A Cafe Culture
There are lots of cafes in South Yarra, so finding a great cafe is easy. You can find everything from traditional cafés to trendy coffee shops with funky decor.
I have always said, cafes are a great place to meet friends, relax, and enjoy coffee. It doesn't matter if its cafes Melbourne CBD, cafes in Hampton or Cafes in North Melbourne. I have spent half of my adult life hanging out in these amazing places. Doing exactly that. Drinking coffee, eating delicious pastries, catching up with old friends and making new ones. But café’s also provide an opportunity to learn about local culture and an areas rich history.
Discovering South Yarra
If you are in Melbourne and craving a day of retail therapy. You would be hard pressed to find a better area than South Yarra. The plentiful retail precinct includes everything from designer shops to quirky, offbeat fashions.
South Yarra's skyline has leapt forward with significant pace over the last 10 years. The area between Yarra Street, Toorak Road and Chapel Street could be mistaken for an extension of the CBD, with the energy to match.
Elsewhere in South Yarra there are wide, leafy streets lined with historic mansions and terraces. These quieter residential areas are some of the most coveted and expensive properties in Melbourne
Most of South Yarra’s cafes are concentrated in the area between Yarra Street, Toorak Road and Chapel Street. During the week, these areas are busy with workers from nearby advertising agencies, creative studios and the Network 10 building.
On Friday and Saturday nights South Yarra explodes. It is home to some of the richest nightlife in all of Melbourne and was a firm favourite back in my younger days. Traffic is always banked solid all the way up Chapel Street. No matter how late or early it is, large groups of party goers roam from bar to bar and fast-food restaurants do a roaring trade.
However, on Saturday mornings, a similar crowd swaps business shirts and their party frocks for activewear and a slow stroll around nearby Faulkner Park or the Melbourne famous Tan track. Then it’s off to brunch at a trendy South Yarra café.
Melbourne's Coolest Cafe Scene
Tom Dick and Harry is a small South Yarra cafe offering delicious and creative breakfast and lunch options. Their coffee is made with their own blend of beans that are roasted in Melbourne. Tom Dick & Harry is known for their iconic window for takeaway coffee, an ever-changing salad bar and a service area for made-to-order dishes. On weekends the cafe is a great spot for all-day, build-your-own style breakfast and lunch dishes.
Simply one of the best cafes in South Yarra. Two Birds One Stone is a place where you can have a delicious vegan breakfast with all your favourite items. Whether you want to just have a cup of coffee or enjoy a delicious brunch. Two Birds One Stone has everything you need to make your day. Also known throughout Melbourne for their pancake parlor. Two Birds One Stone serves some of the best pancakes in the city. They take pride in serving quality foods and providing an outstanding customer service experience.
Market Lane Coffee are dedicated to sourcing, roasting and sharing exceptional coffee in a sustainable, responsible and transparent way. Founded in 2009, Market Lane’s mission is simple and still shines through. They sustainably source, roast and share the world’s finest coffees, and celebrate the incredible stories behind them. Market Lane makes great coffee accessible, exciting and easy to understand. Be sure to check out their fabulous recipe for chai latte.
Located at 1 Lawson Grove, the Lawson Grove Shop is not fancy. But they have everything to make a cosy little café.
A blackboard in front of the open kitchen offers daily specials including salads, fritters and warming soups. Large fridges containing ready-made dishes line the back wall. You can pick up a portion of hand-cut bacon, a litre of milk, a homemade pie or a delicious curry which has been made in the kitchen.
For those with a sweet tooth, look no further than the cabinet filled with mini cakes, brownies and muffins, that go oh so nicely with a coffee. When the weather’s nice, you can soak up some sunshine at the streetside tables, which are popular with dog owners.
Located at 2 Darling Street, the Darling Café is a quintessential social dining destination in the heart of South Yarra. The breakfast menu features fun, creative twists on classic Australian dishes. The lunch menu draws upon influences from Southeast Asia. The relaxed atmosphere, eclectic soundtrack, and bright flavours create the perfect vibe for a get-together.
A few of my favourites here include the sticky date pancakes with butterscotch ice-cream, and a cookies and cream panna cotta. Another fabulous dish is their kale salad with broccolini, pumpkin and toasted almonds.
