Where To Eat The Best Breakfast In Raleigh (17 Local Hot Spots)

Posted by:



Post Date:

Where To Eat The Best Breakfast In Raleigh (17 Local Hot Spots)

If you’re wondering where to eat the best breakfast in Raleigh, then you’re in luck, because there’s no shortage of options in The City of Oaks!

We love to go out for breakfast and enjoy a hearty meal to start our day. Since we’re a family of four, we each have different tastes about what we enjoy eating – our daughters like something sweet, but I prefer something savory and nutritious.

Lady sitting in a cafe drinking coffee and a slice of cake.Lady sitting in a cafe drinking coffee and a slice of cake.

Whether you’re looking for something to fill you up until dinner time, a nutritious and healthy option, something sickly sweet, or something unique, we have a breakfast spot for you!

With so many great local coffee shops, eateries and taverns, it can be a challenge working out where to fill up for the day, so we’ve listed the best breakfast spots in Raleigh that we love!

Don’t worry, we got your morning covered!

Where to Find the Best Breakfast in Raleigh!

To help you plan which breakfast joint to visit, here are all the restaurants and cafes we recommend on an interactive map! You can download this map by clicking the square icon in the top right corner.

Big Ed’s City Market Restaurant

A group of people sitting at a table in a restaurantA group of people sitting at a table in a restaurant

If I had a friend visiting from out of town and had to choose one place to go for breakfast in Raleigh, I would take them to Big Ed’s in City Market.

You don’t get more Raleigh, and a taste of Southern comfort food and hospitality, than at Big Ed’s.

Here you can enjoy breakfast food like what grandma used to make, personable service, and a laid-back cafe with funky antiques hanging from the old rafters and memorabilia scattered around. 

plate of liver and eggs Big Ed's Raleigh NCplate of liver and eggs Big Ed's Raleigh NC french toastfrench toast Sliced pork loin & eggs / French toast

Popular items include their HUGE hot cakes, country ham, aged ribeye steak, sliced pork loin, fried catfish, freshly made hot biscuits, French toast, and double-brewed sweet tea.

Read our full review of Big Eds Raleigh here and why I think it’s the best breakfast in Raleigh.

New York Bagel & Deli

Empire State bagel on a baking paperEmpire State bagel on a baking paperTurkey, bacon, Swiss

Americans love your bagels for breakfast, especially New Yorkers, and I’ve since become a big fan of them and taste tested my way around all the bagel shops in Raleigh to find the best one.

I agree with the general consensus, that New York Bagel & Deli in North Raleigh has the best bagels in Raleigh

Here you’ll find the kind of bagels that give New Yorkers a taste of home, and as soon as I walked in I got those NY vibes from the memorabilia on the walls, the ambience, the menu offerings, and the taste of the bagels.

customers at NY Bagel & Deli, Raleigh, NCcustomers at NY Bagel & Deli, Raleigh, NC

It closely resembled a true NY bagel shop and a real NY experience right here in Raleigh. 

They use Boar’s Head meats and with 25 bagel varieties the menu is extensive with classics such as the Empire State (Turkey, Bacon, Swiss, Lettuce, Tomato and Onion), Nova Lox – Nova, Onion, tomato, capers & Cream Cheese, and The New Yorker – Pastrami, Corned Beef, Melted Swiss & Cole Slaw w/ Spicy Mustard.

State Farmers Market Restaurant 

Considered one of the nation’s best markets, the Raleigh Farmers Market is also home to one of the most popular breakfast restaurants in Raleigh and is the number one place to get a country breakfast and Southern dining experience. 

They start each meal with their highly acclaimed “REAL BISCUITS”, hand-made using the best NC self-rising flour and real Buttermilk, or order a biscuit as a main meal with fillings (they are gigantic, almost a hamburger). 

Egg and bacon biscuitEgg and bacon biscuit Tables and chairs in a cafe with college banners on the wallTables and chairs in a cafe with college banners on the wall Gigantic biscuits

Their menu features many fresh grown North Carolina based products, and popular items include their Granny Cone’s Sampler (a little of everything), country ham, omelets, and of course their biscuits. Get there early on a weekend as this place gets busy!

