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
Aptly 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, Dunedin
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
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.
Address: 97 Stuart Street, Dunedin
Potpourri is one of the best vegetarian cafés in Dunedin, offering a great range of vegetarian and vegan dishes. The atmosphere is so warm and cozy inside and the outdoor seats are also great for watching people pass by. I’ve been here a few times and the food is delicious, with lots of hearty meals and salads to choose from.
Address: 46 Stuart Street, Dunedin
An atmospheric café located close to the iconic Dunedin Railway 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! They also have a working arcade tucked in a corner of the café. Pretty cool, huh! One other time I was here, they also had some cool art pieces from various local artists.
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! If you’re here for lunch, they have a great array of cabinet food including some yummy SK bowls. Check out their menu here.
Address: 286 Princes Street, Dunedin
This stunning café along Princes Street, Catalyst is housed in an open plan building with a loft. The atmosphere here is awesome – lots of natural light and cool plants! There are a lot of delightful dishes on their menu including waffles, bacon benedict and some delicious pulled pork tacos. It’s also the only café in Dunedin where I’ve seen the nitro cold brew coffee – sounds pretty enticing, right? I haven’t tried that myself but their coffees have always been spot on. Also, I’m intrigued by their recent offering of Bubbles and Brunch.
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 food on offer 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. They also have lots of houseplants in the café. If you love them as much as I do, this is a great hangout for you. 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).
In North Dunedin you’ll find the Botanic Gardens, University of Otago and plenty of cool places to eat and drink.
Precinct Café at Tūhura
Address: 419 Great King 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. While they maintain their catering based at the Heritage Precinct, they have shifted their café operations to the more centrally located at Tūhura Otago Museum. The Precinct Café offers a great range of delights and impeccable coffee – a perfect add-on to your visit to the local museum.
Address: 333 George Street, Central Dunedin, Dunedin
The vibe in this mostly-vegan café can easily transport you to a tropical place. It reminds me a lot of the hip cafés in Bali! Apart from the relaxing ambiance, there are lots of fantastic food and drinks on their menu. If you think vegan food is boring, it’s only because you have yet to be introduced to the good stuff. Their coconut lattes are divine and their dumplings are so good!
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 cabinet display.
The Good Oil Café
Address: 314 George St, Dunedin
The Good Oil Café is a stunning little cafe with lots of delightful treats and outstanding coffee. Make sure to try their cinnamon scrolls and carrot cake – 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.
Starfish Café and Bar ★
Address: 240 Forbury Rd, St Clair, Dunedin
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?
Glenfalloch Gardens Cafe & Restaurant
Address: 430 Portobello Road, Macandrew Bay, Dunedin
Set in a stunning garden at the Otago Peninsula (only 10 minutes’ drive from the city), Glenfalloch Gardens Cafe & Restaurant is a gorgeous place for a memorable meal. It’s a relaxing place to enjoy brunch or (wine and) dine, especially on a sunny day – the views from the café are beautiful and you’ll be treated to birdsong as you enjoy your meal.
Glenfalloch Café & Restaurant used to be an events place for wedding and private functions. Fret not, you don’t need an invite for a wedding to taste the great food here, in late 2022 they re-launched the café and restaurant, now open to the public from Wednesdays to Sundays serving delicious food from brunch to dinner. The venue remains popular so do check their website for any private events (the venue is perfect for a garden wedding) before your visit. You can also check out their menu here.
Blacks Road Grocer
Address: Corner Blacks Road and North Road, North East Valley, Dunedin
A great find in North East Valley, Blacks Road Grocer offers a great atmosphere for a cuppa and shopping. The shop is filled with cool displays and home to a wide selection of local produce – jams, honey, cheeses, milk and fruits. The café selection include lots of delicious slices and handmade treats including real fruit ice cream.
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.
Here’s some bonus ones – aa boutique bakeshop, and a great place to get fresh bagels in the city!
The Tart Tin
Address: 42 Queens Gardens, Central Dunedin, Dunedin
The Tart Tin offers scrumptious treats and indulgent cakes that will blow your mind. I remember first coming across the Tart Tin at the Otago Farmers Market, when the owner, Matt Cross, used to have “Minty” the caravan for a shop, but now the Tart Tin shop is located at The Terminus, near Queens Gardens. The Tart Tin may have changed their location but they still serve the same high quality baking locals know and love. The shop is open between Wednesday to Friday from 7am to 1pm. Make sure you drop by early to get a batch of their freshly baked goodies. I personally love the salted caramel meringue baby cakes (a smaller version of their cake which you can order online). Check out their full range of cakes and sweets here.
Beam Me Up Bagels
Address: 104 Great King Street North, Dunedin | 9 North Road, North East Valley, Dunedin
You don’t need to be a Star Trek fan to enjoy this place. Serving up some fresh hand-rolled bagels and bagel sandwiches from savoury to sweet. Hands-down the best bagels in the city. Beam Me Up Bagels have two branches, one located in North East Valley near the Dunedin Botanic Gardens – perfect to pick-up some bagel sandwiches and a coffee for lunch at the gardens, and the other one, slightly bigger spot located in the city centre – a perfect stop after a day of shopping or sightseeing. Check out their latest bagel sandwich flavours here.
Are you travelling to Dunedin? Check out our full Dunedin Itinerary and Travel Guide.
Have you been to Dunedin? Which café in Dunedin are you most excited to visit? Let us know in the comments!
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