The Best Al Fresco Cafes In Sydney

By Lucy Cook - 12 Dec 2014

Best Sydney Cafe

Potts Point, NSW 8 Images

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The Armchair Collective

Mona Vale, NSW 8 Images

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Orto Trading Co.

Surry Hills, NSW 8 Images

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The Grounds Of Alexandria

Alexandria, NSW 1 Image

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Three Blue Ducks

Bronte, NSW 1 Image

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bills, Bondi

Bondi, NSW 1 Image

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The Local Press

Lilyfield, NSW 1 Image

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The Foundry

Surry Hills, NSW 1 Image

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Sydney has some of the best cafés in the world. Sydney is also home to some of the best weather in the world, especially during our sunny summers. So the best way to enjoy both of these fantastic parts of Sydney life is to grab a seat outside, sip on a latte and watch the world go by. We’ve compiled a list of the best cafés to dine al fresco so all you need to do is show up, and enjoy!

Potts Point

Located in the heart of Potts Point, just across from the fountain, Marcelle is the tastiest new café in Sydney to brunch. The Croque Marcelle with smoked ham, gruyere, mustard and iceberg lettuce is the kind of breakfast your hangover dreams of, while the soft baked eggs with goats curd, spinach and sourdough is all kinds of sophisticated joy.

Armchair Collective
Mona Vale

Armchair Collective is a café and homewares shop, specialising in one-of-a-kind restored designer armchairs, colourful cushions and custom lampshades. You can have a wander around the shop before settling down to the serious business – the eating. Be sure to keep an eye out for the weekly specials. This week it's housemade gnocchi of kumura infused beetroot with broccolini and gorgonzola cream sauce - yum! Or go for the grilled chicken salad with organic soba noodles and roasted sesame dressing, it's not only healthy but utterly delicious too! If you find yourself in Mona Vale, you want to make a beeline for Armchair Collective.

Orto Trading Co.

This inner city café is pumping out some delicious and exciting food, starting bright and early at breakfast. You’ll need to be making weekly trips to Orto Trading Co. just to get a taste of everything they have to offer. Carrot cake hotcakes with toffee pecans, gingerbread, carrot curd and mascarpone will keep the sweet tooths happy, while the southern fried chicken benni on Orto’s English muffin with hollandaise is one of the most blissful meals to have ever clogged our arteries. Onto lunch and the deliciousness continues, the wagyu burger on brioche with pickles, mozzarella, beetroot and tomato served with polenta chips never fails to impress.

The Boathouse

Located right on the wharf at Balmoral beach, you can’t get closer to the water without diving right in. Sit amongst the yummy mummies and beautiful people and soak up the sunshine, tucking into some great food while you’re at it. The lunch menu is full of seafood goodness, a perfect accompaniment to the seaside location. The breakfast menu is full of all the classics with a classy twist, like avocado and tomato on charred toast with goats curd and the croissant French toast with apple, macadamia and caramel.

The Grounds of Alexandria

By this point, you’ve probably already spent an afternoon wandering around The Grounds of Alexandria, eating and drinking and eating again, before buying a cake to take home. The courtyard is a perfect place to sit out in the sun and enjoy some of the fantastic coffee The Grounds has on offer as well as getting stuck into the amazing food found at the various food stalls scattered around the place.

Three Blue Ducks

A short stroll up from Bronte beach will take you to Three Blue Ducks, an intimate restaurant serving casual café style dining by chefs from fine dining backgrounds (including celebrity Chef Darren Robertson). The garden at the back of the restaurant is a source of inspiration for their menu, which focuses on fresh, local and high quality produce. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, there is always a time to visit this Bronte institution.


bills epitomises Sydney café culture. Everything is fresh, simple and stylish, no wonder he has expanded his empire around the world. The famous scrambled eggs and ricotta hotcakes with honeycomb butter are always faultless for breakfast but it’s well worth hanging around a bit later and enjoying the extended lunch and dinner menu. On offer are delicious dishes like zucchini fritters, deep fried egg, haloumi, tahini yoghurt with parsley salad and parmesan chicken schnitzel with creamed corn and fennel slaw. Whether you stick with the classic favorites or try something new, a table at bills is sure to please.

The Local Press

This friendly corner café in Lilyfield has been keeping locals and visitors happy with brilliant coffee and simple and sensational food. The coffee is roasted in-house on Roger the Roaster and their single origin coffee is rotated regularly, so there is always something new to try. Grab a seat outside and watch the world go by, it’s just across the road from a playground which is handy for those with mini-mes to take care of. It’s also strolling distance from The Bay Run, making it a perfect pit-stop to refuel before you continue your daily dose of exercise. It’s hard to go past the breakfast burrito with pulled pork, but the buckwheat crepes with sweet ricotta, caramelised banana and chocolate hazelnuts are heaven for those who like a little sweetness and are gluten free too!

The Foundry
Surry Hills

The Foundry isn’t the biggest café in Sydney, but it’s definitely one of friendliest. Combine that with sunny outdoor seating and fresh specials that change daily, it’s a lovely hidden nook in Surry Hills to escape the hustle and bustle and take some time out to enjoy. The coffee is always smooth and faultless, and the range of sandwiches and salads are constantly changing, so you can keep coming back again and again.

Image credit: The Boathouse Balmoral

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