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Best Local Hero Cafes in Melbourne

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Melbourne boasts standout local hero cafes. These are cafes popular with locals and who are well known in their area. Some of them have been operating for some years with consistent quality; we salute you! One of the best things to do in Melbourne is to discover and enjoy your hero local cafes; and then spread the word of the gem you've discovered.

Little Sunflower Cafe

Little Sunflower Cafe have attracted a huge local following in elwood, as well as from across Melbourne. This is a cafe customers return to with great service and compelling food and drinks, with the emphasis on delicious healthier eating. Image below: Smudge Publishing

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Little Sunflower Cafe has hit the high notes with its approach of whole foods, naturally. With hits like its Turmeric pancakes, granola breakfast, and its Buddha bowls, this cafe is the real deal; not paying token deference to healthy eating. The soups and curries are equally as healthy as other popular items.

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Little Sunflower attracts loads of health professionals and those who are well versed in and enjoy healthier eating.

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Take the stunning Quinoa risotto with cauliflower, beetroot, spinach and goats cheese. This risotto uses quinoa and cauliflower rather than standard rice. Quinoa gives the risotto a lightness we appreciated, not stodgy at all. And the combination is just so delicious. Goats cheese is a superb accompaniment on top of the risotto. We've been raving about this dish ever since.

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Image above: Smudge Publishing.

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Angie Robertson the head chef has a dream whereby healthy food is not just an exception but becomes "mainstream" eating. With food like this, we agree! Healthy and delicious!

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Check out this  compelling delicious soup of Lamb shank and pearl barley soup served with Dench bakery sourdough. This is an outstanding soup; who doesn't love lamb shank and pearl barley? Yet it was done so well. There was a viscosity to the soup; not thin and watery but a tad thick. This was a hearty soup indeed; Little Sunflower bringing us warmth through its soup. 

The good news is that the soups change from day to day; bringing variety and flair.

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Angie served up this innovative curry of pumpkin, coconut, chickpea curry with forbidden black rice & kale. We know curries well, but this nutritious delicious curry showcasing the best in whole foods is next level. Little Sunflower don't believe in over treating foods, but letting them speak for themselves. Get on it!

The Foodrinkery Cafe

The Foodrinkery is a local hero with plenty to offer in Burwood. If you're looking for a place to relax, enjoy some great food and drinks, and take in some quirk, The Foodrinkery is th eplace to go.

The Foodrinkery has one of the best outdoor courtyards around with adjacent park and playground. We've spent a few mornings there and it's the perfect place to catch up with friends for lunch. Located in Burwood it's worth the trip to visit for a spacious and relaxing ambience. Art adorns the walls, with mounted plane and ladder, and other quirky objects. This place has Melbourne quirk covered.

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Tasty treats fill the display cabinet including tasty rolls and salads.

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Sandwiches are also compelling for a quick lunch, made fresh daily.

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Pots hanging on the chain is an attractive arrangement.

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We love cafes with loads of natural daylight and The Foodrinkery delivers.

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Check out this delighful courtyard below...

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Smashed avocado is a popiular dish; just add sides.

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The Salmon Rosti features potato rosti, not one but two, crunchy and crispy with big potato flavour. We love hash browns and we've seen several cafes make their own hash browns with varying success. Who doesn't love a hash brown? But we've also seen more cafes cooking up the potato rosti, originally a Swiss dish in the style of a fritter, eaten by farmers in Switzerland as a breakfast dish.

Added to this crunch is the creamy generous portion of smoked salmon and the further creaminess of 2 poached eggs. This is a generous breakfast dish.

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To bring extra flavour and depth is the Cajun hollandaise sauce, providing a spice kick. We love that The Foodrinkery serves up a variation on the classic hollandaise sauce you often see in cafes. The Cajun hollandaise is still a creamy buttery hollandaise but with a hit of Cajun it gives an exotic spice element. You're more likely to see a Cajun hollandaise sauce in America than you are in Melbourne, but Cain the Head Chef at The Foodrinkery is a trendsetter and often brings a modern twist and his signature to dishes.

It all works for excellent balance; the salmon and eggs and the crunch of the rosti, with spice nuances. 

It's the kind of breakfast we're looking for when we go to a cafe; food that contains several elements that combine in harmony with excellent flavours, as well as being a hearty breakfast dish.

One Plus Piece Cafe

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One Plus Piece is a unique cafe in Melbourne and a local hero in Balwyn. Japanese anime is not known to many but there's plenty of anime fans out there that can relate. In any case the food here is forged from passion not just to be a same old Melbourne cafe. Head chef Cain likes to serve the classics but also new things with his own twist and interpretation. 

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Matcha goodness!

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Already hailed by The Weekly Review, One Plus Piece is firing with American meets Japanese dishes of note. We enjoy the ambience of this cool Japanese anime cafe; with mounted figurines and animation on the walls. Many people identify with Japanese anime and devotees visit this cafe loving the unique experience. The point is that the food and coffee is excellent here; with innovative delicious dishes that are more than the usual cafe suspects.

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Popular are the brunch dishes and this Eggs benedict with pulled beef with poached eggs and house made hollandaise dish delivers. 

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The burgers are a standout at One Plus Piece.

