Restaurant:

A popular vegetarian dining spot offering a wide variety of South Indian dishes along with some North Indian and Indo-Chinese options, Geetham Veg restaurant is known for its delicious and authentic flavours. The menu features dishes such as idli sambar, masala dosa, paneer tikka, falooda and ghee roast. A hygienic environment, cheerful staff and professional service, it ensures a high-quality dining experience! 

8. Mari Hotel:

It’s not easy to find and it’s located in a busy part of Saidapet where parking is almost impossible to find, yet this nondescript restaurant serves one of Chennai’s very own iconic breakfast dishes – vada curry (a coarse dal mix in a flavourful gravy), that tastes terrific with dosa. You can also stop at Mamalla Motel on ECR near Mamallapuram for your vada curry fix.

Where: VS Mudali Street, Saidapet

9. Ratna Cafe:

A well-established and beloved restaurant chain in Chennai, Ratna Cafe; offers lip smacking South Indian dishes like idli sambar, utappam, ghee masala dosa and much more. The simple, no-nonsense setting with professional service, it offers a cozy and friendly atmosphere. With an extremely affordable menu, this place is known for being a go-to spot for locals and tourists alike!

10. Chamiers Cafe Chennai:

It has one of the most evolved cafe cultures in the country. Chamiers Cafe close to the Swish Boat Club area is a case in point. The charming interiors might transport you to an English tea room in colonial Madras. There’s a ‘Full fry up’ English breakfast with bacon and sausages and all-day breakfast options that include waffles, a vegetarian Spanish breakfast and an anti-oxidant power breakfast to fire you up.

Where: Chamiers Road

11. Hotel Safari:

While you might associate Chennai’s breakfast scene with vegetarian staples, the city also has its share of old-school restaurants that dish out some of the city’s favourite non-vegetarian options. Safari Hotel in the busy Royapettah area serves popular dishes like egg appam, aatukual paaya (trotters) with idiyappam (string hoppers) and flavourful chicken curry.

Where: Royapettah High Road.

12. Rayar’s Mess:

A famous, long-standing eatery known for its authentic South Indian breakfast dishes, Rayar’s offers simplicity with flavour! Although accommodating a smaller batch of people at a time, the menu offering dishes like idli-podi, Pongal-sambar and crisp vadas, wins hearts for sure. A collective, community dining experience with friendly staff, this place should surely be on your list!

By Alex Benjamin

Alex Benjamin, historian, quizmaster, and author, passionately explores history's depths. Renowned for unearthing forgotten facts, he's a quiz expert captivating audiences worldwide.

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