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Breakfasts are curiously underrated in urban India. For some, they come out of a packet during the dash to the door, or consist of a fruit consumed in the car. For others, they are the least imaginative meal of the day. For some old-schoolers, it doubles as lunch. No arguments, when time is at a premium—as in our lives today—tossing up between bagels and bisi bele bhaath is hardly the way we would like to begin our mornings. But when the schedule permits and the day stretches ahead, we could do worse than take time out for a breakfast that wakes the senses, tickles the taste buds and still leaves you with hours of plans and possibilities. This is true luxury: A mealtime not circumscribed by deadlines (as dinner is through the week in namma Bengaluru) or to-do lists.

To add a few more hours to your weekend, our food detectives in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Goa and the National Capital Region put in hours of admittedly pleasurable research, revealed their treasured secrets and contributed to this master-list of the best breakfasts. Yes, there are lots of Eggs Benedict in the recommendations, but you’ll also find the Mexican-inspired Huevos Rancheros in Goa, the Korean red-bean bing-su in Gurgaon and the Japanese-style omelette in Kolkata, besides can’t-do-without-home-grown-classics like podi dosai in Chennai and khara bhaath in Bengaluru—all served in eateries that add their own brand of quirk and class to the dishes.

Set that alarm clock now.

DELHI

UNITED COFFEE HOUSE

Breakfast at this Delhi institution, with its balconied mezzanine seating, high ceilings and two large Viennese chandeliers, is brilliant: A pleasantly large selection of stuffed omelettes, pancakes, waffles and baked beans is on offer, with free coffee, tea or milk shake thrown in. The Eggs Benedict, while not the most prettily plated, has the most generous portion of smooth hollandaise, chunky bread and massive pieces of bacon rashers. Their Indian selection is baffling in its variety. The Mysore Dosa comes plain or with a choice of four stuffings, the most delicious of which is the egg roast. And for the Punjabi at heart, the Chana Bhatura or Puri Bhaji are clear favourites.

Where: E-15, Inner Circle, Connaught Place (23416075)

When: 9.30am-noon

Don’t miss: Mysore Dosa with egg roast stuffing and Eggs Benedict

Breakfast for two: 900

ELMA’S

Waffles. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint
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Waffles. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

Where: 73, Mehar Chand Market, Lodhi Colony (49050881); 31, Hauz Khas Village (33105386); the Good Earth store at the Select Citywalk mall, Saket (9711117516)

When: 10am-12.30pm (Lodhi Colony and Hauz Khas Village); 10am-8pm (Select Citywalk mall)

Don’t miss: The Full English Breakfast

Breakfast for two: 1,400

CAFÉ LOTA

Mini Rava Idlis tossed with Molagapodi and curry leaves, served with coconut chutney. Photo: Priyanka Parashar/Mint
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Mini Rava Idlis tossed with Molagapodi and curry leaves, served with coconut chutney. Photo: Priyanka Parashar/Mint

Where: National Crafts Museum, Bhairon Marg, Pragati Maidan (23378659)

When: 8-11.30am

Don’t miss: Keema Paratha

Breakfast for two:800

SMOKE HOUSE DELI

Where: 17, First floor, Middle Lane, Khan Market (43542819)

When: 8am-midnight

Don’t miss: Good Old Eggs Benedict and their pancakes

Breakfast for two: 1,000

DI GHENT BOULANGERIE

Eggs Benedict. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint
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Eggs Benedict. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

Where: Level 2, Cross Point Mall (opposite Galleria), Phase 4, Gurgaon (4233355)

When: 8am-7pm

Don’t miss: Waffles and Eggs Benedict

Breakfast for two:900

SIBANG BAKERY

(clockwise, from right) The Mango Bean Bing-Su; the Red Bean Bing-Su; and the Coffee Bean Bing-Su. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint
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(clockwise, from right) The Mango Bean Bing-Su; the Red Bean Bing-Su; and the Coffee Bean Bing-Su. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

Where: First floor, South Point Mall, Gold Course Road, Gurgaon (9811297865)

When: 9.30am-9pm

Don’t miss: Red Bean Bing-Su

Breakfast for two:800

GOA

RUTA’S ROADHOUSE

Where: Near Happy Bar, Anjuna-Mapusa Road, Assagao (8380025757)

When: 8.30am-7pm

Don’t miss: Huevos Rancheros

Breakfast for two: 1,000

BABA AU RHUM

Where: House No. 1054, Sim Vaddo, Anjuna, Bardez (9657210468)

When: 9am-5.30pm (closed on Tuesdays)

Don’t miss: Croissants, Danish, tarts, and eclairs

Breakfast for two: 800

CAFÉ BODEGA

One of the only places in Panaji to offer an all-day breakfast menu with regulars like eggs to order (everything from fried eggs to Eggs Benedict served on a savoury waffle), a fruits bowl with granola and cereal, pancakes and waffles with home-made fruit preserves, Bodega is a great place to catch a quiet, lazy breakfast. Surrounded by the art gallery spaces, the café is cozy, peaceful and inviting.

