Norwich, UK: a city famed for its cultural and literary history. Something the city is not famous for, though, is being my home for four years. Still, during my undergraduate and postgraduate tenure, I became pretty familiar with the local café and breakfast scene – there are only so many student meals one can take. Plus, finding the city’s best coffee spots certainly came in handy when exam season came about.
Anyhow, less of my student life sob story and more of Norwich’s top-shelf café scene. The city boasts near-endless options for all tastes and budgets. From revered foodie eateries to quick caffeine pitstops – Norwich caters for all.
Here is the list of best breakfast spots & cafés in Norwich.
Address: 31, 33 Exchange St, Norwich NR2 1DP, United Kingdom
A favourite amongst Norwich locals.
I remember when No. 33 was just, well, at number 33. The place has been so popular that it outgrew its own name. Before No. 33’s expansion into the space next door, it wasn’t unusual to see people in a queue outside, waiting in the hopes of grabbing themselves a table. The lure of one of their posh sausage sandwiches was enough to see me take up a spot in the queue a good number of times.
With its increased capacity, No. 33 is one of the best places in Norwich to grab breakfast or brunch with friends. Whenever anyone from out of town came to visit during my time in Norwich, No. 33 was the first place I’d be taking them.
From the StaffMy favourite is the Mediterranean Toast.
Toasted sourdough topped with olive tapenade, sun-blushed tomatoes, fresh tomato salsa, avocado, feta cheese, toasted pumpkin seeds and fresh herbs. It’s vegetarian and can be made gluten-friendly!
– Nichola atNo. 33
Address: 40 Elm Hill, Norwich NR3 1HG, United Kingdom
It’s not unusual to hear Olive’s be proclaimed as the best breakfast spot in town – a number of my own friends have been very vocal about Olive’s excellent brunch offerings. And, I don’t blame them!
Do make sure you’ve got a mean hunger on though when heading there, as Olive’s takes the idea of a ‘big breakfast’ very seriously. It’s a common occurrence to see people leaving the Elm Hill café carrying a box of their leftovers.
Another tip: it might not be a bad idea to book a table. Olive’s top tier breakfasts are not a secret these days, so the café can get very busy. Rather than risking a wait in the queue, lock down a breakfast slot in advance.
But, bottom line, if you’re after a sit-down breakfast worthy of the wait, Olive’s is the place to go.
From the StaffWe’re mostly famous for our breakfasts – in fact that’s all we do! Be sure to try our full English!
– Mick at Olive’s
Kofra Coffee Roasters & Brewers
Address: 81 Upper St Giles St, Norwich NR2 1AB, United Kingdom
The best coffee in town? Kofra is going to have to fight it out with Strangers. But one of them will arguably take the crown. Kofra has grown to four storefronts in the Norwich area. Their location on Upper St Giles, however, is closest to the city centre.
Kofra is one of the best places to go for a high-quality caffeine boost. They also have a great selection of specialty cakes baked on-site, beers, and wine! The staff are not only incredible baristas but are some of the friendliest people you’ll come across – I found myself just popping in to say hello even if I wasn’t buying anything.
Their La Aurora blend was always the one for me. But you really can’t go wrong with any of Kofra’s roasts. Whatever your coffee preference, the baristas at Kofra will take good care of you.
From the StaffWe are really well known for our vibrant filter coffees but nothing beats starting the day with a delicious flat white!
– Agnese at Kofra Coffee Roasters & Brewers
The Unthank Kitchen
Address: 117 Unthank Rd, Norwich NR2 2PE, United Kingdom
Hangovers have been cured here, that is for sure. How many exactly is hard to say, but I’d wager that most University of East Anglia students have taken down one of Unthank Kitchen’s generous full English breakfasts to settle a post-night out stomach.
Though, Unthank is not just for the local university population. The family-run operation should definitely be a stop for everyone passing through Norwich. Breakfast classics are very affordable.
Whether you’re after a bumper breakfast or a vegan full English, The Unthank Kitchen has you covered.
Strangers Coffee House
Address: 21 Pottergate, Norwich NR2 1DS, United Kingdom
These days, you have coffee houses and shops, and then you have coffee institutions. Strangers is the latter.
We’ve all come to accept the market dominance of Starbucks and Costa, but in Norwich, Strangers wears the crown. The independent brand now has three storefronts: two cafés and one roast house that also offers takeaway brew. Not to mention, you’ll find Strangers’ coffee in other establishments throughout Norwich and Norfolk.
Touch base with where the Norwich caffeine empire was born and visit the Pottergate coffee house specifically. While you’re there, try your favourite coffee with their LA Union – House Blend; see if you can taste the hints of orange and toffee. You’ll quickly see why Strangers is arguably Norwich’s favourite coffee spot.
Address: 5 Swan Ln, Norwich NR2 1HZ, United Kingdom
Don’t get me wrong, I love myself a coffee. I’ve even got a fair share of years as a barista behind me to prove it. But, a café’s food is where I’m won over – and there’s a reason I became a regular at Logans.
Sandwiches are the name of the game here. Baguette, crunchy wrap, toasted focaccia, loaded club – Logans’ menu cuts no corners. They cut no corners in quality either; everything is prepared fresh, right in front of you.
Be prepared to wait for a table if you head to Logans during lunch hours – the bar’s location in the historic Norwich Lanes means limited space. But Logans’ takeaway menu means you can also grab and go.
