The Best Cafes and Coffee Shops in Carlton, Melbourne

Monique La Terra

Melbournians and Italians have much in common, including our devotion to coffee. Nowhere will you find a better brew than in Melbourne’s Carlton, also known as Little Italy. These are the best cafés and coffee shops in Carlton.

1. Brunetti

Restaurant, Cafe, Pizzeria, Pastelaria, Italian, Pastries

Arguably Melbourne’s most iconic café, Brunetti first began trading in Faraday Street in 1985. The Angele family transformed the humble café into an opulent Roman Patsticceria. It’s so authentic that it sets the bar for cafes in Melbourne. Now on Lygon Street, customers can sip Italian espresso from the bar, indulge in a cake or gelato and tuck into savoury meals.

Growing increasingly popular, Brunetti has since expanded into Myer, Flinders Lane, Melbourne Airport, and there’s even a store at Tanglin Mall in Singapore. Brunetti can also create celebration and wedding cakes.

2. Market Lane

Cafe, Coffee Shop, Australian, Coffee

Holding a prominent place in Melbourne’s coffee scene, Market Lane is a boutique coffee roastery and retailer dedicated to serving high quality, in-season coffee. In 2009, Market Lane opened their first store in Prahran Market. Since then, five other stores have popped up around Melbourne. Opened in 2013, Market Lane Carlton occupies just 12 square meters on Faraday Street—none of which go to waste. A windowsill beckons the inquisitive inside where a menu of espresso, pour-over and iced drinks await. The store also has a neat display of coffee beans and brewing equipment for sale.

Courtesy Market Lane Coffee | Photo by Sarah Trotter and Armelle Habib of Hearth Studio

3. Campos Coffee

Coffee Shop, Coffee

Campos Coffee, Carlton

Established in 1997 by Will Young, Campos Coffee began as a pursuit for delicious coffee. Twenty years on, the company has seven flagship cafes across three states, and has become a force for good by actively supporting the communities from which the coffee is sourced. Campos Coffee Carlton was designed with specialty coffee in mind, and offers a host of brewing styles, including pour-over, 22-hour Japanese cold drip, Aeropress and Moccomaster.

4. Seven Seeds

Cafe, Australian

Seven Seeds
© Seven Seeds

Coffee iconoclast Mark Dundan has provided Melbourne with some its best cafes, including Ray, St Ali, and Brother Baba Budan. However, his biggest contribution was Seven Seeds on Berkeley Street, Carlton. Established with business partner Bridget Amor, Seven Seeds is a micro-roaster, café and retailer that serves batch brews, single-origins, cold brews and espresso alongside an all-day breakfast menu. Seven Seeds also runs weekly public cuppings that support Women for Women in Africa.

5. The Vertue of the Coffee Drink

Cafe, Coffee

Vertue Coffee Roasters, Carlton
Courtesy of The Vertue of the Coffee Drink

Taking its name from the first coffee advertisement published in 1652, The Vertue of the Coffee Drink is a micro-roaster and cafe hidden down an unassuming alleyway and behind a petrol station. Once located, you’ll pass through stable doors into a modern, timber-clad coffee oasis complete with a hanging garden, transparent roof and stainless steel Has Garanti coffee roaster centerpiece. Opened in 2015, Vertue serves batch brews, cold brews, pour-over, espresso and other drinks, as well as breakfast, brunch and lunch options, courtesy of head chef Jess Allen.

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