healthy cafes

How Many Healthy Cafes In Melbourne?

There's a lot of conflicting information when it comes to health. It seems like every month, a new diet, ingredient or philosophy comes along, claiming to be better than all the rest. We don't have the answers. 

What we do have is a list of cafes where health is always kept front of mind. At these spots, fresh fruit, veggies and other unprocessed ingredients are the stars. In other words, food everyone can agree is good for you.

Visitors to Melbourne have access to various cafés, diners and restaurants. For those seeking a nutritious meal or looking for gluten-free, vegan, nut or dairy-free choices, the following healthy eating spots are each an easy trip from central Melbourne by public transport or car.

17 Must-Try Healthy Cafes in Melbourne

Apart from the fact that health is seriously on-trend right now, it's also becoming damn delicious. If we can eat a piece of raw vegan nut butter chocolate every day and not have to feel bad for it, well, go right ahead and sign us up. 

And raw chocolate is just the beginning. Now, cafes all around our fair city are dicing, blending and cooking up a healthy storm — and we love them for it. Here are some of our favourites.

Naughty Boy

There are so many great choices at Naughty Boy, a Carlton hotspot that is famous for its InstaShakes and pretty-as-a-picture plating. Try the poke bowl. It’s a combination of quinoa, sesame sauce, edamame beans, pickled ginger and seaweed, pickled cabbage and avocado. 

Typically served with salmon, the menu allows you to request a vegan or vegetarian option, so you replace salmon or egg with tofu instead.

The Naughty Boy (bacon, egg, chorizo, hash brown and baked beans) will certainly appeal to paleo-inclined diners. Easily accessible by public transport or driving, you’ll arrive to find a light-filled, welcoming space (with crayons and toys for kids). The coffee is top quality, so do yourself a favour and have at least one.

Short Straw

Just a short tram ride from central Melbourne, you’ll find Short Straw in Hawthorn. This café is owned by an experienced team of hospitality experts, and it shows in its epicurean approach to nutritious, gourmet menus and meals. The Garden of Eden (peas, avocado and a variety of greens and veggies) is both flavours packed and satiating.

The poke bowl and smashed avocado options can be modified for vegan diners. The food presentation is flawless, and you’ll find yourself well-fuelled for a stroll along Glenferrie Road, where clothing, books, music, food and beauty stores abound.

Seedling

There are two Seedling cafés in Melbourne’s CBD. Their emphasis is on nutritious, wholesome food that is super fresh, and they are 100 per cent gluten-free. The Winter Bowl with brown rice, roast pumpkin, tomatoes and mushrooms, avocado, crispy chickpeas, and pesto dressing. The Superfood Salads include pea, avocado and cranberry, but there’s a rotating variety.

The perfect spot to get your health fix, located in the heart of the CBD (they have two locations – one on Flinders Lane, the other on Little Collins Street). Seeding cafe is 100% gluten-free and paleo-inspired, focusing on nutrient-dense, clean, ethically sourced (and delicious) food.

If you’re after something simple and satisfying, try their seeded buckwheat gluten-free toast with homemade almond and coconut spread. They also have a great selection of salad bowls, smoothies, juices and raw desserts. The “beet it” juice with beetroot, mixed berries, coconut water, ginger and mint is the ultimate refresher.

You can eat in or take your meal to one of the many beautiful parks and gardens in or surrounding Melbourne city.

BEN'S Supernatural

With fresh salads, wraps, burgers and a full variety of smoothies and juices, there’s no shortage of delicious choices for the health-conscious diner at BEN'S Supernatural. The wrap with tempeh, served in two generous portions with a dipping sauce, is fabulous. There are plenty of vegan and vegetarian options, including the mushroom burger (hearty mushroom between a great, fresh bun).

healthy cafes

Little Big Sugar Salt

These guys are all about good (yummy) food that's good for you. We see absolutely nothing wrong with this. Tucked into a corner building on Victoria Street in Abbotsford, LBSS has always been about doing things a little differently. 

