With a superior coffee culture (not sorry, Sydney), Melburnian's love affair with cafés goes far beyond beans, brews, smashed avo and cakes. Throughout 2019, we kept an eye out to discover the best of the brunch bunch. From nostalgic neighbourhood gems to daring fusion diners, our edit of the best cafés in Melbourne are the ones you need to visit ASAP.
Arguably one of the best cafés in Melbourne right now, it’s an all-Australian affair at Nine Yards. This South Melbourne café from the folks behind Plain Sailing and Left Field that’s putting native ingredients at the heart of their menu. Here you’ll find wattle seed damper served with bush honey, zucchini fritters brightened with lemon myrtle labna and Kakadu plum crowning kombucha soaked bircher. The beautifully designed space’s palette is inspired by the Australian landscape, with eucalyptus-hued cabinets and banquettes printed with gum leaves and acacia blossoms, while native floral arrangements are dotted throughout. For an on-theme sugar hit, try the Aussie ‘French’ toast laden with Milo mascarpone, and Anzac biscuit crumble.
228 - 230 Dorcas Street, South Melbourne,
Hot chips dipped in ice cream is a culinary pairing that’s up there with the greats, a love affair that started for most with greasy Maccas fries and drippy soft serve but found its peak at Australiana-themed parlour Kenny Lover. Here, Michelin-trained chefs are making experimental scoops in flavours like Davidson plum and ginger, toasted rice coconut and mango, yuzu sake and even a soy sauce number. Enjoy them as is, swiped through with piping hot chips or in seasonal spiders made with bottle fermented sodas. The décor is a nostalgic trip to the ‘70s complete with orange suede banquettes, bubblegum floor tiles and a shag pile rug on the ceiling.
796 High Street, Thornbury
This warm, family-run café pays homage to heritage and history in both its name (an amalgamation of their father and grandfather’s names) and the menu’s Italian influence. For example, house-made crumpets are slathered in zabaglione custard and pistachio praline, while eggs come with a side of fragrant capsicum peperonata. A sunny, dog-friendly courtyard will help locals make the most of the warm months ahead, while robust Veneziano coffee goes with an afternoon biscotti, or three.
246 High Street, Ashburton
A former jean factory in Melbourne’s south-east has been transformed into a light-filled 180-seater café serving some of the area’s most exciting daytime food. At one of the best cafés in Melbourne, you can chow down on breakfast pavlova adorned with poached peaches, mandarin granita and white chocolate mousse, a roast chook and stuffing roll sprinkled with crunchy chicken skin and Turkish-style eggs zinged up with hot chilli butter and whipped herb yoghurt. The complete renovation has resulted in an arresting blue and white facade complete with a retractable roof and a kids play space sporting a mini climbing wall.
6 Railway Parade, Murrumbeena
This summertime acai bar is giving the folks of Brunswick East a taste of beach life. Located right on the popular Capital City trail, it’s an ideal pit-stop on your run or ride for cooling acai bowls topped with crunchy granola, fresh fruit and creamy nut butter. If you’re looking for a quick recharge, they also mix protein-packed shakes in fun flavours like cinnamon donut and mango passion and make raw, vegan and refined-sugar-free treats.
Shop 1/8 Lygon Street, Brunswick East
Design and construction magic has turned this 1920s warehouse – once a wool factory and most recently offices – into an ethereal, light-filled café. Polished concrete and brass fixtures are softened by cream paint, timber tables, green planters and leather benches, not to mention the ample sun streaming in from wide, steel-framed windows. The menu is equally nourishing, with vibrant Ottolenghi-style salads to mix and match alongside simple yet hearty dishes like Meatsmith mortadella toasties and scrambled eggs with smoked chilli butter.
90 Maribyrnong Street, Footscray
It’s a family affair at this buzzy alimentari-meets-café, where four siblings with decades of hospo experience are drawing on their Italian heritage. Breakfast and lunches here are comprised of nourishing hits like hot-smoked salmon sandwiches, granola with whipped ricotta and persimmon, and of course, a wide selection of paninis, pastries and cannoli. Design firm Studio Esteta have created a stunning space that applies a luxe, pared-back aesthetic to the traditional Italian family kitchen and pantry. On your way out you can grab deli items, smallgoods and even take home meals like eggplant parmigiana, slow-cooked lamb shoulder and bread-and-butter pudding for further gustatory joy.
