Cafes are part of the cultural fabric in Melbourne. Thanks to a number of innovative coffee enthusiasts doing what they do best, and wonderful chefs creating stylish and imaginative brunch menus, Melbourne is thriving, almost saturated, with fantastic cafes and wonderful coffee.
However, with the sheer number of options available, it can be difficult to decide where to go. Thankfully, the standard of coffee is almost always extremely high, and any cafe offering sub-par coffee in this town doesn’t last long.
Melburnians are, after all, notorious coffee snobs and proud of it!
Below, we’ve highlighted some of our favourite cafes in Melbourne, each hand-selected for their coffee, food, atmosphere and overall vibe. Be sure to check them out; you won’t go wrong.
Location: 12-18 Yarra Pl, South Melbourne, VIC 3205 Ph: (03) 9132 8966
St. Ali is a pioneer of specialty coffee in Melbourne, and thanks to the brand’s drive to continue pushing boundaries, St. Ali still remains worthy of that title.
Driving the industry forward by creating direct relationships with farmers, and conducting their own in-house roasting, St. Ali does incredible work behind the scenes of their gorgeous coffee shop in Melbourne, making it well worth supporting!
Situated in an upmarket warehouse in South Melbourne, the cafe itself is large and airy. Although, this doesn’t stop it filling up quickly! It’s a popular spot, full of people enjoying their top quality coffee and delicious food. Be sure to check it out!
Location: 172 Oxford St, Collingwood, VIC 3066 Ph: (03) 9417 5930
Proud Mary, another of the speciality coffee pioneers in Melbourne, has now become something of an empire. Serving up specialty coffee, super fresh juices and smoothies, a gorgeous variety of tea, homemade cakes, and an unbeatable all-day breakfast, Proud Mary has everything that you could need.
Based in a warehouse style cafe in Collingwood, Proud Mary stands out for its wonderfully fresh ingredients, particularly creative menu (which is renewed seasonally), and great tasting coffee. The staff are also very friendly and happy to accommodate for diet requirements such as veganism.
If all you’re looking for is a great panini, give Saul’s Sandwiches a try
Location: 114 Berkeley St, Carlton, VIC 3050 Ph: (03) 9347 8664
If you’re a coffee lover in Melbourne, there’s one place that should be near the top of your list: Seven Seeds Coffee Roasters.
Founded in 2007, Seven Seeds is dedicated to providing excellent coffee while fostering a coffee culture that is supply-chain transparent and fair-trade based.
An admirable feature of Seven Seeds is the commitment to using top quality ingredients in their small all-day menu. Their brunch classics are given a delicious spin and are fresh and offer good value. But let’s be real, it’s the coffee that really steals the show.
Loyal customers rave about the consistently exceptional coffee served up at Seven Seeds. It’s no wonder they’ve gained a reputation for being one of the best coffee spots in Melbourne.
You can find Seven Seeds in the Melbourne University district, easily recognizable by its navy blue facade amongst the old-school warehouses and shiny new developments.
Stop by for a bite to eat, but don’t leave without taking home some of their packaged coffee beans. And if you don’t have a grinder at home, don’t worry – they’ll grind them for you.
While you’re browsing, take a look at their retail shelves stocked with cold filter casks, drip coffee bags, and other coffee accessories. It’s clear that Seven Seeds is committed to all things coffee, from sourcing and roasting to brewing and retailing.
Seven Seeds takes its name from the story of Baba Budan, who smuggled seven seeds of fertile coffee out of Yemen and into India during the 17th century. This daring act broke through the tightly regulated system that had previously kept coffee cultivation within the confines of the Arabic world. Because of Baba Budan’s determination, a once-rigid coffee monopoly was broken and we’re now able to source beans from all over the world.
Overall, Seven Seeds plays an important part in Melbourne’s coffee culture. Their passion for providing exceptional coffee in an open and transparent culture has made them a beloved spot for locals and visitors alike.
Just a few kilometres up the road in charming Carlton North (and not to be confused with South Melbourne’s Park Street Pasta), you’ll find Park Street Dining.
Park Street Dining has long been a hidden gem located in the tight-knit community of North Carlton. It’s got an easygoing charm and a relaxed Italian vibe (just like the neighbourhood itself).