Where: 63/C-8, Sunaparanta, Goa Centre For The Arts, near Lar De Estudantes, Altinho, Panaji (2421315)

When: 10am-7pm

Don’t miss: Eggs Benedict With Smoked Ham And Breakfast Waffles

Breakfast for two: 800

NATTI’S NATURALS

Smoothie Bowl and ingredients for porridge. Photo: Cyril Pereira/Mint
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Smoothie Bowl and ingredients for porridge. Photo: Cyril Pereira/Mint

Where: Calangute-Anjuna Road, Mazal Waddo, Anjuna (8550999422)

When: 9am-7pm

Don’t miss: ABC Juice

Breakfast for two: 800

MUMBAI

LA FOLIE LAB

Where: Shop No.1, Libra Tower, 70, Hill Road, opposite St Peter’s Church, Bandra—West (30151028)

When: From 8.30am (some of these items are available till 11.30 am, some till 8.30pm)

Don’t miss: Pain Perdu

Breakfast for two: 900

TAJ MAHAL TEA HOUSE

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The café has an extensive tea menu.
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The café has an extensive tea menu.

Where: 36-A, Ground floor, Sonatan Pereira Bungalow, St John Baptist Road, Reclamation, Bandra—West (33126721)

When: 7.30am-noon

Don’t miss: ‘Akuri’

Breakfast for two: 900

JAMJAR DINER

The Giant Jamjar Popeye.
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The Giant Jamjar Popeye.

Where: 7A-B, J P Road, Aram Nagar II, opposite Palm Beach Apartments, Versova, Andheri—West (26368880)

When: 9am-4pm

Don’t miss: Giant Jamjar Popeye

Breakfast for two: 1,200

THE PANTRY

When: 8.30am-11.30pm

Don’t miss: Naga Chilli Mushroom Omelette

Breakfast for two: 1,300

THE NUTCRACKER

Buttermilk Pancakes with melted butter, maple syrup and blueberry compote.
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Buttermilk Pancakes with melted butter, maple syrup and blueberry compote.

The all-day breakfast café has a varied “eggetarian" menu. The creamy Eggs Florentine with the addictive garlic-y spinach is one of our favourites, as is the Emmental & Truffle Oil Scrambled Eggs. Alternatively, try the light, fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes, served with melted butter, maple syrup and a pot of tart blueberry compote. For a more punchy start to the day, you cannot go wrong with the Breakfast Quesadillas; these come stuffed with black beans, mushrooms, peppers and cheese. If you’re pressed for time, down a Breakfast In A Bottle, a blend of oats, milk, dates and nuts. Skip the usual tea and coffee and try the instant pick-me-up Spiced Mandarin Tea, flavoured with cinnamon and star anise. And if you would rather have a cookie for breakfast, don’t miss the Seven Layer Cookie; the layered creation looks more like a brownie and is choc-a-bloc with biscuit crumble, butterscotch and gooey chocolate, topped with slivered almonds.

Where: Modern House, Dr V B Gandhi Marg, opposite One Forbes Building, Fort (22842430)

When: 9.30am-10.30pm (except Sundays—8.30am-10.30pm and Mondays—noon-10.30pm

Don’t miss: Breakfast Quesadilla

Breakfast for two: 1,200

MOCKINGBIRD CAFÉ BAR

Bruléed French Toast with rum-glazed bananas. Photo: Abhijit Bhatlekar/Mint
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Bruléed French Toast with rum-glazed bananas. Photo: Abhijit Bhatlekar/Mint

Where: 80, Veer Nariman Road, Churchgate (60226023)

When: 9-11.30am

Don’t miss: Saddle Bags

Breakfast for two: 1,000

SUZETTE

Where: A1, Atlanta Building, Ground floor, Nariman Point (8080809554); Pali Naka, Bandra (West); Hiranandani Gardens, Powai.

When: 9am-noon, except Sundays (11am-noon)

Don’t miss: Sweet Breakfast

Breakfast for two: 1,200

VILLA VANDRE

The Villa Vandre Breakfast.
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The Villa Vandre Breakfast.

For the sweet tooth, we suggest the fluffy French Toast, served with honey. If you prefer your breakfast savoury, we recommend the Vol Au Vents with an Indian Twist, puff pastry filled with spicy five-bean curry flavoured with coastal masala, and topped with a tangy pomegranate salsa. For a classic American breakfast, try the Lox on Bagels, slathered with cream cheese and topped with smoked salmon, red onion and capers. Instead of the usual masala ‘chai’ or espresso, sip on the refreshing Parsi Chai, a milky tea with lemon grass, ginger and mint.