677 Whitehorse Road, Mont Albert
Don’t be fooled, there’s ample pedigree in the simple, satisfying Japanese toasts and sandos at Lokall. Owners Steve Lim and Dean Little met in the kitchens at Supernormal – the latter was also head chef at Cumulus Inc – before opening-up their own place in busy Burnley. Well on it's way to becoming one of the best cafés in Melbourne, their signature three-cheese toastie melts cheddar, mozzarella, Grana Padano and gooey béchamel over fluffy house-made shokupan bread, while the chicken in their katsu sandos is brined in koji for a whole day. The spacious corner café matches a sleek concrete and wood interior with handblown lights and floor-to-ceiling windows, creating a relaxed space from which to enjoy their menu of next-gen toasties, sandwiches and brown rice bowls.
G01/582 Swan Street, Burnley
The folks behind corner coffee stop Bean + Gone have expanded their horizons, taking over an abandoned warehouse and transforming it into a brew and brunch lover’s dream. With splashes of greenery livening up the airy, industrial space, there’s plenty of room to enjoy all-day brekky classics like smashed avos sprinkled with dukkah and garlicky shrooms on toast. Though you can’t help but beeline for their hotcake with poached pear, spiced ricotta cream, pecan crumble and maple syrup.
168 Mahoneys Road, Thomastown
Café Sunshine deserves your attention for more than just its lovely, Persian-inflected breakfasts and lunches – they’re also a social enterprise, employing and training refugees and asylum seekers to help them get back on their feet in Australia. On-trend pastel pink walls, vintage chairs and myriad pot plants are the setting for an all-bases-covered menu. It has it all, both familiar classics (think smashed avos, BLTs, eggs on toast) and what you’re really here for, fluffy Persian omelettes served with Afghan bread, crispy walnut feta croquettes and flaky baklava accompanied by pots of saffron tea.
21 Dickson Street, Sunshine
If you only venture out to one café this month make it Mabu Mabu, where Torres Strait Islander chef and owner Nornie Bero is doing magical things with native ingredients. They star in dishes like waffles with strawberry gum ricotta and purple yams with lemon aspen and house damper. Plus, where else could you order a kangaroo tail bourguignon or saltbush and pepperberry crocodile? A sense of adventure will reward you in spades at this bright and modern eatery, and we can’t think of anything more refreshing than a desert lime granita in the hotter months ahead.
13 Anderson Street, Yarraville
As an in-house café to Prahran’s Love Tree Interiors, it’s no surprise that this Australiana-themed cafe’s décor is beautiful – a serene, light-filled space kitted out with dusty pinks, fresh greenery, and dreamy art. The menu’s equally soothing, with plenty of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options across wholesome bowls and oozy toasties. To drink, there’s coffee with every alternative milk under the sun plus kombucha, hunger-busting smoothies and fresh juices.
200-202 Chapel Street, Prahran
Pie aficionados will be familiar with the name Tooboorac. It’s where a hallowed microbrewery and pie shop has turned a rural town into a road trip destination. Now, James and Valerie Carlin’s signature country pies – 400-gram beasts filled with everything from chunky beef and amber ale to bourbon-marinated rabbit – are available from the much closer location of Carlton. There’s a fridge full of them to stock up for later, but for a quick bite, they’ve got piping hot pies for eating in, which can be washed down with coffee, Billson's soda or of course, a frosty Tooboorac beer.
143 Elgin Street, Carlton
St Kilda’s buzzy Carlisle Street is home to one of the best cafés in Melbourne. This friendly café is making its name with robust Bean Cartel coffee and oozy toasties that’ll power you through the day. There are Reubens, mac ‘n’ cheese toasties and our new fave, a lush vegan number with creamy rainbow chard, English mustard, and dairy-free edam. You can grab ’n’ go from their takeaway window or make a morning of it by sitting in with your cuppa.
