The Ultimate 2023 Guide Map for the Best Cafes in Melbourne

Enjoying Lune Croissants, Dukes coffee, and some homemade chia seed yogurt at my artsy Airbnb apartment in the morning, before heading out to explore the city!  

Melbourne, one of the most livable cities in the world, has a lot of exciting things to offer. Cultural places, historic landmarks, art scenes, natural gardens, and delicious food… in this post, I am talking about cafes that are all around the city.

While Melbourne has many cafes, serving their signature dishes, high-quality coffee, a unique atmosphere, Instagrammable decor, and friendly services, it is, therefore, not surprising to know that the locals love going to the cafes – there are long queues outside of the cafes on the weekends as early as 7:30 am :).

If you are a tourist, spend a few days and go cafe hopping! Whether you are in search of a delicious cup of coffee, an Instagrammable yummy brunch, or an upscale fine-dining-ish experience, our map got you covered.

Good coffee, signature and destination dishes, cultural expression, great staff, and package deals are some of the most important trends in the coming years for these cafes to continuously flourish. Having said that, what I experienced is more than just food, it’s a journey that takes diners and coffee drinkers to new places. Cafe hopping these days is not just punching your locations and snapping a few shots for your Instagram posts. Immerse yourself and feel how these places take shape, learn their backstories, savor their coffee and discover how each of these businesses distinguishes itself from the other.

Scroll to the bottom you will find a Melbourne cafe and dining guide map that shows the best cafes in different neighborhoods of Melbourne, and let’s learn a little bit more about places to see in these areas.

Collingwood

Terror Twilight is a light-filled space and the barista has some really cool tattoos, he kept smiling and photobombing me. 🙂 – nice guy.

Collingwood is a hip neighborhood with a beginning of blue-collar, It is apparent by seeing many old warehouses in the area, today, many of them are vibrantly converted into coffee shops, house offices, galleries, and quirky boutiques and stores.

Walking in Collingwood is a joy because you would never know what you are going to see; besides, it is a hub for the city’s music scene, and there are locations that stage regular punk and indie gigs.

Smith Street is packed with lively restaurants and bars, as well as vintage stores. Here are some cafes where you can hop on the weekends.

Terror Twilight is a friendly joint at the corner of Johnston Street, with outdoor seating and a light-filled, spacious interior. At the entrance of the cafe they are selling “Tea and Coffee” mugs, and I was welcomed by warm and friendly staff. I love the bowls on their menu, in which you can choose your own base, sides, noodles, and dressing from a list of exciting ingredients (The Edamame is wonderful!) – pair your meal with a pick-me-up smoothie, and I had a “too good” smoothie which is a yummy blend of mango, banana, passionfruit, coconut, and honey. terrortwilight.com.au

Everyday Coffee and ACoffee are located side by side. The spacious warehouse welcomes natural light and it just feels great sitting outdoors on a sunny day in spring. everyday-coffee.com

ACoffee is a coffee roastery and showroom featuring their own roasted beans in different seasons, they are designed to highlight the natural qualities of each type of bean using filtered brewing methods, pour-over, Aeropress, Chemex, or French press. Sample the different flavors and see if you can tell the differences. acoffee.com.au

Melbourne is a city filled with art lanes, graffiti, murals, and frescos, where artists can express themselves in a free, diverse, and inclusive environment. One of the most popular works is located in Collingwood, and it’s hard not to recognize the signature of Keith Haring, check out the Melbourne art tour to find out the stories about these works and where to find them.

Fitzroy and Carlton 

Fitzroy is a lovely neighborhood, the lively suburb celebrates a bohemian vibe and the area is filled with bars and restaurants. Explore the area and its narrow backstreets, you may discover some interesting small galleries, corner pubs, and terrace houses nearby. Brunswick Street is a trendy retail and nightlife strip, for design and art supplies, head to Gertrude Street. Carlton is known for its “Little Italy” scene on Lygon Street, and this district also features iconic landmarks and attractions including La Mama Theatre, the Royal Exhibition Building, and the Carlton Gardens.

Grown Alchemist, according to my friends, is a generation X of Aesop. grownalchemist.com

I think many of you know Aesop, the modern, Australian brand has taken the world by storm with its signature simple, and stylish bottles, their products can also be found in high-end restaurants, bars, and lounges. I have seen so many interior design videos highlighting their bathroom sink and shower booth with nothing else but an Aesop bottle on the counter as if it is the only toiletry worth showing off. I am not denying that Aesop’s products are really good and I am a huge fan, I have bottles of Aesop’s body blams and hand creams myself.

If you are exploring something new, check out Grown Alchemist’s retail lab in Carlton. This is a Melbourne local cosmetic brand and it’s considered a “generation X Aesop”, the price level is slightly lower than Aesop yet their body balm has a very similar texture that Aesop has. The retail lab is on Faraday Street at the side of an Italian restaurant.

