15 Cool Melbourne Cafes To Try In 2021

The best cafes in Melbourne for great food and vibes.

Let’s face aside from the AFL, the bustling nightlife, riotous street art, Melbourne is primarily known for its great cafes and excellent coffee roasters. Melbourne undeniably is home to some world-class cafes. Still, with an abundance of great places to eat and drink, it can be time-consuming to choose the perfect place and to save you from frantically reading google reviews or deciphering with your friends where does the best cold brew, we’ve curated a list of cool Melbourne cafes.

Finding a quality cafe is a lot more than delicious food and good coffee. It’s about ambience, the atmosphere, the design and space – how it makes you feel from the moment you set foot in the venue. 

Australian coffee and cafe culture is truly something else, but don’t just take our word for it; make sure you try at least a few of these places below if you’re after a memorable cafe experience.

From Melbourne CDB hidden gems to speciality coffee roasters, here are some of the best cafes with brews that pack a flavoursome punch and unexpected, seasonal menus that are bound to keep you on your toes. So sit back and grab a cuppa at the best cafes we love in Melbourne.

Journeyman

Originally known as Duke’s Coffee Roasters, this iconic Chapel Street cafe located on the Windsor end is precisely what you need to kickstart your weekend. Journeyman is set inside a sophisticated warehouse with timber panelling and interiors designed by renowned Melbourne architect Chris Connell, creating an incredibly chic and industrial aesthetic.

Journeyman is an absolute must for those in the southside area. From their chilli scrambled eggs, eggs benedict with crispy pork belly to their delicious coffee, it’s the perfect place if you’re looking for a cafe with a little extra flair.

Address: 169 Chapel St, Windsor VIC 3181

Phone: 03 9521 4884

Ona Coffee

If you’re looking for a place that makes some of the best coffee north side of the river, Ona Coffee may just be what you need. This trendy Brunswick cafe is often considered Melbourne’s coffee capital and was founded in 2008 by world Barista Champion Saša Šestic. With restaurants all around Australia and now Melbourne, Ona Coffee is committed to making your coffee-drinking experience a memorable one while championing those who grow it.

While you’re here, check out their range of speciality blends, brewing options, exotic coffees and an extensive ‘reserve menu’ of frozen coffee beans.

Address: 22 Ovens St, Brunswick VIC 3056

Jerry’s Milk Bar

This Elwood cafe pays homage to the old school milk bars, perfect for capturing a little nostalgia in your brunch date. Despite Jerry’s Milk Bar closing during Melbourne’s second lockdown, it quickly bounced back when Nick Forge and Oliver Gualano (owners of backstreet Kew cafe Kupid Espresso) and their friend Jordy Catalano revamped the space. Now, this two-storey corner Edwardian venue is back in a big way serving some of the most delicious breakfast and lunch menu. If you’re after something hearty, make sure to try their corn and coriander fritters; otherwise, their french toast always hits the spot.

Address: 345 Barkly St, Elwood VIC 3184

Phone: 0481 190 122

Plug Nickel

Along with Ona Coffee, Plug Nickel is another exquisite cafe known for its speciality coffee. Situated in Collingwood, this trendy little cafe prides itself as one of the best in the industry, as Plug Nickel uses Sanremo Opera – an espresso machine Saša Šestic and several other World Champion baristas helped design, to brew their superb coffee. 

They also serve Cascara, a tea made from coffee cherries and cold nitrogen brew, both available on tap. However, aside from this being one of the best places to grab your early morning coffee, Plug Nickle also has an assortment of delicious exotic toasties on offer, from spicy tuna melt to a vegan mushroom toastie, the choice is yours!

Address: 7 Peel St, Collingwood VIC 3066

Phone: 03 9416 3677

Moon Cruller

Lune’s sibling cafe Moon Cruller landed in Fitzroy earlier this year, serving up the most incredible pastries Melbourne has ever seen. The founder of Moon Cruller, Kate Reid, first fell in love with cruller pastries when she visited New York back in 2016 and, upon returning to Melbourne decided to recreate this deep-fried doughnut-like treat. Once she had perfected the recipe, she opened her store right outside Lune’s head office, becoming a hit almost instantly.

At Moon Cruller, they have six flavours – cinnamon sugar, vanilla, chocolate, passionfruit, raspberry and a special wild card cruller change weekly.

Address: 50 Rose St, Fitzroy VIC 3065

Higher Ground

Situated in a heritage-listed powerhouse along Little Bourke Street is one of the Melbourne CBD’s best cafes, Higher Ground. Inspired by boutique hotel lobbies, from the minute you step foot into this space, you’ll be enamoured by the beautiful high ceilings drawing in natural lighting, exposed brick walls and intimate tiered platforms. 

This cafe is the perfect choice if you’re looking for something a little more experimental than your usual eggs benedict, as their breakfast menu includes whipped trout on sourdough, ricotta hotcakes, and spiced cauliflower scrambled eggs, just to name a few. Make a booking before walking in, as this place is always busy.

Address: 650 Little Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000

Phone: 03 8899 6219

The Kettle Black

Aside from owning Higher Ground, The Darling Group also founded one of the more sophisticated refined Melbourne cafes known as The Kettle Black. Housed in an old Victorian building along Albert Road, The Kettle Black is one of South Melbourne’s best places to kick back and enjoy a coffee.

Its tranquil atmosphere is complemented by the fusion of old and new styles, complete with soft green chairs and marble tabletops.

