This is our edit of Melbourne’s best new cafes from the past 12 months, updated monthly.

Some are highly invested in serving excellent food and following the latests coffee trends, while others are just trying to become great neighbourhood catch-up spots.

Here’s where we’re going for coffee right now.

Related Pages
Best New Restaurants in Melbourne
Best Cafes in Melbourne
Best Coffee in Melbourne
Most Beautiful Cafes in Melbourne

Ona Coffee

In June 2020, something pretty special started brewing in a backstreet off Sydney Road in Brunswick – one of the country’s best coffee roasters, the Canberra-born Ona, had launched its first Melbourne outpost. And it well and truly hit the ground running, with a boundary-pushing menu of 20 coffees and one cup – made with rare, topnotch beans – that came with a $25.50 price tag. It’s a cafe that treats coffee almost like wine.

22 Ovens Street, Brunswick

Monforte Viennoiserie

An All Are Welcome pastry chef is behind this pint-sized, hole-in-the-wall patisserie on Canning Street in Carlton North. And, as at All Are Welcome, socially distanced queues became the norm when it opened during lockdown 2.0. In a two-by-five-metre space, UK-born Giorgia McAllister Forte runs the one-woman show, baking everything herself – from sweet-and-salty croissants, to hazelnut pains au chocolat, and asparagus and goat’s curd pastries. And just in case you needed an extra incentive to get in early and avoid missing out: there are croissant loyalty cards; your eighth is free.

585a Canning Street, Carlton North

279

You may have encountered a katsu sando before, sure, but have you ever tried a musubi? Also known as onigiri, musubi are similar to sandwiches – just shaped like a triangle, with bread swapped out for rice. 279 specialises in the things. Fillings include tempura prawn and vegetable; cured mackerel and green tea; and katsu chicken. One even comes filled with smashed avo. (This is still a cafe in Melbourne, after all.) On the coffee side, the focus is on filter ¬– although espresso-lovers are also catered for – and it’s all made for you behind a beautiful handcrafted brew bar.

279 Victoria Street, West Melbourne

Casa Nata

When there’s only one item on the menu, there’s nowhere to hide. It’s gotta be great. And at Thornbury’s dedicated house of tarts, Casa Nata, the pastéis de nata (Portuguese custard tarts) more than meet that brief. Flaky, custardy, expertly blistered – and with a touch of cinnamon. Perhaps the best part of this new arrival, though, is the fact you can watch the tarts being made in the slick open kitchen, then eat a couple straight out the oven (for maximum ooey-gooeyness).

847 High Street, Thornbury

Bakemono

In a beautifully converted laneway garage, tucked away off a buzzing part of Little Lonsdale Street, you’ll find this tiny Japanese-inspired bakery. The fit-out is all crisp whites and timber panelling, channelling the minimalist bakeries and cafes in Japan and Korea. It’s serving fluffy shokupan, pillowy canelés (small French cakes flavoured with rum), piles of pastries, and coffee by Small Batch. But, to avoid being met with “sold out” signs, get there mid-morning.

273 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

There

There is located in a cavernous space that was once a wool factory. With two walls of tall, steel-framed windows and a stripped-back fit-out, this stunning space breathes new life into the converted-warehouse-as-cafe concept. The menu is concise and veg-heavy (but not vegetarian). There’s an Ottolenghi-inspired salad bar; a beetroot smash served with smoked salmon; smoked-butter scrambled eggs; and a humble – but exceptional – egg and bacon roll with Sriracha mayonnaise and stretchy mozzarella.

90 Maribyrnong Street, Footscray

Falco Bakery

This small-batch Collingwood bakery has pedigree; it’s from the team that gave us Fitzroy’s Bar Liberty and Italian diner Capitano. And its chicken-salad and egg-salad sandwiches have garnered something of a cult following in the Broadsheet office, which is – conveniently – just down the road.