Where: Shop No.1, May Flower Apartments, New Kantwadi Road, Bandra—West (65279009)

When: 8.30-11.30am

Don’t miss: Villa Vandre Breakfast

Breakfast for two: 1,000

KOLKATA

8TH DAY CAFÉ AND BAKERY

A fresh bagel, generously slathered with cream cheese, and a cup of coffee. Sounds like a good breakfast, right? Now picture this: A warm, chewy bagel crusted with sesame and poppy seeds and caramelized onions, and loaded with fried eggs, roast chicken, Cheddar, a few slices of onion, cucumber, tomato, lettuce and just the right amount of mayonnaise. That’s the Grant’s Sandwich, a favourite on the all-day breakfast menu here. The protein-packed sandwich is named after the cafe’s American owner, Grant Walsh.

Artisanal New York-style bagels are the mainstay of this American-style café with charming French windows and racks packed with books and board games. You can pick something as simple as a plain or wholewheat bagel with peanut butter or Nutella, or make your own egg sandwich, choosing from bagel crusts, cheeses, spreads and vegetables. Even the omelettes (the West Range omelette loaded with cheese, chicken, mushroom and vegetables is especially good) come with your choice of bagels and butter. Plus, there’s a range of tea and coffee. For those with a sweet tooth, there are cinnamon rolls and muffins.

Where: Arcadia, 6 West Range, AJC Bose Road, Mullick Bazaar (65005553)

When: 9am-9m

Don’t miss: Grant’s Sandwich

Breakfast for two: 800

THE BIKER’S CAFÉ

The Hangover Downshifter. Photo: Indranil Bhoumik/Mint
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The Hangover Downshifter. Photo: Indranil Bhoumik/Mint

The biker-lingo spills over from the interiors, strewn with biker paraphernalia, on to the menu. So there’s a fluffy Bobby Brown Omelette that comes with hash browns, grilled tomatoes and toasts (add-ons like ham or mushroom and cheese up the drool quotient), and The Hangover Downshifter, fried eggs spiked with green chillies and paprika, slices of ham, cucumber, tomato and lettuce slapped between slices of brown bread, perfect for that morning after.

The Bobby Brown Omelette. Photo: Indranil Bhoumik/Mint
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The Bobby Brown Omelette. Photo: Indranil Bhoumik/Mint

Plus, there are sweet and savoury French toasts, classic French Benedict (add ham, bacon or salmon) and the option of eggs, made to order, with a choice of fillings like chipotle chicken, ham, mushroom, cheese, jalapeños and more.

Nonetheless, if you’re looking for a typical Indian breakfast, The Biker’s Café has a few highway-style breakfast dishes on the menu, like stuffed ‘parathas’, ‘matar kulcha’ and bun ‘samosas’ with ‘cutting chai’.

Where: Platinum Mall, First floor, 31, Elgin Road (30991303)

When: 7.30am-7.30pm

Don’t miss: Bobby Brown Omelette

Breakfast for two: 800

EDESIA

Eggs Benedict with English muffin. Photo: Indranil Bhoumik/Mint
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Eggs Benedict with English muffin. Photo: Indranil Bhoumik/Mint

They also have a selection of egg specialities, ranging from regular poached, fried and scrambled eggs to Spanish omelettes loaded with onions and potato and Parsi Akoori. But those in the know come here for their Eggs Benedict—deliciously chewy English muffin topped with poached eggs on a bed of meaty Canadian bacon, finished off with a generous splash of velvety Hollandaise sauce—easily their best dish. For those who do not eat pork, there’s the Eggs Florentine, where the bacon is replaced by spinach.

Where: The Regency (first floor), 6, Hungerford Street (22900908)

When: 8am-6pm

Don’t miss: Eggs Benedict

Breakfast for two: 1,200

LA MAISON DES DÉLICES

Croissant served with fries. Photo: Indranil Bhoumik/Mint
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Croissant served with fries. Photo: Indranil Bhoumik/Mint

Where: P596, Keyatala Road (24640052)

When: 8.30am-11.30pm on weekends; 11.30am-11.30pm through the week.