The cafe provides excellent coffee (sourced and roasted locally by Code Black) and you’ll enjoy a laidback, casual dining experience for breakfast and lunch, alongside a decent range of takeaway items. There’s a function room for hire, and you can book with confidence that your guests will be well catered for.
What used to make Park Street Dining so unique was its ability to transform from a daytime cafe to a late-night restaurant with consummate ease.
Whilst many other cafes struggle with such a transition, Park St Dining nonchantly pulled it off. On Friday and Saturday nights the cafe reinvented itself and became a delightful mix of banquette seating, communal tables, candles and plenty of plants. It was romantic, classy and exuded charm.
The evening menu was well-priced, unfussy and unpretentious too. Healthy, rustic and Meditteranean.
However, when last we visited (post-Covid) it appears that the Friday and Saturday evenings are no more. Park Street Dining now closes at 3pm, seven days a week.
Don’t let this put you off – the coffee still tastes great, the service is exemplary, and the all-day menu still delivers Italian and brunch classics with flair and style. Park Street Dining is kid and dog friendly (there’s a playground opposite) and you’ll find plenty of courtyard seating.
In a nice touch. the fresh herbs outside the building are also available to be snipped at any time. We love this type of community-spirit 🙂
Location: 541 Church St, Richmond, VIC 3121 Ph: (03) 9421 1550
Pillar of Salt has been ground-zero for Richmond’s discerning, coffee-loving hipsters for some time now. And pop in for a meal or a drink and you’ll soon understand why.
Inside, it’s all exposed brick and relaxed vibes, but nip through to the back and you’ll find a charming courtyard.
For breakfast, our go to is the Croquettes – Potato & Leek, with Pastrami Smoked Salmon, Pickled Zucchini, Lemon Labneh, Beetroot Relish & Salt Herbs. When it comes to lunch, we’re huge fans of one of their Californian Superfood Salads. And the coffee. We love their coffee.
Take your coffee making to the next level – and save a bit of cash! – with one of these sleek, easy-to-use coffee machines.
Incidentally, we’re not the only ones. Pillar of Salt is a great place to do a bit of celebrity-spotting. We’ve regularly spotted AFL players, TV actors and comedians dropping by for a feed or a take-put brew.
Location: 650 Little Bourke St, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Ph: (03) 8899 6219
From the team behind Top Paddock and Kettle Black, comes Higher Ground, located in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD. If you’re looking for a cafe with all the benefits of a restaurant, be sure to check out Higher Ground.
It is a wonderfully large cafe-restaurant, with 130 seats across 6 levels, boasting incredible chefs and great wait staff.
Whether you fancy a place to visit for breakfast, lunch or dinner, Higher Ground has you covered. From top quality ingredients, to excellent service, to a gorgeous interior design, Higher Ground is an exceptional place to visit in Melbourne.
Check out our review of Hazel Restaurant, a chic eatery from the same people who started Higher Ground
Location: 345 Little Collins St, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Ph: (03) 9889 3779
Begun by two brothers who were inspired by the Third Wave coffee movement, with a vision of roasting high-quality specialty coffee in a transparent and accessible environment, Industry Beans has a great community ethic.
They offer fantastic coffee and brunch, which can be consumed on-the-go, or as a part of a more immersive experience.
For instance, they offer a multi course brunch, with the option of a cheeky espresso martini! Their brunch menu changes seasonally, and each dish is carefully considered and selected.
Industry Beans also created the Bubble Cup in 2016, a cold brew coffee, within which coffee-soaked tapioca pearls sit. Be sure to check these out if you take a visit to Industry Beans!
TOASTA & Co
Location: 181 Adderley St, West Melbourne 3003 / Ph: (03) 9995 0308
It’s all in the name. TOASTA makes the best toasted sandwiches in the city:
TOASTA Is About Real Food And Unreal Taste, Sandwiching Old-School Comfort Food With New-School Flavours.Rebecca Feingold, co-owner
The model is pretty simple. Take the finest produce and put it between the tastiest bread. The skill is finding the best combinations and ensuring consistency of quality and output. TOASTA has got it nailed.
TOASTA started out as food truck catering in 2014, specialising in casual and fun catering for festivals and events across Victoria. The cafe in Adderley St, West Melbourne, launched in 2016.
It’s a lovely cafe, located in an old school corner store, with plenty of room outside for taking the air and sitting in the sun. The cafe serves legendary toasties and excellent Schnitzels, which are made with chicken thighs (rather than breasts), to ensure they’re always moist and never dry.
