Melbourne is known around the world for its cafe culture, and Carlton is arguably where it all started. In the '60s and '70s, Lygon Street was filled with communal, European-style cafes run by Italians and other post-war immigrants, who also brought then-novel espresso machines with them. It's thanks to these people that we have polished operations such as Seven Seeds and Market Lane today.

European cafe culture has since spread to the rest of the city (and the country) and morphed into something uniquely Australian, but Carlton's original spirit remains. Here are our favourite spots for coffee and food.

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Parco

Dench pastries, Coffee Supreme lattes and al fresco dining, all in a former power substation.

2 Argyle Place, Carlton

Ima Project Cafe

This Japanese-Australian eatery embraces “ugly vegetables” and local art and design.

169 Elgin Street, Carlton

Seven Seeds

The HQ of one of Melbourne's leading coffee roasters.

114 Berkeley Street, Carlton

Assembly Carlton

Try espresso blends and herbal teas before you buy.

60 Pelham Street, Carlton

Vertue Coffee Roasters

Half the fun is finding this converted stable, where coffee is roasted on site.

8 Raffa Place, Carlton

Heartattack and Vine

A contemporary take on the Italian espresso bar, from the duo behind Wide Open Road.

329 Lygon Street, Carlton

Market Lane Coffee Carlton

A takeaway-only outpost from another top roaster.

176 Faraday Street, Carlton

The Queensberry Pour House

Bottomless filter coffee and tasty eats.

210 Queensberry Street, Carlton

Wild Timor Cafe Carlton

Four ex-soldiers are behind this cafe, which sells coffee direct from Timor.

251 Faraday Street, Carlton

St Charly

A lively brunch spot that takes inspiration from Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

306-308 Lygon Street, Carlton

Tiamo Coffee

It's been here since 1977 and it's still going strong.

303 Lygon Street, Carlton

Bloom Coffee Bar

It’s hard to compete with the coffee in this neighbourhood, but this stands up.

140 Rathdowne Street, Carlton

Vincent the Dog

Filter, pour-over, espresso done three ways, and equipment to do it all at home.

348 Drummond Street, Carlton

D.O.C. Espresso

Coffee and focaccia, just like the old days.

326 Lygon Street, Carlton

Stovetop

Stovetop coffee and inventive breakfasts.

100 Leicester Street, Carlton

Café Lua

Locals come here for the big, diverse menu.

169 Elgin Street, Carlton

Campos Coffee

A trusted name in coffee, Australia-wide.

144 Elgin Street, Carlton

Le Miel et la lune

Nab the best position near the large, street-facing open windows.

330 Cardigan Street, Carlton
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