Whether that's a raw chocolate coconut treat with your almond milk or the artwork that lines the walls. And speaking of the stuff, their coffees (cold or hot) are made just that little bit better by their almond milk that's made in-house.

When it comes to the menu, for a healthy bite, go for the acai bowl topped with quinoa muesli, coconut yoghurt, and fruit, or the gluten-free almond berry pancakes. Or you could even go for the freekeh cakes served with cashew cream, chilli jam, kale and eggs—all the good things.

385 Victoria Street, Abbotsford, lbsscafe.com

Admiral Cheng Ho

Another Abbotsford local, Admiral Cheng Ho, is the little sister to Monk Bodhi Dharma and churns out a lot of the same dishes — much to northside delight. No more crossing the river. Coffee is serious here, folks, and with six simultaneous grinders on each day, you can expect to be spoilt for choice.

When it comes to the food, they've got all the dietary concerns in front of mind. For a sweet start to the day, go for Cheng's Granola: a house-made organic spiced raw granola with fruit and house-made organic hazelnut milk. Or if savoury is more you, their Avoca Ho is a smashed avo dish worth the trip, as is their umami mushrooms served on polenta bread with feta, thyme, and red chilli oil.

325 Johnston Street, Abbotsford, admiralchengho.com.au

Shokuiku

You know a venue is serious when they are entirely raw. Shokuiku on High Street in Northcote knows a thing or two about the natural side of foods. The drinks list alone is health craziness. In a good way, of course. 

You can go for the Ultimate Smoothie ($25) if you're feeling rich: it includes coconut water, coconut meat, berries, hemp, cacao nibs, goji berry, ashwagandha, astragalus, MSM, Camu Camu, fulvic acid, reishi, maca, marine phytoplankton, mega hydrate, vanilla, and lakanto. Phew.

The dinner menus change monthly and feature things like coconut cream and lime soup with zucchini noodles for the entree, layered vegetable bake with vegetable mince and marinara sauce for main, and a banana cream tart with cacao truffle slice for dessert. 

They also offer custom-made raw cakes with a range of granolas and supplements to take home with you to continue your raw journey. It honestly feels like an adventure. Give it a try.

120 High Street, Northcote, shokuikuaustralia.com

Combi

Combi is all about health. Sitting in a small shop front in Elwood, these guys have lines out the door on the weekends, so go mid-week if you can swing it. The menu reads like a health nut's dream with cold-pressed juices, smoothies, kombucha on tap, acai bowls, sprouted bread, house-made nut milk, raw cakes, and treats to die for. 

If you like your indulgences in the liquid form, go for the Velvet Cacao smoothie, made with raw cacao, cacao nibs, berries, coconut flesh, cinnamon, banana, raw chocolate fermented protein powder and house-made nut milk. 

For something on the savoury side, you can grab a raw pizza made of dehydrated almond, sunflower and flaxseed topped with raw kale pesto, shredded vegetables and raw cashew cheese.

Located slightly outside of the centre of Melbourne, it’s not one you would easily stumble across (although it is very well known amongst the Melbourne cafe-goers!)

It’s Byron meets Melbourne with its bohemian, colourful interior and selection of smoothie bowls, bunless veggie burgers, zucchini noodles and raw treats.

Our pick? The peanut butter acai bowl. All their smoothies/smoothie bowls are packed with superfoods which we love. We’re talking maca powder (hormone-balancing), raw protein powder (plant-based), spirulina (immunity boosting), lucuma (source of iron, zinc and calcium, as well as being a natural sweetener), probiotics (promoting gut health), and the list goes on and on and on. Their smashed avo is also delicious, as is their signature Combi vegan toasted sandwich.

If you’ve got a sweet tooth, make sure you try their signature raw caramel slice…. it is to die for. All their desserts are made on-site and are refined sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, raw and 100% organic, sweetened only with maple syrup and coconut nectar. Just the way we like them!

And don't forget to take home a slice of the raw caramel slice. Seriously. Do it.