1/188 Carlisle Street, St Kilda
A welcome addition to Prahran’s Market Square, this all-day café and eatery is a breezy hangout spot that covers all bases. For breakfast, there’s revved up favourites including lamb shakshouka and yuzu curd waffles, while afternoons see a transition to pan-European share plates and woodfired pizzas. On the drinks front, you’ll be starting your day with cold-pressed juices and super smoothies (we can’t wait to try the almond butter cup). But, they’ve also got your evening tipple needs sorted with playful house cocktails featuring plenty of fresh fruit and snazzy garnishes.
163-185 Commercial Road, South Yarra
Vertue, the labyrinthine coffee wonderland that’s a long-loved stalwart in Carlton, has opened a pocket-sized outlet just across from Richmond station. They’re waking up commuters with robust house brews that can be taken away or enjoyed slowly. Watch the activity of Swan Street from an inviting space characterised by exposed brick, hanging planters and covetable window seats. While the full brunch menu hasn’t made the move over, you can still grab ready-to-go bites like bacon egg brioches or a wedge of moreish caramel slice.
34 Swan Street, Cremorne
Nomadi Coffee Roasters have opened their own flagship café, pairing their silky house brews with a colourful all-day menu that builds on the classics. Picks include gochujang-spiked breakfast tacos, crab croissants and a chai-flavoured chia porridge laced with streusel crumble and toasted banana bread that nudges dangerously into dessert territory. Don’t worry, there’s also plenty of green bowls, salads and vitamin-rich smoothies for more virtuous brunching.
750 North Road, Ormond
Looks can be deceiving at this experimental new modern-Asian eatery in Box Hill. What appears to be a fresh avocado half might actually be mousse inside an artfully shaped rice cracker with a pit fashioned from trout roe. While a frosty tankard of beer turns out to be chicken ginseng broth topped with egg white foam. Beyond the novelty, however, Zero Mode is a rock-solid entry that champions a made-from-scratch ethos. House-made noodles, sauces and ferments go into both mind-bending dishes and more familiar suspects à la fritters, bowls and burgers. High windows flood the minimalist space with natural light – all the better for snapping photos of your brunch with.
G03/850 Whitehorse Road, Box Hill
This Carlton café is bringing it back to simple comforts, done well. No edible flowers, no fairy floss, just delicious corkers like bacon and egg sandwiches spread with hollandaise, zucchini and kale spelt scones. They also do a ripper take on the steak brekky that swaps in bulgogi beef paired with cucumber kimchi salad and a son-in-law egg. You’ll want to save space for their specialty sweets though, in particular, their sigh-inducing chocolate hazelnut croissant cake served warm with chantilly cream. The café itself mixes a modern, high ceiling fit-out with bright red terrazzo and retro knick-knacks from old polaroid cameras to a tiny box television.
28 Leicester Street, Carlton
Not quite a café, not quite a wine bar, Theodore’s prefers to refer to itself as a “friendly refreshment service” where you can get anything you’re hankering for. That could be a healthy three-grain porridge or a saucy spaghetti jaffle, a simple fresh-baked pretzel or a hearty okonomiyaki. In that same vein, they’ll brew you a heart startingly strong Supreme coffee, pour you a glass of pet-nat or shake you up a breakfast margarita with tequila, OJ and marmalade to enjoy in the afternoon sun.
4 Saxon Street, Brunswick
The inner west is home to vegan café Lisica, a bright and buzzy spot that’s all about balance – for every virtuous blue spirulina smoothie or quinoa bowl, there’s decadent cookies and cream mud cake or crispy “chicken” burger. They’re experts in creating plant-based versions of café classics with dishes like Spanish baked tofu and pink pitaya pancakes, washed down with a healthy green smoothie or apple and ginger juice.
7/45 Edgewater Boulevard, Maribyrnong
Providing a breath of fresh air to our brunch routine is Kissaten, where you’ll find Japanese-inflected takes on brunch staples like salmon benedicts drizzled with miso hollandaise and pancakes filled with red bean paste. Located in leafy Alphington, you’ll find a sun-soaked room sporting a dog-friendly courtyard from which locals sip cups of steamy genmaicha tea and dig into bowls of breakfast ramen, a hearty bowl topped with pork sausage, roast tomato, oyster mushrooms and a fried egg.