The smoothie selection is pretty dam impressive too. The Thomas Edison is next level. It’s a mango, guava and strawberry blend, served in a lightbulb. Yes, a lightbulb. Darling Café is also licensed.
It's a great place to enjoy a cheeky Mimosa, Bloody Mary or my personal favourite - Espresso Martini. Yum.
As locals and nearby office workers roll into Drugstore Espresso, I can’t believe the baristas can keep up. The espresso machine seems like its about to explode with everyone trying to get their morning fix.
They serve up delicious Rosso coffee – the same beans used at sister cafes Union St Brewers in Brunswick and Prospect Espresso in Camberwell. I love to pull up a stool here on the footpath and just watch the world rush by. On the food front, expect great eggs, healthy breakfasts and delicious burgers I could eat for lunch every day.
Kanteen is an indoor-outdoor experience overlooking a gorgeous bend of the Yarra River.
Breakfast is the go here, with baked Spanish eggs and black sticky rice regular favourites. Lunch turns out some pides and it’s hard to walk by the selection of cakes, slices and biscuits.
Move past the fact that it used to be a public loo and enjoy the idyllic riverside setting.
Probably didn’t even need to mention that did I.
The tiny indoor space at the Final Step is dominated by its central communal table as well as the eye-catching vintage piano. This café serves divine coffee from Seven Seeds Coffee Roasters in a couple of fabulous options. Including the Confused Peruvian, a pre-infused coffee with a higher dose that comes out full of crema and almost soupy in texture.
The Final Step also serves delicious pastries and various bagels but has a BYO lunch policy for patrons who want something heartier. Want people to come back for more, is the cafes friendly approach and their way of making every customer feel like a regular. A point of difference that makes this little cafe an alluring choice in the vastness of amazing coffee shops all over Melbourne.
A portion of the cafe's profits are also donated to Food for Thought, an initiative that feeds hungry kids in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
After a long week. You know, when the cupboards are bare and your compost is full of last night’s takeaway. When you just need a fresh, home-cooked meal but you don’t have the energy to throw it together yourself. Sounds like most Friday nights for me these days. Thankfully, Urban Provedore has already done all the work for you.
This Toorak Road shopfront has cabinets lined with takeaway lunch and dinner dishes such as braised duck leg with colcannon potato, duck and orange reduction or lemongrass beef curry with basmati rice. Everything is locally sourced where possible and is super delicious.
Urban Provedore also has an all-day dine-in breakfast menu. One of my favourites is Spanish baked eggs with house baked beans. The venue is licensed, allowing you to settle in with a beer or a cheeky glass of wine.
Urban Provedore also sells some of its favourite, quality products, with shelves lined with everything from The Hidden Souk spices to Yarra Valley preserves and Pangkarra pastas.
Located at 60 Toorak Road, Picnic is a cafe that's easy to miss if you're not looking for it. Nestled between a maternity shop and the many hairdressers of Toorak Road. Its abundance of natural light allows customers to relax in the homely space, away from the busy South Yarra strip.
The staff are friendly and happy to offer their recommendations if the menu is causing indecision. Coffee Supreme is the bean of choice here and the one-page menu offers breakfasts from dill scramble to muffins and muesli. Burgers and or Bloody Marys are the ticket here after a big night dancing in some of South Yarra’s bars and clubs. Picnic’s cliental is a rich mixture of mums, businesspeople and the casual student typing away. All are welcome at this unpretentious South Yarra cafe.
Located in a modest pocket of Malvern Road, cafe Husband is a delight for its South Yarra residents.
Husband is a place where locals can come for a coffee, fresh and uncomplicated food and a chat.
This local café offers a unique blend of coffee from eco-friendly company Collaborative Coffee. Additional premium blends and single origin beans developed by local specialty roasters are also part of the Collaborative Coffee selection and Husband is the first cafe to offer it.
Husband has big plans for the future. Preparations are in place for a full kitchen, liquor license and an outdoor dining area but for now, delicious baguettes, salads, wraps and pastries are on offer every day.
An array of biscuits and cakes are on display and cool refreshments include juices, iced teas and lemonades. Adding to this, a select range of quality produce is available to take home, making Husband the perfect place to grab last-minute sweets and condiments.