cafes in dandenong ranges, melbourne (3)

Where Are The Best Cafes In Dandenong Ranges, Melbourne?

Take a day to explore the lush hills of the Dandenong Ranges, the home of cozy shops, refreshing attractions and picturesque views. You’ll also find some of Victoria’s finest cafes and restaurants residing in its hills.

The Dandenong Ranges are a beautiful place to spend a day or weekend, and there are plenty of cafes to choose from when you get hungry. But which one is the best? Here is a list of some of the most popular and highly rated cafes in the area. 

Whether you're looking for somewhere quiet to relax with a cup of coffee or somewhere bustling with energy to grab a quick bite, you're sure to find something that fits your mood and needs. So without further ado, here are some of the best cafes in the Dandenong Ranges!

16 Brunch Spots In The Dandenong Ranges

With market gardens and orchards scattered throughout the region or the nearby Yarra Valley, the fresh produce here bursts with flavour and is low in food miles.

The General Food Store

Nestled in a leafy corner of Emerald, The General Food Store is a relaxed venue that showcases the works of up and coming artists. There’s a new menu every month designed to cater for the seasons and a delicious selection of homemade cakes and muffins. The venue is committed to eco-sustainability and the sourcing of fresh produce.

If you’d prefer to start your day off crowd-free, head to The General Food Store in Emerald. Small in size but big in The Age Good Food accolades, husband-and-wife/chef-and-graphic designer team Paul and Belinda Douglas craft their monthly menu based on the season.

With quirky pardon-the-pun dish names like Peachy Keen (the type of honey-roasted juicy peaches you don’t mind dribbling down your chin), Heading South (eggs with the works including chilli jam), and Grab a Granny (as in apple granola with rhubarb swimming in pistachio yoghurt), the menu is as creative as the food. 

The café caters perfectly for food intolerances and is committed to stepping lightly on the earth – check out the worm farm in the courtyard.

The General Food Store, 377 Belgrave Gembrook Road, Emerald, VIC, Australia

Café de Beaumarchais

Café de Beaumarchais conjures images of Paris with high black ceilings complete with gold detailing and chandeliers. The food only adds to the Parisian charm of the cafe, with the menu consisting of a range of French pastries. The cafe also features an exquisite selection of cakes and desserts, but for total indulgence, look no further than the Parisian hot chocolate.

Café de Beaumarchais, 372 Mount Dandenong Tourist Road, Sassafras, VIC, Australia

Grunge Cafe

Grunge Cafe is hip and vibrant with recycled furniture and a working record player. You can even bring your records to relax as you enjoy what locals dub the best coffee in Belgrave. The food does not disappoint with a simple selection of delicious breakfasts and cakes. 

Using fresh ingredients, Grunge’s juices and smoothies are a must-try. There’s also a wide selection of vegan and gluten-free options. If this cafe is full, try its brother cafe, The Village Idiot, two doors down.

Grunge Cafe, 1696 Burwood Highway, Belgrave VIC, Australia

The Deli Platter

The Deli Platter allows its customers to have the best of both worlds by offering a breakfast menu alongside a selection of deli and cheese platters. The Deli Platter is committed to fresh and unique homemade food serving everything from artisan bread to specialty provisions. The menu caters for vegetarians, vegans and those with food intolerance. Head to the deli afterwards to find the perfect product to take home.

With quirky pardon-the-pun dish names like Peachy Keen (the type of honey-roasted juicy peaches you don’t mind dribbling down your chin), Heading South (eggs with the works including chilli jam), and Grab a Granny (as in apple granola with rhubarb swimming in pistachio yoghurt), the menu is as creative as the food. The café caters perfectly for food intolerances and is committed to stepping lightly on the earth – check out the worm farm in the courtyard.