538-540 Heidelberg Road, Alphington
With time on the pans at Grub, and Supernormal under his belt, chef Scott Blomfield has turned his sights to something simpler – the humble pie. But we’re not just talking any old mince pies, rather innovative spins like Thai red curry, vegan pumpkin and tofu cheddar, plus a wild (and wildly delicious) lasagne number that layers bolognese, bechamel and cheese inside a flaky casing. To drink, they’re serving Code Black coffee, milkshakes and nostalgia-inducing cups of hot or cold Milo.
297 Barkly Street, Footscray
Enjoy lunch courtesy of the next generation of kitchen talent at this West Melbourne café staffed by local hospitality students. In exchange for offering them hands-on experience, you’ll be treated to a bountiful all-day menu that includes brioche french toast with caramelized banana, mascarpone and rum-raisin sauce, Cape Grim beef burgers and daily changing toasties, soups and salads. While you’re asked for your feedback and patience, we guarantee you won’t need any of the latter – these stellar students are unfailingly attentive.
39/617-643 Spencer Street, West Melbourne
As bread supplier to top restaurants including Attica, Cutler & Co and Di Stasio, Baker Bleu’s highly sought-after loaves usually sell out well before noon. To meet their soaring demand, Mike and Mia Russell have expanded to another location that’s seven times as big as the original – that means more of their chewy sourdough loaves, crusty baguettes, bagels and ciabattas, plus new pastries like sourdough croissants to be enjoyed with Market Lane filter coffee.
119-121 Hawthorn Road, Caulfield North
Prepare to see the humble crumpet in a whole new light thanks to this CBD café devoted to the stuff. Fluffy and flavourful, this sweet little eatery’s sourdough crumpets use local grains to make freshly milled stone-ground flour that’s then fermented in a process that takes 24 hours from start to finish. Enjoy these baked delights simply slathered in a range of honeys including orange blossom and bloodwood, or with more luxurious additions such as maple and coffee peanut butter, smoked butter and grilled taleggio or a s’mores-inspired number that tops a chocolate crumpet with graham crackers and torched marshmallow.
5 Little La Trobe Street, Melbourne
Oasis lovers rejoice – Murrumbeena’s beloved Middle Eastern grocer-bakery-café has expanded, opening up a modern mega venue in Fairfield that fits 170 hungry diners from morning to night. They’re still serving all the favourites, from orange blossom hotcakes with honey labneh to plates of hot, crispy falafel and belly-warming shakshuka, except now, they’re also offering table service and all-day wine service, with drops from both Victoria and Lebanon to go with your shawarma.
92-96 Station Street, Fairfield
Opening a stone’s throw from Hampton Beach is Paperboy, a bright and airy new spot for nourishing brunches, loaded bagels and rousing Proud Mary coffee. People watch from the window seats or grab a street-side table as you get around options like ancient grain and barberry salad, zucchini baba ganoush or bagels stuffed with Cumberland sausage, egg and caramelised onions. Even the kids menu looks enticing when they’re offering puffed buckwheat and brown rice bubbles in Mörk chocolate milk.
370 Hampton Street, Hampton
This European-style café may be little but it packs a punch, waking up train commuters and Footscray Market-goers each morning with robust A Plus coffee and quick meals. A sibling venue to Seddon’s much-loved Common Galaxia, Little Common does a brisk takeaway business but if you’re keen to settle in, there are bar stools and street-side tables from where you can enjoy the short-but-sweet menu of bagels, toasties, pastries and signature puff-pastry egg cups.
228 Irving Street, Footscray
Have breakfast with a side of warm fuzzies at this social enterprise café, where you’ll be served Wood and Co coffee, hearty soups and delicious vegan jaffles by at risk youth-turned-aspiring hospo guns. Operating out of a sleekly converted shipping container, the team is using wholesome, biodynamic ingredients in banging jaffles such as cauliflower cheese, nutella and banana, and ‘sausage’ with sauerkraut and hash brown. Scoffing one of these satisfying sangas while helping young Melburnians make a better life – that’s a cause we can definitely get behind.
University of Melbourne, 1 Monash Rd, Parkville
This petite café in Hawthorn East is making waves with their pitch perfect coffee, old school jaffles and rustic homemade sweets. Named after the owner’s grandfather, Nigel may look like a modern animal with its clean lines and abstract lighting feature, but on the plate it’s all about familiar comforts, from the ham, cheese and chutney jaffles to the raspberry and coconut tea cakes. Coffee is by St Ali, available in a variety of single origins and blends for the bean aficionados.