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The GEAR 4 Burger is brilliant as a brunch or all day burger; featuring Angas beef, bacon, egg, hash brown, American cheese, lettuce, red onion, tomato relish, jalapenos, and sriracha mayo. If your partial to a burger for breakfast this is your burger. It's like an Aussie burger with hash brown, Angas beef patty and egg, with generous cheese. The lettuce and red onion give that refreshing crunch. And the relish, jalapenos and sriracha give the tang and kick! Or equally enjoyable as a lunch dish or later in the day; it's versatile. A winner. 

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We enjoy a large strong latte, even with a burger!

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Japanese anime adorns this cafe; we love the quirk.

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A Chicken burger of note has also been launched; crumbed in chicken schnitzel style, a breast of the chicken is used for best quality chicken. Amazingly, the cheese is found inside the chicken breast; in fact 3 cheeses! This makes for a crunchy juicy burger that hits the high notes! 

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The burger is Asian style and also features the crunch of lettuce and the kick of green sriracha for extra kick! We chomped on the first bite and couldn't put this burger down. We felt it was a great winter warmer burger. Like most hot chicken cooked this way its best eaten when it's hot! 

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One Plus Piece is an exciting cafe in Balwyn that we love to visit. We appreciate the evolving menu and adding of new dishes for the colder months. One Plus Piece is an excellent burger destination, but also is strong in many areas as a cafe, including standout brunch dishes, great coffee and compelling healthy eating dishes. Get on it.

Bossy Boots Cafe


Bossy Boots cafe is a local hero in Brighton with a huge local following, as well as customers from across Melbourne. As a cafe and a food store you can eat in or take away; the take away being popular with time poor professionals.

Bossy Boots café is the masterstroke of Melbourne chefs Ben Forehan and Rachael Browne who have taken their cooking talents working at notable Melbourne kitchens such as Stokehouse, Circa and Dench Bakers, and 10 years cooking to the rich and famous on super yachts, to create a unique foodie haven in Brighton. Check out our Best Healthy Eating Cafes.

Bossy Boots is a truly professional cafe with five chefs in the large kitchen. Everything is house made so customers are getting quality across the menu. Each day the kitchen team prepare 3-4 tasty curries, salads, pastas, Tuna and Sweetcorn patties, filled crepes, and a killer Eggplant parmigiana.


Salads are a standout; not token dishes like some places but these are packed full of quality ingredients. Like a meal in themselves.

We rate Bossy Boots as among the best baked goods destinations in Melbourne. The display cabinet is spectacular with take home treats on display. You will find it hard to resist the choices.


Sausage roll heaven - with perfect flaky pastry...

In recent years Nonna Thomasina (known as Nellie) has graced the kitchen at Bossy Boots and delivers some of the best lasagne and cannelloni you’ll taste in Melbourne. Salads here are super popular including a Tuna Nicoise and Moroccan cous cous salad.


According to Ben, “We thank Brighton locals for their support over the last 7 years. We pride ourselves on the fact that everything is made in house from scratch. We want to deliver honest exceptional food to Melburnians with no short cuts.” 


Bossy Boots also has amazing eat in food with compelling breakfast and lunch options. These Corn fritters with smashed avocado, house made salsa and sour cream, with crispy bacon have been hugely popular, appearing on the specials blackboard. So rewarding. Credit for this image: Lisa Eats World.


Locals enjoy Bossy Boots; a cafe known for its relaxed ambience with chic courtyard and large windows inviting bright spaces. Tables on iconic Bay Street are popular imbibing the local Brighton atmosphere.

During their time on the super yachts Ben and Rachael cooked for the rich and famous such as Cindy Crawford, Mel Gibson, Mike Tyson, and Paris Hilton. They also did all the catering for Pamela Anderson’s wedding when she married Kid Rock on a super yacht in St Tropez. Says Ben, “We have taken skills we learned on the super yachts into the Bossy Boots experience.”


Ben Forehan and Rachael Browne are classically trained having both studied Vienoisserie at E’cole Le Notre, in Paris, and have been able to bring their passion and skills to the café scene. They have control over the whole cooking process making everything from scratch. Ben takes care of the main kitchen while Rachael is in control of the separate pastry kitchen.

The menu is about fresh honest food, with a mix of brunch and lunch staples and a nod to Italian fare.


Check out these Bee Stings with brioche infused with custard. (We groaned on consumption.)

Bossy Boots also produce arguably the best vanilla slices in Melbourne...

Ben and Rachael are the master of pastries with Bossy Boots making their own Danish pastries, high end French cakes, and the best pies, quiche and sausage rolls in Melbourne. Around Easter Bossy Boots is also famous for its Hot Cross Buns, contender for best in Melbourne.


The breakfast menu features Homemade muesli, Vanilla Poached Pears, or for the hungry try Ben’s Big Breaky, with poached or fried eggs with bacon, baked beans, mushrooms and chipolatas. Check out the House made baked beans with crumbed feta on toast. Customers love the sides including Regal smoked salmon, Istra bacon and house made baked beans.


The World Loves Melbourne enjoyed this selection of large gourmet sausage roll and delectable salads. The sausage roll has a superb flaky pastry with full butter pastry, and quality mince and sausage. The relishes included the standard relish and the one with some kick. Both were made from scratch. The salads were exceptional, healthy, and interesting. Everything was high quality. Get on it!