Mecca Restaurant

Couple sitting at a booth in a diner eating breakfastCouple sitting at a booth in a diner eating breakfast

Looking for breakfast in downtown Raleigh in a historic setting? Mecca holds the title as the oldest of the restaurant in Raleigh, founded by Greek immigrants in 1930.

The historic setting oozes nostalgia with red stools along a long counter, a black and white checkered floor, and heavy wooden booths.

Eggs, ham, and hashbrowns on a plateEggs, ham, and hashbrowns on a plate Pancake stack on a plate with cup of coffeePancake stack on a plate with cup of coffee Ham & Eggs / Pancake stack

Serving unpretentious and comforting meals, this is one of the few true diners left in Raleigh.

Breakfast diner with booths, table sand chairsBreakfast diner with booths, table sand chairsClassic southern breakfast diner

Popular dishes include French toast, country ham, omelets, pancakes, and breakfast sandwiches on a scratch made biscuit.

If you love value for money, consider this breakfast restaurant for a unique-to-Raleigh experience.

Jubala Coffee (3 Locations to Choose From)

If you love great coffee and moist, fluffy biscuits then consider starting your day at one of our favorite coffee shops in Raleigh, Jubala.

We are regular visitors to their Hillsborough Street location (across from NC State University) and their newest location in the North Hills District was an instant hit.

family sitting at outside table at jubalafamily sitting at outside table at jubala cookies on displaycookies on display Hillsborough St location

Jubala is a specialty coffee shop with a full menu of caffeinated drinks, I personally love their lattes, but they also serve tasty comfort food.

I’m a big fan of their biscuits, fluffy and moist and they come with a choice of spreads and fillings. And our kids LOVE their Banana Nutella Waffles!

Note: their North Hills location has an extended food menu including Avocado Tartine, Steel Cut Oatmeal, Granola Yogurt, and a small selection of baked goods (which you can also get at their two other locations). 

  • Hours: varies by location
  • Location: Hillsborough St, North Hills District, Lafayette Village
  • Website: JubalaCoffee.com

The Morning Times

People sitting on tables and chairs out the front of a coffee shop in RaleighPeople sitting on tables and chairs out the front of a coffee shop in Raleigh

Since 2006, The Morning Times in the heart of downtown Raleigh has been a go-to spot for breakfast in Raleigh for locals and visitors alike. 

On the menu are unique, and staple breakfast items. If you love breakfast burritos, that’s my personal favorite menu item.

Also consider their corned beef and hash, or one of their yummy biscuits. They have great sandwiches too!

Breakfast buritto at The Morning Tomes, RaleighBreakfast buritto at The Morning Tomes, RaleighBreakfast burrito toasted sandwich and tator totstoasted sandwich and tator totsTurkey sandwich + Tator tots The Morning Times coffee shop, downtown RaleighThe Morning Times coffee shop, downtown Raleigh Toasted Turkey sandwich / Latte / Iced coffee

You can choose to sit in the cozy upstairs that also functions as an art gallery, or on the sidewalk on a nice weather morning and watch the Raleigh street scene go by.

Or, grab a bagel or biscuit to go with a cup of their excellent brewed coffee.

A Place At The Table

Cup of coffee and sandwiches on a plateCup of coffee and sandwiches on a plate

What a cool concept A Place at the Table is. Raleigh’s first pay-what-you-can café in downtown Raleigh serves chef-prepared food, but all menu items have suggested prices.

The idea is you can pay more or less than the suggested price, or volunteer in exchange for a meal. You can also donate meal tokens for people within the community.

The permanent staff and volunteers are all fantastic and very welcoming, and there is a real community vibe here.

Popular items include homemade buttermilk biscuits and/or spicy cheddar biscuits, and the latin breakfast – Chef Andrew’s homemade black beans, eggs, crema, avocado, homemade salsa, and brown butter cornbread.