691 Burke Road, Hawthorn East
At this bright and buzzy café, they’re adding a dash of fun to the classics. Eggs bennies come topped with tempura soft shell crab or gochujang-dressed pork belly, while panna cotta is spiked with the earthiness of matcha. Clearly not taking itself too seriously, it’s the kind of place where you can order shrimp gyoza, egg roti, bruschetta and a jalapeño tortilla in one breath, and all the more enjoyable for it. The décor is similarly colourful, filled with indoor greenery, pink walls and neon feature lighting that’s super Instagram-friendly.
642 Doncaster Rd, Doncaster
With heavy-hitting institutions like Higher Ground, Kettle Black and Top Paddock under their belt, Mulberry Group’s Liminalwas always going to be ambitious. Located in the foyer of the historic art deco T&G Building, Liminal is a vision of curved leather couches, marble tabletops and brass detailing. As expected, the menu elevates café fare to restaurant levels of sophistication: fruit toast is topped with strawberries, fig and stracciatella, toasties hug mozzarella, sage and white anchovy, and where else could you expect a boudin noir, fried egg and parsley salad at 7am? If that wasn’t enough, the sprawling space also comprises a wine shop, takeaway deli, produce store and event space.
161 Collins St, Melbourne
Putting Fairfield on the map is Outer Circle Social Club, an airy loft-style café run by some of the most jovial folk in town. They’re serving trend-aware, flavour-forward updates on the staples, from fruit toast with lemony ricotta and cinnamon pear to burnt butter gnocchi topped with bacon and a poached egg. Come lunchtime, they fire up the smoker to make deliciously charred brisket, pork shoulder and veggies for stuffing in wraps, rolls and sandwiches. Those with dietaries will also appreciate that the menu is helpfully marked out with symbols for vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free dishes.
1/299 Arthur St, Fairfield
Korean street food meets Melbourne café culture at Dari, a quirky spot in Hardware Lane that’s introducing diners to novel flavours. Here you can try bulgogi baguettes, potato salad buns and bbang – a Korean savoury muffin that contains a whole egg inside. However, the fun really begins on the drinks and dessert menu, with options like pumpkin pie or sweet potato walnut lattes, toasted grain shakes and rice cake tiramisu.
27-29 Hardware Ln, Melbourne
Tacked onto the front of a co-working office, this inviting café is fuelling freelancers, start-up whizzes and the public alike. Warm, relaxed and with large front windows that allow plenty of sunlight to stream in, the menu has a focus on wholesome, feelgood food. Expect lots of green bowls, fruit-topped açai and colourful salads, best enjoyed at one of their street facing windows with a pitch perfect latte.
105 Wellington St, St Kilda
An understated but overachieving café in Malvern, Winter's whitewashed walls and furniture evoke seaside-meets-Scandi vibes, while the extensive menu covers everything from healthy goji porridges and kale-laden breakfast bowls to blowout fried chicken waffles and brûlée french toast. Winter is already proving popular with locals, so on weekends we’d recommend hopping over early.
1E Winter St, Malvern
With his small-batch bakery in Footscray, Wilhelm Isaac adds eight years’ experience at the esteemed Woodfrog Bakery and his French heritage to create carby magic. Each day he’s selling out of intensely-flavoured sourdough loaves, lush olive bread, flaky almond croissants and glossy palmiers. When it comes to early morning pleasures in this neck of the woods, it’s hard not to drop by Gordon Street, order a coffee and scoff down a still-hot pastry fresh from the oven.
63 Gordon St, Footscray
The trend of reviving old milk bars continues at full throttle with the opening of this peppy new café in Mitcham. While it may still have a lolly counter out the front selling dollar pop rocks and a freezer filled with Bubble-O-Bill’s, everything else here lives firmly in the 21st century. Expect lots of smoothie bowls in every colour from pink pitaya to blue spirulina, plus well-balanced dishes full of crunchy fresh veg and inspired additions like peking duck.