There’s also a breakfast menu, quality coffee, grab-and-go food and alcohol too.
The TOASTA group has subsequently expanded into high-quality Schnitzels, with its Von Crumb catering van. Keep an eye out for it. These next level Schnitzels are served on pretzel rolls, in bowls or with chips.
Editor’s Note: We have heard that the Adderley Street cafe has temporarily closed. We’ll keep you informed when we learn more.
Location: 72A Acland St, St Kilda, VIC 3182 Ph: (03) 9534 1111
If you’ve been on the hunt for a place to enjoy a deliciously healthy vegan breakfast and coffee, look no further than Matcha Mylkbar in St Kilda. Their mission is ‘to help the earth survive, so that you can thrive’ and this is one of the best vegetarian cafes in the city.
Their 100% plant based menu doesn’t compromise on flavour at all. They offer a unique range of dishes, including a blue algeo bowl. Matha Mylkbar is the perfect place for vegans (or vegan-curious people) to find inspiration, and taste some innovative plant-based food.
Matcha Mylkbar is also an ideal place to visit if you fancy trying some matcha infused coffee! Matcha has become all the rage in recent years, due to its unique flavour and vast range of health benefits. Be sure to try a green matcha latte if you visit!
Location: 35 Market St, South Melbourne, VIC 3205 Ph: (03) 9645 9991
Dead Man Espresso is many people’s favourite place for coffee in Melbourne. In particular, its low acidic long black is deliciously different to anything else you’ll find around.
Located just around the corner from South Melbourne Market, it’s in a perfect spot for a brunch and coffee catch up.
Their food menu has all you could want for either breakfast or lunch. From Brioche French Toast, to the Wagyu Burger, Dead Man Espresso have a number of top-quality food options. Be sure to check them out!
Location: 101 Bowen St, Camberwell, VIC 3124 Ph: 0427 800 018
Set in a hundred year old church building, Linger Cafe – or Linger Patisserie Cafe as it’s also called – is a much-loved local gem.
The all day Brunch Menu at first glance features number of popular dishes. However, a closer look shows that everything has an interesting little tweak. So the Magic Mushroom includes House Made Truffle Ricotta, Pickled Fennel & Mushroom Croquette on Mushroom French Toast, as well as the more usual Sauteed Mushrooms & Poached Egg. Similarly, The Gangnam Style Burger elevates the standard Fried Chicken sandwich with Spicy Mayo & Kimchi. It’s a delicious innovation.
However, the real icing on the cake from Linger Cafe- literally – is that patisserie bit. The kitchen has a very successful sideline in Asian style mousse cakes – both large and small. Stand-our include their fabulously realistic ‘Oranges’ and their take on the Black Star Pastry Watermelon Cake.
Location: 140 Barkly Street, Brunswick VIC 3056 Ph: (03) 9380 5791
Named after a nursery rhyme character (who lost her pocket, apparently…), Lucy Lockett is a cool and funky cafe with an eclectic menu.
Located in hipster-friendly Brunswick, Lucy Lockett has a laid-back vibe with friendly staff and cheeful regulars. There’s good seating in the clean and elegant interior, but whenever the weather permits we take our coffee outside into the pleasant al fresco area.
If you like your sandwiches big and toasted, try the epic HTC with gourmet ham, mozzarella, roasted tomatoes & house-made chilli jam served on sourdough. It’s decadent but delightful.
Lucy Lockett knows its local clientele, and so also has an extensive menu for vegan and vegetarians.
If you’re seeking sweetness then the vegan muffins are delicious, but if it is savoury that you’re after then you must try one of these two classics:
Jack the Taco is a vegan masterpiece – Jackfruit & beans chilli on a tortilla bowl with guacamole, beetroot hummus, fried pumpkin and jalapeño. Plus a sprinkling of roasted chickpeas.
Brocodile Dundee – Roasted soy/garlic broccoli and asparagus with tahini on toast. Topped with raw kale, apple maple slaw and roasted almonds. Fabulous!
Location: 247 Flinders Ln, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Ph: (03) 9417 5578
Situated on busy Flinders Lane, Dukes Coffee Roasters is an intimate cafe, offering some quiet and relaxing solace from the hustle and bustle. As a company, the sole focus of Dukes is to bring top-quality, naturally grown, speciality coffees to Australia.
