There is no doubt that Melbourne is home to some of the best cafes in the country. With so many to choose from, it can be hard to know which ones are worth visiting.
Are you looking for a great cafe to enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner in Melbourne's eastern suburbs? If so, you'll want to check out this list of the best cafes in the area.
From traditional Australian eateries to cosy little spots serving up delicious international cuisine, there's something for everyone on this list. So why not explore all of these amazing cafes today? You won't be disappointed!
Cafes You Must Go To In Melbourne’s Eastern Suburbs
They say that South Yarra is king, Richmond is the best, and Carlton is great for brunch, but I think there are some top-notch cafes near my watering hole. Yes, that’s right, the Eastern Suburbs are also delivering the goods.
That’s why I’ve scouted my local area for quality smashed avo, delicious coffees, and other delightful treats. If you’re a city slicker, there’s no need to worry—most of these delightful places are along the train line!
The Black Alchemy is my bustling local café. It’s legitimately ten minutes from my house! I love the modern but simple interior. And often cannot resist a cheeky Instagram check-in of their tasty (and highly photogenic) meals. If I’m looking for a decent soy chai in the area, I always stop here!
The Honey Thief Bakery
This bakery boasts some of the best bread in the state! The Honey Thief Bakery in Blackburn South produces some of the best loaves, cakes, pastries and other treats from its traditional bakery. It’s always a cosy spot to enjoy a coffee and a croissant or a salted caramel doughnut—if I’m feeling naughty!
Dark Horse On The Brit
This Dark Horse is a popular brunch spot for locals! There’s good service, great food and exceptional coffee (hard to find in the east). The Horse has an all-day menu filled with fresh, delicious meals! There’s also plenty of outdoor seating, making it a good spot to graze in the sun. This Mitcham café is also one of the rare spots in the east where you can try a tasty golden latte.
Two Brothers café brings all the things we love about inner-city cafes to the Eastern suburbs. This Mitcham café is cozy, family-friendly and has plenty of outdoor seating. If you’re not sure what to order, Two Brother’s does a great classic burger with grass-fed beef, triple cream cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles.
The Peddler Café
This chic café is always bustling with patrons, particularly on weekends. The interior is filled with inner-city style and features hanging lights, retro chairs, and a big communal table. The Peddler Café also has an extensive menu with meals ranging from classic eggs on toast to more interesting dishes like the French fruit toast, with banana, blueberry maple syrup, cream and walnut crumble. If you’re not sold, Peddlers makes delicious (& big) fresh muffins and homemade lemonade!
Mister & Miss
Mister & Miss will satisfy your tummy and your Instagram! This massive contemporary warehouse-style café has all our favourite brunches on the menu: crushed avo, zucchini and corn fritters, buttermilk pancakes and soft shell crab burger (you know the drill). The outdoor deck area makes this a local hot spot for brunch dates, chilling and many hours of gossiping!
Station Street Café
Station Street Café is a simple café with plenty of comfy spots for you to rendezvous. The menu is small and simple but filled with delightful dishes, including the breakfast quesadilla with scrambled egg, bacon & chorizo sausage, in a crisp folded tortilla topped with cheese, avocado, sour cream and tomato salsa. This café is easy to get to and is conveniently located next to Nunawading Station. It’s also an easy cafe to go to with my grandma!
I honestly don’t mind a good burger, especially from this boutique burger restaurant! Burger Burger crafts delicious burgers with premium meats and fresh ingredients. The burgers source inspiration from surrounding local suburbs, providing a true window into the burgers of the East. Burger Burger is a great spot for a lunchtime feast (or dinner date).
This cheerful café has a vibrant menu with classic meals and intriguing brunch dishes. Indulge in the sweet bircher muesli with hazelnuts, almonds, apple, honey, yoghurt and a delinquent poached pear. Watts cooking is also a short walk from Surrey Hills Station; it is a warm and welcoming café with a lovely courtyard to relax in on sunny days.
This simple suburban café is the go-to place for delicious food and ethically sourced coffee. Prospect Espresso offers a mouth-watering range of coffee from cold drip to Vietnamese iced that would impress any Melbourne-raised coffee aficionado. The food menu offers delicious classics with inventive twists such as banana bread with walnuts and espresso butter.
This café ticks all the boxes! It has a minimalist interior, top-notch coffee and a menu that’ll knock your socks off. The menu has a yin and yang approach that will equally satisfy you with both an epic selection of healthy dishes as well as some delicious finger lickin’ dishes!
There’s a buckwheat superfood porridge that’s served with cranberries, blueberries, pepitas, banana and whipped pumpkin butter or buttermilk fried chicken served on a brioche bun with charred corn slaw, mustard and sriracha mayo. Not to worry, both dishes are very Instagrammable! Legacy Café is the perfect spot for a brunch date.
