Much to the delight of coffee fiends and brunch-loving Instagram addicts, there's always a new café swinging open its doors in Sydney, each with its own unique twist to make it stand out from the crowd. But with so many to choose from, which ones are the best to book? Lucky for you, we've road-tested quite a few them for you. From floral-themed hideouts to quirky sushi croissants, these are the café openings we queued for in 2018.
The ultimate feel-good fix, Heart is Bondi’s first social enterprise café that not only serves up great tasting brews and delicious, wholesome plates, it also offers up 12-month paid traineeships to disadvantaged unemployed youngsters, to help them build a budding career in the hospitality industry. Expect a wholefood menu using fresh, local and organic ingredients – think green hemp quinoa and matcha pancakes; tuna ceviche salad bowls; and hearty sandwich rolls filled with zaatar chicken, halloumi and avo, and chorizo with chimichurri and roquette – with profits from every purchase going back into the community, giving those who need it the chance to shine as the next best barista or budding pastry chef.
95 Roscoe Street, Bondi Beach
Already dubbed Sydney’s prettiest café (and it's only been open a matter of weeks), The Social Hideout is an Instagrammer's dream. Whimsical interiors dominate, with walls adorned with over 17,000 flowers and a totally ‘grammable “Hello Gorgeous” neon sign that’s just begging to be snapped. Aesthetics aside, it's the deliciously playful menu (some dishes are even served in little golden bathtubs) that foodies are flocking back for. Look forward to a moreish menu of Mediterranean-Japanese-inspired eats and plenty of dog-friendly corners – this café has your pet pooch covered with a selection of adorable doggy-themed treats.
Shop 4/5/25-33 Allen Street, Waterloo
This wholesome brunch spot is fast becoming a local Bondi favourite. Opt for an inside table and soak up the quirky Palm Springs-meets-Art-Déco-interiors. Expect funky all-day breakfast combos, a home-baked bakery cabinet, superfood smoothies and unique brewing methods for the perfect coffee blend. Oh, and gluten-intolerant brunch goers are well catered for – all their Insta-worthy plates can be served with Nonie’s Gluten Free bread. Winning.
6/241 Oxford Street, Bondi Junction
Located just up from the sandy shoreline of Balmoral Beach, Pasture of Balmoral offers up a fresh, seasonal menu curated by acclaimed chef, Justin Naudi. Boasting impressive views and delicious, artfully presented plates , it’s easy to see why this popular North Shore hangout has quickly achieved hero status. A ‘pasture to plate’ philosophy underpins every dish, including the truffled eggs with pecorino shavings and truffle oil, as well as the confit pork belly with apple. The space itself evokes effortless relaxed beach living with whitewashed timber and natural light.
51 The Esplanade, Mosman
The newest brunch time hangout, Rollers, is an Insta-worthy dream. The space is small with communal tables, a cute courtyard and succulents aplenty. If that hasn't pleased you, then the millennial pink features, pistachio green Vesper out front and California-cool vibes will set your heart aflutter. The geniuses at Rollers in Manly do not mess around when it comes to experimenting with flavours for their deliciously flaky croissants. Some will make you raise an eyebrow, such as their sushi croissant (think charcoal dough, smoked salmon and nori) but the combo works surprisingly well and will leave you wishing you wore your stretchy pants so you could try them all.
19 Rialto Lane, Manly
Surry Hills’ newest espresso bar comes from boutique roasters Veneziano Coffee Roasters. The self-titled café has been curated with every detail considered, from the clean, contemporary design to the beautiful handmade crockery. Brewing up their beans and serving it with pastries from Infinity Bakery and Organic Bread Bar, Veneziano is perfect for either a morning coffee or afternoon pick-me-up.
352 Bourke Street, Surry Hills
Perched upon Elizabeth Bay Marina with killer views, The Lookout is the coolest, new waterside cafe. A hangout for heliophiles (sun-lovers) and their furry friends, the outdoor wooden deck provides the perfect setting for a morning catch up or picturesque lunch date. The menu showcases an array of Australian brunch staples with some dietary friendly options too.
Elizabeth Bay Marina- 1 Ithica Road, Elizabeth Bay
Simple yet elegant, Marrickville’s Double Tap is a welcomed addition to the neighbourhood café scene. Through the contemporary fit-out, inviting atmosphere and humble menu, Double Tap makes you feel as if you are at home. They have consistently good coffee and boast a modern Australian menu of moorish sandwiches and sweet treats, what is not to love about this local gem.
54-56 Smith Street, Marrickville
Leichhardt’s The Carpenter is a cool, warehouse-style café with high ceilings and wood interiors. This trendy neighbourhood hang tries to keep it as local as possible by serving The Little Marionette coffee and Brickfields’ bread and pastries. The all-day menu is an ode to modern Australian brunch fare with some delicious fusion dishes. Think smashed avo croissant with poached egg, dukkah and feta.
76 Flood Street, Leichhardt
Opened by the brothers behind Cipri Italian, Barbetta is an all-day caffe serving up Italian cuisine and hospitality. Whether it’s a casual breakfast, mid-morning coffee or afternoon bite, there is something fresh and delectable to be devoured. The team also run regular workshops on pasta making, wine tasting and Italian cooking – nothing like a side of upskilling with your coffee.
2 Elizabeth Street, Paddington
Another newcomer to Marrickville, Matinee is cool, retro-styled café charming locals with its nostalgic vibe. Mixing materials like velvet, tile, concrete and wood, Matinee draws inspiration from the areas humble beginnings. They boast an all-day and lunch menu that is Middle Eastern in flair. Think Persian rice kedgeree and saffron pasta. A place to relax all day, the coffee changes over to wine and beer after 12pm.
23-29 Addison Road, Marrickville
In the East, Side Room is the latest café-slash-takeaway joint to join the ranks. Occupying the old Fishbowl premises on Campbell Street, this petite café serves up their dishes with the help from local suppliers like Brickfields, PS40 and Mecca coffee. Their health-driven menu has a variety of stand-outs with their whole bowls, fresh smoothies and vibrant salads some of the most delicious items.
180-186 Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach
Hailing from the Northern Beaches, Rough & Bare has unveiled their latest installment in St Leonards. Known for delivering gourmet, wholefood fare, you can expect all your favourites. For guilt-free indulgence, the Apple Crumble waffles are a must and the red Chai latte with caffeine-free rooibos will give you the pick-me-up you need, without the jitters.
3/9 Albany Street, St Leonards
Known as one of Sydney’s most inventive cafés, Devon Café has opened north of the bridge. A new fave with the North Sydney suits, you can expect the same vibe and creativity with a slightly different menu. Serving up breakfast, lunch, dinner, sandos and sweets, signatures like the bruschetta and breakfast with the sakumas are featured.
36 Blue Street, North Sydney
With four cafes in Canberra and supplying over 100 cafes with their coffee, ONA Marrickville is the roaster’s first Sydney outpost. Fitting right in to the industrial surrounds, the minimal interiors speak to the notion that less is more. ONA is open everyday and not just for coffee, you can get a delicious pastry or gruyere and bacon toastie on the side.
140 Marrickville Road, Marrickville