Eggs and toast for breakfastEggs and toast for breakfastLatin breakfast Cup of coffee and flowers in a cafeCup of coffee and flowers in a cafe Exterior of apartment buildingExterior of apartment building

They have great coffee too. They use Black and White Coffee Roasters from Wake Forest, who also have a coffee shop around the corner in the Warehouse District

Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen & Bar

Craig Makepeace et al. sitting at a table posing for the cameraCraig Makepeace et al. sitting at a table posing for the camera

Not specifically local to Raleigh but I’m including them as they are local to North Carolina (Asheville)!

Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen & Bar is another popular breakfast place in Raleigh because it has big portions and hearty meals that fill you up until dinner time.

They have an all-day menu of Southern comfort food with a creative twist – and a good kids menu.

pancakes with syrup Tupelo Honey Cafe, Raleighpancakes with syrup Tupelo Honey Cafe, RaleighKids pancakes girl with hot chocolategirl with hot chocolate A bowl of baked eggs on a tableA bowl of baked eggs on a table

Tupelo is famous for their buttermilk biscuits, fried tomatoes, classic fried chicken & waffles, Bacon & Sausage Scramble, and Cast Iron Pork.

A good staple place with reasonable portions and a busy atmosphere. Be sure to make reservations for the weekends! 

Boulted Bread

People sitting in a bakery eating pastries and drinking coffee.People sitting in a bakery eating pastries and drinking coffee.

If you’re looking for bakeries in Raleigh to get a grab-and-go breakfast rather than dining in, Boulted Bread is that chic, local neighborhood bakery you’re craving that features pastries and artisan bread made with local and organic grains.

As one of the most popular bakeries with the locals, they serve craft bread and pastries ranging from their popular flaky croissants, to sweet fruit-filled tarts, and savory breakfast quiches and morning buns.

Morning buns at Boulted Bread bakery in Raleigh, NCMorning buns at Boulted Bread bakery in Raleigh, NCMorning buns Chocolate croissants at Boulted Bread bakery in Raleigh, NCChocolate croissants at Boulted Bread bakery in Raleigh, NC Seeded Levain at Boulted Bread bakery in Raleigh, NCSeeded Levain at Boulted Bread bakery in Raleigh, NC Chocolate croissant / Levain bread

Pop in and grab something to go then head to one of our favorite neighborhoods in Raleigh, the Warehouse District, for a coffee at Heirloom Brewshop, or Black & White Coffee. 

Fount Coffee + Kitchen

People working on laptop computers while sitting inside a cafePeople working on laptop computers while sitting inside a cafe

If you’re looking for the best gluten-free breakfast in Raleigh with great coffee, then head over to the Morrisville area of Wake County (it’s only a 20-minute drive) for Fount Coffee + Kitchen.

It may be a little way out of the city center, but the specialty coffee bar and 100% gluten free menu makes it worth the trip!

Avocado on toast and a cup of coffeeAvocado on toast and a cup of coffeeAvocado + Egg on GF toast A plate of food and a cup of coffee,A plate of food and a cup of coffee, A bowl of fruit and granolaA bowl of fruit and granola Latte & Coffee cake / Acai bowl

A latte paired with their coffee cake is one of my favorite mouth-watering pairings for breakfast.

For something a little less sweet and more substantial, their smashed avocado toast will satisfy any tastebud.

Also have smoothie bowls and other stacks served on a slice of toasted GF Simple Kneads Sourdough Bread.

Benchwarmers Bagels

People waiting to order at a cafePeople waiting to order at a cafe

Another popular bagel shop in Raleigh for breakfast is Benchwarmers Bagels, located inside the equally popular Transfer Co. Food Hall.

Benchwarmers use a wood-fired oven, heirloom grains, extended fermentation, and fresh-milled, pre-fermented 100% organic flour to make their modern bagels.

They have 6 styles of bagels including the usual classics and some unique cream cheese spreads including pimento cheese, Maitre d’hotel (herby + lemon), Carolina reaper (spicey), pecan butterscotch, and a cashew (vegan). 

