Melbourne is a city of food and coffee lovers, with thousands of eateries tucked above, below and in the laneways between its busy streets. With a café scene that shows no signs of slowing down, take advantage of Melbourne’s huge range of brunch and coffee spots –– each with its own unique offerings. Here are our top 10 picks for the best cafés in Melbourne:
1. Hardware Societe
Nestled in a laneway in the CBD, Hardware Societe is a favourite among local foodies and tourists alike. Enjoy mouthwatering breakfast dishes such as their famous baked eggs with chorizo and potato, or indulge with pork belly and fried eggs, bacon, caramelised leek and onion potato cakes, and apple cider chutney on rye. The counter is also adorned with sweets and pastries, with mouthwatering savoury tarts and empanadas that change flavours daily.
2. Industry Beans
Enjoy a unique coffee experience from across the world at Industry Beans in Fitzroy. Decorated in a spacious warehouse, this café is a specialty coffee roaster, brew bar and café all in one. Although the focus here is definitely on coffee, Industry Beans certainly keeps their food up to scratch, with many ingredients, including bread, butter and chocolate, all made in house. From tamarind blue swimmer crab omelettes to fried chicken creole burgers, there’s something for everyone on their impressive dining menu.
3. Top Paddock
From picture-perfect ricotta hotcakes to delectably stick pork belly, Top Paddock café is undeniably one of the best spots for brunch lovers. Located in Richmond, this popular brunch spot uses a blend of Five Sense coffee and their own in-house roaster to compliment their food. The menu covers a wide variety of dishes, with fresh new flavours coming out of the kitchen each season. On the menu this autumn: everything from 14-hour smoked brisket burgers to fluffy ricotta hotcakes with berries, toasted macadamia nuts, cream, lemon myrtle sugar, and strawberry eucalyptus syrup.
4. Brother Baba Budan
Named after a 17th-century Sufi who allegedly smuggled seven seeds of coffee into India from the Middle East, this café is all about the java. In fact, many of Melbourne’s diehard coffee drinkers claim that Brother Baba Budan makes the best coffee in the city. This can be a hard theory to test for yourself, with only about 15 seats available and a line out the door on any day of the week. However, most customers simply order a cup to go, perhaps with a little cake or pastry on the side –– the quality of the coffee here speaks for itself.
5. Shortstop Coffee and Donuts
As its name suggests, this café is all about keeping things simple with good coffee and donuts. This busy hole-in-the-wall café offers a variety of donuts (which are made fresh onsite) to match some of Melbourne’s best specialty coffee. Enjoy baked treats in flavours such as rhubarb brulee, earl grey and rose, or burnt caramel, fennel and sea salt. The café’s simple menu and convenient location make it a perfect spot for a catch up over coffee or a quick morning tea on the go.
6. Chez Dre
Start your morning at Chez Dre to enjoy the best of both worlds with French-inspired sweet and savoury delights. Tucked away in a South Melbourne laneway, Chez Dre boasts an extensive, all-day menu featuring indulgent dishes such as housemade brioche french toast, Parisian gnocchi, cured ocean trout, and a rich cassoulet. If you’re in a hurry, you can also grab some freshly baked pastries or a baguette to take away.
7. Proud Mary
Praised by Jamie Oliver and regarded as one of the best coffee spots in Melbourne, Proud Mary is a specialty coffee roaster and café run by Nolan Hirte. Serious about their coffee, this Melbourne café boasts an extensive list of single origin coffees and blends served with techniques including cold drip, pour over, chemex, aeropress, syphon and more – making Proud Mary a coffee snob’s heaven. This café also offers an all-day breakfast menu and homemade sweets to match their award-winning coffee.
Housed within the heritage-listed site of Melbourne’s first telephone exchange company, Operator25 has all your breakfast needs covered with a range of impressive, all-day dishes. Dig into a bowl of wholesome chia pudding, or try an Asian-style omelette made with prawns, chicken, a mint and bean sprout salad, prawn crackers and a tangy dressing on toast. Alternatively, opt for something sweet such as Japanese green tea waffles with saffron-poached stone fruit, white chocolate sauce, seasonal fresh berries and matcha ice cream.
9. Stagger Lee’s
Winner of Good Food’s 2014 best new café award, stop by Stagger Lee’s and see if it lives up to the hype. Opened by the team behind Proud Mary, Stagger Lee’s in Fitzroy differentiates itself by combining its top-notch coffee and food with a selection of alcoholic beverages. The food menu is packed with meals helmed as “simple but sexy comfort food”, including dishes such as braised lamb shoulder with fried potato hash, harissa-spiced hollandaise sauce, pickled fennel and poached eggs.
10. Serotonin Eatery
The minds behind this Richmond café believe that good health requires a holistic approach. This is why Serotonin Eatery uses fresh, organic, local and fair trade ingredients to deliver an entirely plant-based breakfast menu. Their colourful inventions almost seem designed for Instagram, with dishes such as the stunning Galaxy Acai bowl daring you to not take a picture. As well as a range of single origin teas and coffees, Serotonin Eatery also offers a selection of juices, smoothies and specialty drinks, including macadamia matcha lattes, turmeric chai, cacao coconut lattes and gingerbread lattes.