best garden cafes

Where Are The Best Garden Cafes In Melbourne?

When the weather is nice, there's nothing quite like enjoying a meal or coffee outdoors in a garden cafe. Melbourne has no shortage of these lovely spots, but sometimes it can be hard to choose which one to go to.

Melbourne has a relaxed cafe culture, and there's no better way to enjoy the city's parks than with a coffee or bite to eat from one of its many garden cafes. Here are some of our favourites.  

Whether you're looking for a spot to relax in nature or want to get some work done surrounded by greenery, these cafes offer a unique atmosphere that can't be found anywhere else. 

So if you're looking for something special, be sure to check out one of these spots next time you're in Melbourne.

The Best Cafe Courtyards in Melbourne

When the sun is out, no one wants to be inside. Perhaps it's the uncertain terms on which Melbourne has us hanging, but there are certainly no guarantees that those warm, glowing rays of sunshine are going to stick around any longer than it takes to finish a latte. 

So, with spring upon us and the promise of clear mornings and golden afternoons, we tracked down the best cafe courtyards so that you can enjoy every brunch, lunch, coffee or beer in the sun.

The Stables of Como

Nestled within the exquisite grounds of Prahran's Como House, The Stables of Como is perhaps Melbourne's most idyllic brunch spot. Opened by Melbourne cafe magnate Jason Jones (Porgie + Mr Jones, Friends of Mine) in July, the space is light, white and pastoral, whilst offering up some incredible brunch and lunch options that have been perfected at his other venues. 

Enjoy bircher muesli, eggs or the famous smashed avocado with buttered thyme mushrooms, marinated feta and torn basil on whole wheat toast ($17.90) under the umbrellas, or take a fresh baguette or Noisette pastry ($4) with you as you wander the grounds. The Stables also offer to take away picnic baskets ($45 pp) complete with cutlery, a blanket and cheeseboard, for you to take out on the Como lawns.

Cnr Williams Road & Lechlade Ave, South Yarra, thestablesofcomo.com.au

Farm Cafe

Come summertime, Abbotsford Convent is buzzing with film, art and music, and it's an easy wander past the main entrance to the Collingwood Children's Farm and the adjoining Farm Cafe. The place is a rustic dream — take a seat under the large undercover seating area or at one of the tables dotted around the garden if you don't mind getting up close and personal with the chickens. 

Live out your farmyard fairytale with the Ploughman's Lunch (ham off the bone, pickles, cheddar, apple, pork scratchings, bread and butter; $17.50) or try an organic beef sausage roll (served with herbed slaw and house relish; $12.50). The impressive menu, secluded location and cute animals make it perfect for a spring day.

Collingwood Children's Farm, 18 St Heliers Street, Abbotsford, farmcafe.com.au

Pope Joan

Pope Joan may have been known as the woman who passed as a man, but now she's known as the queen of Nicholson Street. Sharing a sun-drenched courtyard with The Bishop of Ostia next door, it's a Brunswick go-to for outdoor eating, drinking and whiling the afternoon away. 

As well as breakfast and lunch seven days a week, the venue is now open for dinner weeknights, serving up snacks such as crispy prawn dumplings ($4 each), salads and mains, including the steam-baked Chatham Island cod with fennel and braised white onion ($26). 

It's perfect for casual mid-week dining any time of the day or night — particularly when it's nice enough to sit outside.

75-79 Nicholson Street, Brunswick East, popejoan.com.au

Trunk Bar and Restaurant

On Exhibition Street, Trunk boasts perhaps the CBD's largest and leafiest courtyard. With both a formal dining room and outdoor diner, Trunk's courtyard is a haven for hungry workers looking for a chorizo quesadilla ($10) or Cuban baguette ($10.50) for lunch or an after-work drink come 5 pm. And, on a hot night, with a boutique beer, pizza or a few plates of antipasti, there's a distinct garden party feel that will have you forgetting exactly where you are.

