A Hobart Head Chef on Where He Goes in the City For Good Coffee and Café Nibbles

Pigeon Whole Bakers

One of the best people to ask for good coffee and food in a city is a chef who lives there. Where do they themselves go for their caffeine fix and morning or afternoon nibbles? We put that question to Glen Tilly, Head Chef at Italian restaurant Tesoro, inside Movenpick Hotel Hobart on Elizabeth Street.

Ahead, he shares not only his favourite Hobart cafés, but also what to expect and what he orders at each. From a hole-in-the-wall espresso bar Tilly visits nearly every morning, to another with bread he uses in dishes on his own menu and that guests rave about, these are his picks for where to get the best coffee and breakfast nibbles in Hobart.

Wide Awake

Wide Awake is a hole-in-the-wall espresso bar and coffee shop in North Hobart. I stop in there most days. They use Padre Coffee as their main blend and have a host of single-origins. One of the main reasons to stop in for your morning caffeine fix is the welcoming staff, owners Elrick and Claire and all their team. My go-to order is a basic flat white, which they do amazingly, but I highly recommend their batch brew or their cold brew, which I use in a dessert at Tesoro.”

Imago Café and Bakery

“Don’t miss this oasis of bread, pastry and coffee on Elizabeth Street. Imago is perfect for a lazy brunch after checking out the Farm Gate Market. As you step into Imago the sweet smell of freshly baked sourdough bread and coffee lures you in, along with the warm welcome from the crew. I can never decide what is better when I’m here, the coffee, bread or the pastry. Don’t miss the special sando they run on the weekends. We use Imago breads on our breakfast menu at Tesoro and our guests rave about them.”

Staple Coffee

“You’ll find Staple Coffee on Bidencopes Lane. It has a super friendly vibe. You will most likely meet Phil, the owner behind the machine, and Ivy, the shop’s houseplant that has slowly taken over the whole place in the five years since they’ve been there. The coffee is awesome, but one of the highlights for me is the treats in the cabinet, like Pigeon Whole Bakers‘ bagels filled with awesome delights and dark chocolate peanut butter balls. I enjoy these either sitting in the window watching the world go by or, in summer, in the colourful laneway.”

Bear With Me

“If you want a beautiful walk and view of Kunanyi and Mt Wellington with treats and without what seems like an endless hike. You can walk the beautiful Hobart rivulet, where if you’re lucky, you might see a platypus. If you don’t you can still reward yourself for taking a walk with halloumi fries, Korean fried chicken burgers, coffee and juice at Bear With Me, which is about halfway up the rivulet in south Hobart. The staff are super friendly, it has great views of the mountain in a super cosy setting.”

Bear With Me Hobart
Image: Bear With Me via Cumulus Studio

Vilicia Café

Vilicia Café is by the same owners as Bear With Me. The coffee is awesome, and I’d recommend trying any of the single-origin batch brews. My favourite thing on their menu is the breakfast sandwich of bacon, egg and cheese.”

Criterion Street Café

Criterion Street Café is one of the first places I had breakfast when I first moved to Hobart. It has great coffee and a super interesting menu. My favourite dishes are the potato and spring onion pancake, five spiced pulled pork sambal, and the fried egg and greens. It’s a super fun vibe and community feel, and a great place to meet friends in the city.”

Pigeon Hole Bakers

“Pigeon Whole Bakers has some of the best bread in Hobart and the batch brew coffee is amazing. A hidden gem on their menu is the basque tart. The fruit filling changes all the time with the session and it is amazing.”

Pigeon Whole Bakers
Image: Pigeon Whole Bakers

Dandy Lane Café

“Dandy Lane Café is next to one of my favourite bookshops, Cracked and Spineless, and it has inside and outside dining. The juices and smoothies are great here, and I love the fried chicken benedict.”

Institut Polaire

“If you’re visiting the MONA, before you head out from Hobart or when you come back on the ferry, I’d recommend dropping by Institut Polaire. It’s a super cool space with great music and some of the best and most well-made drinks I have ever had. It also has a great wine list and amazing food. My favourite snack on their menu is the botarga toast.”

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