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The Best Cafes in Ballarat

The historic city of Ballarat has become a food hotspot over the past couple of years—especially as it has seen its population boom from city-dwellers moving to the gold rush mecca. Ballarat’s rich history is well-known and evident by the gold rush boom-era buildings that dot the impressive Sturt Street. These days, not a whole heap of gold mining goes on around Ballarat, not without some heavy machinery anyway, and the city is a beautiful place to visit and spend a few days.

ALSO READ: The Best Pubs in Ballarat

Ballarat is home to many amazing cafes, restaurants, and pubs, that offer cuisine that ranges from modern Australian to Italian, to Ethiopian. These are the best cafes in Ballarat.

Johnny Aloo

Ballarat Central
Johnny Alloo is named after Ballarat’s first restauranteur and calls a fabulous 1870s-era former pub home. The cafe is open until 3pm daily, and is locally owned and operated. Behind the kitchen, you’ll find chef Andy Gale, known for his time as head chef of St Ali, and also his time at Duchess of Spotswood. Highlights on the menu are the chilli crab scramble, the hotcakes, the Johnny Allo burger, and the steak frites—but let’s be honest, it’s all good here.

Find out more about Johnny Alloo here.

Drive Cafe

Golden Point
Driving down Grant or Barkly Street in Ballarat, you may have seen the old circular retro service station. These days, that’s Drive Cafe. Serving breakfast, lunch, and plenty of coffee—Drive served up all-day breakfast with the likes of banoffee waffles, chilli scramble, and, of course, avocado toast on the menu. For lunch, you can find options that will fill the hole in your stomach more, with burgers, a Reuben, and more.

Find out more about Drive Cafe here.

Cafe Merkama

Ballarat Central
Name after owner Temam Hussen’s daughter, Merkama is an Ethiopian cafe that opened back in 2014. Merkama is the only African restaurant in Ballarat, and serves up fantastic food such as injera which is fermented Ethiopian flatbread, tasting platters, and a healthy serving of goat, and beef curries.

Find out more about Cafe Merkama here.

Clothesline Cafe

Bakery Hill
Opening a cafe is no mean feat, but doing it during the midst of a pandemic in a regional city is taking the feat to the next level. Clothesline Cafe in Ballarat’s historic Bakery Hill is a house that has been transformed by owners Greg and Kayleen Faul into a cafe—with the Hills Hoist clothesline still intact in the backyard. Clothesline Cafe’s all-day menu features beauties like a crab omelette, a roasted garlic mushroom burger, and an eggs benedict with pressed ham hock. Check out the menu here.

Find out more about Clothesline Cafe here.

Higher Society

Ballarat Central
Higher Society sits on Ballarat’s grand Sturt Street and offers up a delicious menu that’s sure to please all-comers. Grab yourself a brekky roll, shakshuka, and Korean cauliflower wings, alongside many other amazing options. Higher Ground is dog-friendly also, so bring along your furry friends for breakfast.

Find out more about Higher Society here.

Common Ground

Ballarat North
Common Ground is a beautifully designed cafe that wouldn’t look out of place on Collins Street in Melbourne. Filled with terrazzo tables, Common Ground offers up fresh options with classics like smashed avocado and eggs alongside croissant french toast, Turkish eggs, and more. For lunch, or if you’re very hungry first thing in the morning, Common Ground has a range of burgers on offer, roasted lamb with pita, and gnocchi.

Find out more about Common Ground here.

Ballarat Yacht Club

Lake Wendouree
You’d be hard-pressed to find a better outlook from a cafe in Ballarat than at the Ballarat Yacht Club. Situated on Lake Wendouree, the Yacht Club is open for breakfast and lunch 7 days a week. ‘The Yachty’ has a classic breakfast menu that features smashed avo, eggs benedict, and florentine, as well as pancakes. For lunch expect to tuck into pizza, a parm, steak sandwich and more. The team also has put together a mean kids menu.

Find out more about Ballarat Yacht Club here.

Webster’s Market and Cafe

Ballarat Central
You’ll find Webster’s Market and Cafe on Webster Street funnily enough, and resides in a renovated heritage corner store. The team keeps it local, with all day brunch that heroes produce from around Victoria. The team puts together a range of sandwiches, as well as brunch classics like eggs benedict, and eggs your way.

Find out more about Webster’s Market and Cafe here.

Arch View Café

Feel like breakfast with a view of Ballarat’s iconic Arch of Victory? Then Arch View Café is absolutely right up your alley. The cafe puts together a great menu featuring sandwiches, oats, and even a breakfast pizza which is a popular item. There are plenty of sweet treats on display as well, with muffins and their perfect gluten-free lemon tarts. Arch View Café also caters if you’re having an event.

Find out more about Arch View Café here.

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