My Other Brother
The leafy suburbs of Camberwell are filled with decent cafes, and My Other Brother is no exception. This specialty coffee house is a coffee lover's delight. It’s buzzing with beans from some of the best roasters in town and has knowledgeable baristas to help get your blend just right. Love getting a coffee to go from here before checking out the local markets!
Three Monkeys Place
Why drive 20 minutes into the city when all the pizzazz of an inner-city café is right here? Three Monkeys Place boasts amazing food styling and a vibrant menu (that tastes good, too!). There’s a small cosy interior and a huge courtyard filled with natural light. Sounds like the perfect spot for an Instagram pic or two.
This quirky café is one of Eltham’s best-hidden secrets! Zen Den may look like an old run-down house on the outside, but inside is a homely café filled with an eclectic mix of furniture and funky décor.
This café offers a little bit of everything and even caters for vegans, vegetarians, and gluten-free diets (making it an easy choice for lunch dates with the girls!). There’s also a cute outdoor area to graze in the sun whilst enjoying a delicious meal. Zen Den is always bustling and filled with positive vibes.
The Lilydale General
This one’s a bit of a drive away, but it’s great for a weekend adventure! The Lilydale General is hidden in the industrial area of Lilydale. It has a delicious all-day menu with plenty of healthier vegan options full of delightful flavours. The coffee is spot on, and sampling the dessert cabinet before you go is a must!
Brioche by Philip
Brioche by Philip is a popular modern French bakery and coffee house in the inner city. This iconic eatery has brought its award-winning sourdough and delicious treats to Eastland Town Square.
Brioche by Philip brings a unique Japanese twist to traditional french baking that is delighting locals. This bakery is in the perfect spot to relish in the sun. I love getting a Nutella cronut (brioche doughnut) and a coffee in the town square before a big day of shopping!
Aunt Billies is your fun, fast, fresh and friendly local café. It’s hidden away from the main road and often buzzes with local brunch-goers. There’s an all-day menu with plenty of great options. This café also sports my favourite local smashed avo (it’s delicious!). If you’re looking for quality coffee, delicious treats, and chilled brunch sessions, try this place!
The Penny Drop
The Penny Drop is a huge contemporary restaurant with beautifully plated food. In true Box Hill culture, this café adds a fun Asian fusion to its modern Australian menu. If you’re looking for a quirky take on smashed avo, suggest you try the smoked salmon with spring onion pancake, bean shoot salad, avocado and son-in-law egg, or the whipped avo (yes, it’s a thing!). The Penny Drop is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s worth a visit.
The Firehouse is a restaurant set in a lovingly restored, heritage-listed metro fire station and has plenty of places to dine, drink and laugh! There are plenty of dining spots and a large open-air deck with a casual bar.
This restaurant has a simple Mediterranean inspired menu and is available for breakfast, lunch and or dinner. It can get quite busy on weekends and has some drool-worthy brunch options like the potato rosti with Huon smoked salmon with truffle scented scrambled eggs.
Eastern Suburbs Cafes & Eateries
The World Loves Melbourne has visited many Melbourne Eastern Suburbs cafes, and we have selected our best Eastern suburbs cafes. The East has seriously great cafes that are some of the best in Melbourne, worth a trip across town.
Shanklin - Hawthorn
Shanklin is a bright, vibrant cafe in Hawthorn in a surprising location away from the main strip in attractive suburbia. Detail and imagination go into the cafe dishes from an impressive menu. Sit outside or inside. It's popular with Hawthorn locals.
If you're a fan of cakes, then Shanklin will not disappoint.
We love the ability to add extras to dishes, rustic dishes of substance, the little touches, excellent service and loads of natural light.
Jade Fox - Doncaster East
Jade Fox is a top-notch cafe by day and a modern Thai restaurant by night (on the edge of Jackson's Court), the way of the future. Each cafe inspired dish is well thought out in terms of taste, texture and high-class presentation.
They are somewhat of a new kid to the block in established cafes but have quickly made their mark. Already they have excited locals with signature dishes, including Red Ocean Sunset with Red curry, snapper, prawn, pipi, squid, basil, pineapple, tomato, green bean, capsicum, potato and garlic bread crisps.
Or try brunch dishes such as House of Jade Fox with poached eggs, prosciutto, chorizo, tomato, onion, mushroom, pickled pepper, sauteed kale and mixed nuts served on sourdough. Or the Beetroot Cured Salmon, the Happy Avocado and the famous Hash 'N' Ham Steak. For the health-conscious, they have a wide range of dishes such as Acai Bowl and Mango Bircher Muesli.
Rustica - Hawthorn
Rustica has a history over the years, starting with the first location in Fitzroy, which we visited in the early days. Cream rises to the top in the bakery world (pardon the pun), and Rustica shines at several locations.