Sandwiches are such a staple snack. Now you can make cafe-worthy sandwiches, toasties, paninis and more with one of these affordable sandwich makers.
By working with individual farms or small cooperatives, Dukes sources great, ethically traded coffee beans from around the globe.
If you’re looking to consume amazing coffee from a company with a great ethic, in a warm, and friendly environment, the Dukes Coffee Roasters’ flagship Melbourne store will give you everything you need.
Location: 493-495 Little Bourke St, Melbourne, VIC 3000
Perfectly situated in a little corner within the CBD, Patricia Coffee Brewers is a wonderfully consistent coffee shop. It’s run by two best friends, Bowen Holden and Pip Heath, who decided to name their coffee shop after their respective grandmothers.
This quaint space is a warm tribute to two incredible women.
In 2016, Patricia Coffee began roasting their own coffee, giving them all the more control over the way the coffee they serve tastes.
Now, they serve their own seasonal espresso blend and filter coffees, alongside the products made by standout names in the Melbourne coffee industry, such as Seven Seeds and Proud Mary.
The guys at Patricia take immense pride in their work, be sure to check them out!
Location: 169 Chapel St, Windsor, VIC 3181 Ph: (03) 9521 4884
Journeyman has an industrial setting, within which they offer some of the finest coffee within Melbourne.
Situated where Dukes Coffee Roasters previously sat, on Chapel Street, Journeyman has built on such iconic foundations and has continued to deliver some of the most delicious food and coffee around.
Their all day menu consists of delicious brunch dishes alongside fresh and filling plates such as mushroom gnocchi. In terms of drinks, they have a great selection of coffee and organic artisan teas. Though, if you fancy something a bit boozier, their cocktails are to die for.
Location: 50 Albert Rd, South Melbourne, VIC 3205 Ph: (03) 9088 0721
The Kettle Black has to be one of Melbourne’s most sophisticated spots for food and drinks. It is a unique blend of a cafe and restaurant, and is wonderfully decorated using a merge of old and new styles. So it just had to make our best cafes in Melbourne.
The Kettle Black manages to elevate brunch to a whole new level. It has gourmet dishes, a chic environment, and wonderful staff. It is vegetarian friendly, and has multiple vegan and gluten free options.
If you’re planning to catch up with a medium to large group of friends over some great food, be sure to consider heading to The Kettle Black.
For a cool bar, great cocktails and stunning Asian fusion food, check out our review of Richmond’s Kekou
Location: 103-107 Errol St, North Melbourne, VIC 3051 Ph: (03) 9326 7749
Situated in the former WB Ellis auction house, Auction Rooms provide wonderful coffee. All of their coffees are sourced from their own beans, which are roasted at the Small Batch Roasting Company.
In addition to providing top quality coffee, they also offer a great food selection for brunch and lunch. Also, if you’ve had too much coffee and are looking for something a little boozier, they have a good array of alcoholic drinks and cocktails.
As a bonus, there is a small outdoor patio that you can sit on. Be sure to try the chorizo chilli scrambled eggs if you go.
Bagels are all the go in Melbourne at the moment. Some of our favourites are made at Mile End Bagels
Location: 57 Byron St, Footscray, VIC 3011 Ph: (03) 9912 6429
Small Graces in Footscray is the place to go if you’re looking for an innovative brunch and a strong community spirit. Opening in 2017, Small Graces offers delicious brunch dishes, which have been made using ethically sourced ingredients from Victorian farmers.
Its interior is delightfully decorated with a mix of greenery, vintage pieces, and cosy cushioned spots. It also has an outdoor area which is great for pet owners!
Their menu is completely seasonal, 100% homemade, and the place overall really tries to focus on sustainability. It’s a great place to visit to try some veg-heavy, top-quality dishes.
Though, it is the side dishes that really set Small Graces apart from other cafes! We recommend ordering a few sides to share – tapas style!
And for more of the Best Bagels in Melbourne, click here.
Location: 10 Katherine Place & 123 Hardware St, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Ph: 9621 2100
If you want to visit Hardware Societe, be prepared to wait in line! They are an incredibly busy venue, but the food is 100% worth the struggle to get in. Hardware Societe has an icon status within Melbourne, and is often thought of as the best place around.
