Gertrude & Alice, Bondi Beach
Vaucluse House Tea Rooms, Vaucluse
Berkelouw Cafe 1812, Paddington
When the temperature drops, Sydneysiders retreat indoors to spend the day hiding and huddling up in cafes. Some spots, it seems, were made for winter weather. Step into one of these warm and welcoming cafes for a hit of caffeine and a whole lot of cosiness.
It’s a tongue-twister, sure, but Wieczorkowski nails Polish comfort food. Located in Woollahra, the family-owned spot is an eatery and deli in one, meaning every dish uses freshest of ingredients. When the temperatures are low, warm up with the help of barszcz (beetroot soup) and cabbage rolls, or go all out with the Polish Tasting Plate. Save room for dessert, so you can try the cheesecake or paczki, a traditional plum jam-filled doughnut.
78 Queen Street, Woollahra
Down a little laneway in Paddington, The Bonython is an oasis away from the fashion precinct’s shopping crowds. To access the café, you have to walk down a path lined with lush greenery, which gives the place a ‘secret garden’ feel – something that drew chef Alex Kearn to the venue. Inside, there are plants everywhere, and diners munch on classic café staples like omelettes and porridge, as well as ‘Green Goddess’ salad bowls and burgers for lunch.
120B Underwood Street, Paddington
With wall-to-wall books (over 25,000!), communal tables and plush, velvet chairs, Gertrude & Alice is as cosy as it gets. The quirky café-slash-bookstore also offers a range of snacks and Middle Eastern mains, as well as one of the best chai tea brews we’ve ever tasted – making it a haven for both bookworms and freelancers settling in for the day. If you’re craving a quieter vibe, head to the Hemingway room, a beautiful hideaway with sofas and reference books.
1/46 Hall Street, Bondi Beach
Porch & Parlour has people happily lining up every day of the week. Thanks to its rustic décor, the space has an intimate and cosy vibe, which is made even better by its waterfront views. The café is famous for its signature ‘Green Breaky Bowl’, green pea pancakes and smashed eggs, and if you’ve gotten off to a late start, don’t worry: breakfast runs until 3pm. Come dinnertime, ‘Porch’ – as it’s affectionately known – serves up share plates (get the gnocchi) and a delicious house rose.
17-18/110 Ramsgate Avenue, North Bondi
A wholefoods café that feels a little like home. The venue has a welcoming, relaxed feel, and a kid-friendly area with toy, games and a colouring-in station. Rells is on a mission to prove healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring, and they’re doing a brilliant job – the ‘Healthy Jar’ is a rainbow in a jar, and the chorizo and haloumi burger tastes naughty, but is anything but. On dreary days, get there early to score a table.
77 Frenchmans Road, Randwick
Want to impress someone? This winter, take them to high tea at Vaucluse House Tearooms. Surrounded by picturesque gardens and lawns, the stately, art deco building screams old-world charm, and you can only imagine the conversations that have happened within those walls. Set aside a few hours to work your way through the sweet and savoury tiers of high tea, and enjoy the people-watching. When it’s sunny, you can choose to eat outside on the terrace – a gorgeous option if it’s not too chilly!
Wentworth Road, Vaucluse
Sydneysiders love their books, and Café 1812 is another cosy café and bookstore that’s fast becoming a Paddington haunt. With dark wooden interiors, leather armchairs and woven rugs, it’s the most inviting place to spend the afternoon curled up with a book. Inspired by the European salons, where creatives would gather to chat, drink and bounce ideas off each other, the café also has a warming menu (try the toasties or mini scotch fillets with mushroom sauce).
1/19 Oxford Street, Paddington