288 Smith Street, Collingwood

All Are Welcome Thornbury

It's fair to say that Northcote's All Are Welcome is one of Melbourne’s most popular bakeries. To keep up with demand, in 2020 owners Mark Free, Aaron Maxwell (both also of Everyday Coffee) and Boris Portnoy opened a second shop, also on High Street, but in Thornbury. The menu is near identical to its sibling’s, but at least now getting your hands on one of those pork-and-fennel sausage rolls or cheese-and-oregano pastries is a little less time-consuming.

887 High Street, Thornbury

Prior

This 130-seat space is full of warm hues and natural materials. Whether you're sitting on a sleek leather banquette or you've got a table in the large outside courtyard, there are no dud spots here. On the menu, you'll find a range of inventive Middle Eastern-inflected dishes, many of which showcase vegetables.

637 High Street, Thornbury

Bread Club

Unlike Fight Club, this is a club – the delightfully carby kind – that you should definitely be talking about. Two French bakers, whose CVs list Woodfrog, Vue de Monde and Baker D Chirico, opened the mint-green bakery on Queensberry Street in North Melbourne just before the madness of 2020 set in. On a snazzy green quartzite benchtop, there are stacks of sourdoughs, baguettes (as is, or stuffed with simple fillings), the usual pastry suspects, and more creative specialties.

558 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne

Via Porta

Via Porta is one of the prettiest new cafes to open recently. This Mont Albert cafe-deli incorporates earthy palettes, stone floors that echo Italy’s cobbled laneways, and sweeping benches in the grocery area. It even took out the Best Café Design award at the 2019 Eat Drink Design Awards. If you dine-in here, choose from dishes such as Scotch egg with shaved brussels sprouts or a classic cheese omelette. Taking away? There are baked goods (influenced by France and Italy) and sandwiches to take home with your deli fare.

677 Whitehorse Road, Mont Albert

Lokall

Toasties are having a moment in the sun, and Lokall’s three-cheese open toastie – which combines cheddar, mozzarella and Grana Padano with gooey bechamel – is already a contender for the best in town. The other sandwiches on the menu shouldn’t be ignored though, especially the chicken katsu sando and the vegan cheese and broccoli number. These sandwiches (and more – there’s a Saturday brunch menu) are all served up in a beautiful space. This large corner spot (which seats 100, with 40 outside) has floor-to-ceiling windows and a clean, sleek fit-out.

582 Swan Street, Burnley

Small Axe Deli

When Small Axe Kitchen opened in Brunswick a few years ago, we were taken with Kirsty Tate and Adam Pruckner’s approachable but refined take on Sicilian soul food. The breakfast pasta also became a cult hit, so much so that in 2018, we included it as one of the recipes in the Broadsheet Italian Cookbook. Safe to say, we were happy to hear about the opening of Small Axe Deli. It’s the younger sibling that lives just a few blocks away, on Sydney Road. It’s a cosy space with a seven-metre-long terrazzo bar, and floor-to-ceiling shelves stocked with Italian products – both local and imported – to take home. If you’re eating in, dishes are light and fresh, and there’s a solid panini range. There’s also a selection of ready-made, take-home meals.

1/625 Sydney Road, Brunswick

Nine Yards

This one comes from a posse of co-owners who, between them, are responsible for some of Melbourne’s most popular cafes in recent years: Left Field, Plain Sailing, Port of Call, Tall Timber, Coin Laundry and Touchwood. It’s little wonder South Melbourne’s Nine Yards feels so fully formed so soon after opening. The theme here is Australiana. In the fit-out that manifests in floor-to-ceiling eucalyptus-green cabinets, terracotta-pink columns and native flora positioned around the room. On the menu, that means plenty of native ingredients, including pepperberry and Kakadu plum. There’s even damper served with butter and bush honey.

228-230 Dorcas Street, South Melbourne

Jerry's Milk Bar

This Barkly Street icon has stood for over four decades. And after a brief Covid-enforced closure, it's in new hands and is better than ever. It's doing meatball subs, thickshakes and vegan cakes.

345 Barkly Street, Elwood