275 Exhibition Street, Melbourne, trunktown.com.au

Sebastian's Food & Wine

Bayside residents love an excuse to get outdoors, and Sebastian's Food and Wine is no exception. Adjacent to Hampton station, Sebastian's is most recognisable in the summer months from the commotion emanating from the large, open courtyard. 

Join the crowds for a brunch of corn fritters ($17) or a forest mushroom omelette ($18), or arrive a little later for lunch — available over the counter or from the kitchen. Capitalising on excess space that is only found in the suburbs, the cafe's big umbrellas and leafy trees may well see your Supreme coffee turn into a glass of wine once brunch is over.

303 Hampton Street, Hampton, sebastianfoodandwine.com.au

best garden cafes

Kanteen

A pit-stop for bike riders, early-risers and those strolling along the Yarra at any time of day, Kanteen is the oasis in the middle of Abbotsford and the CBD. Due to its isolated location, the cafe cuts a solitary figure along that winding body of water that cuts the city in half. 

Great for a spot of breakfast on your way into the city, the cafe serves up the favourites and a very tasty bowl of black sticky rice with banana and coconut milk ($9.50). The inside-outside design means sitting undercover or exposed to the elements. It's about as riverside as it gets.

150 Alexandra Avenue, South Yarra, kanteen.net

Porgie + Mr Jones

If you're looking for brunch, lunch, or just somewhere to retreat into a trance, this is the place to do it. Porgie + Mr Jones is bustling regardless of the day of the week, but it's a table in the 'secret garden' that you'll want to get your hands on. 

The expansive outdoor garden terrace is a haven within a busy pocket of Hawthorn and the perfect place to enjoy the herb and cheesy toast with eggplant kasundi ($11.90) with a coffee, the weekend paper and some sun.

291 Auburn Road, Hawthorn, porgiemrjones.com.au

Howler

While not as intimate as a cosy cafe, Brunswick's multi-faceted eating, drinking and cultural space, Howler, does well to reflect the area's grungy past and industrial surroundings. As well as two bar spaces, Howler boasts a huge outdoor area that is open from 11 am - 1 pm each day, serving drinks along with Asian-style hawker food. 

Get down to sink your teeth into juicy bao pillows and steamed dumplings ($8) in the afternoon, and stay for the DJ sets when the sun goes down.

14 Dawson Street, Brunswick, h-w-l-r.com

Industry Beans

Sitting in quiet Rose Street, Industry Beans spills onto the sidewalk. An open warehouse that houses a roastery and cupping lab and the cafe, the well-utilised space is welcoming both inside and out. 

While the clean, high-ceilinged interior is pleasant in its own right, it's the open courtyard that keeps people coming back. Explore their rich house blend and some of their more unique menu items, such as the creamed lemon tofu breakfast Brulee ($14) or the deep-fried panko-crumbed eggs ($15).

62 Rose Street, Fitzroy, industrybeans.com

    Chez Dre

It would be quite easy to walk down Coventry Street without noticing Chez Dre. Tucked behind the busy South Melbourne strip, discovering this patisserie and boulangerie is a very pleasant — if not overwhelming — surprise. 

With the sugar-power to rival Willie Wonka, Chez Dre's cabinets are lined with dozens of decadent cakes, pastries and macarons. While hectic on the weekends, attempt to escape to the tranquillity of the courtyard to nibble on your findings. Just be sure to balance it out with something savoury from the menu — either before or after you dive in.

Rear 285-287 Coventry Street, South Melbourne, chezdre.com.au

FAQs About Melbourne Cafes

The English term café, borrowed from the French, derives ultimately from the Turkish kahve, meaning coffee. The introduction of coffee and coffee drinking to Europe provided a much-needed focus for the social activities of the sober.

A café is a type of restaurant that typically serves coffee and tea, in addition to light refreshments such as baked goods or snacks.

Generally speaking, a restaurant refers to any establishment that serves food and beverages. Meanwhile, cafes are places that serve different types of coffee and drinks. Following that logic, all cafes are restaurants – but not all restaurants are cafes.

