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

Some are following the latest coffee trends – continuing the push away from espresso and towards batch-brew – while others are just trying to become great neighbourhood catch-up spots.

Here’s where we’re going for coffee this December.

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Best New Restaurants in Sydney
Best New Bars in Sydney
Best Cafes in Sydney
Best Coffee in Sydney
Most Beautiful Cafes in Sydney

Kurumac

Kurumac comes to us courtesy of the owner of Cool Mac, in Kirribilli. It also means “Cool Mac” in Japanese. So a lot of the DNA from the original cafe – from the jazz and hip-hop soundtrack to the mural artwork – can be found throughout. Although a lot of the menu plays things straight (standard Japanese dishes, a variety of salads and a range of sweets in a cabinet), the most offbeat dishes on the menu have actually been the most popular. The spicy cod roe melt – a toasted, inch-high cut of Japanese milk bread, spread lightly with peppery roe and grilled with tasty cheese – is a bestseller.

107 Addison Road, Marrickville

Saga Lyte

Andy Bowdy’s inventive and outlandish cakes and desserts are renowned in Sydney. On weekends, it’s tough to get a seat at Saga, his Enmore cafe. Saga Lyte is a smaller, more takeaway-focused answer to that demand. It’s inside the Exchange, at the centre of the new Darling Square development. The selection here is a best-of Saga; there are favourites from the Enmore mothership such as vanilla slices, mini cakes, cheesymite scrolls and the Insta-famous star-shaped pies.

35 Tumbalong Boulevard, Haymarket

Quick Brown Fox Eatery

The rice congee at this Pyrmont cafe is one of the best (and most over-the-top) breakfast dishes we’ve seen this year. The congee is made from koshihikari – a premium Japanese short-grain rice – and comes topped with a chilli fried egg, enoki mushrooms, maple-glazed bacon, grilled cabbage and chilli relish. Fried chicken or king prawns on top are optional, but highly recommended. The rest of the dishes are more elegant, but just as flavourful. In August, QBF got its alcohol licence, so head over and have a mimosa or Bloody Mary with your breakfast.

22 Union Street, Pyrmont

Cherry Moon

Cherry Moon is a grocer, bakery and cafe that feels like it’s been open for decades, not months. That’s partly down to the design: mismatched wooden chairs pulled up to long communal tables, flour stains on the staff and their aprons as they hover over the day’s cakes, floral arrangements framed by firewood, and exposed brick. It all feels very CWA-meets-Pinterest. Outside it continues with wobbly-looking benches and cutesy murals on the walls. The rest of that “instant-local” feels comes from the excellent food. Our favourites are the Portuguese tarts, the doughnuts topped with glacé cherries and the ploughman’s lunches. Grab a loaf of sourdough before you leave, it’s a contender for the best in the inner-west.

77 Nelson Street, Annandale

Went to See the Gypsy

Went to See the Gypsy is Gypsy Espresso’s Alexandria flagship, and it dwarfs the Potts Point original. Its high ceilings are supported by exposed steel beams, and the colour scheme is blond timber, black and white. There are so many tables the space might be better described as a canteen than a cafe. Coffee is to the same high standard as in Potts Point, but here espresso comes from a Modbar machine – one of only a handful in Sydney. For food, there’s house-made banana loaf or goat’s cheese and kale smashed egg with pesto. After something larger? Order the schnitzel. It’s huge.

Shop 1 76 Mitchell Road, Alexandria

Alevri

We’re used to great Greek restaurants in Sydney, but there’s a surprising dearth of great Greek cafes out there. Especially considering how important coffee is to Greek culture. Alevri has brunch, baklava cheesecake and moussaka in a pie. That’s right, moussaka in a pie. And it’s great. It turns out the bitter sweetness of eggplant is a great match with buttery pastry. Other highlights are an old-school Greek breakfast platter (boiled eggs and all) and a ripper spanakopita. For coffee, it’s tough to look past the copper-pot coffee brewed in searing hot sand.

260 Wardell Road, Dulwich Hill

Southside Charmers

This all-day diner takes its design cues from Miami, so it’s a blend of pretty flamingo-pink bar stools and marble countertops and Cuban accents, such as the ornate crucifixes, which hang near the coffee machine. The menu has a South American bent. There’s a popular roster of tacos – our favourite comes loaded with Panko-crumbed snapper, pico de gallo and ancho chilli sauce. For something larger, try the fried-chicken burger or the beef quesadilla. Coffee here is strong, but it’s worth coming in the afternoon: that’s when a killer Latin-inspired cocktail list kicks in.