Don’t miss: Croque Monsieur

Breakfast for two: 700

MRS MAGPIE

Omelette served with toasted bread, grilled tomatoes and mushrooms. Photo: Indranil Bhoumik/Mint
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Omelette served with toasted bread, grilled tomatoes and mushrooms. Photo: Indranil Bhoumik/Mint

Where: 570, Lake Terrace Road Extension, Keyatala, Southern Avenue (8697731491)

When: 9am-noon

Don’t miss: Hot Chocolate

Breakfast for two: 800

THE ROYAL BENGAL TIGER CAFE

The South Calcutta-style breakfast. Photo: Indranil Bhoumik/Mint
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The South Calcutta-style breakfast. Photo: Indranil Bhoumik/Mint
A Tiretti Bazaar-style Chinese breakfast with dim sums and bun. Photo: Indranil Bhoumik/Mint
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A Tiretti Bazaar-style Chinese breakfast with dim sums and bun. Photo: Indranil Bhoumik/Mint

Where: 91, Golf Club Road, Tollygunge (24221786)

When: 10am-noon

Don’t miss: Gariahat-style Breakfast

Price for two: 500

BENGALURU

PLAN B

The Pulled Pork Breakfast.
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The Pulled Pork Breakfast.

Where: 20, Castle Street, Ashok Nagar (9739902745). 13 Rhenius Street, Richmond Town (8880022737) When: Noon-11pm (weekdays), noon-1am (weekends)

Don’t miss: Savoury Pancakes with Beef Chilli.

Breakfast for two: 800

RED FORK

Spring Onion Pancake with Smoked Salmon and Poached Egg. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint
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Spring Onion Pancake with Smoked Salmon and Poached Egg. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint

Where: 594, 12th Main, HAL 2nd Stage, Indiranagar (30752480)

When: 9am-3pm

Don’t miss: Pig Out

Breakfast for two: 800

SOCIAL

Elvis Presley French Toast.
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Elvis Presley French Toast.

Where: 46/1, Cobalt Building, Church Street (4171 3016); 29, Ground floor, Phoenix Market City, Whitefield (8033166661)

When: 9am-7pm

Don’t miss: Riyaaz’s Breakfast of Champions

Breakfast for two: 600

NEW MODERN HOTEL (NMH)

As far as institutions for a typically south Indian breakfast go, NMH’s credits lie in the multigenerational queues that form outside the establishment. Look for the day’s menu on one of the many chalk boards around. If unsure, start with a crisp ‘vada’ that comes piping hot with onion ‘sambhar’ and coconut chutney. The ‘sambhar’ is loud-slurp worthy. Move on to a ‘khara bath’ that sets the perfect base for a steaming ‘masala dosa’ with a knob of fresh butter. If space permits, do try the Chiroti with Badam Milk, a sweet that will have you sighing with pleasure. Filter coffee is the only way to end this meal.

Where: New Modern Hotel, AN Krishna Rao Road, near Minerva Circle, VVPuram (26612625)

When: From 7am-9pm

Don’t miss: Vada Sambhar and Masala Dosa

Breakfast for two: 400

MONKEY BAR

Where: 610, 12th Main Road, HAL 2nd Stage (opposite State Bank of India), Indiranagar (44114455)

When: Only on Sundays, 9am-noon

Don’t miss: Toast to France

Breakfast for two: 1,200

THE BIERE CLUB

You Have Got to be Crazy Bomb and Baked Potatoes. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint
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You Have Got to be Crazy Bomb and Baked Potatoes. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint

Where: 20/2, Vittal Mallya Road (42124383); Hagadur Main Road, next to Prestige Ozone, Whitefield (9845887454)

When: Only on Sundays, 10am-4pm

Don’t miss: Baked Potatoes with a range of sauces / Breakfast Pizza

Breakfast for two: 1,000

CHENNAI

SANDY’S CHOCOLATE LABORATORY

Red Velvet Pancakes.
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Red Velvet Pancakes.

Where: 16/1 Wallace Garden, 2nd Street, Nungambakkam (42144000); 2/15 Ganapathy Colony Main Road, Teynampet (42303852)

When: 8am-11pm

Don’t miss: Eggs Benedict

Breakfast for two: 750

AMETHYST

The Waffles Benedict.
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The Waffles Benedict.

Where: 183, Whites Road, Royapettah (45991630)

When: 9am-11.30pm

Don’t miss: Waffles Benedict

Breakfast for two: 800

ID

Where: First floor, Sathyam Cinemas, Royapettah (43920346); Third floor, Forum Vijaya mall, Vadapalani (33011633)

When: 11am-11pm

Don’t miss: The ‘pongal’, sweet and savoury.

Breakfast for two: 500

MATHSYA

Where: 1, Halls Road, Egmore (30853795)

When: 7am-1.30am

Don’t miss: Podi Dosai

Breakfast for two: 500

By Aparna Jain in the NCR, Revati Upadhya in Goa, Prachi Joshi in Mumbai, Priyadarshini Chatterjee in Kolkata, Ruth DSouza Prabhu in Bengaluru and Preeti Zachariah in Chennai.

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