Jess Lu
February 25, 2023

The Best Sustainable Cafes in Melbourne

We’ve compiled some of the best sustainable cafes you can find in the culinary cornucopia that is Melbourne.

Many large plates full of plant-based foods

Sustainability. The word on everyone’s lips as a very real need for it arises in the world today. In the hospitality sector thoughtful, ecologically minded decisions are being made, and some businesses in Melbourne are making it their mission to create cafes that are the best of the best in sustainability; local produce, resource usage reduction, eco-design, organic ingredients, zero waste and circular systems. So, as we enter this year with an eco-focus, we’ve compiled some of the best sustainable cafes you can find in the culinary cornucopia that is Melbourne.

1. Merri Cafe - CERES

Open Monday-Sunday


Corner of Roberts & Stewart Streets, Brunswick East, VIC 3057

Ceres is an “environmental education centre, community garden, urban farm and social enterprise hub” in the heart of Brunswick, Melbourne. One of their locations is an urban farm that invites visitors to learn about the many ways our Earth can provide for us when we provide back. Their charming cafe in the middle of their park in Brunswick uses food grown in their farm, local produce, and a strong focus on community systems.

2. Seedling

Open Monday – Friday

7.30am - 3.30pm

Kitchen open from 8am - 1.30pm

275 Flinders Lane & 343 Lt Collins St, Melbourne, VIC 3000

Boasting a clean and friendly interior, Seedling is a cafe that focuses on health and wellness for all customers. They make the extra effort to ethically source all of their ingredients, and take part in systems like the Degraves St Composting scheme. Their mostly plant based menu is 100% gluten free, and you can eat to-go, or dine-in. Whatever you fancy!

3. Combi

Open Monday - Friday

7am - 3pm

138-140 Ormond Rd, Elwood, VIC 3184

With a focus on organic, healthy raw meals Combi boasts an incredibly tasty variety of treats, and filling meals. They use fair-trade, organic coffee, and their vegan focus means resource management is at a low for this trendy, friendly cafe. Their acai bowls are next level, and their delicious sweet treats are guaranteed to leave you feeling replenished, and nutritionally full!

4. Mesa Verde

Open Wednesday - Sunday

4pm - Late

Curtain House, 252 Swanston St, Melbourne, VIC 3000

Mesa Verde’s authentic but original take on Mexican food started in 2013. While it’s not open for mornings, the restaurant is a staple in the city, and has a funky bar to pair with the delicious menu as well. Their rooftop features a worm farm compost system, and a little veggie garden from which they whip up delightful creations for all occasions.


Open Tuesday - Saturday

4pm - Late

198 Little Collins St, Melbourne, VIC 3000

PARCS is a small bar in the heart of the city prides itself on minimal waste, and circular fermentation processes. They use the off-cuts from other restaurants and rejected produce from markets, which are then fermented to add to their mouth-watering dishes. They use “minimal intervention” to let these ingredients sing, and they sell their ferments for all to buy!

6. Stokehouse

Open Monday - Sunday

12pm - Late

30 Jacka Blvd, St Kilda, VIC 3182

With multiple initiatives for sustainability this trendy restaurant uses eco-design to ensure their venue is green and eco-friendly. They have a rainwater tank for drinking water, geothermal heating and cooling, reclaimed timber, solar and battery systems, local food, the list goes on! This restaurant is a must try for a beachside lunch, or dinner. Grab a seat! It’s good for the environment!

Honourable mention:

Silo by Joost. In 2012 Joost Bakker made it his prerogative to make a circular system restaurant in Melbourne that used all the bits that other restaurants didn’t want. After a run-in with the council he was forced to close - but his newly released documentary about a tiny home in the middle of Melbourne that runs on its own food is a fascinating insight into the mind of a man that is facing the challenge of sustainability head on.

So, Melbourne has a plethora of sustainable cafes and restaurants to try. Whether it’s fine dining, casual snacking, or whatever mood you’re in today Melbourne has you covered. And even after you’ve tried all the places on this list, the chances of a cafe in the city having recycled, biodegradable containers is pretty high! You can always hit up one of the many abundant markets around Melbourne, for your local produce and food, and if you see something your favourite cafe could be doing to be more sustainable it wouldn’t be so bad to suggest something they could change to ensure an eco-future.