1514 Mount Dandenong Tourist Road, Olinda, Victoria, 3788, Australia

Earthly Pleasures Cafe

From the street, the Earthly Pleasures Cafe looks like a charming cottage with the rolling hills of Belgrave serving as a picturesque backdrop. The menu consists of delicious homemade creations and vegan options too. Earthly Pleasures is also committed to using ethically sourced produce.

Earthly Pleasures Café, 1627 Burwood Highway, Belgrave, VIC, Australia

cafes in dandenong ranges, melbourne

Miss Marple’s Tearoom

From the outside, Miss Marple’s Tearoom is designed to look like an authentic English cottage inviting customers to escape the bustling street and settle down for a cup of tea. The inside of the cottage is lined with Miss Marple memorabilia and a collection of teapots. 

Miss Marple’s is the perfect brunch destination with customers coming from far and wide to try their famous scones and indulge in one of the traditional English desserts that make up the menu.

Miss Marple’s Tearoom, 382 Mount Dandenong Tourist Road, Sassafras, Vic, Australia

Evolve Fair Food Store

The Evolve Fair Food Store prides itself on its organic and ethically sourced food. This cafe serves a range of vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free and paleo options.

64-68 Monbulk Rd, Belgrave VIC, 3160, Australia

Emerald Village Bakery and Cafe

Emerald Village Bakery and Café serves over 300 specialty food items ranging from cakes and desserts to gourmet pies and pizzas. A bonus is that all items are made and baked on premise giving the food a delicious homemade quality. If you are in a rush, the coffee and juice bar is the perfect solution as it serves the street to allow busy patrons to get their daily caffeine fix on the go.

Shop 8, 8 Kilvington Drive, Emerald, Victoria, 3782, Australia

Spencers Store

Spencers Store has a rustic feel with timber panelling lining the counter, the floors and even the walls. Out the back is a large outdoor area complete with picnic tables and a small vegetable garden making it the perfect spot to enjoy the cafe’s summer menu while soaking up the sun. The store also has a large selection of homemade cakes and pastries.

97 Main Street, Gembrook, Victoria, 3783, Australia

Ripe Cafe

Ripe is the perfect brunch destination with a fireplace to cozy up to in the winter and a rear deck to laze about on in the summer months. For their menu, Ripe goes back to basics serving a selection of Australian favourites, including eggs benedict and homemade baked beans. 

However, the true hero of their menu is their Lindt hot chocolate. These hot chocolates have quickly made a name for themselves as Ripe grates their chocolate to create this delicious drink.

Ripe Cafe, 376 Mt Dandenong Tourist Road, Sassafras, VIC, Australia

Burnham Beeches

The perfect start to your day would be at chef Shannon Bennett’s $65 million project – the renewal of Burnham Beeches, a local icon and lavish, three-storey Art Deco mansion and surrounding gardens built-in 1933 (by the founding family of Aspro, incidentally).

 Burnham Bakery And Piggery Cafe

Stage one, the Burnham Bakery and Piggery Café, is set in an old pigsty, opened last year, and it’s the kind of provincial setting where hay bales meet marble, the wait staff dress in chequered shirts, and the car park is full by 9 am.

The indoor/outdoor café overlooks the work-in-progress idyllic country scene – a bowling green, croquet lawn, vegetable garden, truffiere (with 500 French Oak trees thriving on the rich soil), and a bunch of rescued emus, which provide large ‘golden-green eggs for the revered ‘emu egg sponge cake’. 

When the reported ‘six-star’ accommodation is added, part of the grand plan is for guests to experience something money can’t buy – digging in the garden, lending a hand in the bakery or even taking a resident dog to hunt for truffles. And there’ll be a reward for hard work – a reduction of the bill.

The café serves food all day, every day. For breakfast, don’t miss the cassoulet with corn fritters and for lunch, try the melt-in-your-mouth pork belly BLT with a glass of wine from a nearby Yarra Valley vineyard.