306 Charmers Street, Redfern

Calla

Calla is just what Pyrmont needs. Chefs and co-owners Max Bean and Vicki Melitas have together worked in restaurants including Est, Bar Topa and the now-closed Bridge Room. At Calla they’re channelling those restaurants experiences in to something more casual without compromising on quality or creativity. You won’t find a single poached egg here. Instead, try the smoked-salmon terrine or the breakfast creme brulee, which isn’t as rich as it sounds.

55 Harris Street, Pyrmont

Industry Beans

This 20-seater cafe on York Street is the first NSW outpost for Industry Beans, one of Melbourne’s favourite coffee roasters. It’s well known for its inventiveness – whether it’s creating a cold-brew bubble cup, which combines cold-brew coffee with tapioca pearls and condensed soy milk, or serving coffee “caviar” and fruit “sashimi” for breakfast. It all comes in an all-white minimalist space.

40 York Street, Sydney

Mschief

Every single one of the cakes at this bakery and cafe is made with around 40 per cent less sugar than is used at more traditional bakeries and cafes. The goal at MsChief is to sell healthy food without it coming across as too overtly “healthy”. Owner Adelle Ly grew up in West Timor and wanted to open a up a no-nonsense eatery with a focus on fresh wholefoods, and not much else. The brunch menu here is all-day. We liked the congee-inspired porridge: cooked in bone broth and brought to the table topped with bacon, furikake and an egg soft enough to mush with a spoon.

G03 105 Willoughby Road, Crows Nest

Gardener’s Lodge

It turns out that beautiful sandstone building by the pond in Victoria Park is now home to one of Sydney’s best lasagnes. And it’s vegan. Who knew? Gardener’s Lodge opened quietly earlier this year, but it deserves to be on people’s radars. This entirely plant-based cafe also does calzone, cannoli and tiramisu by the maestro behind Newtown pizza joint Gigi’s Pizzeria. There’s a lunchtime roster of paninis and salads that incorporate the latest dairy and meat replacements for schnitzel, mozzarella and even blue cheese. And there’s a variety of plant-based milks for your coffee.

Corner of City Road and Parramatta Road, Camperdown

Corretto

Corretto means “correct” in Italian – and Kurtis Bosley reckons the Italians have daytime drinking all figure out. We have to agree. The key is in the liqueurs: they’re high on flavour and low in alcohol content. Liqueur-based drinks feature across the menu at Corretto, Dee Why’s latest all-day cafe and diner. But if you’re after a more conventional start to the day there’s a selection of coffee and other non-alcoholic drinks available. Breakfast includes all the classics, and later in the day there’s a choice between Italian-leaning share plates or more substantial mains.

24 The Strand, Dee Why

Koku Culture Cafe

Kenji Okuda and Donna Chau were both chefs at Lotus Group, and before that at Billy Kwong. Now, they make soy sauce and miso and wholesale it to restaurants. Their cooking is informed mainly by Japanese cuisine and makes heavy use of Asian pantry staples. On the menu, miso appears everywhere, from the smashed avocado to the granola bowl. Banana bread is served with yuzu sour cream instead of butter. It’s all housed in a minimal space featuring blond timber joinery and rows of decorative miso jars in indented shelves.

355 Liverpool Road, Ashfield

St Dreux

Cafes with a singular focus on coffee are becoming increasingly rare. But St Dreux is one of them. There are three signature blends, which each showcase a different roasting style. There’s the Shepherd (light), the Silver Bullet (medium) and the Rainmaker (dark). Those three blends are joined by single-origins of different provenance. If you’re after something different, there’s a nitro brew, cold brewed for 12 to 16 hours then infused with nitrogen, creating a silky mouthfeel and beer-like head when poured.

151 Clarence Street, Sydney

Brooklyn Boy Bagels

Michael Shafran has been making some of Sydney’s best bagels ever since he moved here from New York in 2013 and found himself pining for the bagels from home. When he closed his Brooklyn Boy Bagels shop in Matraville in 2016, he promised he’d be back bigger than ever. Fast forward to this April, and he’s delivered. Everything we loved about the original Brooklyn Boy Bagels is back, but this time around there’s enough seating to make eating-in a realistic option and it’s smack-dab in the middle of Circular Quay. So sit down, order one filled with lox or pastrami, and read the latest New Yorker over your coffee.

Shop 6, Level 1 1 Macquarie Place, Circular Quay

Little M

Little Marionette is one of Sydney’s favourite coffee roasters. And despite being based in Rozelle, the roaster hasn’t had a cafe presence there for more than a decade. Little M is a welcome return. It’s a small and straightforward space with a friendly feel. There’s a rotating choice of filter, single-origin and two blends of beans. For food, there’s a concise range of sandwiches, chia puddings, pastries and poke bowls to have in or take away.

296 Darling Street, Balmain
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