Header image courtesy of @brickfieldsbakery (Instagram) and Auction Rooms (Facebook)
There’s often a bit of sibling rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne—which one has the best nightlife, people, culture, places, and so on. But the one question that Aussies don’t debate on when it comes to these two cities is which city has the better cafés.
At every corner of both these metropolia is another cute coffee shop, all serving aesthetically pleasing coffees, the classic avo on toast, and a colourful and Instagram-worthy acai bowl. It’s no wonder Starbucks generally can’t survive long in these places! But it is also because of the sheer quantity of options available that those visiting (and even long term residents) feel the very real problem of sensory overload in café choices. Make your life easier when visiting the biggest cities of Down Under with some of our favourites.
In the charismatic neighbourhood of Abbotsford lies the endearing café Three Bags Full Café. If you dine here during the workweek, you’ll come across an eclectic, contrasting landscape of languid urbanites lazing away the afternoon while corporate folk quickly scurry in looking for their morning and afternoon pick-me-up. The food here is what you’d call typical Melbourne café fare, and from hearty Buddha bowls to big brekkies, you’ll definitely be able to find something that whets your appetite. The modern interiors, too, of high ceilings and hanging lamps will definitely give you something to share on your Instagram story.
Three Bags Full, 60 Nicholson Street, Abbotsford VIC 3067 | (+61) 3 9421 2732
Located on a street corner in the heart of the café- and restaurant-saturated area of Richmond, Reunion & Co. is another of our favourite coffee shops that we promise won’t disappoint. Offering every Australian child’s favourite—the toastie—to a French toast that is just so insanely good you want to ask the chef about their recipe, this café makes for a great spot for people-watching with a strong cup of joe. Their stacked bagels aren’t too shabby, either. With good lighting, a comfortable environment, and an easy vibe, it’s also an ideal place to get work done.
Reunion & Co., 472 Bridge Road, Richmond VIC 3121 | (+61) 3 9429 5623
Auction Rooms has actually been around the Melbourne café scene for quite some time, not only just surviving the café wave that hit the city 10 years ago, but thriving in it, too. Luckily for us, not only has this gem kept its vintage vibe and character, but it also has a delectable and modern menu to compete with the infants in the industry. With a strong focus on brekkie and lunch fare, both served all day, ranging from poke bowls to coconut chia puddings, you’ll be able to find something delicious before venturing out into the hip neighbourhood of North Melbourne.
Auction Rooms, 103–107 Errol Street, North Melbourne VIC 3051 | (+61) 3 9326 7749
In the up-and-coming neighbourhood of Chippendale sits Brickfields, one of the neighbourhood’s greatest treasures. With beautifully textured, freshly baked bread and pastries being the only sure items in an ever-changing menu, this place will not let you down. And before you jump to the conclusion of “Blah, it’s just bread,” the bakery’s sandwiches at $13 each create pretty epic queues filled with eager patrons. While the price tag might seem a little off-putting, just know that it’s a sandwich that can very easily be shared with a mate.
Brickfields, 206 Cleveland Street, Chippendale NSW 2008 | (+61) 2 9698 7880
Australians, much like many other nationalities in the world, have a bit of an obsession with Japanese food, so it’s only logical that Koku Culture found a way to deliver to the masses, incorporating the popular East Asian cuisine into the first meals of an Aussie’s day. While Koku Culture serves your typical avo on toasts, granola bowls, and more, the truly exciting item—especially for the sweet tooths out there—is the Brûlée Matcha Pancakes.
Koku Culture, 1/355 Liverpool Road, Ashfield NSW 2131 | (+61) 4 0269 7475
If you’re curious about what a café-flooded Aussie suburb looks like, you’ll want to hit up Surry Hills. In this popular and chic neighbourhood lies the glamorous but also surprisingly unpretentious Paramount Coffee Project (and yep, you’ll be able to find them in Los Angeles, too). Offering an all-day breakfast menu (that includes incredible waffles!) and an undeniable charm, throughout the day, you’ll often find yourself in the company of a combination of corporate workers, creative freelancers, and suburban residents sharing a space together at the Paramount Coffee Project’s spacious communal table.
Paramount Coffee Project, 80 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010 | (+61) 2 9211 1122