"Cafe" is a restaurant that does not offer table service. Customers order their food from a counter and serve themselves. A cafe menu traditionally offers coffee, espresso, pastries, and sandwiches. Cafes originated in Europe and are strongly associated with France.

A Relaxed Social Space

One of the primary reasons why coffee shops have become so popular over the last decade is the feeling of comfort and relaxation they can provide. This feeling is especially prevalent when comparing coffee shops to other competing locations, such as restaurants, pubs and fast-food chains.

Melbourne's Best Cafes in Plant Nurseries

What better way to spend a morning than surrounded by beautiful plants, great company and tasty food and drink? Whether you are picking up some tips for the garden and enjoying a coffee or out to grab some items for your veggie patch, any of these great café nurseries will be an ideal first stop.

Often hidden gems, cafes in nurseries can turn up the enjoyment factor. Great coffee and a cheeky fiddle-leaf fig in one shopping trip? That's Melbourne in a bag!

Poyntons of Essendon

On the banks of the Maribyrnong River lies this multi-level leafy wonderland, where you can find just about everything you could want for your garden and more. When you've chosen your pots, seedlings, and planters, head into The Boulevard Cafe (a bonus fenced kids' playground is right outside) for breakfast or brunch – wine is optional but recommended as their cellar is top-notch! 

Their menu is lengthy for what is first and foremost a garden centre, so it's a spot to check out – especially for the view! High on the hill gives you a fantastic vista of the city skyline with your apple kasha, avocado on toast or a hearty Reuben sandwich.

Sitting on the banks of the mighty Maribyrnong River since 1936, Poyntons Nursery [98 Vida St, Essendon] has a rich history. The motto here is “Poyntons Nursery, your botanic gardens”, a sentiment that isn’t lost on anyone who visits the well-established 3.5-acre site. 

Over time, the nursery has built an enviable collection of unusual and hard to find plants, making it one of the best places in town to find unique Australian flora. Walking around the vast site will most likely stir a hunger, so head into the Boulevard café, perched high above the grounds below. Enjoy a meal from the seasonal menu and look out for views of the city skyline in the distance.

Where: Cnr Vida Street & The Boulevard, Essendon

Warran Glen Garden Centre and Cafe

You'll find exceptional quality food from a seasonal and ever-changing menu at the super kid-friendly Warran Glen Cafe. They even have a playground, peacocks, chooks and ducks that eat right out of your hand! It's a great experience, as well as being stocked with fantastic greenery and gift ideas.

Expansive in nature and beauty, Warren Glen Garden Centre and Café [373 Ringwood-Warrandyte Rd, Warrandyte] is nestled on the banks of picturesque Jumping Creek and is a gardener’s paradise. The café takes advantage of the magnificent setting with outdoor seating surrounded by gardening products up for purchase. 

Although the café offers outstanding food, it remains relatively undiscovered, so why not get the family together or invite some friends to join your hidden gem on an outing you won’t forget.

Where: 373 Ringwood–Warrandyte Rd, Melbourne

Kew Nursery and Cafe

With breakfast served all day long as well as a diverse lunch menu, Kew Nursery & Café [2 Gladstone St, Kew] is a lovely place to take a seat in the garden, have a cuppa and relax. The menu is large and creative

Our favourite is the smashed avocado with crumbled Danish feta, cherry tomato, poached eggs and dukkha on sourdough, but there is something for everyone. This is one of the best-kept secrets in a suburb filled with top-notch cafes. 

After some brunch, mosey around the nursery and check out the array of stunning indoor and outdoor plants, all available for purchase.

Amongst the large range of stunning plants, seedlings, vegetables, herbs, fruit, ornamental trees, shrubs, indoor plants, garden products, tools, fertilisers, potting mixes, compost, mulches, pots and giftware – phew! – you'll find the Kew Nursery Cafe serving up delicious all-day breakfast, lunch, and brunch. 