Their seasonal all-day breakfast menu showcase’s some of the best local produce and changes monthly too.

Address: 50 Albert Rd, South Melbourne VIC 3205

Phone: 03 9088 0721

No. 19

Though this cafe is relatively new, it’s already made its mark on Melbourne’s cafe scene. No. 19 was founded by the husband and wife team, Domenic and Diana Caruso – the dynamic pair behind the much-beloved Essendon cafe, St Rose. 

No. 19 has an extensive menu curated to satisfy every man’s palette. If you’re in the mood for something a little clean, try their acai bowl made with seasonal circus fruits. Otherwise, their soft shell crab burger is incredible if you’re after something a bit more hearty.

Address: 214 Union Rd, Ascot Vale VIC 3032

Phone: 03 9372 8777

Stan’s Deli and Sandwiches

Inspired by New York’s old school delis, this Malvern sandwich shop is the ultimate place to grab a humble sandwich. Guy Bentley (Leonardo’s Pizza Palace, Leonard’s House of Love), Todd Vanneste, Alex Gavioli (former manager of Moby) and Aaron Trotman joined forces to bring this new cafe. 

The concept first came to Gavoli and Trotman, as they were looking for a simple yet incredible cafe that was modest in its approach, enter Stan’s. This deli has cultivated a sense of community in Malvern while supplying some of Melbourne’s best-loaded sandwiches.

These sandwiches and bagels are incredibly fresh, as most of their ingredients are made on-site, an absolute must-try for this year.

Address: 248b Glenferrie Rd, Malvern VIC 3144

Phone: 03 8589 8407

Top Paddock

Top Paddock has been at the cornerstone of Melbourne’s cafe scene ever since its launch in 2012. Situated on Church Street, surrounded by rich dark timber and detailed windows, this Richmond cafe has a delicious breakfast menu that changes with the season. Here, they serve all the classics, including poached eggs, chilli scrambled eggs, and oats. However, if you’re after something a little sweeter, try their blueberry and ricotta hotcakes.

On weekends, this multi-award winning cafe usually has a line that extends across the street, so we seriously suggest booking well in advance.

Address: 658 Church St, Richmond VIC 3121

Phone: 03 9429 4332

Le Bajo Milkbar

Jason Gunawan, the restauranter behind Bali’s famous Potato Head Beach Club, was due to start working on his next project earlier last year. However, when the pandemic hit and forced him to stay in Melbourne, he turned this spacious industrial North Melbourne venue into a retro Japanese cafe.

Named after a fishing island in Indonesia, Le Bajo’s menu is curated by renowned chef and 279 cafe owner Kantaro Okada, who uniquely combines Australian and Japanese cuisine seamlessly together. Whether you’re after their Chicken Katsu Sandos or one of their dirty fries with miso mayo, Le Bajo is a fine example of how to do food fusion right.

Address: 8-14 Howard St, North Melbourne VIC 3051

Phone: 0402 189 088

Darling Cafe

This South Yarra cafe is conveniently located around the corner from the station and sits at the top of Darling street. Elegant yet simple, Darling Cafe does classic well, as they serve all the staple breakfast and brunch options, but with a slight twist. This menu has surprises at every turn, from their crushed avocado with salsa to their sticky date pancakes; there are a whole heap of unique dishes to choose from accompanied by a wide selection of coffee, pastries, sweet treats and juices. Darling Cafe also has some nourishing smoothies, just in case you’re looking for something to grab on the go.

Address: 2 Darling St, South Yarra VIC 3141

Phone: 03 9820 9222

Pillar of Salt

Further along Church Street, past Top Paddock, you’ll find Pillar of Salt. Known for their speciality coffee and impressive all-day breakfast menu, it’s easy to see why this Richmond cafe is a Melbourne food hotspot. Pillar of Salt owner Kostas Zervoudak bought this space from Kael, Matthew and Elias Sahely back in 2014 and expanded the menu offering traditional Australian plates prepared by skilled chefs that will have you leaving and wanting more.

They also have a beautiful courtyard filled with upcycled colander light fittings and plywood tables, making it one of the best places to unwind on a Sunday Morning.

Address: 541 Church St, Richmond VIC 3121

Phone: 03 9421 1550

Bagels Baby

This is hands down one of the best places to snatch up your morning bagel and smear. This reborn butcher shop has transformed into a 20-seat corner cafe, with husband and wife team Claudia and Anthony Carnovale completely reinventing the space. Bagels Baby quickly developed a reputation for creating the best bagels in the city, even snapping up more than 300 bagels before lunchtime every day in the cafe’s first week of launching.

Bagels Baby offers up to nine different bagel options, including a miso mushroom with vegetable slaw and a salmon lox bagel. When you dine in, you’ll also get a side of pickles and crisps with your meal.

Address: 36 Derby St, Pascoe Vale VIC 3044

Industry Beans

In 2013, Industry Beans opened, offering Fitzroy an all-under-one-roof coffee roastery and brew bar, instantly winning over coffee lovers and brunch go-ers. This cafe prides itself on having some of the best speciality coffee and is home to the bubble cup, a cold brew coffee with coffee-soaked tapioca pearls. However, aside from serving quality coffee, Industry Bean has an unpretentious, simple but delicious menu that offers seasonal fruits and vegetables, local meats, edible flowers and freshly baked bread. All of these ingredients make Industry Beans the ultimate Fitzroy brunch hotspot.

Address: 70-76 Westgarth St, Fitzroy VIC 3065

Phone: 03 9417 1034

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