You can tell a city must be full of productive people by the amount of caffeine outlets on hand, and this Otago city must be buzzing with doers because Dunedin cafes are a dime a dozen.

Find the central city bustling throughout the week as students, professionals, travellers, young families and retirees come to make the most of the bright, modern and top-quality café scene. There’s no doubting the European twist on a place like Dunedin, as the architecture and town layout point straight to the English folk who visited and decided it was a place worth settling in. But don’t go thinking Dunedin cafes are dated places to settle in with a coffee - instead the influx of youth and energy to the city ensure that any new hospitality joints are fresh, modern and edgy. A place of great fashion and art, don’t be surprised to find Dunedin cafes are home to some enviously cool baristas and huge murals or artworks. 

With no real sense of rush to be anywhere quickly, cafes in Dunedin make for the perfect place to perch up for an hour or two, catch up on emails, read your lecture notes or write a postcard to family back home - but bear in mind the lunch menu starts to look more and more appealing the longer you’re there. While the South Island may be famous for their love of pies and cheese rolls, Dunedin cafes are not ones to be boxed in by expectations (although whatever you do, make sure you try some cheese rolls with soup while you’re there). Instead, they offer plenty of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free varieties of meals, so no one at the table feels left out. The kind of cafes that you can visit once and immediately have as your favourite, we’d encourage you to not settle too soon - there’s always more to look out, drink and eat at Dunedin cafes, and just when you think you’ve seen it all, you’ll spot a sandwich board down a nondescript alleyway and suddenly it’s back to the drawing board.

8 of the Best Dunedin Walks and Where to Treat Yourself Afterwards

Canoe Beach in Dunedin on a sunny day.
Dunedin was designed for adventure. And not only is it beautiful, but it’s also home to some of the tastiest brews and bites in the country.

Maggies

Large tables with low hanging lights set against dark green walls.
Place Dunedin Editor's Pick
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Maggies has gained a reputation for their ridiculously good coffee, food and juices.

The Swan

The exterior of the building.
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An eatery and taproom with great vibes, local flavours, live gigs, fresh coffee, cosy nooks and a sunshine-laden outdoor seating area.

Buster Greens

Inside the cafe.
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This spot satisfies modern brunchers and big brekkie enthusiasts alike.

OCHO Chocolate Factory

Close up of chocolate bars.
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Artisanal chocolate made in small batches with cocoa sourced from small, family growers around the Pacific.

Heritage Coffee

A customer ordering at the counter.
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For a café experience that is local in every sense of the word.

Kiki Beware

White tables against a painted-white brick wall.
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You won’t find anything else quite like Kiki down George Street.

Union Co.

Customers dining at the window seats.
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An excellent spot for espresso, baked goods and savoury fare.

Grid Coffee + Good Food Co.

Table of homewares for sale at Good Food Co.
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Visit Grid Coffee Roasters and Good Food Co. for single origin coffee and artisanal grocery items.

Come Hungry, Here's Exactly What You Need to Devour in and Around Dunedin

Close up of a burger.
Otago is spoiled for choice when it comes to food.

ADJØ

A staff member standing behind the counter.
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Visit ADJØ for comforting Scandinavian dishes, barista coffee, housemade schnapps and NZ wines.

Catalyst

A barista making coffee.
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Catalyst is all about mindful eating and conscious consuming. Even the name speaks to this mission.

Taste Nature

A full shelf of green vegetables in wooden boxes.
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Well known for its commitment to organic food and sustainable living, Taste Nature is considered “the” organic shop in Dunedin by locals.

Beam Me Up Bagels

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A cult classic here in Dunedin.

The Good Earth

Customers dining in at tables by the window.
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A popular haunt with university students, this café makes everything from scratch every day.

Rhubarb

A table full of food.
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A bright and sunny spot to eat eggs benedict and read the newspaper, or squeeze your pram in for a date with other parents.

Good Start: 6 of the Best Brunch Spots in Dunedin

A plate of brunch on a table at Buster Greens.
Brunch combines two daily meals, which means it’s got to be doubly good. These Dunedin cafés and restaurants do it best with a range of classic dishes, modern takes and plant-based options that all hinge on supreme quality and taste.

Vanguard Specialty Coffee Co.

Seating area in Vanguard with big monstera plant.
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A fresh look and take on the independent coffee scene in Dunedin.

Potpourri Vegetarian Café

Stained glass window inside.
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Potpourri serves vegetarian cuisine in a warm and friendly atmosphere.

The Perc

Cake and coffee on a table.
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Whatever the weather and whatever your mood, The Perc is bound to satisfy.

Mazagran Espresso Bar

Silver metal coffee roaster in Mazagran Espresso Bar,
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This hard-working little café is a hive of activity all day long and a great spot for grabbing a coffee-to-go before work.

Allpress Espresso Roastery Café

Front of Allpress cafe in Dunedin.
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Share in the precise craft of coffee, Allpress style.