Shop 1/140 Ormond Road, Elwood, wearecombi.com.au

Pana Chocolate

Pana Chocolate has been stocking our health food stores for a while now with their 45g chocolate bars, but their shopfront in Richmond is whipping up some serious raw desserts that will change your mind about what raw food is tastes like. 

A raw lemon cheesecake is a decent and rich version of its namesake, while the Holy Fudge — a mix of raw chocolate, raw fudge, and raw nut butter — will most likely leave you grinning and speechless, at least until you ask for more.

You can stock up on raw cacao, coconut, and other sweet staples while you're there as well. We dare you to leave with just one thing.

491 Church Street, Richmond, panachocolate.com

Veggie Bar

Oh, the Vegie Bar, a trusted pit stop for those who steer clear of meat or are just looking for some hearty nosh. The Veggie Bar caters to most tastes with raw pad Thai to a Mexican burrito filled with cheese, sour cream and beans.

 Hey, it's still vegetarian, right? But with a rep for always being ahead of the curve, it's a given that these guys brought in raw dishes — like the raw tacos — before Melbourne was even excited about it. Kudos to you, Vegie Bar. And your desserts are off the charts.

380 Brunswick St, Fitzroy, vegiebar.com.au

Yong Green Food

Yong's is the quiet achiever of the health food scene. They don't say much, but they've got a healthy fan base — pardon the pun — that does the talking for them. You can go down the raw path here with a 'raw sage' of layered zucchini with mushrooms, avocado, cashew cream, and raw walnut bolognese, or perhaps you're after a raw cheese platter? Yep, it exists here: herbed garlic cashew cheese, nut bread, tamari almonds, olives and balsamic figs await. 

If you like your food cooked, you can go for the chickpea korma served with brown rice and mango chutney, or the tofu katsu: a fried tofu patty made with shitake, arame and vegetables battered with quinoa, served with brown rice, coleslaw and a house-made katsu sauce. Finish with a raw dessert like the chocolate cheesecake. They are a perfect treat.

421 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, yonggreenfood.com.au

Patch Cafe

Patch in Richmond is championing the Paleo way of eating. No dairy, grains or refined sugars — you get the picture. They do it here, and they do it well too. They're making their own Paleo bread, which makes your morning bacon and eggs feel almost normal. 

For a real meaty experience, go for the CaveMan: eggs, bacon, tomato, wagyu beef, sweet potato cakes, silverbeet, kale, and relish. If you're more of a Bircher and latte kind of Paleo, don't worry, they've got you covered as well with their Patch Bircher. 

Theirs includes activated hazelnuts and almonds, goji berries, apricots, pumpkin seeds, coconut, chia seeds, honey, vanilla bean and orange with coconut yoghurt and blueberries. Oh, and an almond or coconut milk latte.

32 Bendigo Street, Richmond, facebook.com/patchrichmond

Nutrition Bar

Nutrition Bar is all about clean ingredients and protein. Gym goers rejoice. Their smoothies are the main attraction here, followed by the acai bowls and the raw treats. Go for a superfood smoothie with coconut water, raw cacao, acai powder, chia gel, agave, vanilla protein powder, LSA, raspberries and ice. 

It's very, very tasty. Their protein acai bowl is again a good protein hit with crushed nuts served on top. Raw treats range from protein balls made by Health Lab to raw snickers and bounty bars. All the treats.

121 Swan Street, Richmond, VIC, nutritionbar.com.au

Barry

Barry in Northcote is one of those cafes that cater to everyone. From the team originally behind Pillar of Salt, Barry is one of those cafes that knows how to do things well. The space on the corner of Barry and High Streets is one of those that draws a waitlist on the weekends. But, even so, they always deliver. 

The menu ranges from coconut chia puddings with banana, caramelised buckinis, sour cherries and coyo, to a burnt onion, buffalo mozzarella and basil omelette in the morning, to a crisp prawn sub with kewpie mayo, pickled cucumber and carrots and raw falafels with beetroot relish, tahini, and pickled cauliflower in the afternoons.

