These are Melbourne's coolest cafés
Killer coffee, innovative menus and atmospheric interiors – our pick of Melbourne's best cafés that have it all.
- March 2019
Most people go to Melbourne to experience the excellent food and coffee and be spotted at the hottest venues in town. Whether you’re out for breakfast, lunch or dinner, these cool cafés deliver the goods.
Let the good times roll at this former milk bar in Bentleigh with diner-style booths and a speckled counter that resembles fairy bread. The menu is broad, satisfying adherents of the American diner school (burgers and potato gems arrive on bright plastic trays) and the mod-Oz school with delights such as salted caramel panna cotta with spiced granola.
A stalwart of Carlton’s proud Italian scene since 1974, Brunetti’s new CBD outpost is no second place-getter. Sticking to the adage of “something for everyone”, it has an espresso bar, pasticceria, gelateria, spritz bar, deli and café in a glamorous venue. Grab one of the 300 seats for a stab at a menu covering all bases from bacon and eggs to Italian classics.
A former CBD electricity substation reimagined into a grand architectural statement of soaring ceilings and bare industrial bones, Higher Ground matches its award-winning design with a menu that’s all killer, no filler. Take the virtuous road with the zen-like simplicity of steamed fish with XO mayo or toe a New York line and order an oozing toastie of raclette and mushrooms.
Brunch asserts itself as the most important meal of the day thanks to chef Rory Greenwood-McNeair, an Attica alumni now bringing his skills to the lucky residents of Kew. The menu at this slick, Scandi-chic restaurant takes the road less travelled without scaring the horses – think delicate crab omelette with charred baby corn or the vivid hues of beetroot-cured gurnard. Take your dog too – there’s a pooch-friendly deck out back.
Port of Call
A member of the smart, modern breed of cafés that make dressing for breakfast a tantalising proposition, this Sandringham hotspot is ready for its Instagram close-up thanks to a pretty pastel fit-out and equally eye-catching food. Look no further than the fried soft-shell crab, stuffed in a wickedly green matcha bun.