Who doesn’t love to sit back and enjoy a nice cup of coffee or indulge in a delicious treat while exploring a new place? One of the best ways to get a feel for a city is a visit to a local café. Try the local brew, maybe interact with the locals, or simply sit back and appreciate the ambience. Your quick trip for a java fix while travelling could be so much more!
It may come as a surprise, considering it’s such a small city but Dunedin has an incredible café culture that rivals the best. There’s a lot of beautiful cafes located close to the Octagon but you’ll find joy in making your way to some of the not-so-secret local hang-outs located at the Warehouse Precint and St Clair. Check our round-up of some of the best cafés in Dunedin, from the Octagon (city centre) to the suburbs.
Keep a look out for my personal favourites, marked with a ★.
Dunedin City Centre
Ironic Café and Bar ★
Address: 9 Anzac Avenue, Dunedin
Conveniently located near the famous Dunedin Railway Station, Ironic is the perfect spot for brunch after wandering around The Octagon. Ironic has won many awards in the culinary game and offers a wide selection of food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Check out their full menu here.
For lunch, make sure to try their crispy potato skins topped with pork belly strips, black garlic aioli and pecorino cheese – it’s so good! Also, if you’re a coffee fan, Ironic has their very own brew, Evoke Coffee – which does not disappoint.
The Perc Central
Address: 142 Stuart St, Dunedin
One of the most popular cafés near the Octagon, Perc Central is a great spot to unwind after a walk through Dunedin’s city centre. They have a good selection of food from bagels to soups to everything in between. Check out their menu here.
There’s another Perc Café (The Perc Exchange, Address: 205 Stuart St, Dunedin) located in an enchanting historic building. It’s close to many offices near The Exchange, it can get busy during morning tea so come in early! Make sure to grab one of their scrumptious slices – the Malteser slice is a sure knock out!
READ MORE: 30 Fun Things to Do in Dunedin
The Corner Store Café
Address: 134 Stuart St, Dunedin
Amply named, the corner store café is a cozy little café housed in one of the shop houses along Stuart Street. It’s another popular spot near the Octagon due to its location but they have heaps of seats for sharing inside. The food here is yummy. You can’t go wrong with their indulgent wraps and savoury pies. Check out their wide array of food options here.
Laneway Café Bar & Tapas ★
Address: 7 Bath St
Situated in a quiet street close to The Octagon, Laneway Café is one of my favourite spots due to its elegant ambience. The open plan café / tapas bar has a very warm yet eclectic vibe with some admirable art displays and a cool outdoor area. While the coffee and pastries are sure to satisfy your cravings, I highly recommend that you share some of their awesome tapas. The real stand-out for us include their spicy croquettes and of course, the crispy pork belly.
Address: 3 Bath Street, Dunedin 9016
This quaint cafe located on Bath Street offers outstanding food (make sure to try some of their delicious cakes) and coffee. You will definitely love the warm ambience here and the awesome service.
Nova Café and Restaurant
Address: 29 The Octagon, Dunedin
With its beautiful range of teas (I highly recommend their chai), Nova is a great spot to unwind for lunch or an after-dinner coffee. Conveniently located in the Octagon, near the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, it’s a nice spot for a break after exploring the city centre. Apart from their awesome range of Asian fusion delights, their desserts are also top notch. Check out the donuts injected with caramel and whipped cream! The place gets quite busy during lunch hours so best to book a reservation if you have a big group.
Address: 9016/97 Stuart Street, Dunedin
Potpourri is one of the best vegetarian cafés in Dunedin, offering a great range of vegetarian and vegan dishes. I’ve been here a few times and the food is delicious (even though I’m not a vegetarian!).
Address: 46 Stuart Street, Dunedin
An atmospheric café located close to the iconic Dunedin Train Station (also the location of the Otago Farmer’s Market), Morning Magpie is colourfully decorated, beautifully lit and a of course, a good place for appetizing treats – the cinnamon pinwheels are a must-try!
Dog with Two Tails Café and Bar
Address: 25 Moray Place, Dunedin
Spending time in this café feels like stepping back in time – like being invited to someone’s way back when living room / music room / study. It’s a great place to hang out for coffee with lots of comfy seats. Do visit this place at night too as it turns into one of Dunedin’s cozy little bars that offers live music, comedy and its very own pub quiz.
Address: 201 Princes Street, Dunedin
Brightly lit with lots of comfy chairs and a cozy downstairs seating area, Standard Kitchen is another café on Princes Street worth checking out. The coffee here is superb and their slices are delightful!
Address: 286 Princes Street, Dunedin
A newly opened café along Princes Street, Catalyst is housed in a stunning open plan building perfect for remote working (if you are into that kind of thing) not usually found in other cafes, I tried their hazelnut hemp slice recently and it is delightful.
Mazagran Espresso Bar
Address: 36 Moray Place, Dunedin
If you’re a purist and after some bold coffee bean options, Mazagran is the place to go. This little café situated up at Moray Place offers some of the best coffee in Dunedin and yes, you can take a bag of beans that you love with you.