The Street Café
Address: 147 Magdalen St, Norwich NR3 1NF, United Kingdom
The Street Café is another of Norwich’s eateries that has come to be known for its English’ fry ups’.
The café is a little bit outside the town centre – roughly a 20-minute walk from the Norwich Market. So, if you find yourself in Norwich Over the Water with some hunger pangs, The Street Café will see you right.
Since 1996, the café has been serving the community with locally sourced food at very reasonable prices.
Good food, good service, good prices. There’s a reason The Street Café has a loyal customer base.
Address: 10 St Gregorys Alley, Norwich NR2 1ER, United Kingdom
Tofurei is a leader in Norwich’s more up-and-coming café scene. The café itself is the expansion of the brands’ micro soya dairy and tofu production – a UK first.
Now, Tofurei continues to build its soya-alchemy legacy by offering some of the finest vegan food in the city. The establishment has made such a foothold in Norwich that the University of East Anglia itself makes wholesale orders of some of Tofurei’s wares to resell in its campus cafés – I’d personally recommend one of the vegan sausage rolls.
Tofurei is a no-brainer for those wanting to feast on some vegan goodness.
Moorish Falafel Bar
Address: 17 Lower Goat Ln, Norwich NR2 1EL, United Kingdom
If it’s an early breakfast you’re after, Moorish will leave you wanting – it doesn’t open until 11 am each morning – but don’t disregard the place just yet. Moorish has firmly cemented itself as one of the most popular café eateries in the city.
If a midday English breakfast isn’t what you’re after, head over to Moorish for one of their classic falafel salad bowls. Or, for something a bit heavier, order yourself one of the mock chicken burgers. Either way, wash it down with their homemade lemonade.
If you swing by when they’re quiet, grab one of the on-pavement tables and partake in some people watching.
Address: Market Pl, Norwich NR2 1ND, United Kingdom
Part of the Norwich experience is the city centre’s resident marketplace – one of the UK’s most famous and historic open-air markets. At the heart of the market is Ruby’s, a street food stall best known for its burgers and breakfast baps.
Ruby’s is the spot to go if you’re busy running errands around town. Nip into the market, have a quick conversation with Ruby as your food is prepared, and then continue on your way. It doesn’t get any easier or faster than that.
Cheap and cheerful can have some negative connotations from time to time. But regardless, Ruby’s embodies the truth of the phrase – good, simple food and very inexpensive prices.
Harriet’s Café Tearooms
Address: 38 London St, Norwich NR2 1LD, United Kingdom
For a more upmarket experience, visit Harriet’s Café Tearooms. This city centre establishment specialises in afternoon tea, though you can order breakfast and lunch here too.
The philosophy at Harriet’s is that service is ‘everything’ – a salute, to paraphrase their own words, to the old days of hospitality experiences.
Harriet’s Café Tearooms is a great spot to go if you’re looking for an alternative experience to enjoy with friends. Take a group and share some conversations over a generous serving of finger sandwiches and scones.
Address: 18-19 The Royal Arcade, Norwich NR2 1NQ, United Kingdom
Tucked into the historic Royal Arcade, Marmalades has been serving the people of Norwich for over 20 years.
Marmalades happens to be one of the more unassuming places to grab a great espresso in the city. But it is great, nonetheless. There’s a generous offering of food too, from scones and sausage rolls to more substantial meals. Make sure to leave room for cake, though.
Address: Davey Pl, Norwich NR2 1PQ, United Kingdom
If the street food of the market doesn’t lure you, perhaps Christophe’s Crepes might. Look for the yellow food truck that’s located opposite Market Place along Davey Place.
Much like the street food on offer in the market, though, Christophe’s is a quick and convenient option when looking to line the stomach. It is important to emphasise, though, that quality is not compromised by its convenience.
Christophe’s Crepes is the spot for those with a sweet tooth. Pair a coffee with a freshly made crepe, and be on your way in no time. I’m a traditionalist: lemon and sugar are the only toppings you’ll ever need.
Zest at Campus Kitchen
Address: University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, United Kingdom
Zest at Campus Kitchen is probably the most casual café on this list. Being the University of East Anglia’s on-site eatery, the establishment is run as a canteen operation rather than a sit-and-be-served café.
But, with Norwich being, amongst other things, a university town, I couldn’t leave out Campus Kitchen.
Swing by in the morning to join students grabbing breakfast and a coffee pre-lecture, or stop by after noontime to chow down on one of the daily lunch specials.
If you’re in Norwich to visit a friend at UEA, you’ll no doubt get brought here for a bite to eat anyway.
Modern Life Café at The Sainsbury Centre
Address: Floor 1 Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Courtyard B, Norwich NR4 7TJ, United Kingdom
Another UEA locale. There could be one of two reasons you end up at this end of the university campus. Firstly, you want to spend some time exploring one of Britain’s most prominent university art galleries and cultural centres. Or, you’re a rather big Marvel fan and want to see where the Avengers Headquarters was set.
Either or, grab some refreshments at The Sainsbury Centre’s in-house café and restaurant. Aim for The Terrace for coffee and snacks. Alternatively, Modern Life Café is the place to go if you want something more substantial.
Modern Life’s all-day toasted sourdough is the real deal.
Norwich doesn’t miss when it comes to its café and breakfast scene. Looking for top-quality, artisanal coffee? Norwich has it in the form of Strangers, Kofra, and more. Have a craving for a big English breakfast? Look no further than Olive’s, or The Street Café. Each and every base is covered.
Foodies: eat your heart out.
Check out our other articles on Norwich below:
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