Good Start: 6 of the Best Brunch Spots in Dunedin

A plate of brunch on a table at Buster Greens.

Brunch combines two daily meals, which means it’s got to be doubly good. These Dunedin cafés and restaurants do it best with a range of classic dishes, modern takes and plant-based options that all hinge on supreme quality and taste.

Words by: Olivia Sisson
Photos by: Nancy Zhou

Many of these Dunedin brunch spots work with local and organic produce as often as possible to bring diners a brunch that’s sustainable, memorable and truly local. So grab the gang and head on down to any of the following haunts. If you’re liable to get ‘hangry,’ call ahead as many of these hospitality favourites take bookings to ensure everyone can get their fill.

The Swan

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23 Bath Street, Central Dunedin, Dunedin

Brunch at The Swan is always laid back and consists of seasonal dishes that’ll satisfy your taste buds, fill your belly and leave you wanting to come back again soon. The fried chicken flatbread, for example, comes with pickled veg, greens, cherry tomatoes and sweet chilli aioli. Many dishes are garnished with edible flowers from The Swan’s garden, which you can also dine in.

Daily soups feature combos like cauliflower, fennel and shiso and are a flavour journey all their own. Nearly everything is made on site and the team’s commitment to freshness and taste is evident on every plate.

Buster Greens

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466 George Street, Dunedin North, Dunedin

When Buster Greens says they’ve got something for everyone, they mean it, but not in the ‘we have a gigantic menu’ kind of way. Here it’s all about balance.

The menu features dishes that satisfy bigggg appetites and the most conscious consumers all at once. Buster Green’s eggs benedicts all have a twist. The Fried Chicken Benedict, for one, comes with housemade smoked chilli buffalo sauce, pickled red cabbage, local greens and apple cider hollandaise atop a homemade sourdough crumpet. Other favourites include the Crispy Cauli & Grain Salad with sumac labneh, fried chickpeas, curry leaf, pomegranate and lots of other goodies.

All the spreads, preserves, pickles, sauces, bread and baked goods are made in-house, and Buster Green’s freshly cold-pressed juices are the perfect complement to any dish.

Heritage Coffee

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43 Jetty Street, Central Dunedin, Dunedin

Heritage Coffee boasts a super cool, heritage fit-out and a homemade menu that is brimming with brunch options we can’t go past.

Heritage only uses free-range meat, eggs and dairy products in their dishes, and always has an impressive array of gluten-free and dairy-free dishes too. Their cabinet is always freshly stocked with vibrant seasonal salads, wraps, bagels and sweet slices.

Dine inside at any of Heritage’s cosy booths, outside in the sunny courtyard, or on the street front for some great people watching.

Maggies

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46 Stuart Street, Central Dunedin, Dunedin

With a relaxed feel, excellent coffee, homemade baking and savoury brunch options, Maggies offers a winning combination.

Their famous cinnamon pinwheel is a noteworthy nibble and the corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard organic sourdough toastie with crisps redefines what it means to be a great toastie. Maggies also offers tasty smoothies, juices and barista beverages.

Be on the lookout for John, the owner’s wrinkly Shar Pei and the café’s mascot, who can usually be found lounging around.

Catalyst

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286 Princes Street, Central Dunedin, Dunedin

A brunch at Catalyst is a brunch you can feel good about. Items like the Buckwheat Waffle bring the yum factor while being sustainable and completely dairy- and gluten-free, we might add. This dish comes served with maple-spiced walnuts, fresh seasonal fruit, local OCHO dark chocolate, berry compote, and generous servings of organic maple syrup and vanilla ice cream. It’s got a sweet bite but still fills you up.

At Catalyst you can try plant-based plates like this one without sacrificing even a smidge of flavour. Most dishes can be made gluten-free and all waste from the café is used by a local farm for compost. Get amongst big flavour and real sustainability at Catalyst.

Esplanade

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250 Forbury Road, Saint Clair, Dunedin

For a change of scenery and a side of fresh, salt-tinged air with your brunch, head to Esplanade at Saint Clair Beach. This seaside Italian spot sits on the busy ground floor corner of The Hydro, an iconic, historic building, and while you might think you spy some of the usual suspects on their breakfast menu, the Mediterranean twist is apparent: discover the fresh, herbaceous aroma of basil (in the form of mayo, pesto or fresh leaves) in some dishes, ricotta, or prosciutto, or pork and fennel sausage in others. There’s even a crispy calzone and a pork and beef ragu on the morning offering. Grab a takeaway Allpress brew on your way out to nurse as you stroll along the beach — you may have just found your new weekly ritual.

Neat Dunedin Places

The Good Earth

Customers dining in at tables by the window.
Place Dunedin
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A popular haunt with university students, this café makes everything from scratch every day.

Jizo Japanese Restaurant

Sushi on plates.
Place Dunedin
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The food covers all bases when it comes to Japanese cuisine at Jizo.

Two Gypsies

Close up of handmade soaps.
Place Dunedin

A homewares store with gifts and furniture from the Orient, Two Gypsies offers art, accessories, cushions and glassware with a distinct Eastern style to the people of Port Chalmers.

Quadrant Gallery

Jewellery in display cabinets.
Place Dunedin

Quadrant Gallery exhibits and sells contemporary and classic jewellery, ceramics and glass, and each item is chosen not merely for its aesthetic pleasure but also for the statement it expresses.