Egg, Bacon & Cheese BagelEgg, Bacon & Cheese Bagel Bagels on display in a cafeBagels on display in a cafe Aerial photo of a food hallAerial photo of a food hall

Their bagels don’t contain any dairy or egg, and if you’re looking for a tasty bagel and coffee option don’t sleep on this spot for breakfast in Raleigh – one of the founder’s is the owner of Jubala Coffee, so good coffee here too!

Idle Hour Coffee

If the idea of donuts and coffee appeals to your morning taste buds, then Idle Hour Coffee shop serves up the popular Tepuy Donuts and an excellent range of coffee options. 

Located on Oberlin Road in a lovely neighborhood spot not far from Five Points and the Village District.

This boutique coffee house also has a small cafe menu with pastries, paninis, sandwiches, bagels and baked goods. 

Cup of coffee in a white mug on yellow table - - Idle Hour Coffee Shop, RaleighCup of coffee in a white mug on yellow table - - Idle Hour Coffee Shop, Raleigh Baugette sandwich and cup of coffeeBaugette sandwich and cup of coffee

It has comfy inside seating that consists of cozy couches and booths, and outside are a few tables and chairs for when the weather is nice.

Read our full review of Idle Hour Coffee here

Iris Coffee Lab & Cafe

Open bagel in a persons handsOpen bagel in a persons handsHotshot Bagel by Iris Coffee Lab

For those in the Glenwood Ave area, Iris Coffee Lab & Cafe has got you covered.

Whilst there are no shortage of bars and dinner spots in this area of downtown Raleigh, there was a definite lack of local coffee shops until Iris opened their doors during the pandemic. 

Upon entering you’ll notice how modern, clean and cool the space is, coupled with personable staff and a relaxed vibe to sit for a while and enjoy a lovely coffee and bagel, or pull out your laptop and work online over breakfast.

Cup of coffeeCup of coffee Avocado and arugula on toast and a cup of coffeeAvocado and arugula on toast and a cup of coffee

They have a rotating menu that changes daily, for example at time of publishing bagels are a feature, with their Hotshot Bagel an all time best seller: egg, cheese, bacon, chive cream cheese, and hot honey from NY.

In the past we’ve had smashed avo on toast and donuts. Super cute place that is continuing to evolve!

The Flying Biscuit

People dining outside at a cafePeople dining outside at a cafe

Not local to Raleigh, but the Flying Biscuit Cafe is certainly popular with Raleigh locals and is one of the most popular breakfast and brunch spots since it opened in 2009. They also have locations in Cary and Brier Creek.

Well known for their Southern hospitality, bright décor that gives you permission to relax, and of course their tasting and filling food – most notably grits and fluffy biscuits (they bake nearly 5,000 biscuits a week). 

Biscuits and jamBiscuits and jamGood biscuits

After you’re seated, you’ll be welcomed with those fresh, warm biscuits and apple butter (think apple pie).

From breakfast bowls to hashes, pancakes to and acai bowls and standard southern breakfast foods, there is a variety of healthy food options on the menu, especially gluten free.

Breakfast bowl with eggBreakfast bowl with egg Acai bowl and biscuitsAcai bowl and biscuits

One of the things we love most about eating at Flying Biscuit is the high-quality food and experience at affordable prices – breakfast dishes range from as low as $4.49, but most dishes are priced around the $15 mark. 

If the weather permits, we recommend sitting on the outside patio!

14. Herons at Umstead Hotel

outside garden at the umstead surounded by trees in winteroutside garden at the umstead surounded by trees in winter

If you’re looking for somewhere a little more opulent to spend your morning, consider having breakfast at the exuberant Herons restaurant at Umstead Hotel.

It was listed as one of Forbes Five-Star restaurants in the world, out of 64 restaurants, and is well known for its regal interiors, floor-to-ceiling windows, and hand-picked private art collection.

Popular items on the breakfast menu are the Acai Bowl, an assortment of Breakfast Pastries, Old Fashioned Pancakes, Crab Cake Benedict, and the Herons Featured Omelet which is made from local cheese and seasonal veggies.

entry way to umstead hotelentry way to umstead hotel

Try to grab yourself a seat by the windows which overlook the hotel’s magnificent gardens!

