Brunswick Street was looking a bit been-there-done-that before Stagger Lee's came to a corner spot south of Johnston Street. Stagger's user-friendly menu boasts standout dishes like the Mexican breakfast of soft-shell tortillas and beautifully poached eggs, and the Proud Mary single origins are excellent.
276 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, 9419 5564
The corn fritters grabbed our attention, appearing all over the 'gram and the 'book. They're crunchy and creamy and full of sweet kernels that pop in your mouth. The specials board is a must-eat list of cheese kransky sourdough sangers and confit duck salads, the vibe is just-cool-enough and the Clement coffee spot on.
240–242 Johnston Street, Fitzroy, 9415 6420
A long-term pop-up on the ground floor of an empty office building featuring pour-over, Aeropress and plunger brews and a menu of smorrebrod (open rye sandwiches of pickled meat, fish and veggies)? How very Melbourne, 2014. There's espresso coffee, and pastries, too.
555 Collins Street, Melbourne, 9620 1211
This nook opposite St Kilda library is a quiet retreat with a warm Scandi-themed fitout and a menu of carefully put-together food that lets the quality ingredients do the work. The breakfast board turns heads and the coffee is just how the locals like it.
124 Carlisle Street, St Kilda, 0481 394 403
The queues formed at this sister to Top Paddock and Two Birds One Stone while the tilers were still applying grout. Like Top Paddock it's more than a cafe: it's a roaring daytime eatery where the crowds can't get enough of chef Jesse Mctavish's technique-driven menu, and the great 5 Senses coffee.
50 Albert Road, South Melbourne, 9088 0721