Ranges In Olinda

If you’re game to eat lunch after that, Ranges in Olinda is the place to go. Head chef Garth Talbot is another foodie with a background in French cuisine (and the requisite pedigree in Melbourne hospitality, having served his time at long-standing icon Koots Salle a Manger), and his new venture – while casual – serves a serious range of food in a lovely leafy setting.

Le Voltaire Bistro Francais In Belgrave

The French connection continues into the night. For a nice dinner out, Le Voltaire Bistro Francais in Belgrave – which only sprung up last June – is the type of place you wish just opened in your neighbourhood. 

That’s how locals feel about this cute little restaurant, owned by newcomer Jean-Noel Langlet, who moved here after 20-odd years as the waiter at Melbourne institution, France-Soir.

Offering all the Gallic classics (with a few Australian twists), his menu mightn’t win any awards for boundary-pushing. Still, it has won a legion of fans – bookings are in permanent order on weekends. 

Expect all the favourites – boeuf bourguignon, canard à l’orange, oysters shucked in front of you and, of course, snails – but with in-house churned butter, bread made from scratch and a well-balanced wine list of new-and old-world styles.

Much like the area itself, actually.

Elevation @ Emerald

There is something for everyone at Elevation @ Emerald, from woodfired pizza and pasta to seafood, steak and burgers. If you like to enjoy a stunning vista with your meal (and who doesn’t?), the floor to ceiling windows split over the restaurant’s two levels will give you sweeping views of the Dandenong Ranges.

The Independent

Rustic, industrial charm is taken to the next level in this hardware store cum restaurant attracting diners from near and far. The Independent’s menu is designed with sharing in mind, boasting a variety of share plates in different sizes, which is guaranteed to satisfy your taste buds as well as your appetite.

Cuckoo Restaurant

If you like your meal to come with a side of entertainment, then the iconic Cuckoo Restaurant is the place for you. Best known for its world-famous buffet, floor shows and German Goulash, the Cuckoo serves up traditional and modern European fare alongside good old fashioned family entertainment.

cafes in dandenong ranges, melbourne

Things To Do In The Dandenong Ranges That Aren’t Eating Scones.

The first thing visitors need to know is that ‘The Dandenongs’ are very different from ‘Dandenong’. Do not mix these up. The second thing you need to know is that the Dandenong Ranges is about MUCH more than lace doilies, monstrous tourist buses and scones with jam & cream.

They have all those things in abundance, obviously, but if you chat with the locals who live ‘on the mountain’, you get a very different picture. More of a fern-covered nature retreat, with solid cafes, boutique brews, fruit everywhere and more oxygen per square inch than anywhere else in Melbs.

Browse Antiques At Mangana

Mangana is the sort of place you see on Postcards on a Sunday afternoon. A super cute antiques and homewares store, smack bang in the middle of Olinda. Anyone who passes through The Dandenong Ranges is pretty much guaranteed to pass through the overstuffed aisles at Mangana. 

It’s a good place to come if you’re in the market for globes, reproduction antique furniture, wooden mallards (can never have too many), oriental rugs, jewellery, chess boards and vintage, industrial miscellany. We've got our eye on the small His Master’s Voice dog statue, so hands-off.

Grab A Pie From Pie In The Sky

Olinda’s other star attraction. This place gets seriously rammed on weekends—we recommend skipping the table service and grabbing a few pies to go. You can eat them on the bench, just down the main road, or pack a picnic and hit up any of the nearby gardens. 

Pie In The Sky, like EVERY country pie bakery in Victoria, proudly markets itself as ‘Victoria official #1 pie shop’. We haven’t checked the judge ruling on that one, but the pies are bloody good. Go the classic ‘Aussie Meat Pie’ (a gold medal winner, allegedly), and back it up with a beef and mushroom. Delicious.

Wander The Alfred Nicholas Gardens

One of The Dandenongs proper hidden gems. Unless you spent some time researching the Ranges beforehand, you’d never know the Alfred Nicholas Gardens existed. You have to turn off the Mt Dandenong Tourist Rd at Sherbrooke, just before Sassafras, then follow the road till you get to a carpark on the right. 

