Where to find the Best Cafes in Southbank

by Kate Stewart

Every Australian knows that Melbourne stands tall when it comes to coffee. The Victorian capital is constantly voted one of the top destinations in-the-world for its coffee. The city’s cafes are always a buzz, serving up great coffee to locals and visitors every day.  When it comes to the best Melbourne cafes, cafes in Southbank are some of the leading cafes in the city. It’s so lovely to take a stroll along the Southbank promenade and find great coffee or a delicious breakfast, brunch or lunch at one of the fabulous cafes at Southbank.

Baristas are like gods in Melbourne. They stand tall behind their colourful, high-tech coffee machines, delivering up their delicious hot drinks and good humour. The sense of community in Melbourne surrounding the cafe culture is like nothing else.  But the last couple of years have been really tough. Now sadly, you can walk through any part of the city and find cafes who have had to close their doors.

I am determined to help in any way I can. I’m dedicating my blog, to finding the best Cafes in Australia and shine a light on them. It’s time to get out and support those wonderful local cafes. I have already uncovered fabulous cafes in North Melbourne, amazing cafes in St Kilda and brilliant cafes in South Melbourne. Now, I’m searching for amazing Southbank cafes.   

Where to Find Fabulous Cafes in Southbank

Southbank is a small suburb situated on the southern side of the Yarra River. Southbank includes the Southbank Promenade that stretches from the Southgate Shopping Complex to Queensbridge Square. Southbank draws a refined crowd due to its cultural venues, including the Malthouse Theatre and the state-of-the-art Melbourne Recital Centre.

The promenade along the Yarra River has so many cafes, restaurants, hotels and shops. The sheer variety of things to do in this area and spectacular city views, make it a popular place to stroll, dine, sip, or watch the fabulous street performers.

Knowing exactly where to go to get the best coffee, breakfast, brunch or lunch is so hard. Especially if you don’t know the area. No-one likes being disappointed with a bad breky. So, I’ve done the hard yards for you.

After many lattes, bacon and egg rolls, avo on toasts and so many long brunches. I’ve narrowed it down to 4 of the best cafes in Southbank.  

Saporito Southbank

The Line Up

Bond Store

Bond Store Southbank

Located at 1 Riverside Quay Southbank. Bond Store is a little piece of Europe in Southbank. Located in one of Melbourne’s most original warehouses, with iconic red brick walls and soaring ceilings. Bond Store has been serving honest food to the Southbank community for over 17 years. The café sources only the freshest local produce and is open 7 days a week for breakfast, lunch and private events after hours

The cuisine is European with an all-day menu so you can get breakfast or lunch at any time of the day. On the menu, lovingly described as comfort food, there are all the usual favourites. The Smashed Avocado on Sourdough is amazing. It comes with dukkah, poached eggs, feta, lime, cherry tomatoes and crushed hazelnuts. The Eggs Benedict with two poached eggs, hollandaise and spinach, on an English muffin is also fabulous. The Breakfast Bun is delicious. It is a sunny side fried egg, smoked thick cut bacon, sharp cheddar and tomato relish mayo on a fluffy milk bun.

But my favourite naughty treat at Bond Store, is the Three Cheese Toasted Brioche Sandwich with Tasmanian cheddar, gouda and parmesan served with house made tomato relish.

There is also an Eye Fillet Beef Sandwich with Spanish onion, rocket, grilled tomato, Tasmanian cheddar cheese and Dijonnaise on a toasted ciabatta roll.  The Reuben Sandwich comes with corned beef silverside, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Russian dressing on sourdough.

A carefully crafted drinks menu includes cold pressed juices, locally and imported wine and beer and some of the city’s finest coffee which always puts a spring in the step of workers on their morning commute to the office.

Saporito Cafe

Saporito Southbank

Located at 12-16 Kavanagh Street Southbank. Saporito Café is a family owned and run business that gives that extra level of customer service. Situated only a short stroll from the majority of Melbourne’s many entertainment attractions, it is an ideal spot to take a break and relax over quality food and coffee.

