Melburnians are the most passionate foodies you would ever meet – they take immense pride in the coffee they brew, the ingredients they source and the food they prepare. Recently, the most liveable city on earth also emerged as champion for having the world’s best coffee. Here is our guide to Melbourne’s top 9 cafes where you can indulge in the freshest food and first-class coffee. Every café in this guide has a well-curated menu with vegetarian and gluten-free options.
Breakfast Thieves is a beautiful spacious café that serves premium coffee (AUD $3.50) and splendid food. The large communal tables are great for group outings, where you and your mates can share a couple of mains. With an emphasis on fresh local goodness, all the beans used at Breakfast Thieves are hand roasted and 100% ethical.
The social blend won a silver medal at the Golden Bean awards in Espresso Category. Special weekender menu includes Ms. Omega (AUD $15.50); a citrus-cured ocean trout on fragrant sourdough and oozing poached eggs drenched in traditional hollandaise sauce.
Shop 1, 420 Gore St, Fitzroy VIC 3065
Tel: + 61 3 9416 4884
Tue to Sun: 7.30am – 4pm
Melburnians are beyond spoilt for choice when it comes to breakfast and brunch. With a new café opening up every week, it is indeed tough to decide which café is worthy of your time and money.
Crabapple Kitchen’s crabapple sliders have been ranked as one of Melbourne’s top 25 buns, which explain the crowds on Saturdays. The refreshingly light brioches filled with fresh blue swimmer crabmeat, thin strips of radish, julienne apple mustard cress and mayo make perfect guilt-free snacks. Other must-orders include the classic Australian Chicken Schnitzel.
659 Glenferrie Rd Hawthorn, VIC 3122
Tel: +61 3 9078 5492
Daily: 7am – 5pm
Fri: 6pm – late
De Clieu was named after a French commissioned officer, the first person to introduce coffee to the French colonies in South America in the 1720s. Needless to say, coffee is serious business like how it is in most Melbourne cafés. Six Degrees Architect had made it possible for guests to perch themselves on windowsills and Seven Seeds ensured the consistency of great coffee. With an effortlessly impressive menu, there is no reason why this hipster haunt should be left out from our guide to Melbourne’s best cafes.
1/187 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy VIC 3065
Tel: +61 3 9416 4661
Mon to Sat: 7am – 5pm
Sun: 8am – 5pm
GRUB FOOD VAN
People sick of cutting edge cities’ lifestyles would find Grub Food Van’s peculiar nonchalance for the outside world extremely heartwarming. Located in Fitzroy; Melbourne’s bohemian district, Grub Food Van had made a name for itself with its quirky design and interiors. Artisan breads and boutique beers are accompanied by the creepy exhibition of bodiless dolls around the glass house.
If alfresco dining is what you fancy, watch in amazement as food is served through an old school 1965 airstream van. Pastries start from AUD $5.50 and beers start from AUD $6. One must not miss out on this eclectically bizarre experience.
87-89 Moor St, Fitzroy VIC 3065
Tel: +61 3 9419 8991
Tue, Wed, & Sun: 8am – 6pm
Thu to Sat: 8am – 9pm
Krimper Cafe was once a furniture factory and a gallery, but today this spacious warehouse is a café well loved by locals in the know. Named after a famous designer in the 1950s, this rustic looking cafeteria is tucked away from the main streets, in one of Melbourne’s oldest alleyways. Its secluded location makes it hard to believe that it is actually right smacked in the city center; a 5 minutes walk from Melbourne Central to be exact.
Start your day with the Krimpers Benedict, a classic dish with a Krimper twist; pulled smoked ham hock and poached eggs with fresh basil pesto, leafy greens and rich hollandaise sauce.
20 Guildford Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel: +61 3 9043 8844
Mon to Thu: 7am – 5pm
Fri: 7am – 9pm
Sat & Sun: 8am – 4pm
Proud Mary has every right to be proud of what they have achieved. Ever since its grand opening day, Proud Mary has set a high benchmark for quality coffee in Melbourne. They are the rightful owners of the world’s one and only six group Synesso espresso machine and was hailed as Melbourne’s Best Café in 2012 by The Age Good Food Guide.
Expect the café to be packed even on a weekday as crowds flock to the backstreets of Collingwood to get their caffeine and brunch fix. The kitchen closes at 3PM and bookings are only allowed on weekdays.
172 Oxford St, Collingwood VIC 3066
+61 3 9417 5930
SEVEN SEEDS SPECIALITY COFFEE
It has been agreed unanimously by all Melburnians that a café without good coffee is not a great café. Right in Seven Seeds, one can have the best of both worlds. Seven Seeds is clearly the A team of Melbourne’s blooming food and beverage industry; premium coffee blends are roasted by experienced baristas and only exceptional gourmet food is served. While the coffee and food selections are ever changing with the season, the quality remains top notch at all times.
106-114 Berkeley St, Carlton VIC 3053
Tel: +61 3 9347 8664
Mon to Fri: 7am – 5pm
Sat & Sun: 8am – 5pm
THE HARDWARE SOCIETE
With its variation of textures and explosion of fresh flavours in every dish, The Hardware Societe had always been acclaimed as Melbourne’s best brunch place. However, an unfortunate fire outbreak saw it closing its doors for a few months. After a torturous long wait, The Hardware Societe finally resumed operations with a refined look.
Evidently, absence had made the hearts of Melburnians fonder as the queues have returned at Hardware Street. But if you are not deterred by the wait, treat yourself to their succulent Duck Confit (AUD $21), Baked Eggs (AUD $17) and fresh Fish Du Jour (AUD $20).
120 Hardware St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel: +61 3 9078 5992
Mon to Fri: 7.30am – 3pm
Sat & Sun: 8.30am – 2pm
THIRD WAVE CAFE
Newly opened and already making waves in its vicinity is Third Wave Café. It boasts an extensive menu including modern contemporary Australian, American and even Russian cuisine! Coffee is supplied by the trusty Five Sense blend while the wine snobs are well taken care of with their vast collection of international and local wines.
Third Wave had proved that healthy food can just be as delicious with their Crusty Salmon (AUD $20) covered in quinoa and blobs of beetroot puree. A must-order for the sweet tooth would be the heavenly creamy Orange French Toast (AUD $16.90), definitely the best toast we ever had.
30 Cato St, Prahran, VIC 3181
Tel: +61 3 9510 2991
Mon, Wed to Sun: 8am – 10pm
Tue: 7am – 3.30pm
About the writer:
Hui Jun Ng was previously a marketing executive and freelance photographer in the food industry. Her work has been published on Epicure, Lifestyle Asia and Meld Magazine etc. She is currently on a break and traveling around the world. Follow her travel adventures on Instagram or The Keepers Map where she shares useful curated travel itineraries.