544 Mitcham Rd, Mitcham
Photo Credit - Saint Dreux
Specialising in Japanese katsu sandos, this futuristic-looking sandwich bar creates picture-perfect, crustless works of art that have become an instant hit on Instagram. You’ll find their sleek fitout on the top floor of luxe shopping arcade St Collins Lane, where they’re serving Acoffee espresso, flaky croissants and hot, crunchy, made-to-order sandos in varieties including pork, prawn and an indulgent $28 wagyu number that’s not shy on marbling.
Level 2, 260 Collins St, Melbourne
Photo Credit - Photo Credit Peter Tarasiuk
A decade of non-stop queues, thousands of lobster benedicts and a branch in Paris later, one of the best cafés in Melbourne, Hardware Société, has finally moved to bigger premises. Lush with salmon pinks, deep greens and marble pendant lights, their new digs in Katherine Place also opens on Friday nights for spritzes and bar snacks. Come sundown, novel bites like jamon manchego croquettes and savoury choux will be calling your name, but if you head there during the day, the chorizo baked eggs are the best thing on the menu.
10 Katherine Pl, Melbourne
This pastel-hued café on Lygon Street serves zesty dishes sprinkled with Asian and Middle Eastern flavours – think vegan tofu scrambles with fresh chilli, mint and coriander, or harissa-spiced portobello mushrooms atop your bacon and eggs. In the evening, from Thursday to Sunday, they transform into a dessert café, spinning OTT sweet treats like matcha cheesecake and honeycomb waffles until 10pm.
46 Lygon St, Brunswick East
This generous big-hearted café is so worth travelling for, even if you don’t live in the outer north. Run by two local boys with a keen eye for coffee, they roast their beans onsite and serve up an array of vibrant dishes – think sesame falafels with sweet potato hummus and smoked shakshuka with eggplant, okra, goats curd and sumac. Drink options stretch from Turkish tea to mojito mocktails, but don’t forget to save space for their devilish French toast with espresso cream, maple rashers, frosted pecans and ice cream.
5/1100 Pascoe Vale Rd, Broadmeadows
Up your lunch game at Namoo – a cute and cosy inner-city café serving homestyle Japanese fare. Start with a snack plate of gyoza, tuna tartare or nasu dengaku (crisp fried eggplant with miso glaze), before moving onto spicy tiger prawns, soba noodle salad or tofu curry don. On colder days, we’d heartily recommend switching out your coffee for the earthy, nutty pleasure of a hot matcha or houjicha latte.
167 Queen St, Melbourne
Located in the heart of Carlton’s main strip, newly-opened Freddo Café is perfect for leisurely Sunday brunches. They’re giving the classics a novel touch, from eggs benny with orange-infused pork belly to savoury crepes brimming with goats’ cheese and prosciutto. We’re also loving their dedicated dessert menu – you can get any flavour combination in the form of a crêpe, waffle or pancake. Look forward to lashings of raspberry, rhubarb and mascarpone or the s’mores-inspired mix of marshmallow, biscuit crumble, Nutella and whipped cream. Share if you dare.
275 Lygon St, Carlton
Have breakfast Colombian-style at this colourful CBD café, where they serve ‘arepas’ – a traditional corn flatbread that’s a staple in Latin America. Eat it simply filled with melty mozzarella or grilled and topped with your choice of bacon, eggs, avo and feta. If you’re dropping in for lunch, there’s everything from light and fresh prawn ceviche on crisp green plantains to saucy pork spare ribs slow cooked in sugarcane.
118 Queen St, Melbourne
This pocket-sized bagel shop has become a firm favourite with nearby office workers, for their strong coffee and bouncy bagels. They’re available any way you like – be it toasted open and topped with avo, feta, pickled chilli and sumac, in a sandwich filled with pastrami, or simply smeared with lashings of indulgent cream cheese.
Rear 53-57 Lonsdale St, Melbourne
At their second location in Greensborough, Infuse with the delicious flavour-packed fusions they’re known for. There’s a breakfast bonza that stuffs five spiced roast pork belly, sriracha, slaw, crackling and fried egg inside a warm croissant, or wholesome Thai salmon, zucchini and corn fritters dressed in tangy green chilli dressing. With coffee by lauded Canberra roasters ONA and fluffy Japanese-style souffle pancakes for sweet tooths, there are plenty of reasons to return again and again. We can see why this humble brunch spot is fast becoming one of the best cafés in Melbourne.