These gardens were planted by Alfred Nicholas and his brother George, the guys behind Aspro painkillers. They’re a sloping collection of mountain ash, ginkgoes, maples and liquid ambers (seriously, stop by in Autumn and prepare to be blown away). Our favourite bit is the ornamental lake at the bottom of the hill—a good Kodak moment.

Open Mic Night At The Mt Dandenong Hotel

Most Dandenongs tourists turn back once they hit Olinda (at least if they’re driving in from the south), but if you push on for another few minutes, you’ll hit the township of Mt Dandenong. Home to the warm and welcoming Mt Dandenong Hotel

The food is your classic pub fare, but there’s a surprisingly good range of craft beers and cider (60+ beers and 35 ciders, at last count. More importantly, it’s also home to the longest-running open mic night in the region. BYO instruments, set up on stage, and get ready to rock the Ranges. Open mics run every Sunday evening.

Brunch At Destiny Point Cafe

Kalorama’s second claim to fame. Destiny Point must have the best cafe views of any venue in Melbourne. The big bay windows give you an epic vista over the Kalorama Lookout, and there’s a cute patio where you can sit outside and brunch to the sound of warbling kookaburras. 

The menu is on-point, too—not cutting edge Melbourne stuff by any means (pesto is still big in the Dandenongs), but the servings are more than generous (seriously, the smashed av must come with $5 worth of snow-white goats cheese alone). Out top pick for mid-morning Dandy brunch.  

Go Plant Shopping At Sassafras

There are a few great nurseries in the Dandenongs (the natural volcanic soil of the mountain, plus the cool, moist climate is Plant Paradise). One of our favourite green thumb stores is Conifer Gardens Nursery, on the road into Sassafras. 

Unlike many nurseries, which stockpile smaller house plants and fragile flowers that self-destruct as soon as you get them out of the car, Conifer is big on trees—Japanese maples (very big on the Mountain), Black Pines and rare conifers. If you’re lucky enough to own a Melbourne backyard, and you want to turn it into a magical forest wonderland, this is where you come.

Walk/Struggle Up The 1000 Steps

Ahhh, stairs. Our old adversary. One thousand of them, to be precise, were built to commemorate our fallen soldiers at Kokoda. Except the Kokoda ANZACs had more to worry about than those smug people in activewear sprinting past while you wheezed and grasped at the side rail. 

The 1000 Steps is probably the busiest walk in Melbourne’s east. People travel for miles to trek this thing, so it’s worth getting in early. We recommend departing before 8 am if you want the trail mostly to yourself. 

By 10 am, the place is swarming with Lululemon disciples, baby strollers, lattes, families with 20 kids, Olympic athletes and older adults. Make sure to stop and read the plaques along the way—it’s a good excuse to stop and quietly regret getting out of bed, and the history is fascinating.

FAQs About Melbourne Cafes

The area includes the towns and villages of Belgrave, Cockatoo, Dandenong, Emerald, Gembrook, Kallista, Kalorama, Lilydale, Menzies Creek, Monbulk, Montrose, Mount Dandenong, Mount Evelyn, Olinda, Packenham Sassafras, Selby, Sherbrooke, Silvan, Tecoma, The Basin and Upper Ferntree Gully.

There are parts of the Dandenong Ranges that are now safely accessible by roads and welcoming visitors back! See the friendly faces in Belgrave, Sassafras, Kallista, Emerald and more.

A comfortable suburb on the upswing. Dandenong has a high violent crime rate and a high property crime rate for Melbourne.

Dandenong has been considered a low socio-economic suburb for some time. With all these improvements made by the government and council, it's only a matter of time people will be coming to move here by busload.

Melbourne

The Dandenong Ranges (commonly just The Dandenongs) are a set of low mountain ranges, rising to 633 metres at Mount Dandenong, approximately 35 km (22 mi) east of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

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