85 High Street, Northcote, barrycoffeeandfood.com

Serotonin Dealer, Burnley

Serotonin Dealer is a one-stop-shop for all things health and wellbeing. They aim to provide a sanctuary to escape from our fast-paced lives, integrating a nourishing cafe and a holistic exercise centre.

Their extensive plant-based menu leaves you feeling spoilt for choice (and quite frankly a little stressed about what to order!). By now, you’ll be shocked to know we opted for the smashed avocado and the acai bowl. This acai is a little different (and we mean that in the best kind of way).

It is a dairy-free, sugar-free acai ice cream served with the signature Serotonin granola, fresh berries, pistachio list, house-made peanut butter (incred), banana and best of all, topped with a banana & coconut “magnum” ice cream. Dreams do come true!

The smashed avo (or smiling avocado as it is called at Serotonin) is served on toasted sprouted seed loaf. It has a delicious blend of avocado, smashed pea and mint, topped with cherry tomatoes, feta and fresh chilli. It’s no ordinary avo toast!

Cocomamas, Elsternwick

Smoothie bowl heaven. Cocomamas is located about 30 minutes from the CBD but well worth visiting. It is a takeaway style cafe; however, they have a few bar stools if you want to eat in.

We tried their deluxe “Snickers Delight Bowl”, which has frozen banana, peanut butter, cacao, dates and coconut, topped with buckwheat and almonds, cacao nibs, clean chocolate sauce, peanut caramel and cashew vanilla ice cream. Sounds to die for, and it is! Next on my hit list – is the Peanut Butter and Jelly Bowl.

For those who prefer a savoury breakfast, they also have avocado on gluten-free toast served with housemate almond “feta”, beetroot, kraut and hemp seeds.

Bentwood, Fitzroy

This is an absolute must for our fellow health foodies. The acai is as delicious as it is pretty (and that’s saying something in this case). 

It’s one of the few places that gets the granola to acai ratio right, which means there is much granola… It’s also served with peanut butter which is a must in my eyes.

If you’re after something savoury, the smashed avo is also on point. It is served on dark rye bread with fresh chilli, dukkah, feta and pomegranates. 

Another menu item to try is the brunch bowl… It is packed with goodness! Kale, quinoa, cashew-basil pesto, cherry tomatoes, halloumi, a poached egg, avo, hemp seeds, yoghurt and pita chips… Who else is hungry after reading that?

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Conclusion

There are plenty of healthy cafes in Melbourne to choose from. If you're looking for a nutritious meal or just want to eat somewhere that supports a healthy lifestyle, then these places are worth checking out. 

Whether you're after a light breakfast, a quick snack or a full-blown meal, there's something on this list for you. So if you're looking for an energising and healthy dining experience, Melbourne has got you covered!

FAQs About Melbourne Cafes

The term “Health Café”, when read or heard for the first time, gives us a lot of thoughts. ... Our “Health Café” is not just limited to being a place that serves healthy food. It is a place where we serve food for thoughts, food for the soul and fuel for our stomachs.

The verdict: Arabica dark roast is the healthiest coffee for people who limit caffeine without drinking decaf.

Best Coffee Products – Ranking the Top Healthy Coffee Brands

  • Peet's Coffee.
  • Purity Coffee.
  • Super Coffee.
  • VitaCup.
  • Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides.
  • Volcanica Coffee.
  • Wakers Happy Coffee.
  • Well, Bean.

8 Ways to Make Your Coffee Super Healthy

  • No Caffeine After 2 P.M. 
  • Do Not Load Your Coffee With Sugar.
  • Choose a Quality Brand, Preferably Organic. 
  • Avoid Drinking Too Much. 
  • Add Some Cinnamon to Your Coffee. 
  • Avoid Low-Fat and Artificial Creamers. 
  • Add Some Cocoa to Your Coffee. 
  • Brew Your Coffee Using a Paper Filter.

The first study to examine links between coffee brewing methods and risks of heart attacks and death has concluded that filtered brew is safest.

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