Archies All Day is a popular spot in Fitzroy, because of its welcoming servers, delicious food, and also convenient location. Don’t be surprised to see people lining up and waiting outside Archie’s for their coffee. archiesallday.com

Seven Seeds can be found in both North Melbourne, and Carlton.

They are in fact, one of the pioneers (or one of the “OGs”) of the city’s cafe scene – for all these years, they have remained at the top. 

Have a cup of their coffee, and if you like what you tasted, check out the range of coffee selection at their retail counter in fully recyclable coffee bags.

Have more time for something to eat? Try their toasts to hot dishes like spiced lamb, or chili scram. sevenseeds.com.au

Napier Quarter is an intimate neighborhood wine bar and guesthouse located on Napier Street in Fitzroy. It is located on the side of a rather quiet road and so it has a more relaxing vibe. Napier Quarter is rather cozy with a few outdoor tables and a simple menu to pair with my black coffee. napierquarter.com.au

 

Melbourne is also filled with sculptures and art pieces – Cow Up a Tree is one of the most recognized.

Docklands

Docklands of the east of the CBD by the waterfront and the two districts are distinctly separated by Southern Cross, Melbourne’s city train station, and the bus terminal that connects tourists with Melbourne’s airport. The modern development of Dockland is dominated by high-rises and luxurious condos. There are not many attractions in Docklands, with its eye-catching Melbourne Star observation Wheel shut down earlier in September 2021. However, have a stroll by the esplanade as the pedestrian plaza is filled with new murals, contemporary art sculptures, and light displays. This is also where entertainment facilities are located – like mini-golf, concert stadiums, casinos, and sport car simulators.

Hardware Société is located outside Melbourne Aquarium, which is close to Southern Cross Station. Opened in 2009 by Di and Will Keser, the original cafe has a humble beginning of a small 35-seat cafe, and two new cafes were opened in Paris and Barcelona in 2014 and 2016 respectively. If you are there for breakfast, try the chocolate-ginger porridge, it is also recommended to make a reservation during the weekend (really long queues) and the cafe closes at 3 pm – take note of their opening hours. hardwaresociete.com

Patricia Coffee Brewers is a trendy, standing-room-only spot for artisanal coffee grounds on-site.

However, I was really impressed by the flavor of their house blend, and how nicely the staff offered a glass of water while we were buying drinks. Enjoy their coffee by the windows, and if you want something fancy?

Their bakeries at the counter do not disappoint. patriciacoffee.com.au

North Melbourne 

North Melbourne, is an area in the north of Melbourne’s CBD – but here, I would like to focus on Queen Victoria Market. The market is a major landmark in the city because it is an exciting place for food lovers, as they can basically find a wide range of food and ingredients from fruits, meat, and seafood, to dry goods. Enjoy the fresh oysters, sample different kinds of food, and then sip a cup of coffee before heading home for an amazing home-cooked meal. There are a couple of popular eateries in the area, check out the map below for more inspiration.

Small Batch Roasting Co. is located in a quiet neighborhood of North Melbourne for being one of the best coffee roasters in town. While the cafe has only a few benches outside the warehouse, it is a workshop that produces delicious coffee blends. Stay tuned though, I heard that they are finally expanding their territory by opening another cafe in CBD. smallbatch.com.au

Market Lane Coffee has several locations – while the main cafe is found in Prahran, there is another one right at QVM. Market Lane is well known amongst the locals and it’s constantly voted as one of the best coffee brewers and best cafes. Today,

Market Lane is a successful brand with a wide selection of coffee beans on their shelves – While coffee is the star of its show, they do have a few interesting dishes on its menu – for example, its famous mushroom burgers. marketlane.com.au

ACCA, or Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, is a contemporary art gallery in Southbank. It’s hard to ignore – looking at its distinctive and eye-catching exterior, and it hosts a number of temporary art exhibitions that are bold and stimulating. Entrance to the museum is free. 

South Melbourne 

Southbank is a newly developed district in Melbourne – look at its skyscrapers and convention center. Since the district is also neighboring the Royal Botanic Gardens, it has a buffer between the residential areas and the CBD. The district draws a sophisticated crowd to its cultural venues, art museums, and exhibition centers.

From east to west, check out the many pubs, designer stores, and food courts all the way to the Crown Casino complex. The lively riverside promenades feature al fresco fine dining and cargo sheds housing craft beer bars.

Dishes at Kettle Black are always beautifully presented.