We get excited about a bakery driven cafe because it has a strong foundation. The menu here is rewarding and innovative, and the vibe is sensational.
Rustica gives the locals what they want in style, and the advent of plants and high ceilings with large windows adds to the attractiveness.
Riddick - Templestowe
Riddick captured the imagination of the eastern suburbs as soon as they opened. The main talk of the town was that you didn't need to travel to the city for a city-like cafe experience. Riddick goes the extra mile in terms of its all-encompassing menu - you would be hard-pressed not to find anything you'd fancy on this menu. An old bank has been extensively renovated to make a modern cafe that resonates with cafe lovers.
Down the Rabbit Hole - Templestowe
Down the Rabbit Hole is another cafe that captures the attention in the eastern suburbs and is a class act. Just ask the locals about their favourite cafes, and this cafe is usually around the top of the list.
Mammoth - Armadale
There's some serious cafe clout behind this venture; Loren and Jamie McBride from Touchwood, Barry and Pillar of Salt fame (cafes we love and adore). As great as those cafes are, Mammoth is discernably different with bold flair. Is this the brave new world of cafes?
For those who may be bored with the same old same old food options of many Melbourne cafes, Mammoth brings a point of difference.
When we scan cafe menus, it's often a case of wanting 2 or 3 picks out of the menu then deciding. Call us snobs, but that's the way it is. In this case, it was about what not to order—interesting and compelling menu options.
Mind you. There are many dishes we have yet to taste. Stumbling along on a quiet weekday in the school holidays, we were met by a packed-out cafe. Lucky to get a table, dining solo on occasion has its advantages.
We love the light and airy feel of the place, designed by Techne Architecture. Blues and browns, great use of timber and a spacious minimalist look borders Scandinavian. The triangular shape of the cafe is unusual, but there are several compelling spaces for your dining pleasure.
Coffee is a big deal at any cafe, and Mammoth delivers. We enjoyed a great filter coffee that hit the spot, although we were drooling over the shiny Synesso.
As for the menu options, we chose The Benedict - duck sausage, orange and corn blini, pickled onion, fried egg, smoked maple hollandaise. Simply sensational, the duck sausage was the hero and a surprisingly generous portion to boot. Duck and orange are a killer combination, and the orange and corn blini was a perfect taste, as well as texture match. The impression was instant; how good is this dish!
Other options that we'd like to try include Cherry lamington puffed pancake, the Lobster doughnut burger, or the Szechuan spiced spare ribs. The waitress also raved to us about the salads; the Black Russian salad and the Smoked chicken salad—next time.
Or, indeed, hit up the Golden Gaytime panna cotta for dessert. And did someone say Egg and bacon popcorn? The staff were professional and passionate about this cafe when we talked. Mammoth was a standout cafe experience; pushing boundaries is what we love to see.
The Mabel - Mitcham
How good is Mabel! Tucked away in a quiet part of Mitcham, it is a revelation and salvation for locals. We know if a place is a foodie haven from our first visit. The Mabel is a sensation because it delivers on its innovative cafe menu.
But there's more. Towards the weekends, the daily specials board is packed with so many specials it almost becomes a second menu. Staff are quirky and fun, and we indulge in banter.
Poached eggs with grilled salmon, shaved radish and wasabi hollandaise, on sourdough toast with a side of Potato Rosti was a mild sensation of a brunch dish. Poached eggs and salmon is always a winning combination, but poached eggs and grilled salmon is not as common but equally delightful. A generous portion of the grilled salmon was more than welcome.
FAQs About Melbourne Cafes
"Generally, the roasts used by Australian venues are much smoother, lighter and more caramel than a lot of US coffee which is a much darker roast and more bitter. "There has been, especially in the past five years, a much greater appreciation for quality espresso coffee.
Both hot tea and hot coffee are popular with older Australians, and Baby Boomers (born 1946-1960) is the leading drinkers of both hot coffee (69.6%) and hot tea (61.1%) in an average week.
On average, the daily sold cups of coffee at your cafe can range from 200 to 300 cups for a small cafe. Speciality beans, water, cup and lid don't make the entire cost of your coffee.
Melburnians might think they live in Australia's coffee capital, but they are wrong. A Lavazza Australia survey reveals that Sydneysiders buy more of the brew in cafes – 4.41 cups a week on average, compared with 3.91 cups in Melbourne.
Local coffee production
“Australian coffee is an organic boutique product. We sell ours at a premium for about $15-$20 a kilogram,” says Jos Webber of Kahawa Estate Coffee in the Ballina Shire. “But roasters in Australia import their coffee from countries like Brazil and Vietnam for $4-$5 a kilogram.”