Their menu seems quite small, however, don’t be fooled. Their food is innovative, fun, and most of all, quite delicious. They also offer coffee by Padre, a wide range of teas, fresh juices and smoothies! They do a great boozie tea as a brunch cocktail, be sure to try it if you visit.
Location: 347 Camberwell Rd, Camberwell, VIC 3124 Ph: (03) 9041 1796
This Camberwell favourite is deceptively laidback. But take a look around and the from the brick flooring to the classy wooden joinery, healthy pot plants and warm vibe, it’s clear that a lot of thought has gone into this attractive cafe.
And that goes for the menu as well.
The Waffle Benedict built around sweet potato and ricotta waffles with bacon, eggs, dried corn and zippy sriracha hollandaise is a great spin on a classic. However, we find it almost impossible to go past the Buttermilk Fried Chicken Bao. Having said that, the Soba Noodle Salad with Salmon (or Chicken) is also a winner.
Add in great coffee and a cool playlist and Legacy Camberwell easily make our take on the top cafes in Melbourne.
Location: 736 Malvern Rd, Armadale, VIC 3143 Ph: (03) 9824 5239
Bringing up the rear on our best cafes in Melbourne we have a suburban fav.
Mammoth, situated in Armadale, is a particularly charming cafe, with a delightfully delicate interior and wonderfully kind staff.
Although, this isn’t to say that this is a traditional venue. In fact, the food at Mammoth is innovative, and often puts a dramatic twist on brunch classics. From duck sausages, to the lobster donut burger, Mammoth manages to pull off such intriguing dishes in great style.
Bookings are welcome but they also reserve some places for walk-ins. So, if you fancy trying something new, you should definitely stop my Mammoth! The owners hope that Mammoth encapsulates their love of socialising and sharing experiences, and we think it does perfectly.
If you love a croissant or 3, see our guide to the Best Croissants in Melbourne
Location: 4/190 Queen St, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Ph: (03) 9070 6533
Ok. We know. This entry makes it 16 best cafes in Melbourne. But we feel that you can never have too much of a good thing.
The family owned Workshop Bros have a number of cafes across Melbourne – from the CBD over to the Southbank and out to Glen Waverley and Glen Huntly.
All of their eateries serve great coffee, artisan pastries and exciting, innovative menus. If you like Asian fusion done really well, book a table at one of their ventures now. Even their bliss balls and almond lattes get a good rap.
And if you eat with your eyes, you’re in for a treat – every plate looks stunning!
For a more detailed review of the Workshop Bros empire, see here.
Location: 469 Whitehorse Rd, Balwyn, VIC 3103 Ph: (03) 9078 6619
Set in a pleasant row of shopfronts on Whitehorse Rd, Mr Hendricks cafe hides one of Balwyn’s best-kept secrets.
Pass through the neat, but admittedly small cafe front and head out the back. There you’ll find a decked courtyard oasis. The perfect spot to sit in the sun under an umbrella and enjoy the Asian-influenced dishes on the creative menu.
Trust us. If pork is your thing, you really should try the Braised Pork Belly Bao. It’s sweet, juicy and savoury all at once.
For a more obvious breakfast choice, we recommend the Crispy Eggs with Sweet Potato Puree, Smoked Ham Hock, Lettuce, Bacon Crumb & Ranch Dressing. It’s the kind of crunchy, soft, saucy combination that you find yourself dreaming of when hungry.
Or at least we do. But maybe that’s just us!
Location: 500 Tooronga Rd, Hawthorn East, VIC 3123 Ph: (03) 9882 7549
We had to slide this spot onto our guide. Why? Well, these folks reckon they are the highest rated cafe in Melbourne.
And we can see why.
Shanklin Cafe is a benchmark in lots of ways. It has a unique interior, its own signature roast of coffee (plus an Instagram-worthy Turkish Delatte) and fabulous food. Which tastes great.
Add to this awesome, friendly staff and a salubrious, leafy location and you have a cafe that is worth hunting out.
If you do, give their famous Sweet Corn Fritter ($22) with Guacamole, Sumac & Green Style Yoghurt a try. We like them with a side of Salmon, but the choice is yours.
Either way, we reckon you’ll love this hip little local with is funky food and attention to detail.
From innovative chefs to perfectionist coffee makers, Melbourne is home to an incredible amount of wonderful cafes. We hope this list helps you find your perfect weekend spot!
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