Founded in 2013, Saporito Café has a passion to bring great coffee and delicious Italian inspired food to the Southbank community, with a modern Melbourne brunch menu. Amazing vegan and vegetarian options are also available. The menu at Saporito is seasonal and therefore ensures the freshest quality produce is used in all their quality dishes. They pride themselves on serving wholesome, delicious food, catering to all. They are old-school and provide their customers with old fashioned customer service from the heart.

There are so many delicious dishes on the menu for breakfast. The Kavanagh Chilli Scrambled with house-made chilli sauce, fetta, fresh red chilli, fried shallots, and a butter croissant is fabulous. The Mushroom and Brie Toastie with special garlic and thyme mushroom, high melted brie cheese, clarified butter on sourdough is outstanding. A great vegan option is the Tofu Scrambled. It is firm soft tofu cooked with turmeric, onion, spinach and broccolini, served on multigrain.

If you are after something a bit sweeter, I suggest you get the Nutella Pancakes. It is a stack of three soft pancakes, Nutella, seasonal berries, cornetto ice-cream with crumbed chocolate.

For lunch or something more substantial, there are delicious steak sandwiches, a beef or chicken burger, a creamy penne pasta or an amazing Linguine Marinara with garlic, white wine, prawns, mussels, calamari and whiting in Napoli sauce.

Ciel Cafe

Ciel Cafe Southbank

Located at 48 Cecil St Southbank. Ciel Café is tucked away in the heart of Southbank. The cafe is simplicity made perfect. At Ciel they believe in creating familiar yet outstanding food that showcases the finest local produce.

Featuring a full range of ONA coffee, they offer both Black Betty and Raspberry Candy as their everyday milk-based blends and rotate single origin coffee from ONA for all their black and filter coffee. They have great coffee, super friendly staff, a great atmosphere and delicious food. It’s a great place to check out the morning hum of people eating and getting their daily coffee fix.

On the menu is lots of tasty treats. There is a Breakfast Roti with thick cut maple cured bacon, scrambled eggs, peanut, rocket and house made chilli jam. There is also a Desayuno Quesadillas. Which is a Mexican sandwich with scrambled eggs, guacamole, smoked bacon and mozzarella pressed in a soft tortilla with fresh pico de gallo.

If you are at Ciel Café for lunch, there is a Chicken Satay Burger and one of the best grain salads I have had in a long time. It comes with grilled chicken, quinoa, feta, chickpeas, almond flakes, pepitas, sunflower seeds, cherry tomato, beetroot and cream cheese puree with lemon vinaigrette.

It makes me hungry just thinking about it now.  

Frankie Walter Peta

Located at Shop 16R, 1 Freshwater Place Southbank Blvd. Frankie Walter Peta serves up some of the best coffee in Melbourne. You definitely need to check them out. The cafe is all about sustainability which is fabulous. They very rightly believe that the sustainability of the coffee industry, from end to end, is as important as the quality control that goes into roasting the perfect beans and pouring the perfect cup.

Rather than throwing used coffee grounds in the bin, they collect them for Reground. The grounds are then diverted to the Melbourne Zoo and community gardens around the city, where they are re-used.

Coffee is made using ethically and sustainably sourced beans from Seven Seeds Coffee Roasters. Seven Seeds is a Melbourne-based Coffee Roaster, committed to high quality coffee and transparent business practices. They ensure that those growing their exceptional coffee beans will still be doing so, long into the future. The cafe serves the beautiful Seven Seeds Espresso Blend alongside an ever-changing single origin range for Espresso, Pour over and Immersive.

Frankie Walter Peta is home to a well-stocked share library and customers are encouraged to bring in their own coffee cup or use a vibrant mug from their in-store mug exchange. During COVID lockdowns in Melbourne, the café also started to grow plants because they wanted something good to come from such a hard time. These wonderful plants are now available for sale in the café.

All of the amazing food they have in-store is supplied by incredible local businesses. They source their bagels and vegan cookies from 5 and Dime, their bread and pastries from Noisette Bakery, vegan cakes and muffins from Nine Bakery and Patisserie, and their raw slices and protein balls from The Health Nutt. There are also a range of delicious toasted sandwiches to choose from, Rooftop Honey and their Atypic chocolate collaboration available for purchase within the cafe.