Feast on buttermilk pancakes, chia pudding, bacon and egg Turkish rolls, pumpkin cakes, and scotch fillet steak sandwiches, all washed down with an assortment of tea and coffee choices.

best garden cafes (3)

Where: 2 Gladstone St, Kew

Yarra Edge Nursery Cafe

Check out the Yarra Edge Nursery Cafe in the historic grounds of the Melbourne Polytechnic Fairfield campus, where the child-friendly hub offers delicious lunch options, great coffee and freshly baked treats to eat in or take on the go. 

The nursery specialises in retro and old-school plants your nanna would have had, and their greenhouse is full to the brim with good-quality indoor plants.  

If you like enjoying your coffee with beautiful views, head to the Yarra Edge Café [Yarra Bend Road, Fairfield]. They’re serving up great coffee seven days a week from their premises at the Melbourne Polytechnic Fairfield Campus. Make your way into the café and sample one of the many delicious menu items. 

We recommend trying out a smoothie. You can choose from one of over 20 flavours! You won’t want to stay indoors for too long, though. Just outside, a world of lush plants awaits. Head into the nursery and find an impressive range of native and exotic plant species at competitive prices. Afterwards, why not take a stroll down the river and enjoy one of the most picturesque areas in metropolitan Melbourne. 

Where: Yarra Bend Rd, Fairfield

Ceres Environment Park

An absolute northern staple, you'll have visited this one already if you're a local! As well as being a fully-functioning farm, there is a nursery on-site and a choice of two eateries – the organic grocery store area (with an olive tree to climb, chooks, and Tonka trucks to play with), and the sustainability-focused Merri Cafe. 

If you’ve never been to CERES (Centre for Education and Research in Environmental Strategies) [Stewart St & Roberts St, Brunswick East] before, one of the first things you’ll notice is the lovingly tended garden plots filled with veggies, fruit and even chooks! Have a chat with some of the folks here who grow their food and are happy to share ideas about sustainable living. CERES sits on a 13-acre plot, thriving with an organic market and shop, nursery, café, market garden and renewable energy displays. 

If you’re looking for a more immersive experience and perhaps a place to show off to family and friends, CERES is your answer. The surroundings are beautiful, and the community of people who visit are even more so.

Where: Cnr Robert St and Stewart St, East Brunswick

Paperbark Cafe at Kuranga Native Nursery

Boasting the largest range of native plants anywhere, Kuranga Native Nursery also features the beautiful Paperbark Cafe, where you can partake in culinary delights under wide verandahs overlooking Olinda Creek. Their menu is seasonal, focuses on local ingredients, and has a delightful native bushfood twist.

Where: 118 York Rd, Mt Evelyn

Acorn Nursery, Surrey Hills

Loved by locals, the family-run Acorn Nursery [669/673 Canterbury Rd, Surrey Hills] has been a staple of the area for more than 30 years. The business prides itself on the quality of its product and the level of customer service. Head in and see Tony, the Nursery Manager who will happily help you out with your gardening needs. 

If you need some general advice to get you started, check out his gardening tips. Acorn also has a lovely café serving breakfast all day, and lunch from 11 am, so make sure you stop in to see the friendly staff and enjoy a cappuccino. 

Bay Road, Sandringham

Bay Road [112-114 Bay Road, Sandringham] claims to have everything good in life - and we tend to agree. There’s an exquisite garden centre, in-house landscaping department, giftware section and licensed café. 

Find the perfect plant or the inspiration and practical help to transform your garden. Head in and have a squiz at the many plant options spread across the centre, then find a comfy spot to relax in the café. Housed in a light-filled Federation cottage with sunny outdoor courtyards, it offers delicious, contemporary food focusing on fresh, seasonal produce. 

The café is open seven days a week and also features an ever-changing array of local artists’ paintings on the wall, all of which you can pick up and pay for on the way out. Before you leave, look out for the homemade preserves and jams, we promise you won’t be disappointed!

Resources:

The Ten Best Cafe Courtyards in Melbourne

Melbourne's Best Cafes in Plant Nurseries

EIGHT GREAT NURSERY CAFES IN MELBOURNE

Scroll to Top