There’s only 98 seats in the dining room, so it’s recommended you book in advance to avoid disappointment.

Note: there is a dress code, sorry! Men must wear pants, a collared shirt, and dress shoes. No jeans, no shorts, no sandals, no entry.

15. Sola Coffee

girl in front of i believe in raleigh muralgirl in front of i believe in raleigh muralA favorite feature of Sola

Sola is a family owned coffee shop owned by the Luther family, who opened this cute coffee shop in 2012. Since it opened, it’s been a popular breakfast joint for locals and visitors alike.

Their food is fresh, organic, and locally sourced, with handcrafted drinks and artisan food on the menu.

Popular breakfast items include Farmstyle Omelet, Breakfast Bowls (Aragula, Avo, Quinoa, Jammy Egg, Feta, Tomato, Peppadew, Lime, Cilantro and Maple Sriracha + meat of your choice), as well as Smashed Avo on Toast.

coffee and cakecoffee and cake acai bowlacai bowl

The best thing about Sola is the price. All breakfast items are under $10 per meal, and you can even find lighter bites for under $5. If you’re looking for a cheap breakfast place in Raleigh, this is it!

Note: there is no WiFi from 9.00am – 1.00pm on weekdays or at all on Saturdays, so if you’re planning on doing some work over breakfast, this isn’t the place for you.

  • Hours: breakfast served 7.00am – 11.00am (Closed Sunday and Monday)
  • Address: 7705 Lead Mine Road, Raleigh, 27615
  • Website: https://www.solacoffee.com/

16. Rise Biscuits

Another classic place to get biscuits is Rise Biscuits, who have several locations in Raleigh, but our favorite branch is in their Village District.

They serve traditional, Southern Biscuits with homegrown Southern-milled soft wheat flour, making them nice and fluffy!

Choose from classic pairings such as Egg and Bacon, or go for something off the cuff such as their Sweet Country Blues Biscuits which comes with country-seasoned pork sausage on a glazed blueberry biscuit!

What’s more is many of their dishes cost less than $7, making it a cheap brekkie place for those on a budget.

They also have a Veggie Chicken for those looking for meat substitutes.

17. First Watch

family eating breakfast at first watch wake forestfamily eating breakfast at first watch wake forest

First Watch is another chain in Raleigh that’s known for their breakfast. All their breakfast food items are made to order and are as fresh as they come!

They serve up classic breakfast dishes with a Mediterranean twist. One of my favorite dishes from them is the Hacienda Hash, which is made up of Chorizo, Red Bell Pepper, Free Range Eggs, and Potato Hash with fresh smashed avocado. Yum!

Their breakfast menu is mostly made up of healthy options, and there’s a huge egg’s section with eight different types of omelet.

morning meditation juice at First Watchmorning meditation juice at First Watch morning hash with egg and arugulamorning hash with egg and arugula

Since the dishes are made to order, they are simple, but they are packed with flavor – it’s all in the seasoning!

Don’t miss a chance to pair your breakfast with a mouth watering juice from the juice bar! I love their Morning Meditation juice with Orange, lemon, turmeric, organic ginger, agave nectar and beet.

For a chain, we think First Watch is pretty darn good!

Final Thoughts

Jubala Coffee, North Hills. RaleighJubala Coffee, North Hills. RaleighBiscuit with bacon + egg + pimento cheese

Whilst the breakfast options in Raleigh aren’t as diverse and to the quality of say, brunch in Raleigh, or dinner options, you can still get a good range of quality and interesting breakfast dishes!

Going out for breakfast is a great way to get a taste of some fresh, local produce and try local cuisine.

Don’t miss a chance to try local favorites like Country ham, Southern Fried Chicken, Shrimp & Grits, Biscuits and gravy, Fried Green Tomatoes, and Chicken & Waffle Sandwiches to name just a few. 

We hope this guide gave you some inspiration about where to eat breakfast in Raleigh and gave you a few options to consider.

More Great Food Options in Raleigh

Now it’s your turn! Who do you think makes the best breakfast in Raleigh? Let us know in the comments section down below!


Share this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *