Sydney / Eat & Drink / The best cafes of the Lower North Shore

The best cafes of the Lower North Shore

To understand why the Lower North Shore’s café scene is flourishing with such vibrant venues, all you need do is look to the area’s lush scenery and its well-heeled, discerning residents – nothing but the best gets much traction in these parts. Albeit controversial, we’ve compiled our top 11 coffee spots from this charming region of Sydney that are well worth a visit.

Sotto On West

Nestled on North Sydney’s leafy West Street, Sotto does laidback café fare impeccably, and you can be sure that your weekend pace won’t be interrupted by lingering waiters keen for you to free up a table. Lap up the sun as you graze on a seasonal fruit plate with coconut yoghurt and acai or the blueberry hotcakes, washed down with a Single Origin brew.

67 West Street, North Sydney

Maggio's Cafe

Cammeray locals have never been able to get enough of this Italian café, so much so, Maggio's has opened up its own bakery a few doors down to help cater to the growing demand. The café itself has indoor seating that spills out onto laneway seating beneath blue umbrella's. Our advice, get in early as a table at Maggio's during brunch is highly prized. 

457 Miller Street, Cammeray 

Fourth Village Providore

The Italian providore is a gourmet marketplace with all the fresh fruit, veggies and deli cuts your hearts desires – not to mention a heavenly cheese room. Get there early to score a table in the sun and their delectable buffalo milk ricotta on sourdough with honey, smoked salmon, caramelised vanilla and walnut pesto.

5A Vista Street, Mosman

Celsius Coffee Co

Few cafes boast views more spectacular than that at Celsius Coffee Co. At the end of Kurraba Point wharf, this Kirribilli café’s eastern aspect stretches from Lady Macquarie’s Chair all the way to Rose Bay. While you’ll likely be transfixed by all the action on the harbour, be sure to pay attention to the generous menu, think smoked thick cut bacon with crispy fried egg and apple chutney.

Kirribilli Commuter Wharf, 1/2 Holbrook Avenue, Kirribilli

Bay 10 Espresso

Located in a converted warehouse, the industrial-chic vibes of this place are off the charts. Cherished by cyclists and those pounding pavement en route to work over the bridge, Bay 10 shares its space with The Body Mechanic (bike specialists and physio) and with a menu featuring farm gate to plate fresh produce, you’ll feel more and more virtuous with every visit.

 10 Middlemiss Street, Lavender Bay

Laneway

This Cammeray institution is renowned for their Good Morning Burger (colloquially known as the city’s best hangover cure) and Breakfast jar with stewed rhubarb, strawberries, muesli and coconut crumble. Get there before the crowds on weekends to score a prized table, and be sure to pick up some fresh bread and biscotti for lunch from Maggio’s Bakery next door.

457 Miller Street, Cammeray


The Boathouse

The pearl in Balmoral’s café crown undoubtedly goes to the Boathouse. Sitting proud at the Eastern end of the baths, the shabby-chic beach-shack vibes come replete with ornate floral and fruit displays for you to ogle at as you join the well-heeled Mosman folk for a coffee and a serve of avo and tomato on toast.

2 The Esplanade, Mosman

Eighty Ate

Eighty Ate prides itself on sourcing local produce and preparing everything in-house from scratch. If you’re just visiting for a quick coffee be sure to try a muffin made by Grandma, and if you’ve a lunch date booked in you won’t be disappointed by the delicious puttanesca chorizo pasta or the chicken souvlaki.

86-88 West Street, North Sydney

The Roots

Offering Single Origin as the bean brand of choice you can sample their liquid gold any which way, and with such a punchy menu we recommend you extend your coffee break into lunch. The Reuben with pastrami, pickles, gruyere, sauerkraut and slaw is so NY it hurts, while the crispy spiced chicken burger is good enough to make everyday a cheat day.

7/2 Elizabeth Plaza, North Sydney

Back & Forth

Back & Forth is adored by Castlecrag locals for its smooth Gabriel coffees and spectacular range of health-conscious fare alongside more indulgent options. The nourish bowl is a strong favourite for the virtuous, but the weak willed (ahem, that’s us) are drawn to the bacon and egg roll. Be sure to check out Ritual cafe in neighbouring Northbridge which is run by the same guys.

20-22/100 Edinburgh Road, Castlecrag

Bean Drinking

You’d do well to venture over to Bean Drinking to sample the range of small-batch specialty coffees from Roastworks Coffee Co on offer at Bean Drinking. Ask the baristas behind the ‘brew bar’ to put together a coffee flight for you to taste the cold drip, nitro and cascara brewing styles. They also do a mean sticky pulled pork bun among a host of café style classics.

1/13 Ernest Street, Crows Nest

Bathers Pavilion

It doesn't get much more iconic than this. Bathers' Pavilion, a casual chic, bright and airy café sits within one of Sydney's most beautiful harbourside suburbs. The floor to ceiling windows look out over Balmoral Beach and towards the headlands, creating the perfect backdrop to a menu that is equally as impressive - Mediterranean-style dishes.

4 The Esplanade, Balmoral Beach 

Sydney

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