Kettle Black is a combination of old and new. While one side of the cafe is a vibrant restoration of a Victorian-style townhouse, with a bright, spacious, and modern space on the other side. I was drawn by the cakes on their cabinet the moment I entered the cafe. Their menu offers some classic dishes like avocado mush or eggs on toast and brisket benedict, don’t forget to save room for their pancakes at the end. Their dishes are always full of flavor and flare, it’s quite a journey as the beautifully presented dishes are brought to the table. It is recommended to reserve a table in advance. There are quite a lot of interesting places to explore on the way back to the CBD, from the Shine of Remembrance, ACCA, to the National Gallery of Victoria. thekettleblack.com.au

ST. ALi serves artisanal coffee and inventive brunches in South Melbourne, surrounded by warehouses that are trendily restored. While the cafe is sort of “hidden” among the lofts, it is still easy to find as the fences are painted in striking blue. There are some interesting products on sale at the cashier, as I saw the baristas working non-stop pouring all sorts of drink orders next to the cashier at the bar. This is one of the best coffee roasters in the city, get their beans to go if you like the taste. stali.com.au

CBD

The CBD is the heart of Melbourne and basically, most of the actions are. It is the culture and dining hub – amidst the shopping arcades, office buildings, monuments, and landmarks, there are plenty of clubs, bars, and chic eateries on its street art-plastered laneways. Shoppers throng the ornate 19th-century arcades and sprawling Queen Victoria Market, known for its gourmet food halls.

Federation Square is the epic center of culture and art. The Ian Potter Centre celebrates Australian art, and ACMI is a prestigious art institution sharing the development of film, television, gaming, and more.

There are numerous historic buildings retained among the skyscrapers, I will introduce them in my post about the Melbourne highlights – and it’s such a joy to just get around the city by tram because the entire CBD is a free tram zone.

Industry Beans Lt. Collins is at the corner of Little Collins Street, one of the many cafes that can be founded in Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane. The brand has quite a lot of products and its cold brew (with sparkling) are also available in cans. industrybeans.com

Koko Black is not a coffee expert but an excellent chocolatier, and I was told it is also one of the best souvenirs and gifts that you could bring home from Australia.

There are a few retail shops around Melbourne – their classic hot chocolate can only be tasted at their lounges, one of them in the Royal Arcade.

While my friend told me that their drinks are quite rich and could spoil my dinner, I don’t think they did at all. It has a soothing cacao fragrance yet I was not overwhelmed by its sweetness. Must try! kokoblack.com

Lune Croissanterie became a sensation about a decade ago and there isn’t a day that the small bakery in CBD is not crowded by fans since it opens the door 7 am in the morning. I am serious — getting there before 7 am on a weekday is your best shot to have a taste of their legendary pastry within 30 minutes or you will have to line up for at least 2 hours on the weekends. 

I watched Masterchef Australia and in one episode, Lune was featured in the competition, in which I also learned something about how Kate Reid and how she came up with her pastry through reverse engineering.

Lune has been titled the “world’s best croissant” and garnered worldwide acclaim. Tbh, Gontran Cherrier is still my favorite, but Lune makes it a tough rival after tasting it.  

Dukes Coffee Roasters and Lune Croissants, are my favorite breakfast combo.

Dukes Coffee Roasters is specialized in organic coffee and it’s been one of the best-tasting roasts for a decade. Their flagship store is on Flinders Lane, one of the busiest streets for diners in the CBD. They are proud of their ethnically traded, individual farms sourced, and small cooperative-bought coffee, which has a unique scent and flavor if you really have a taste of it.

Personally, Dukes coffee and Lune Croissant are my favorite combo during my stay in Melbourne – I can grab a Lune pastry and then my Dukes coffee on my way out every single day. dukescoffee.com.au

Maker Coffee has a few locations in Melbourne and the one on hardware Lane is certainly the easiest to get to. This is another street in CBD that is filled with eateries, and restaurants and the number of choices is simply exciting. Want to know more about what and where to eat in Melbourne, you won’t be bored, and I will be introducing more dining places in the city in my later posts. makercoffee.com.au

Bench Coffee Co. is a small coffee flagship in CBD with a sleek, modern, and classy interior. It is conveniently located along Little Collins Street, and there’s always a line waiting for coffee in the mornings any day of the week, with a crowd chatting and enjoying their coffee brew at the standing bar, or outside at the alley. benchcoffee.co

20 comments

  1. Thank you for all of the tips! My husband works for an Australian company and they are finally opening up an HQ in Australia. If we get to go on a business trip I will have to visit some of these places.

    1. You are welcome! I would love to hear what you have to say about your experience in these places!

  2. I have a coworker who lives in Melbourne and she also told me Collingwood has amazing coffee locations. Cant wait to try your recommendations next time I pay Australia a visit!

    1. That’s nice to know! Any recommendations and comments from these place and feel free to share with us too!

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