Dunedin Warehouse Precinct
The Warehouse Precinct is close to the Octagon / city centre and features some great architecture and street art (and cafés!).
Heritage Coffee ★
Address: 43 Jetty St, Dunedin
One of my favourite cafés in Dunedin, Heritage Coffee offers outstanding food and top-notch coffee – another flat white, please! Apart from the outstanding comfort foods (bacon and egg bagels, anyone?) on their menu, the cabinet offers are divine – lots of salad varieties, wraps and scones. The beautiful coffees here are also very consistent for those instagram-worthy latte art lovers out there. The atmosphere here is superb – it’s a warm, cozy space with booth seats and options for outdoor seating while enjoying some local street art (don’t worry they provide warm blankets, in case you need them). It’s so photogenic, it was even featured in a Canadian cult film.
Vanguard Specialty Coffee ★
Address: 329 Princes St, Dunedin
Lots of natural light and a great open space café – Vanguard appeals to many for its inviting atmosphere. But that’s not all, the food and coffee here are outstanding. With a variety of coffee bean options, and a wide array of savoury and sweet treats that are too good to resist! Make sure to go for “dessert” after lunch and pair your favourite coffee with their decadent brownies or indulgent cakes. Check out their menu here.
Vogel Street Kitchen ★
Address: 76 Vogel St,Dunedin
After admiring some of the nearby street art at the Heritage Precinct, Vogel Street Kitchen, one of the most popular cafés in Dunedin, is a nice spot to unwind with its modern rustic interior and exquisite food. From their wood-fired pizza and sandwiches to their delectable sweet treats, you’ll easily find a favourite dish and a reason to keep coming back. My favourite spot here has got to be the well-lit and beautifully decorated loft which has some great seating options (yes, they have comfy couches!)
Address: 125 Vogel Street, Dunedin
The first time I tried the food from this café was through their catering service. They have hands down some of the best range of savouries – sausage rolls, pork buns and stir fried noodles. That doesn’t sound like standard catering food right? I was so pleased when I found out they finally had a café where people can enjoy their glorious food. Located in the Heritage Precinct, the aptly named Precinct Food offers a great range of delights and impeccable coffee. I recommend you book ahead as they get quite busy during lunch time.
In North Dunedin you’ll find the Botanic Gardens, University of Otago and plenty of cool places to eat and drink.
Address: 337-339 George Street, Dunedin
Modaks Espresso is a quirky, unconventional cafe at first glance but boy is it popular, and for good reason. This cosy cafe with vintage furniture and retro decor, is a nice spot for breakfast or lunch with a great list of food options but my eyes are always after the sweet stuff in their pantry.
The Good Oil Café
Address: 314 George St
The Good Oil Café is a stunning little cafe with lots of delightful treats and outstanding coffee. Make sure to try their cinnamon scrolls – they are unforgettable.
Address: 466 George Street, Dunedin North, Dunedin
A fresh café located a few minutes away from the University of Otago, Buster Greens can easily transport you to San Francisco with its modern, well-lit interior with lots of flora. Enjoy a wide selection of food options. Their bacon and egg brioche is delicious!
Address: 20 Malcolm Street, North Dunedin, Dunedin
If you’re craving Vietnamese banh-mis, the toasted baguette sandwiches here are a great find! Another great Dunedin café close to the university.
Address: 438 George Street, Dunedin, Dunedin
A popular café situated in one of north Dunedin’s rustic shop houses, Governors Cafe is a great place for lunch while enjoying the view of Knox Church across the road.
Starfish Café and Bar ★
Address: 240 Forbury Rd, Saint Clair
I will never forget the s’more cookies from Starfish! They are divine! One of the captivating cafés on Dunedin’s scenic St Clair esplanade, Starfish offers outstanding food (waffles and bacon, please) and coffee. We’ve been here many times on several occasions and it’s just one perfect spot for a relaxing weekend out. Check out their menu here.
Address: 2 Esplanade, St Clair, Dunedin
If you’re after an intimate lunch while watching the tides change in Saint Clair, the Esplanade offers captivating views of the beach while offering outstanding pizza and calzones.
Address: 50 City Rd, Roslyn
Located next to the old Roslyn Fire Station, Coffee Culture has been a favourite with Roslyn locals for 20 years. The city views here will make you want to wait for a window seat. They have the usual range of coffees but you’d want to try their yummy iced coffees – caramel espresso, anyone?
Union Co Café
Address: 2 George St, Port Chalmers
If you fancy a scenic drive to Port Chalmers, what better way to cap your trip than indulging in a delicious treat with coffee at Union Co Café. Situated at the heart of Port Chalmers in a beautifully kept historic shop house, this café offers moreish treats and good coffee.
Have you been to Dunedin? Which café in Dunedin are you most excited to visit? Let us know in the comments!