91 Grimshaw St, Greensborough
Sons of Mischief is a health-conscious eatery, with a menu inspired by colourful and delicious dishes with Middle Eastern influences. Our pick: up your brekkie game with their hemp granola with sumptuous saffron poached baby pears and cinnamon co-yo. Just in case you need another reason to love these guys, every last Sunday of each month they donate 15% of profits well deserving charities.
326 Highett Road, Highett
For something a little different, try Japanese café fare at this adorably cosy spot down in Docklands. The helpful pictogram menu presents snacks including onigiri (pressed rice balls), katsu sandos and corn cheese spring rolls. For the super hungry there are also larger dishes such as tofu udon salad and rice bowls topped with soft pork belly, all washed down with a matcha latte or yuzu fizz.
103/673 Latrobe St, Docklands
Hot days call for cold gelato, and this spot in Brunswick is making waves with its light and moreish scoops. Bico’s father and son team honed their craft in Bologna before setting up shop here, and their craft shines especially bright in fresh, fruit-based flavours such as lemon, mango and pineapple.
288 Albert Street, Brunswick
Time and Place’s huge windows grace the room with plenty of natural light during the day, though you can also opt to sit outside and absorb vitamin D as you brunch on nourishing dishes like falafel waffles with tahini yoghurt, avo, zhug, pickled red cabbage and a fried egg.
929 Centre Road, Bentleigh East
Exotic homewares store Zoobibi is home to an in-house café, serving dishes as globally-inspired as their showrooms. Enjoy Persian baked eggs, Turkish simit with sujuk or chickpea fatteh salad from their light-filled indoor courtyard that’s modelled on the riads of Marrakech.
646 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn East
Bowls Baby is tapping into the bowl trend with their range of colourful, wholesome and nourishing bowls. For breakfast there’s scoopable acai and frozen fruit smoothies topped with healthy yoghurt, seeds and granola, while for lunch you can build your own or choose from options like the Hoke Poke, packed with veggies, salmon, and pickled ginger dressing over brown rice.
35 Rose Street, Essendon
For pastries with a side of whimsy, pop into this all-vegan bakehouse that’s perfected a plant-based butter made from macadamia, cashew and coconut oil. That means perfect flaky crusts on croissants, which also come in wacky varieties such as a cronnoli (a croissant-cannoli mashup), a vegan ‘ham and cheese’ number and in cube form. They also do pumpkin spiced lattes and ice creams in flavours ranging from strawberry to salted caramel to sweet potato.
241 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Carlton’s iconic Italian deli and grocer has reopened, adding a modern all-day espresso bar that services your every need, from coffee and freshly baked pastries in the morning to panini and pasta for lunch and spritzes and cicchetti at night. Our new favourite thing to do is grab one of their outward-facing window seats and watch as the endless activity of Lygon Street passes by.
293–297 Lygon St, Carlton
Boasting some of the best cafés in Melbourne in their stable, the brothers behind Vacation, Touchwood and Pillar of Salt have brought their magic touch to Brunswick, opening a light-filled café serving colourful, healthy and wholesome meals. Feel good while you feast on buckwheat pancakes with raw cacao pudding, crushed berries and granola or a brown rice bowl dressed in amino acid and miso. If you’re feeling a little cheeky they’ve got your back too, with cold brew martinis and Aperol Spritzes on offer if you choose to forgo that green juice.
589 Sydney Road, Brunswick
Word has already travelled far about this CBD café’s signature offering – the ‘tradie slammer’ bravely sandwiches a full pie in between brioche buns and caramelised onion chutney. Even if your appetite doesn’t stretch quite so far, there’s plenty to love on the menu, including vibrant salads, decadent sweet pastries, oozy toasties, and of course, their full range of pies, encasing everything from humble beef to fancy confit duck with parsnip, honey and coffee jus.
18 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne
Drawing inspiration from their travels, the owners of Oppen have created a café with Nordic chic both in the décor and on the plate. Sit in an elegant, open space full of warm light and dusky pinks while enjoying wholesome, Scandi-inflected dishes like open rye sandwiches topped with pork liver pate and lingonberry ketchup or spelt granola with Icelandic skyr and sour cherry foam.
20/2 Maddock St, Windsor